I haven’t blogged in a while, partly because I’ve been busy / exhausted, but also because I worry that if I blog about specific events, even with details removed, patients and colleagues may potentially be able to identify themselves if I write about it straight away, and that would be unfair and unprofessional. But mostly, I’m lazy and can’t motivate myself to write after a day at work.
So I’ve been working for 2 and a half months now, and honestly, I’ve really been enjoying it. There are some stark differences between working in Hampshire and London; most noticeably, budget. I’d mentioned before that the imaging equipment was different to what I’m used to, but it extends beyond that. The rooms in general could do with a refurb; the paediatric room is quite an intimidating place for an adult, let alone a 5 year old with a broken leg. There’s also a dearth of basic accessories such as positioning pads and cassette holders; this doesn’t necessarily affect patient safety or the diagnostic quality of the resulting radiograph (assuming that the radiographer is determined and caring enough) but it can affect patient comfort, and it can also make the task for the radiographer much more laborious and require some significant creativity.
That said though, having the newest fanciest kit doesn’t solve everything; our fancy DR system in Resus decided to stop working on the morning of the Vauxhall helicopter crash, when we were on standby for some of the casualties. It turned out to be a very quiet morning in the end, but nerves were certainly frayed when one of the A&E rooms packed in at the same time! This all happened during my fortnight’s “training” in A&E (I’m still rotating through the various modalities so I can get a basic understanding of equipment, protocols, and working practices). Unsurprisingly, this was my favourite time period so far, and I can’t wait to get back round there.
So far, my shifts have been nice and easy; 9-5 every day, no weekends, but that all changes this month. Luckily I’ve only got one evening shift, one weekend long day, and two weekday long days in February, but it steps up further in March with night shifts thrown into the mix too.
So… what other news? Well I received a dose badge, but then that expired and I wasn’t on the list for a replacement so now I’ve got a temporary one; my markers finally arrived from the USA but apart from my A&E fortnight I’ve hardly used them; and I’ve received half of my uniform (the trousers) and when I collected them my colleague, who accompanied me to find out about hers, demanded that they give me a plain white tunic to tide me over til my proper ones arrive. Hopefully this will mean fewer incidences of being called “The Student” by consultants.
After all this behind-the-scenes waffle you may be surprised to hear that I have actually encountered some patients in my 10 weeks of employment, so here are some anonymised excerpts of the ones who have, for various reasons, stuck in my memory:
The 6 year old who barely even winced when I moved his obviously fractured arm to a more lateral position- brave kids like this just make me even more annoyed at perfectly well yet uncooperative adults who scream the place down over a slight sprain or bruise.
The elderly lady with multiple myeloma who had been booked in for a skeletal survey (a long list of x-rays covering basically the whole body, to assess the formation of any lesions in the bones) who not only repeatedly apologised for taking so much time (!) but also told me about the horrible experience she’d had at another hospital. Apparently the radiographer there shouted at her when she misunderstood his instructions and she cried on the bus home. I hope I’ve managed to show her that those types of radiographers are in the minority.
The young teenager who came into Resus following a collision with a vehicle; she sustained several injuries (luckily none were life threatening) including losing all of her front teeth only a day after having her braces removed. She was understandably devastated and kept apologising to the trauma team for crying. I think she made a lasting impression on all of us.
The gentleman who refused to take his necklace off for his chest x-ray and got very aggressive at the mere suggestion of doing so, telling me that if he takes it off “and something bad happens, it’ll be your fault” whilst standing 6 inches away from my face. More on this in a future post.
The father of the tiny baby on NICU who was born so premature that her lungs had barely formed. I felt awful asking him to step out of the room while I x-rayed his daughter, especially as he cleared his throat and tried to hide the fact that he’d been crying when he returned.
I’ll try to be more regular with my updates in future; I’ve got a few radiology related posts to write on a number of different subjects which have been on my mind recently.