How to use Discord

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As you may have seen, I have created a server on Discord called the Student Nurse Academy. This server is for all student nurses and newly qualified nurses to get involved with. There are text chat rooms where you can ask advice and support on things such as assignments and placements, allowing you to receive real-time support from other student nurses. You can also chat socially with other student nurses from around the world! I know that many of you may not have been on Discord before so I have created this step by step guide on how to use it that I hope you will find useful!

  1. Create a Discord account – download the app on your phone or computer and choose a username (you can change this later on). Remember to verify your email to allow you full access to the servers chat rooms.
  2. Customise your account – you’ve verified your email address and now you’re good to go! Add a profile picture of your choice and connect apps such as Facebook or Spotify if you wish to do so! blog picture 2
  3. Join the server – you can join the server through the invite link, this takes you straight to the introductions chat for you to tell us a little bit about yourself! Your servers will appear on the left hand side of the screen.blog picture 1
  4. Start chatting! – join one of the chat rooms on the left hand side of your screen and write a message. All the chat rooms are text chats, except coffee club which is a voice channel. You can jump in there and chat with other student nurses, kind of like a big Skype call šŸ˜‚Ā If you don’t feel comfortable using the voice channel, stick to the text chats! If the chat names appear in bold, this means there are messages in there you have not seen.blog picture 3
  5. Build friendships – the main aim of this server is to bring student nurses together and to create friendships. Asking for advice is important and a part of this server, but gaining a support network is the main aim. You can chat about anything you want to in the general chit-chat ward, from what pets you have to what Harry Potter house you belong to (I’m a Slytherin for anyone interested šŸ˜‚). I’ve made many friends through social media and want to help make this a possibility for other student nurses.

Why not use Facebook/Twitter/Instagram like we are now?

I wanted to create an area where student nurses can just chat, a little bit like a Whatsapp group but without needing to share your phone number with ‘strangers’. Twitter/Facebook/Instagram require a little bit of work from yourself to start conversations, you need to post a status, tweet or picture for people to interact with, that’s if your friends see them with the current algorithms. Here on Discord, you can just jump into a chat and join in. Discord is a safe place where you don’t even need to divulge the university you study at if you do not wish to. Discord is easy to use and you don’t even need to receive notifications if you’re easily distracted like me. Pop in and out of the chats whenever you want to and interact with people. You can @username to direct a message towards a specific user and react to people’s messages. You don’t even need to download an app, you can just use this when on a computer through the web interface.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have!

Love,

T x

You must work on a ward…..

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This age-old narrative is rearing its head again and again. ‘I want to work in the community but people say I must work on a ward for at least a year’, ‘I want to specialise as a newly qualified nurse (NQN) but some say I should work on a ward first to hone my skills’ and such nonsense is heard and seen every single day in university or on social media. I feel that statements like this are dampening the dreams of student nurses for no real reason.

NEWS FLASH!

There is no reason to work on a general medicine ward first before moving on to another post if you do not want to. Yes you will develop your skills as a NQN and build your confidence during your preceptorship. BUT…the skill sets used in areas such as the community, in a GP surgery, theatres, a nursing home or in specialist areas such as critical care are very different to the skill set used on a general medicine ward. Contrary to belief, you will not ‘de-skill’ going into these areas!

So you spend a year on a general medicine ward and then move to the area you actually want to work in…and guess what? It’s like starting over again. You need to develop all the new skill sets and hone the ones you already have to your new area. Why not cut out the middle man and develop these from the beginning of your time as a NQN?

We spend a long and hard three years at university…why should we ‘settle’ for an area we know we don’t actually want to work in when we have fallen in love with an area that is right up our street? As a student nurse, or even a qualified nurse, the world is our oyster and we can apply to work in most areas now as a NQN, so if you have dreams of working in an area like critical care or a GP surgery there is nothing stopping you. There are more and more areas accepting applications from NQN now and I can only see this increasing in the future. If general medicine is your thing that’s fab, but for a lot of us working on a ward is not what we want to do and that’s fine as well. You are at work for a large portion of your week, why spend the time unhappy?

