Doing our bit

In a moment of madness I thought it would be a good idea to walk 5 miles around Bristol in the middle of the night. On the 12th July my best friend, Jane, and I are doing the Midnight Walk in aid of St. Peters Hospice.

This is Bristol’s first and only hospice for adults suffering from life limiting conditions. The original concept began in 1978 with the appointment of a community nurse, with another 4 in post by the end of that year.

St. Peter’s Lodge opened in Knowle in 1980 for inpatients with 8 beds. I worked there from 1984 to 1985 before I started my nurse training. That year was invaluable to my future career, I was taught basic nursing care, gained so much experience in communicating with patients and their families and how to deliver good holistic care.

The hospice soon outgrew the lodge and moved to a purpose built site at Bentry in 1998 and by 2013 they were treating 2,675 patients a year.

It’s a common misconception that hospice’s are just places that people with cancer go to to die, but they offer an awful lot more. Services include; community nursing, day care, physio and occupational therapy, complementary therapy, psycho/social spiritual care and nursing care in the inpatient unit or by the hospice at home service. All of this to support the patient and their family and loved ones through their journey.

But this comes at a cost, £18,000 a day and the hospice relies on gifts from wills, fundraising and a bit of NHS funding, there are quite a few St.Peter’s Hospice charity shops dotted around Bristol and they do a fantastic job raising much needed money.

The Midnight walk has been going for a number of years with the option of doing 5 or 10 miles around the centre of Bristol. As Jane and I haven’t really been keeping up with our power walk training as often as we planned to, we felt 5 miles would be challenging enough.

All we need is some generous and kind people to sponsor us and our quest. So please feel free to click on the link and part with a quid or two, we will be eternally grateful.

Since writing this post unfortunately We’ve had to pull out of this event but will be making a donation to the cause.

midnight walk

 

Hanging on in there

The other night I was watching the film “The Lake House”, I’ve watched the film many times because I love it. But this time after it finished I felt really quite sad because of the parallels, (loosely), in my relationship.

For those of you who don’t know the film it’s a fantasy romance where the 2 lead characters, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, are having a relationship but they are separated by time, 2 years. They communicate by letter via the post box at the Lake house where they both live, a bit confusing,  eventually they do meet up in the same time zone and live happily ever after.

Obviously my hubby and I aren’t separated by time, we have the wonderful Skype to keep in contact and I can visit him when annual leave allows, but this living in different countries sucks. I never thought it would be this tough and it’s been made tougher by my HR department’s inability to get  my pay right. As a result I don’t have a valid payslip yet with my correct salary shown for Hasan’s visa application. I sometimes wonder whether we’ll be together over here at all much before Christmas.

I’m sure some of you out there are thinking why don’t I just go back and live with Hasan in Turkey, I know sometimes I think maybe it would be easier. But now I’ve recovered from my illness I want to work, I want to resume my nursing career, a job I love and we need the money. To work in Turkey I would need a work permit, you can only get a work permit for jobs Turks can’t do, there are plenty of  Turkish nurses so I wouldn’t get a permit to do that. I’m not interested in doing poorly paid illegal work, it’s not worth the risk of getting deported and I’m worth more than that.

I can’t face another boring winter with nothing to do and sometimes not enough money to heat the house because there is no work for Hasan. I can’t cope again with not seeing him in the summer when he does seasonal work from 8 in the morning till midnight or sometimes later. In order to have a comfortable life in Turkey you need to have money in the bank or get used to living hand to mouth like a student. I’ve already done that when I was actually a student and have no desire to live like that again.

Also I want Hasan to experience where I come from and my culture. I want him to meet the rest of my family and all my friends. I want him to get a British passport so that he can travel more  freely without having to get a visa. At the moment there’s not many places he can go without a visa, however there are plenty of war torn countries we could holiday in, I hear Syria is lovely this time of year!

I don’t think it’s too much to ask to share my life in my country for a while with the man I love.

