Posted by: iamlillian | July 8, 2009

Life in the fast lane

8th July 2009 wednesday

Just had my 3rd, also the last 10hours night duty of 3 nights in the ENT/Oral-Max/Head & Neck/ Eye ward.

God has been merciful and faithful, watching me through the nights, through the past 4 months.

I am grateful. i am relieved. I am excited. >.<

Appreciate all the support and guidance of the senior staff and all the staff at Q5. Your little acts of kindness really mean a lot to me!

Thank you to individuals for being patient with me, teaching me, correcting me, leading me, listening to me, showing me…

also thanking my clinical facilitator, Laura and ward preceptor, Jai. You both have been a great support to me. Thank you!

full of thanks…

‘sister’ Lil =P


Reflecting on the past 4 months…

It has been like a ride in a whirlwind. A roller-coaster ride. There are moments in the dark valleys, times besides the quiet stream.

The good days, the bad days & the not-so-smooth days.

It’s been a challenge both physically, mentally as well as emotionally.

Physical – waking up at 5:45am, 6-7hours of sleep, walking in the cold winter day to work, fast-paced walking at work, bending down to put shoes on for patients, walking extra steps for patient’s sake – picking up discharge medications, sweating, standing for long hours, shoulder pain, back pain, little little physical gestures that mount to tiredness, etc.

mental – time-management, priority management, stress management, decision-making, calculating, remembering things, mind-mapping, asking the right questions, assessing patients, etc.

emotional – fulfilling, rewarding, stressful, overwhelming, emo-moments, satisfied, patient, strong, bold, bad, good, confident, not too bad, just right, ‘a-ha, ooo, awww, sob*, sniff*, =) ‘ moments …a whirlwind of emotions…

a sigh of relief.

it’s all over and done with. Done.

moving on to the next rotation…next Monday.

3rd July 2009 friday

This morning was my last morning shift in ENT/Oral-Max/Head & Neck/ Eye (i know, it’s super busy here) surgical ward, with night duties on following days.

i remembered once someone told me if i survived this ward, i should be pretty alright in other wards. let’s hope so.

Next ‘pit-stop’ – ORTHOpedics.

and i will be moving on to my 2nd rotation ward in a weeks’ time  – Orthopedics and trauma services.  It will be a whole new ‘settling-in’ and learning process in this surgical specialty.


As usual, this morning was hectic and constantly on the move.

One of my colleagues’ favourite question whenever she sees me – ‘How’s life in the fast lane?’

and my fellow friends/peer would throw me this question- ‘So, how’s work?’ , ‘How’s working life?’

Sometimes i would say it’s good, managable, coping well, smooth & enjoyable;  sometimes would be challenging, hectic, constant, difficult, feel-like-drowning & overwhelming.

Somehow today, in the midst of busyness, i took a little step back and just simply, consciously acknowledging the busy, jam-packed pace of my time+task management in this ward.

surprisingly, today is THE Day i would like to remember of this ward.

i had four patients from each specialty this morning. One under ophthalmology, one under oral-maxillofacial, one under Australian Craniofacial Unit, & one under Ear- Nose – Throat.

Shift started at 7am. We had handover from the night nurse.

7:30am – by now we would have done our cheat sheets and have a glance at the care plans.

7:30~ 8:00+ preparing IV antibiotics, medications.

8:00 + vital signs observation (obs) on all patients & involve in doctors’ ward rounds.

8:00+ depending on the frequency of checking vital signs obs, sometimes could be really busy with hourly obs, 2 hourly obs, neurological obs, etc.

Especially with patients with tracheotomies, it could be hourly/2 hourly frequent suctioning & cleaning the inner tubes.

9:00+ asking patients whether they want to have a shower. ADL’s – Activities of daily living.  Assisting patients in mobility, toileting assistance for the elderlies, post-op patients with restricted movement. Bed-making, assisting in the showers, washes in bed, etc.

removal of drains/ wound dressings. Administering pain reliefs.

sometimes, there’ll be phone calls from theatre to prepare the patients for surgeries. Phone calls from family members enquirying, etc.

Besides ticking off the things on my cheat sheet, making sure all the tasks have been done for every hour, i have to check the charts to make sure all is up-to-date.

also, need to make time to discharge patients – chase doctor’s letters, pharmacist to pick up script & process the script. Contacting transitional care team if required, etc discharge plans. Educating patients on wound care, etc. Answering questions from patients, or relatives.

Receiving new admissions/ patients transferring from ICU, Stepdown or other units.

occasionally, we have incidents like code blue (medical emergency), patients fell/collapsed; code black (personal threats, aggressions); staff injury etc.

recently, a staff was hit in the face by a confused elderly. They had to call a code black on the elderly. Poor patient, we had to apply restraint to keep her from harming self/others.

much to ramble on…well, nursing will always be interesting….never dull, especially in a busy surgical ward in a metropolitan hospital. =P


signing off…

time to hit the bed. i love my bed. appreciate it even more when not in bed for a few nights.


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