I am often criticised for wanting to go straight into critical care, I hear things like ‘it’s too specialised you’re not a good enough nurse as a NQN to work in such a specialist area’ or ‘why would you want to start in a place like that when you could spend a year on a ward first’. Working on a general ward is not for me, I’ve known this for a long time and it won’t change. Yes critical care is still a ward, but its a different kind of routine and style of nursing to general medicine wards.

Don’t be afraid to talk about where you would like to work, if someone attempts to shoot you down don’t feel like you need to explain yourself. The most important thing is finding the job that suits you and if this is in an area other than a ward, hold your head up high and know that you are making the right choice for you. Ultimately this is all that matters.

Nursing is not one size fits all and that’s the real beauty of it.

Love,

T x

How to survive your research module

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These are tips complied from my own experience of a research module, some may be more specific to the module I completed than a generic research module but I hope you find them useful!

Don’t panic – research modules are often seen as big scary modules that consume your life. Utilise the class resources and your lecturers. If you find yourself struggling – ask for help, read more resources, speak to someone who has completed the module before or someone in your cohort who may be able to help and take a deep breath. You can do this module and pass the assignment!

Start early – you will need to do lots of wider reading to fully understand the terminology used and this can be time-consuming. Start early and gather references for key points before you start writing. Make a plan so you know what you want to include in each section, this will help you to find relevant supporting evidence.

Understand the terminology – research terminology can often seem like a brand new language, which it is if you have never done a research module before or fully read research papers. Spend some time learning the terminology before you start writing your assignment, and see how the terminology features in and applies to your chosen papers.

Read through your chosen papers a few times – highlight terminology where it’s used and try to understand the flow of a research paper. Use the abstract on the front to gain understanding of the key areas within the paper and read the background/literature review included to understand the aim of the paper.

Write in sections – this can help you to focus and keep the information relevant. Break your papers down into method, data collection, data analysis and results. This can help you to pick out relevant pieces of information and enables you to focus your search for references. These key areas are usually included concisely within the abstract.

Strengths and limitations – the good thing about research is that there are strengths and limitations available for every aspect of the research methods. This enables you to get good critical analysis into the assignment, you can build arguments for every section of the research paper.

Application to practice – some research papers will include this in detail, if yours doesn’t look at other similar research papers to see how they would apply their findings to practice. Link back to current guidelines such as NICE to show you have an understanding of how research can be used to develop guidelines and influence nursing practice.

Hierarchy of evidence pyramid – look at how the different research methods feature at different points of the pyramid. This may be worth discussing and gives you an understanding of why some research methods are preferred to others.

Don’t worry if it’s not your thing – we all have our own little niches, research happens to be one of mine but if you don’t enjoy it, it just means it isn’t your area but something else will be! The world would be a boring place if we all enjoyed the same things. Try to understand the module the best you can and use this module to improve your research understanding, this will help you with your dissertation/literature review even if you don’t love the research module itself!

Love,

T x

 

 

Quantitative Research

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Quantitative research is used to answer questions that have numerical value answers. Quantitative research is also used to establish cause and effect relationshipsĀ  between variables.

Quantitative research designs

  • Randomised controlled trial –Ā considered to be the best design to establish cause and effect relationships. Key features of a RCT include a treatment arm/group and a control arm/group.
  • Quasi-experimental –Ā similar to RCTs with no randomisation.
  • Cohort studies –Ā follow a predetermined sample group to measure the incidence of outcomes. The purpose of cohort studies is to link an exposure to an outcome. Purely observational with no intervention from the researcher.
  • Case control studies –Ā the retrospective form of a cohort study. Individuals with the desired outcome are chosen, with the researcher attempting to discover the exposure that the outcome can be attributed to. Highly prone to recall bias.
  • Cross sectional studies –Ā used to determine the prevalence of an outcome within a specific group. Often conducted using surveys, cross sectional studies are common in healthcare due to being cheap and easy to conduct.