But getting back to the film there is a scene where Keanu and Sandra meet at a party and dance to a Paul McCartney song. The song is just beautiful and the lyrics make me weep just a little bit.

Now Keanu and Sandra may not be your cup of tea but I have a soft spot for them, you could always just shut your eyes and listen to the music.

 

 

 

 

Can only get better

I’ve nearly finished my first 2 weeks in my new job on my old unit and I must say I’ve coped really well. Although after each 12 hour shift I’ve felt very tired, once I’d had a good nights sleep I felt refreshed. I was worried that I would feel dreadful the following day but so far that’s not been the case.

I have however been finding my first few weeks very frustrating. I finished the Return to Nurse Practice course in November but our results have only just gone to the external awards board and we don’t get our registration numbers, (PIN), until sometime in March. This means that at the moment I am not allowed to check and give any medicines and be responsible for all my patients’ care until I receive my PIN. Before I became ill I worked on this unit as a senior staff nurse and I just want to be a fully functioning member of staff as I used to be.

I’m hoping that any day now my letter from the Nursing and Midwifery Council, (NMC), will drop on my doormat with all the paperwork I need to complete to get my PIN.  I don’t like doing anything half-baked, but I know there’s nothing I can do at the moment but wait…….that’s another thing I don’t like.

 

nurse

Getting close now

At last I have a start date for my job. I am starting this coming Monday on a day shift.

I am experiencing a multitude of feelings ranging from excitement to fear, from happiness to apprehension.  In my head I know I can do the job and that I’m fit enough to fulfill the role, but that doesn’t stop the nagging doubt I have inside me.

I’ve decided to go with the flow and do the best I can and if I find the hours too much then that’s what occupational health is for.

I’m really looking forward to being part of a team and to have a focus for my life again, (apart from my hubby and family). Not being able to work and giving up my career was the most devastating part of my illness, I’m delighted that I’ve come through it and have managed to get back to nursing.

The things I’ve learnt from being ill is to not take on too much and spread myself too thinly, to take of myself and my health, and accept help when offered instead of struggling on alone.

I hope that I remember these lessons when I go back into the world of work.

 

a nurse

 

Into the frying pan

Today I went into university to talk to the new cohort on the Return to Nurse Practice course. On our first day 3 nurses from the previous group came to talk to us. I couldn’t tell tell you exactly what they told us and what questions were asked and answered, but I do remember that I felt much better about the course after that session.

So when our tutor asked if any of us were willing to come and talk to the newbies I didn’t hesitate to volunteer,  because I knew how invaluable it was for me to hear about other people’s experience of the course and returning to practice.

There were 33 in the group and they all resembled scared rabbits in headlights! I couldn’t help but wonder if our cohort looked that petrified and whether we fired questions at the panel as quickly as they did.

Hopefully we managed to help calm their nerves about the coming months and that they all went home feeling a little more confident that they had made the right decision about starting the course.

 

 

nurses classroom

 

New Year New Life

I had a job interview today at Bristol Children’s Hospital on the Bone Marrow Transplant unit.

This is where I worked for many years before I became ill and where I did my practice hours for the Return to Nurse practice course. Consequently I know a lot of the staff on the unit and I was interviewed by 2 managers that I have worked with for at least 15 years. I have to say that was really strange because they know me so well, but obviously had to ask me the same questions as the rest of the candidates.

Less than 2 hours after the interview I had a very pleasing phone call……I got the job!,(subject to references), I am so chuffed and excited about getting back to work again, doing the job I love.

When I first applied for the job I did worry that I was taking a step backwards, the job is a band lower than I was working at before I got ill, also it’s on the same unit. I did wonder whether I should have gone for somewhere new, a new speciality… a new challenge after completing the Return to Nursing course.

But my aim is to get back to work so that I can help Hasan get a visa to come and live in the UK. As I haven’t worked for a number of years I figured it was better to stick to what I know for now. The job is a fixed term for one year so who knows where I will go after that and what new challenges I can take on.

