Thursday, 29 January 2009

U... and other acronyms

for.. U/cath (urinary catheter), and the stupid mistake.

When i first started working as a HCA, one of the hard things i felt was to understand what all the acronyms on the handover sheet stood for, and what it meant i had to do for each individual patient. Some are pretty obvious, such as U/cath - meaning they have a urinary catheter (or a spc - supra or sub pubic catheter), and it was just protocol for me to go empty it twice a shift before they eat or sleep, or if it is getting full at other times during the day. Without having to sound too corny, but on my night shift yesterday i learnt how important communication between healthcare staff is - as a lack of communication meant i poured away 6 hours of urine for a patient as normal at midnight, before the nurse exclaimed that we were supposed to collect 24 hours worth and send it off to biochemistry... i was told this after having poured and flushed the urine away, and had the cup being disinfected >.< Thankfully the patient was very understanding, though he did mention being dissapointed, and it made me feel pretty guilty.

Other acronyms i've come across so far at work are NIDDM and IDDM (non/insulin dependent diabetes mellitus) - meaning i have to take their blood glucose before their meals, or hourly if they are on a sliding scale. NBM for nill by mouth, often accompanied by a time on the handover, and recently i learnt the meaning of TWOC (trial without catheter) - when i went to empty a catheter and embaressingly couldn't locate it.

Not an acronym, but just a stupid spelling mistake i keep spotting on the handovers - cellulite. When i read the handover, i was surprised it mentioned patients had cellulite.. on the first few weeks i never really understood why it was important to have it pointed out...and that it could be painful (?) before i eventually asked a staff nurse, and then understood they meant cellulitis ~.~

Finally U is also for unsucesful, alas i could not escape my curse of january rejections. As the month is about to draw to a close, i thought i might escape january rejections this ucas round, but nope, UCL kept the tradition by rejecting me today.. but... although not happy about it, im not to bothered either, as i'm just so relieved to have an offer, and best of all.. i get to stay in london ^^ !

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Barts Offer (!!!)

After missing my A-level grades to meet my conditional offer terms in 2005 for Barts, 3 years on i've finally found my pass back to Barts as a biochemistry graduate - conditional on health and CRB checks. ^_____^

It almost feels surreal, to the point in which i'm still quite calm, having randomly checked my track on tuesday afternoon, and havn't had the emotional dance, cry or shout... yet (i'm sure there is plenty of time for that in the time to come!)

It's an odd feeling, i don't know how to describe it, but am just really glad its all worked out, and my gap year plans are on course. I think working as a HCA has really made the extra difference this year, and though that said.. i can't wait to move on to the travelling part of my gap year!

Until then.. i'm back onto night shifts tomorrow night!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Post BARTS-interview

Woke up early, but as things go with the london underground and general morning traffic, i arrived at the Garrod building/old library in Whitechapel with only 2 minutes to spare! - it almost became a bad start (!!!). I signed some bit of paper i never got to read through properly, ticking to mark my ethnicity and rushed into the seating area.. and before i even got to take my coat off, one of my very very VERY tall interviewers came across the room to invite me to the interview "bay".

The interview area looked almost identical to last years, with two rows of seats arranged to face the interview area, which was defined by green office-styled screens, boxing off different areas of the hall into small make shift interview bays. I was in the one on the right hand corner, luckily quite a distant from the other bays, though throughout the interview it was hard not to over hear other people having their interviews in the background.

The interview started with big smiles from the two really friendly interviewers, then came a few very typical interview questions, followed by some questions off the personal statement, and finally a good long discussion on the ethical case article they sent along with the invite. I actually prefered the ethical case discussion taken in their interview approach this year, compared to their video approach in the past years, and i felt the interview also went a lot better this year, but only time (and ucas track updates) will tell.

However, of all the possible ways i could have ended the interview by asking a normal question, we ended up talking about their helicopter... ~.~

Saturday, 10 January 2009

A new kind of January - interview invitations

Finally went back to work on thursday after having a very relaxed 2.5 weeks off; it was sort of weird going back to the ward after such a long break, but its good to be back, albeit a little tiring - especially as i don't have the discipline and will power to make myself sleep early, even with knowledge of a 12.5 hour working day ahead.

Went downstairs today to find something to munch on (actually, it was specifically chocolate i was looking for haha, a family friend had bought some back from her trip to switzerland... yum!) and saw a pile of post on the floor, with 2 interview invites, one from qmul/barts 5 year A100 (only 1 day off from my interview there last year, a bit unnerving) and the other was from warwick 4 year A101. January has actually managed to be a niceish month so far - and with the interview for warwick being in march, also means i won't have the same sad situation of receivng 4 rejections in January, as i did last year.

Whilst excited, i'm also a bit worried, as the selection centre at warwick sounds difficult, and barts seems like they have changed their interview style this year, and has sent me a few pages to read about a recent ethical situation to read and to discuss at interview. I suppose this may be the new replacement to the video from past years?

Will probably browse the forums in a moment and see what sort of information i can get, but until then... its time to collect my free shuffle replacement from the apple store - yay another nice january moment thus far into 2009 (i had accidently placed my shuffle into the washing machine with the rest of the laundry, and obviously it came out broken, but having taken it to the people at the apple store in regent's street, they are going to give me a free replacement ^^)

Thursday, 1 January 2009

New Year ~!

It’s not often I get to wake up and welcome a new year, but as it’s THAT time of year again, I suppose I’ll be setting a whole bunch of targets, most of which will probably be forgotten in a few months time… not because I am forgetful, but with time I tend to realise how unrealistic some of my plans tend to be.

A good example would be my gap year plan to earn enough money to repay my student loan, squeeze in a major backpacking holiday trip, save some money for the future, and most importantly get into a medical school.

-This was sort of going to plan, until:

i) I realised how big my loan was

ii) I realised how little pay HCAs get

iii) when I promised mum I would take her on holiday, so paying a trip for 2 on top of everything else


iv) When i was put on the waiting list after interview

However, although there are now greater limitations to my backpacking trip, i am still really looking forward to my mini adventure, and can’t wait to meet up with my friend to discuss possible plans this week. I was all hyped to go alone, but as I found out one of my friends also wants to take a break after her degree, I thought the more the merrier! (+ safer and cheaper ~.~). Not too sure where we plan to go yet, but hopefully that would be cleared up after a chit chat over some coffee, and with some access to the internet.


On application side of things, i met someone recently whos currently in the final year of her biomed degree at kcl, and having had an interview at kcl in november, has now secured an offer for the 5 year course.. what a great christmas present that must have been!!

- - though whilst i was extremely happy for her.. eeeeek it makes me wonder whats going to be happening to those put on the waiting list... >_____< !!

Let me hope you will be nicer than January 2008!!