Types of data collection within quantitative research

  • Biophysical
  • Pre-existing data
  • Observation of behaviour
  • Self-reporting

Strengths and limitations of quantitative researchĀ 

Strengths:

  • Data can be interpreted using statistical analysis
  • Can establish cause and effect relationships
  • Computer software available to analyse data – saves time and helps to minimise risk of human error
  • Easy to replicate and generalise

Limitations:

  • Do not reflect real life due to the high control applied.
  • Reductionist – simplifying complex situations into simpler versions
  • All confounding variables cannot be controlled
  • Lacks breadth within data

Terminology associated with quantitative research

  • Internal validity – whether the results are based on the intervention or an unknown variable.
  • External validity/Generalisability – how well what is being measured can be generalised to the wider population.
  • Confidence interval – usually expressed as a percentage. Represents how certain the researchers can be that the mean for the entire population would fall within the identified range.
  • Hypothesis – a theory or idea that needs to be tested.
  • P value – a measure of the strength of evidence against the null hypothesis. a small p value < 0.05 indicates evidence against the null hypothesis, this is then rejected and an alternative hypothesis developed.
  • Independent variable – the variable manipulated by the researcher to measure its effect on the dependent variable.
  • Dependent variable – what the researcher is interested in measuring in the study.
  • Confounding variable – an outside influence that can affect the results of a study.

 

Love,

T x

 

Qualitative Research

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Qualitative research aims to answer questions about individual beliefs, opinions and experiences. The data collected within qualitative research is in text form and is used to grasp emotions and attitudes – essential to person-centred nursing and healthcare in general.

Qualitative research designs

  • Ethnography – where researchers seek to understand a group experience, focusing on behaviours and norms within the selected group. Often used to study social relationships between humans. A key feature of ethnography is the long-term study of participants, with the researcher both observing and participating within the group.
  • Grounded Theory – where there is no available theory for the topic, the researcher attempts to create one. Grounded theory is used to generate new theories around practice and understanding within healthcare, making it one of the most popular forms of research methodologies used by nurse researchers.
  • Phenomenology – aims to understand the lived experience of individuals. Can be described in two ways: descriptive phenomenology (credited to Edmund Husserl) or interpretative phenomenology (credited to Husserl’s student, Martin Heidegger). There are slight differences between the two, you can read more about thoseĀ here.
  • Case study – based on in-depth studies of an individual or group. Case study research is seen as highly flexible and often uses multiple methods of data collection.

Types of data collection within qualitative research

  • Interviews – can be structured, semi-structured or unstructured.
  • Focus groups
  • Observation
  • Diaries

Strengths and limitations of qualitative researchĀ 

Strengths:

  • Ability to explore the cultural and social aspects of living with an illness or disability.
  • Rich, detailed data is collected and analysed.
  • The structure of qualitative research data collection can be flexible, allowing the researcher to follow any tangents that arise within the study if needed.
  • Smaller sample sizes are used, possibly maintaining low financial input and being completed quickly in some cases.
  • Allows for greater understanding of patient care experiences.

Limitations:

  • People’s opinions and experiences are hard to replicate as they can differ over time and in different situations – due to this, findings are subjective and context bound, making them hard to transfer to other settings.
  • Lacks rigour and credibility due to focusing on individual beliefs and experiences.
  • Can be time consuming due to the amount of data collected and analysed.
  • Researcher/interviewer influence on the participant.
  • Results do not have any statistical representation.

Terminology associated with qualitative research

  • Credibility – representation of the truth.
  • Transferability – would the findings apply to another individual within the same context?
  • Dependability – if the research was conducted again, would you achieve the same results?
  • Confirmability – results are able to be traced back to the data collected.
  • Reflexivity – the questioning of oneā€™s attitudes, values and prejudices and to appreciate how these could affect the outcome of the research.
  • Rigour – overall quality of the study ie strength of the research design, how well it fits the original aim etc.

