A quick catch up: I'd been working at a hospital a good 2.5 hours away (via public transport - only half an hour drive) since July. It was a cardiology ward, I was only 1 of may be 2 individuals that were an under-40's HCA. It was a very small close knit team. 22 beds. I'd handed in my resignation at the beginning of October, and officially started at my local (absolutely humongous) hospital on the 11th of November. My first shifts were a week later and here we are, about a month on.
So the first question will be, do you prefer the new place over the old one?
Yes. Not in some aspects, but basically all aspects.
- There are lots of other girls that whilst are a few years older, aren't 30 years older - this makes chit chat in the staff room much, much easier. A friend I've known for years is also working there.
- There's a good mix of older staff:younger staff.
- The nurses are all ( bar 1 ) really lovely. Some are more chilled out than others, but there are plenty of them so it's not like you always work with one or the another.
- This one nurse absolutely bollocked me for putting on the finger probe on a patients ear, in front of a patient, patient's relative, fellow HCA - so much so she reduced me to a bucket of tears as soon as I was in private. On induction we were taught that if the patient had nail varnish, you were unlikely to get a correct reading so you could place it on the ear. Fellow HCA also taught the same thing and did try to back me up, but Nurse Bitch wasn't having any of it and was more focused on making me seem as incompetent as possible, as publicly as possible. I cried all the way home. I'm informed she treats all new staff in this vulgar way. I get over it, but double check the ear-probe rule thing with senior HCA on my next shift. She confirms I'm correct, I tell her what happened, and she storms into the sisters office on my behalf to complain. Sister deals with whole situation proactively, professionally, discreetly and sensitively. How's that for staff support?
- In the mornings it does tend to be 1 nurse : 1 HCA per 11 patients. Back at old hospital it was per 8 patients and very often the nurse wandered off to do "nurse duties" that were above you. At the new place despite the extra 3 patients, if any of the 11 need "special-ing" more often than not, you will get the staff. We get a lot of agency staff - not the best, but hey, at least we are getting the staff. You always always get support from fellow staff. Back at my old hospital, you would roll a patient on your own, change them, wash them, even if you broke your back and not bat an eyelid. Here - not. a. chance. You're not allowed to roll a patient on your own, and so the "requires two" will actually always get the "two".
- No-one get's stressed about the amount of work, or bitchy about the timetable. There was definitely a bit of bitchy culture back at the old place.
- There's a staff room so you can enjoy tea and lunch and watch TV.
- If my shift finishes at 1930, I can bus it and be back by 2015. If mum picks me up, I'll be back before 2000! Massive difference to 2200 / 2230.
- There might only be 1 HCA to 11 patients in the morning, but there's also only 1 HCA to 11 patients in the afternoon. That means you're only answering buzzers from your section of 11 people. Not all 24 like back at the old place.
- Space. You tend not to think of it at all, but when you need to change a patient who is bed bound, you need space to move to the table out the way, to get to the cupboard, to not hit the patient in the bed next to you when you pull out the old incontinence pad with a bit vigour than required, when you need to change the sheet and have somewhere to put the old sheets....space space space!!! The layout of this place is much better. There's 4 to a bay (rather than 6), plenty of space, and about 44% of beds are large ensuite side rooms.
- If you do long days, you do your 3 long days a week and that is it. Every 4 weeks you do an extra long day, but that is the only exception. 3 long days 0700-1930, 4 days off. There's none of this, 2 long days, an early, a late, and another early one week, and then 4 long days together the next, and then no shifts the week after. 3 long days, bam, done.
Now I will add, that I think I am still in the honeymoon period. I remember still being a bit chirpsy and skippy in my 4th week at the old hospital as I took on a steep learning curve. By 6/8 weeks in, I hated it and wanted to quit ASAP. So I reckon the real test is that of time... and also, let's see how the night shifts go next week!!!