September 17th, 2006

diversion sign

My Last Shift on the Acute

I've finished my time on the acute psychiatric ward. I did the last two twelve-hour shifts on consecutive days, and very difficult they were. It's the old problem of not having enough staff. It's true that we have a lot of people on holiday, but even if that wasn't so, I'm sure tight budget restrictions would still leave us in the same situation. The ward has was full: twenty patients with only three of that number on leave. Three of these patients were so ill that they needed a great deal of input. Yet there were only a handful of staff to cope with all this.

The situation was made worse because of the few staff we did have, some had to go to meetings during the day, we had ETC in the morning (which took away one staff nurse), and, in the evening, the hospital activities group took a health care assistant (I rang the other acute ward to ask if they would cover for us, but they were just as stretched).

The shift was hard and exhausting. I've been so worn out that I've spent the majority of the day asleep, just trying to get my energy levels back. I've now got a week off, before returning to the nursing course for my third, and final year.