 

Love,

T x

 

Research methods – common terminology

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Here are some of the most common terminology used that it would be useful to understand for your research module.

critical appraisal – examines the practical application of research, assessing how valid and relevant it is to the practice area.

intervention fidelity – how well an intervention is delivered as intended

generalisability – attempting to apply study findings to settings/contexts other than the ones they were originally tested in. Applies to quantitative research.

transferability – how findings can be transferred to another setting/context. Applies to qualitative research.

standard deviation – the spread of results occurring around the mean. For example, the mean age of participants may be 40 with a standard deviation of 25 – 55. Often represented as S.D. A smaller S.D is preferred as this shows a small spread of data around the mean, a large S.D shows a wide spread of data, meaning it is less reliable.

confidence interval – usually expressed as a percentage. Represents how certain the researchers can be that the mean for the entire population would fall within the identified range.

hypothesis – a theory or idea that needs to be tested.

null hypothesis – no significant difference apparent between two groups.

alternative hypothesis – results are the result of a difference between two groups.

p value – a measure of the strength of evidence against the null hypothesis. a small p value < 0.05 indicates evidence against the null hypothesis, this is then rejected and an alternative hypothesis developed.

quantitative – research where the results are numerical such as statistics, percentages etc. Studies cause and effect relationships.

qualitative – research where the results are text based and may follow themes. Includes thoughts, feelings, descriptions etc.

mixed method – where researchers use both quantitative and qualitative data within the same study.

rct – randomised control trial.

randomisation – making something random ie the allocation of participants into a treatment or control arm. A good way of minimising the risk of bias.

treatment arm – where participants receive the treatment/intervention. Characteristic of a rct.

control arm – participants receive no treatment/intervention or they receive a placebo. Characteristic of a rct.

internal validity – whether the results are based on the intervention or an unknown variable.

external validity – how well what is being measured can be generalised to the wider population.

independent variable – the variable manipulated by the researcher to measure its effect on the dependent variable.

dependent variable – what the researcher is interested in measuring in the study.

Reflexivity – the questioning of oneā€™s attitudes, values and prejudices and to appreciate how these could affect the outcome of the research.

homogenous sample – when participants have similar or identical traits ie same age, gender, employment etc.

heterogeneous sample – where every participant has a different value for their characteristics ie different ages, gender etc. Indicative of diversity.

blinding – where participants or researchers are prevented from knowing which intervention group participants are allocated to. Can be single blinded or double blinded.

T-test – used to determine if there is a significant difference between the means of two groups.

bias – a form of error that can affect the outcome of studies.

triangulation – using more than one method to collect data. A way of assuring validity within the research.

primary research – new research studies, carried out through experiments, trials etc.

secondary research – analysis or interpretation of existing research studies.

cause and effect – where one event (the effect) is the result of another event happening (the cause). Randomised control trials are the bestĀ method able to establish a cause-effect relationship.

 

 

 

Let’s talk about second year blues

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If you’d asked me in the summer months about second year blues, I would have told you that it was a little bit of a ‘myth’ and that if you kept yourself organised you would be fine. I even wrote a post containing tips to survive second yearĀ . My first module of year 2 was Research Methods and is often described as the worst module of the whole degree at my university by previous cohorts. I fell in love with the subject and wondered what everyone had been making all the fuss about. I achieved 95% in the assignment and genuinely thought I was set for the year…I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Autumn came and the second year blues hit me like a train. I lost all motivation to complete work and began leaving assignments until close to the deadline date, something I don’t do because I get stressed easily and not being organised is a trigger for me. My assignments were not up to my usual standard because of this and still I sat confused and upset when the results were released and I hadn’t achieved anything like the results I was used to. Instead of spurring me on to complete work early like I usually do, a rubbish result (or so I thought at the time) knocked me for six and I continued with no motivation wondering what the point was. I completed another assignment and submitted, knowing it wasn’t my best work but believing it was good enough to stay within my targets. Results were released and I was ready to quit university altogether that afternoon,Ā  it was my worst result to date and the feedback felt brutal. I spent that weekend in what felt like a hole, at the end of my tether with this whole experience and genuinely thinking about leaving. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve had more negative days than positive days in year 2, I can probably count the number of truly positive days on one hand if I’m being brutally honest.

