Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Not a hump day that I ever want to repeat

Today can only be described as the day from HELL.!

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Now I as you probably know by now have been nursing for more years than I can remember, I know about stress and I know just how busy and ill-equipped vet practices can be. But wow today just took the prize for the most unnecessarily stressful day yet.

So I started my shift, early as usual and stupidly put the kettle on thinking I'll set the scene for how the day may pan out....I never got to make that cuppa. For no sooner had I clicked it on the other nurse came through and said 'I've had the area manager on the phone and they may need you to go somewhere else, we've got a potential emergency in consult currently, another one on its way and oh I've got to disappear for college in 30 mins,,,,! Well, shit me joy!

And that's just how the day started and carried on from there! I'll be a bit careful here how much I say, but let's just say the place is ill-managed at the best of times and ill-equipped to boot. They have constant staffing issues and generally problematic clients. I realise this blog post is now turning into a dear diary vent/rant but hey, perhaps it's good for the general population to realise that it's not all cuddling puppies. Anyways I digress. My next blood boil moment was when the area manager phoned to speak to me, whilst I'm trying to hold an animal, comfort a meltdowning vet and answer 10 other ringing phone lines. Needless to say this phone call didn't end well, to hell were they going to pull a nurse from this practice to bulk up another (where is the sense of pulling from one to then make that one in the same boat), it ended in a very uncomfortable NO you can't have a nurse I'm sorry and to put it bluntly I am sick of having to constantly sort out your staffing issues on a daily basis when I don't even work for your company.

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Whilst I can't go into the finer details, the two emergencies were in fact admitted and needed a nurse each sat with them either delivering oxygen or administering meds or calculating dosages. I regularly feel that management at a certain level just don't understand what happens in clinics, what can go wrong on a daily basis and how you can't cover for every eventuality. Even the managers that have in the past been vets or nurses seem to forget so quickly, it's a shame.

Anyways my day from hell was topped off by an abusive client. I was speaking to him on the phone about a problem he had to register a microchip to a new owner of one of his puppies (yes he was a breeder) when I couldn't help with his query as it was now up to him to change over the details with the company in question he became increasingly agitated, started shouting at me and telling me how we'd done a very bad thing and he was going to call the police on us. This culminated in him swearing at me once to which I warned him that I'd have to hang up if he continued to be verbally abusive.... to me then hanging up when he was!

I mean you couldn't script this day really. I know I've touched on this before in other posts, but sometimes it's good to show what we have to go through on luckily rare occasions. Today I had a vet in tears because she felt unable to help clients that couldn't afford emergency treatments, area managers expecting waaaay too much, clients shouting at me, and a poor trainee thinking what on earth have a I let myself in for! I for one totally get why our profession has such a high suicide rate, it's sometimes emotionally and physically draining. Our hands are tied with regards to payments and costs and yet clients are too quick to take out their frustrations on us :(

In other news, one emergency went home feeling heaps better and unfortunately one had to be put to sleep - not a great end to an already difficult day :(

It's great that the profession & RCVS are now moving with the times and offering support for people and some mindfulness - check out the links below if you're struggling or just need someone to talk to.

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0303 040 2551 or confidential email via Vet Life.
Talking to others can help lighten the load. That’s where Vet Helpline comes in. It’s available 24/7 to listen and offer a safe, non-judgemental space for you to explore your options. It’s for VNs and students, too. All calls are confidential, and callers are referred on for specialist advice where appropriate.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Post Christmas & Pre New Year

It feels like it's been an age since I last wrote a blog post, in reality, it hasn't been but I've certainly squeezed in a bit more travelling in between :).

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, I certainly overindulged as per usual and am now feeling it and must start up that exercise regime again that's for sure!  

I also experienced locuming in a bit city for the first time prior to Xmas. By big I mean capital and wow the variety of clients was immense. So many pets needing passports for those jet-setting owners. Other than that I encountered much of the same, it doesn't matter where you work in the Veterinary profession the same hiccups and practice disagreements go on.

So let's begin the story with the affectionately named 'Mince Pie dog'. For it was the night before Xmas (well a few more to be precise) when this rather cute SBT x Lab thought it would be a great idea to eat six mince pies including the box. Luckily the owners were pretty savvy, probably due to the fact this wasn't the first time the dog had done this. The poor mutt came straight down and we administered the Apomorphine, and then waited. I also feel so sorry for them at this point. They were so happy with themselves, even enjoying a quick walk down to the surgery. Even after the injection, they're still wagging their tails..... then you notice a sadness in their eyes when they suddenly start to feel a wee bit queasy. There follows the lip-smacking, and then as nurses, we get to play catch the mince pie. This usually involves a stack of newspaper and continually replacing it as we go. Luckily it has only been a few hours post ingestion so we caught it in time...literally. We offered the owner a drip overnight but they declined and instead wanted to monitor at home. So we donned the aprons and topped off the dogs ever worsening day with some activated charcoal in the mouth.

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I find Christmas such a sad time of the year at work. I don't know why it coincides with this happy time, but its deffo a time for animals coming to the end of their days. The saddest one I encountered this year was the Sweetest Yorkshire Terrier, I shall call her Sophie for the purposes of this story. Sophie was a 17year old much-loved pet, who whilst was getting slow in her old age suddenly became very unwell. She came in the previous night with what we thought was just some Abdo pain. we administered the usual treatments and instructed the owner to come back the following day which she dutifully did. However, Sophie had taken a turn for the worse and despite our efforts of placing her on fluids and administering pain relief, it was to no avail. Her blood results were shocking and showed a very acute renal failure and also off the chart liver values. There was obviously a lot of inflammation in there, hence the pain. The owner with the support of her family took the difficult decision to put Sophie to sleep. These ones still get me, she had only thought she'd be bringing her in for a check-up, and suddenly 17 years of companionship is over...just before Xmas. Heartbreaking, and despite knowing she was doing the right thing, this doesn't bring any comfort. 

To end on a lighter note and explain better my first few sentences, practice life before Xmas is also a great time. Clients by the bucket fullbring in chocolates, biscuits and even full-blown hampers! And of course, we're so grateful and appreciate this effort. They get opened almost instantly and of course.... the kettle goes on! We all know a biscuit or chocolate must accompany a cup of tea :). Another experience locuming under my belt it's onto the next role. Happy New Year to you all here's to 2018!

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