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A Good and Bad Day on the Ward
Yellow head
tallguywrites
I was due to do a twelve-hour shift, but didn't make it all the way through. Got sent home.

However, I did manage achieve a few learning experiences before I walked home in the early spring sunshine. Did another injection. An anti-psychotic drug. Depot injections like this are useful for patients who may tend to be non-compliant with oral medication. People don't take their meds for all sorts of reasons: they forget to take them, they don't want to take them because of side-effects, they don't take them because they don't want their emotions blunted or their sex drive reduced (would you?). They may sell the drugs or take them all at once in a suicide bid.

On the wards, the nursing staff do the injections. Once the patient is discharged, they will have a community psychiatric nurse, who will visit them and give the injection. It's a good way of keeping people well and out of hospital.

Under supervision, I mixed up the injection (a major faff around, involving a small bottle of powder and three needles). You have to inject sterile water into the bottle and then, using another needle, withdraw the mixed contents back up into the syringe. Then swop the needle again and do the injection with that. However, in my anxiety to make sure the needle was on the syringe properly so that I could draw the mixture up, I'd tightened it on so much that neither me or the trained member of staff could get it off. So we had to forego the last needle and use the stuck one to make the injection. Not exactly good practice, but if you don't tell anyone, neither will I.

I also went to the community liaison meeting, which is a meeting where the community psychiatric nurses liaise with the ward staff to discuss both inpatients and outpatients. There were about twelve people around the table, most of who I didn't know. The trained member of staff I was accompanying, was just about to start reading her list, detailing recent developments with patients on the ward, when her incident response alarm went off.

I'll have to explain here that on each shift, on every ward, one member of staff is allocated an incident response alarm. So if there is a violent incident on any ward, there will be a team rushing in to deal with it. More often that not, it's a false alarm.

Anyway, she'd forgotten to hand it to another member of staff before leaving the ward, but because she still had it, was then duty bound to rush off to find out what was happening. This left me with the unexpected task of reading out the list and making notes on what was said by the team about each patient. I was quite pleased to do this, because I hate being a passive observer, and it was a chance to let the team know who I was (I may be working with them in years to come). I'd almost finished when the trained member of staff came back, out of breath, after responding to yet another false alarm.

All morning I'd been feeling a migraine coming on. So by mid-afternoon, the nurse in charge was kind enough to send me home. It was just as well, because by early evening I was in quite a lot of pain. I feel much better now though.