Second year blues are real and should be discussed more. It’s not enough to preach on and on about positivity, staying positive etc, because it really isn’t as simple as that. It’s hard to remain positive when every single day at university feels like a knock to your confidence, when you leave placement everyday wondering if you will ever really know enough to be a nurse and when every result makes you question whether you’re even intelligent enough to be doing this degree. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve cried in the car park after a placement shift before setting off to go home, just from doubting myself and a decision I’d made that day or because I didn’t know something that I really feel I should by now.

My first placement of second year was amazing, I spent 6 weeks with the best team and felt like I knew what I was doing even though it was out of my comfort zone. I thrived in an area that is extremely specialised and that I was terrified of before I started. When I began my second placement of year 2, it all unravelled. I like being out of my comfort zone, but this was a whole other level. I knew nothing. And that’s not me being dramatic, I genuinely knew nothing. I was an adult branch student nurse, walking into neonatal having never really held a baby before, let alone cared for one for a 12.5 hour shift. Everything was so different to adult branch, it was like starting the degree again with no previous experience at all. I enjoyed the placement and my mentors were fantastic, but I spent the four weeks thinking I wasn’t showing my full potential because it was so different to what I’m used to and it completely threw me. I started my third placement of year 2 having lost all the confidence I’d gained from my critical care placement and not even knowing if I wanted to be a nurse anymore.

Year 2 has just felt like one knock after another and I will be glad to see the back of it. I have 8 weeks left of placement before year 3 starts and I’m excited to get back onto the ward and gain some confidence back ready for year 3. In all honesty, I still don’t feel 100% myself and if it wasn’t for certain people this year I don’t think I would still be at university now because I couldn’t have coped without them.

If you feel like you’re struggling at any point, reach out to someone. It doesn’t need to be a lecturer, it can be a friend or someone in your cohort. Even find someone on social media who you can confide in, don’t bottle it up like I did. I felt embarrassed to admit that I was struggling and keeping quiet for so long probably hasn’t helped the way I’ve felt for the past 4/5 months. I don’t think the ‘positivity brigade’ help at all, as much as they may think they are doing good, it’s hard to go on social media and see positive things all the time and no one talking about how hard things can actually be. I’m not saying people need to be negative nellies all the time either, but it’s about time we all started to show the real aspects of our experiences within this degree. Not just the highlight reel of achievements.

Love,

T x

The mentor that changed everything

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This post does not by any means suggest that my other mentors haven’t been amazing, because they have. I have been extremely lucky that every mentor I have worked with up to now have taught me so much and have always been fantastic to work with. There is just one mentor who changed everything for me.

Rewind back to the end of year 1, to me receiving my first placement allocation for year 2 and seeing HDU/ITU. I hadn’t been on an acute ward in my training yet and I was starting my acute experiences in one of the scariest places, A&E being another one that fills me with dread.

I spent weeks panicking (a common occurrence with me as you will know if you’ve read my other blogsĀ šŸ˜‚) and worrying that I really did not know enough to be trusted with this kind of placement. I was going from year 1, in a placement that I was actually quite confident in due to previous experience to my first acute ward. I did not have chance to visit the unit before starting placement so I walked in ‘blind’. The first thing I saw was all the machines and I must have looked terrified because one of the NQNs said ‘It’s not that scary once you get started, don’t look so terrified you will be fine!’. I met my mentor and she took me into handover. From the first moment she was welcoming and kind, I instantly warmed to her and felt a little less nervous. I picked up the handover sheet and was convinced it was in another language, I didn’t understand half of the actual handover and worried that this would happen every morning.

I started my placement with 2 weeks on HDU, so the ratio of patients is 2:1. My mentor started by showing me the crash trolley and the airway trolley. We then moved onto the bedside checks and the observation charts. By lunchtime, I was feeling confident enough to record the observations myself and my mentor was happy for me to do so. The next week passed so quickly and my mentor knew so much, the knowledge she had blew me away and I remember thinking to myself that I would never know all the things that she knew. At the end of my second week, I had 2 weeks annual leave for Easter. When I returned, I was on ITU.