 

Go with the Flo

They think it’s all over….it is now

This week saw my last study day at university, I have finished my Return to nurse practice course and I’ve passed!

I am so relieved that it’s all over and I’m immensely proud of myself for what I have achieved. I still can’t believe how well I’ve coped with going back to nursing and I’m now convinced that I’ve finally recovered from Chronic fatigue Syndrome.

We don’t get out registration numbers until March next year so I can’t work as a qualified nurse until then. But if I do get a band 5 job before then, if the management agrees, I could work as a band 4 until my registration is confirmed. There may be some band 5 jobs coming up on the unit I did my practice hours on, so watch this space!

At long last I’m off to Turkey to see Hasan and I can’t wait, I’m flying out on Monday and will probably stay until just after Christmas. I will be taking my laptop with me as I will need to keep up with Strictly Come Dancing online, so I will hopefully find something interesting to write about for the blog. Actually does anyone know what online TV website is the best for watching TV in Turkey?

At the end of our study day on Thursday our lecturer showed us this video that has been created by the Royal College of Nursing for nurse recruitment, I think it’s really well done and I thought I would share it with you all.

One more pound along the road I go

I have been so engrossed in my studies that I haven’t kept my loyal readers up to date with my adventures in fat club land.

In the last 2 weeks I have lost another 3 and a half pounds, I only need to lose another pound and I will have reached my 10% weight loss target.

I think doing my nurse practice hours have really helped me to shift the extra pounds, it’s been quite busy on all the days I’ve worked so far and I’ve walked miles on the unit.

Over the last 7 years during my illness I haven’t been able to do any exercise and didn’t really move around a great deal as it was exhausting. That’s why the pounds piled on and I got lardy!

So not only is the course shaping my nursing career, it’s also helping me to regain my body and once the course is over I’m going to make an effort to get back to exercise. I just haven’t had the energy to do anything else after finishing my shifts.

It’s been a hard slog so far both for the course and the weight loss, but both have been worth it.

Light at the end of the tunnel

I’m ashamed to say I haven’t written in this blog since the end of September. I have been so consumed by the Return to Nurse Practice course, that I haven’t been able to think about anything else. I often read the paper or see something on TV that I could write about and never get round to doing anything about it.

On a positive note though… I have written my assignment and am ready to submit it online, I really need to do that soon to avoid obsessional tweaking. Also I am over half way through my practice hours and will be finished by the end of October.

The course will be officially over 15th November and then I can take a well needed break. I have really enjoyed working back on the unit, many of the staff I worked with before are still there and some days it’s like I’d never left.

Although it has been exhausting going back to nursing, I’m glad that I made the decision to do it.

Nose to the grindstone

My blog has been sadly neglected over the last few weeks.

All of my efforts lately have been concentrated on my Return to nurse practice course. I have done 4 shifts so far on the unit and it all seems to be going well, if not a little exhausting. But thankfully I’m not as fatigued as I feared I would be.

At the moment I’m working on my reflective assignment, I’m sat surrounded by articles on my chosen subjects and I’m desperate for a break. So I have decided to add to my posts for a bit of light relief.

Before I felt able enough to return to nursing I started reading about creative writing. So it’s been difficult trying to get out of the habit of writing creatively and subjectively, and start writing in an analytical style again. The last time I wrote a University level essay was about 9 years ago and I’m very rusty.

The submission date is looming and I’m conscious that I’m running out of time, but I know that I work better under pressure. When I was studying with the Open University I was up very late still writing an assignment the night before I was due to go to New York. I posted it, a day before the due date, at Heathrow Airport just before checking in.

I’ve tried so hard over the years to be more disciplined in my studies but without success. But as the old adage goes,  ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’, every assignment I’ve written has achieved a pass mark in varying numbers.  So I’m not losing too much sleep over it………yet!

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