Every Wednesday, I will be with another nurse as my mentor does not work on this day. I arrived early at 7.50am again, but this time I was only 40 minutes early as this clinic starts at 8.30am 🙂
Today (Wednesday) was a special asthma and COPD clinic mainly with the odd smear test and a vaccine in between. I have been asked if (when I feel comfortable) I would like to have a few asthma patients to myself and do their annual review. This was a slight shock to the system; mainly because my last mentor liked to keep me close by and did not want me doing things alone at times so, for them to trust me to be let lose on their patients, I feel honoured! I am a mixture of excited for this as well as nervous. Nervous because I do not want to get anything wrong! I do not want to miss anything out and for the patient leave the clinic without important information.
I have asked the nurse if I can write a list (for myself) to take into the room with me, just more of a bullet point / tick off list to ensure I have not missed anything before they leave. This is something I will write out today with my main mentor (plan of action for my day today: Thursday 15th March 2018).
The patients we had today were mainly COPD management and review. This was really interesting for me as we have done asthma and COPD in our nursing practice 1 module last year, but I have not put it to use yet. I remember our lecturer telling us; ‘this is just a brief module, asthma and COPD can be so complex and there is not enough time to go too deep into it all’ (something around those words). I remember thinking at the time, ‘this seems quite in depth to me’ haha.
But after seeing our patients today, I can see what they mean! No patient is the same. They all have different medications, at different times, there is different spirometer readings (which I saw and had no clue what they meant; something I asked the nurse to go through with me later on). Patients get different symptoms and different times of the day. Some patients really try to get on top of their condition and others do not as they think ‘I’m too old now so what is the point.’ That was quite hard to try and discuss with someone. The nurse was fabulous at explaining everything to the patient, she was so knowledgable and made it easy to understand. I think that is the best we can do as nurses for these patients, give them the information as easy and simple to understand and hope that they take it on board and use it to their benefit.
It was also interesting to see that some patients do not know how to take their inhalers. Some use their steroid one like a salbutamol, just when they need it. And have the wrong dose of inhaler for their condition? So it is also about knowing your medications and educating and empowering your patients. Just because the patient has their medication, it does not necessarily mean that they are 1: compliant and 2: Taking them correctly.
Another interesting part of this day was how to educate young children on how to use inhalers appropriately. Because I have worked with adults for so long, I just assume these things are adult life. I forgot that I am in a GP surgery and that we will see ALL AGES. This is amazing to me. I love that when I call a patient through, I am surprised by who the patient is and how old they may be.
And babies?! When we call the patient we call the baby name. Why have I never thought about this? I do not know why but I assumed that we would call the parents name… so when I brought the patient in and read the screen of the age and it goes from 9 weeks to 11 years. This just blew my mind haha! It is so strange to see your patient age as 9 weeks old or 33 weeks old. Small things like this always amazes me. But if you think about it, it is quite a big thing really. That is your patient. You are going to see that patient grow, start to teeth, talk, walk, maybe come in with their problems one day as an independent adult.
This is their first piece of identity that is given to them.
Their first piece of real independence (other than coming out of a womb and breathing alone for the first time haha).
This is only the third day of placement
and I have already seen and learnt so much! For now I am sat in the cafe next door having a second breakfast, ready for another exciting day with my mentor. Goodbye for now.