I asked over and over if I was doing ok, if I was where I should be and was doing everything I should be. I was doubting myself as I always do and thought I didn’t know anything. My mentor encouraged me all the time to complete skills that she knew I could do, she had faith in me and taught me things that have since come in very handy on my other placements. The day she told me I was having my own level 2 patient in ITU, I remember thinking no, no way I’m not good enough. This is not happening I will mess this up big time. And guess what? I didn’t! I felt confident in the bedside checks and the observations, she provided me with support and encouragement and actually made me believe that I can do this. The next few days passed and I became more confident with everything, using my own initiative to complete tasks that I could do. Then my mentor said I was taking care of a level 3 patient. WHAT?! No, no thank you I do not know what to do and the ventilator scares me to deathĀ šŸ˜‚Ā Of course I wasn’t on my own I had her supervision but I was allowed to complete tasks by myself, keep track of medication times and assess changes to care based on ABGs. She pushed me to make decisions based on my own knowledge without ever making me feel ‘belittled’ if I didn’t know anything or needed to check something.

Before this placement, I had absolutely no faith in myself at all and thought I wouldn’t make it as a nurse. This mentor completely changed my way of thinking. She showed me so much support and encouragement that it was impossible to continue doubting myself. She taught me so much and I genuinely think that if I become even half the nurse she is, I will be very lucky. She constantly made sure that I was feeling comfortable and gave me every learning opportunity, involving me in ward rounds and procedures such as intubations and tracheostomy procedures. I felt welcomed from day 1 and completely fell in love with the place, which is partly due to my mentor and the faith she had in me. The feedback she gave me made me cry and I always look back on it if I’m doubting myself and feeling low. To reiterate, I can say that I’m very lucky and all my mentors have been fantastic and I’ve learnt so much from them all, but there was something different about this woman. In 6 weeks, she took me from a nervous second year student believing she would never be a nurse – to a semi-confident (only because I’ll never be fully confident!) second year knowing that she could do this and that there was a good chance that she would qualify! I now feel slightly jealous of anyone who receives that placement in the time we have left on the courseĀ šŸ˜‚

Let me know any stories you have of mentors like this!

Love,

T x

*Book Review* Notes on a nervous planet

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img_2948A few weeks ago I reached a breaking point. I was done with social media, done with looking at other people and questioning why I wasn’t like them. I tweeted about it and amongst the replies, @EnigmaGirl81 told me I needed to read this book. I had seen previous books of @matthaig1 but hadn’t read any so this was my first experience of his writing. I ordered the book the next day and waited for it to arrive. Amazon delivered it quickly and I sat down to read it.

 

The book is described as being a ‘personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the twenty-first century’. It was written based on Matt Haigs’ experiences with anxiety and panic attacks, linking what he felt to the world around him. Matt includes many honest recollections of his own experiences’ and coping strategies, which I’m sure many people can relate their own anxieties to.Ā 

There are a number of sections but it was the section on social media that really resonated with me. I have spent hours and hours scrolling through Twitter and Instagram, comparing myself to other student nurses, to other girls and wondering why I couldn’t look like them. I’m 30 years old and having self-esteem issues because I don’t look like the streams of girls looking perfect on Instagram, so how do 15,16,17-year-old girls feel?! I’m more than aware that the pictures are sometimes filtered and edited but that doesn’t stop me comparing myself to those girls and wishing I looked more like Kim Kardashian and less like me.

