Yesterday, I rocked up to work to find I was the only HCA on. The other 2 had called in sick. We were a nurse down too. In short, I was fucked.
But thankfully, a neighboring ward lent us a HCA to give me a hand. She was incredible, inspirational, outstanding at her job - generally and genuinely fantastic. It's well known that most people want you to be successful, just not too successful. Or as successful as themselves. This lady, Carmel was the complete opposite. I began explaining about how I was hoping to apply to medicine this year and immediately she was behind me.
"It's fantastic that you've decided to work as a HCA for some experience. Good for you. More wannabe doctors should do it. You sound intelligent - you've also got a really nice way with the patients, you will go far. I can see it already. I've worked in hospitals with other HCA's that then went on to become doctors and you can tell the difference by far. You remind me so much of another HCA I used to work with whom I then ended up working with up until she became a reg!"
The more time I spent with her the more advice and support she gave me.
"This ward. Crap. You need to be out there, soaking it up, learning more. Your not learning a great deal. You cut your hours on here, do you hear me? You cut them down to 20 hours. Do it today. Then you sign up for agency shifts. You get your arse onto as many different wards as possible - you pick your shifts, your slightly better paid (just inconsistently) and you get a much larger breadth of knowledge. You wouldn't things could be different but they are. Stop the nurses often and ask what medication they're on and what it does. You can learn so much. All these charts? Take them home. Take a copy and study it. You will learn so much. In interviews you can name every ward under the sun then - who cares if you've only done on agency shift on it? You've done it! Imagine by the time your a student doctor and your learning about different topics, like oncology or geriatric, you will know so much for your clinical years. You will be able to tell when a patient needs to be on a turning chart. You can see if what you've prescribed / ordered is being done by checking their care and comfort. You will be fantastic. Give me your e-mail, I'll e-mail you the forms to become an agency worker. Don't let this ward drag you down, you can do so much more, and you can learn so much more, just get out there."
And that's what I plan to do now.
Carmel - you're a fricking angel.
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