First Day in the Orthopedic Ward

This is a bitch-and-moan post so if you don’t want to hear about it, then navigate away from this page now!

Lets put it simply, shall we?

It was SHIT!

Perhaps I went there with a conscious decision to not enjoy my day, for those following me on twitter (_Cybelle_) already know how much I detest Orthopedics. I was saying that the upside is that my patients cannot chase me – but then realised some of them have broken hands and arms and now I am screwed anyway.

Day started off thus: The sister was taking all of us through the hand-over of the patients, and for the one bloody moment that I glanced away from looking at this one patient, she went off her rocker and started yelling about how no one is even looking at the patient (although all the while staring directly at me) and then said she is not doing hand-over and we must do it on our own. Bitch. So we did, and it went fine. But she already had an unfounded prejudice against me, or perhaps just used me as an excuse to be lazy and not have to do it. Either way, it highly irritated me, because she singled me out, for the two seconds that I looked away.

Next up, is bed-making.

Firstly, no one bothered to actually tell me that nursing is like being a domestic. Secondly, I am not a fan of bed-making during routine 3x a day, simply for the fact that I find it unnecessary to fidget around on patients beds and wake them up if it is not needed. If it is, then I have no problem changing nappies and ensuring that the patients are at their ultimate comfort during their sickness. I just know that I would not like to be woken up and taken out my bed at 5 in the morning for someone to do my bed when I was perfectly happy in it in the first place.

As I left my cubicle to fetch a pillow for one of the other patients in the bed, the lady next to her fell while attempting to get onto the bed. She is quite obese, however she is mobile, and in an ortho ward we obviously encourage as much mobility as possible. She had complained to the night staff that her bed was too high, and couldn’t she get a lower one, but unfortunately all the lower beds were occupied and wards to do not like to exchange beds. So they provided her with steps. I had seen the last bit of her fall as I walked into the cubicle holding said pillow, and she was pretty banged up. She slipped backwards off the stairs, onto the chair that was behind it, and then fell off the chair, so her fall was cushioned a bit, however her left arm (which she had broken) was bleeding and her legs were pretty scraped up. She fell because she became dizzy and didn’t let the nurse who was in the cubicle know, so we couldn’t prevent it, especially as she had told us that she can get on and off the bed without support. Now comes the problem: the nurse in the cubicle (my friend Elrika) and I are not strong enough to lift her up and the lady was still dizzy so could not assist us in helping her up. I tried to call other staff to assist us to get her off the floor, but they took their lazy Sunday-drive attitude getting there. Eventually we got her into a chair and cleaned her arm, and covered it with primapore, and we did inform the doctors who were luckily on their ward rounds just after we got her into the chair.

When a patient falls and injures themselves, we usually fill in an incident report. I say “usually” because it IS procedure, although how often it happens I don’t know. That’s another story for another day. When we asked the sister where the forms are so we can fill one in, she told us we must not fill in the form unless the patient has been “badly” (please define what exactly this implies??? Injured is injured??) injured, and that we must not even write it in the nursing progress. Elrika and I felt that it was not right not to have any record of this so we wrote it in the nursing progress as it needs to be known, and also to cover ourselves.

We (Elrika and I) then assisted an openly-gay physio move a patient with a pelvic fracture from the bed to a chair. Please understand from the start – I have no upper physical strength; I am quite useless at moving helpless patients. I simply don’t have the strength and arm support. About half an hour later, the doctor came to me and asked if we can move her back to the bed as this patient is literally crying with pain. And oh boy, was she shedding tears. You could see that she was openly in a lot of pain, and kept saying “Pain” yet once again, none of the other staff would help us move her and we were concerned to move her ourselves as we do not have the strength, and secondly because we did not want to cause any injury to her healing pelvic fracture. So I had to run for the physio to assist us, and we eventually managed to move her back to bed. She was sobbing with gratefulness for bloody moving her from a bed to a chair, saying “Thank you, thank you, thank you, god bless you, thank you for not being mean to me”. It is a rather sad understatement to say that I am ashamed to have this woman say thank you for being nice to her. It just shows you what exactly goes on in the nursing profession. Once again, I am disgusted, and once again, I need motivation to continue with this degree.

Then during lunchtime, I was in this one cubicle that I was not working in, and saw that an hourly observation for a post-op patient had not yet been done so I did it. And I started feeding this patient next to him who is rather old and sickly and has not been mobile for a year, doesn’t speak, has prostate cancer and has cataracts on both eyes. When the nurse whose cubicle it belonged to arrived, I asked her if she wouldn’t mind taking over feeding her patient for me as I needed to check that the patients in my cubicle that are unable to feed themselves had been fed. She simply said “No”. So I asked why and was met with this reply which completely stunned me “We don’t do feeding hand-over. You have to finish what you started.” And I was like “This is your patient, you have a responsibility for this patient.” “If you don’t want to feed him, then just leave the plate there *points*”. So if I was not going to finish feeding him then the patient would not receive his lunch?? WHAT.THE.FUCK. So I proceeded to tell her exactly what I thought of her, and how ridiculous I think she is. And continued feeding the patient because I will not let a patient who previously was not eating and now was, go without lunch!! And literally he had 3 more bites and was done. I was so annoyed, and really in the mood to argue, and I am glad that I am standing up for myself! A “Well Done” to me is in order I think!!

I left to get my hour forms signed at 1pm when I knocked off, and the sister (from story 1) asked if I had the store room key. I didn’t. So she says “If you have it you are not allowed to leave!” and I’m like I.DONT.HAVE.IT. And I walked out.

What an incredibly frustrating day!!! I went to TheBoyfriend, snuggled up, and fell into a restless sleep for about 4 hours. I’m glad at least that TheBoyfriend provides me with such comfort, allows me to plonk my fat ass on his lap, and just cuddles me and rubbles (rubs 😉 ) my tummy. Its the best feeling in the world.

Hoping at least that your day was better than mine!!



5 responses to this post.

  1. Wow hun! That is hectic!
    Im so proud of you for standing up for yourself and for doing what is right!
    We need more nurses like you!


  2. Thank you!
    I am however really struggling with this degree, and am heavily considering quitting. I don’t know if I can bear another 4 years with this black-mentality that we have here in SA, with no one willing to help the other. It depresses ,e to no end. I am already at a burn-out stage because things here simply do not end, with varsity they are pelting us with assignments and tests, and with work I have to deal with bad attitudes and psycho patients. It never ends.
    I know I am feeling very sorry for myself – its just my bitch-and-moan session I guess.


  3. Posted by Mike on October 2, 2010 at 16:32

    I meet you today at sexpo and think you are amazing girl and hope you have a super weekend and you must not work to hard at the sexpo .. I would like to chat to you more if you like !!! Have a super day !!! Mike


  4. Posted by Mike on October 2, 2010 at 16:35

    You can do any thing you put your mind to and you have a great personality !!!!


  5. Posted by Mike on October 2, 2010 at 16:36

    my work e mail is .


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