In the book, there is a chapter where Matt Haig asked his Twitter followers – ‘Is social media good or bad for your mental wellbeing?’ and one tweet, in particular, I really related to.Ā 

@deansmith7 I can find myself comparing my behind-the-scenes footage (loneliness, anxiety etc) to people’s highlights reel (socialising, success etc). I know it’s not a true reflection of their lives but it can still get to me.Ā 

People choose what they want to post online, so it’s natural to only choose the good moments. Posting the pictures where you look your best. discarding of the 50 other ones you took before you were in just the right angle for the perfect selfie. Talking about the good days and achievements, leaving out the rubbish days or ‘failures’.Ā 

Life appears to have become a daily struggle to validate ourselves through the likes and comments from other people.Ā 

I would recommend this book to anyone, a perfect manual on how to navigate the modern world and to keep your own head. Funny, honest and real – Matt Haig is a fantastic author with a unique writing style.Ā 

There are so many quotes in the book that I could include, but here are a few of my favourites:

  • We are all connected to each other but we often feel shut out.
  • In a world of a million distractions you are still left with only one mind.
  • In an overloaded world we need to have a filter. We need to simplify things. We need to disconnect sometimes.
  • Accepting where you are in life makes it so much easier to be happy for other people without feeling terrible about yourself.

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This is my favourite pageĀ šŸ‘Œ

 

 

 

 

You can purchase Notes on a Nervous Planet here.

Love,

T x

 

 

Common equipment used in critical care

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Monitor – Every patient requires a monitor which allows for continuous monitoring of observations. These include blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen saturations, COĀ² and temperature can also be added on to the monitor.

Ventilator – A ventilator can assist patients’ with their own breathing, or completely take over the control of a patients’ breathing. This allows their body to rest and recuperate. The patient will either have an endotracheal tube or a tracheostomy. A tracheostomy tube allows the patient to receive full support whilst awake. If the patient has an endotracheal tube, they will be sedated.

Arterial line – An arterial line is inserted into an artery and this enables constant monitoring of blood pressure, through being connected to the monitor. They also allow access for frequent blood samples and ABGs. The arterial line can be inserted into the radial, brachial, femoral or pedal artery. The most common ones I saw in critical care were radial ones. The arterial line is sutured to the skin to keep it in place.

Central line – A central line is an intravenous line, inserted into one of the larger veins in the body. They are mainly used for administering medications, IV fluids are also given through central lines. Central lines are usually inserted into the jugular vein, but they can also be inserted into the femoral or subclavian veins.

endotracheal-tube-500x500Endotracheal tube – This is a plastic tube that is used during mechanical ventilation. The tube is inserted into the patient’s trachea, often the tube will be cut to a size recommended by the Dr carrying out the intubation.Ā AĀ bougieĀ may be used to guide the insertion of the tube. Once inserted, the tube will be attached to the ventilator via ventilator piping. There is a cuff on these tubes that will be inflated to prevent movement of the tube, cuff pressure is checked regularly to ensure there are no leaks.

Indwelling urinary catheter – All patients within critical care will have a urinary catheter in place. This is to ensure accurate monitoring of urine output for the patients fluid balance records. Urine output will usually be recorded every hour.

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Vas Cath –Ā A vas cath is a specialised central line that is used only for dialysis. Placed in the jugular, femoral or subclavian veins. I only saw one of these in my time on critical care and it was placed in the femoral vein.

 

Product_PicWindow_Carefeed-AdultNasogastric tube – This is a flexible tube that is inserted through the nose and down into the stomach. The NG tube can be used to provide nutrition via a ng feed and to administer certain medications. The NG tube is aspirated regularly to check if the patient is absorbing the ng feed and to test the ph level of any aspirations collected. The position of the NG tube should be checked and recordedĀ regularly by measuring the length of the tube visible. Before using the NG tube, the guide wire should always be removed.

tracoe-twist-ref-301-tracheostomy-tubeTracheostomy tube – A small tube placed into a hole made in the neck, allowing access to the trachea. A tracheostomy is used when a patient is being weaned from ventilator support. These are temporary and will be removed when the patient no longer needs them. The inner tubes are cleaned every 4 hours.

Intravenous infusion pumps – Used for any medication that is administered through a central line. The amount of medication infused every hour is recorded on the fluid balance chart. These are the ones used in my trust, others may vary.

 

Let me know if you’ve seen any other equipment on your critical care placements!

Love,

T x