I survived my first week of Placement, hoorah! And not only did I survive but I actually enjoyed myself!!
I think that I may have mentioned that I was a little bit nervous about this week but as always, the unknown is terrifying and rarely lives up to the scary situation we build up in our heads! As someone with very little exposure to a ward environment and no experience working with those who are acutely mentally ill, the only preconceptions I had were really based on fictional environments from Television and Film which are so far removed from reality (thank goodness!)
Not only have I learnt what life on the ward is really like but I have learnt a major lesson about myself. During my 6 years employed in Sales, I was often stressed and I always put it down to the hectic and pressured environment I was working in. This week I have learnt that in the right context, I absolutely thrive on pressure. Although it has, at times, been a bit of a baptism by fire, I have not felt stressed and instead I have bounced along on the ups and downs and enjoyed the butterflies that fill my stomach when I think of the unknown what awaits me when I start my shift. How great that at 29, I am still learning what makes me tick?!
It will be of no surprise to you that I am exhausted. Before Monday, it was 796 days since I had been employed full-time and by Friday, I could feel it!! Unlike my previous employment, aside from my lunch break, I was on my feet all day! Thankfully for my slabs of meat, I have invested in some brilliant work shoes and I haven’t got a single blister. Win! Not only is my body tired but my poor brain has been flooded with new information and could now do with a holiday, (Florida’s nice this time of the year, right?!) I have been so tired that I have been completely antisocial after shift and it took until Wednesday evening for me to actually feel like I could relax, (a small glass of wine and The Missing definitely helped!) The University do what they can to prepare us all for Placement, but in truth, it’s only when you see things being put into practice that they start falling in to place. Learning ‘Hospital Corners’ is vital, drug names now have a context on how, why and when they are used and the importance of checking blood pressure as a Mental Health Nurse is now apparent…although I have to say, I am yet to make good use of all that A&P revision!
And how has Little Man coped without me for two evenings this week I hear you cry?! Well of course he has been an absolute angel for his Grandparents!! Gone to bed with little fuss and has even slept until the sun has come up on his GroClock…and what did he do when we were back to sharing? Woke me up at 5.30 didn’t he?! Oh Little Man!! I am crossing everything that he doesn’t do the same this week when I start my 12 hour shifts (yes, I am crying a little at the thought!) One blessing about this week is that I’ve been so busy during the day and so tired when I get home that I hit the hay pretty promptly, leaving little time to think about Little Man. I did, however, have an almighty pang of Mum Guilt that brought some tears to my eyes in Morrisons Cafe of all places. I was sat enjoying (okay, destroying) my cooked breakfast when I saw a Mum and her son (about Little Man’s age) enjoying a little lunch date. I could hear them having similar discussions about why it wasn’t okay to have a second chocolate bar instead of the dinner she had bought him and it really got to me. I felt awful that I was sat annihilating my brunch when I could/should have been hanging out with my son and arguing with him about why in Winter, coats are non-negotiable! Damnit Mum Guilt, you got me again!
I’ve managed to put the Mum-guilt at bay by making sure we make the most of the weekend together by filling the house with Christmas fun. We’ve made Christmas presents for the family, decorated chocolate biscuits and watched The Polar Express (much more successful than ‘Happy Feet’, I realise now that the Seal chase scene is terrifying, oops!) And as for getting over the tiredness, well an afternoon nap was an easy option! Now, all I need to do is get through the next two weeks! It’s only 6, 12 hour shifts, how hard can that be?!
I’ll leave you with this photo of the beautiful Christmas Houses we’ve made for the Jelly Baby family and hope you’re enjoying the build up to Christmas as much as us!