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Adapting throughout COVID-19: Sarah's Experience

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My name is Sarah and I joined Inspiration Healthcare as a Support Trainer in June 2020. Joining the team during the pandemic meant that training had to be innovative. From my very first contact with members of the team, I was struck by the company ethos of patient care. As a nurse it is important for me to work for a company that keeps the patient at the centre of everything we do.

Despite the restrictions around COVID-19, I am grateful to be delivering face-to-face training sessions on the Micrel Mini Rythmic PN+ pump, and I am really enjoying my new role.

PPE restricts vision, communication and breathing but I appreciate it is necessary to keep everyone as safe as possible and means we can deliver this essential training in the safest way possible for all parties involved in the training. Unfortunately, the face mask and visor hide so much non-verbal communication, but you find ways to overcome these barriers and make the contact as personal and friendly as possible. Before entering the patient’s house, it helps to stand at a safe distance, introduce yourself and let them see your face before putting on PPE.

In September I visited an elderly patient who lives alone. For the past 9 months she has not had any visitors. Initially I spent time listening to her story and acknowledged her daily struggles. Spending this time listening was important for her wellbeing and enabled me to build a rapport and gain her trust.

At times she found the training overwhelming, and this meant having to structure the teaching differently to meet her needs and reduce anxiety.

I felt very supported by my Team Leader Katie, who spoke to me on the telephone about this patient to ensure the adapted teaching met our competency requirements.

As a Support Trainer I do not feel under pressure to achieve an end goal in a restricted time frame. The priority is to treat the patient holistically and ensure their safety.

It was humbling to meet this lady and after the training sessions she felt such a sense of achievement. I felt proud of her and proud to work for Inspiration Healthcare – knowing that I am supported to respond to patients needs and deliver a service that is compassionate.

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Neonatal Nurses Week: Zoe's Experience

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1. How long were you a trained neonatal nurse for?

Over 8 years

2. What is your experience of being a neonatal nurse?

Most people never see the inside of NICU, some do not know that such a place exists, but for the parents, babies and medical team it is difficult to describe. There are so many ups and downs as baby’s make their way through the NICU experience, and as a neonatal nurse you are there for every step, supporting the parents and families, getting to know these tiny warriors and working together to give them the best start. Working as a neonatal nurse was an amazing experience, I still remember the first time I was in the room when a tiny 25-week baby was born. Being present at the beginning of that family’s journey, right through to the day they took their baby boy home a few months later was such a privilege.

3. What is the best thing about being a neonatal nurse?

Seeing the families go home is always amazing, but the thing that makes working in such a fast paced, high emotion environment is the team. I have worked with some amazing doctors and nurses, and as a team we have been able to send so many babies home where they should be.

4. Why do you think it is so important that we celebrate events like this and recognise the important work that these individuals do?

These kind of events raise the profile of the heartfelt dedication that neonatal nurses bring to work each and every day. It also brings neonatal care to the forefront of people’s minds and highlights how valuable the service is. Hopefully it will also mean some extra biscuits on the ward round for a couple of days!

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Neonatal Nurses Week: Jas's Experience

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1. How long were you a trained neonatal nurse for?

I was a trained Neonatal nurse for 11 years.  I worked on a level 2 neonatal unit.

2. What is your experience of being a neonatal nurse? 

A neonatal unit is a busy and fast paced unit to work on and no two days are ever the same.  You must be on constant alert of sudden changes, or conditions of these fragile and premature babies.  The neonatal world is a mix of hourly observations, hourly to timed feeding, administering medicines, performing blood tests, making babies comfortable, changing nappies, skin to skin care with their mummies and daddies. Not forgetting the times of being vomited on.

There have been some rewarding moments like attending deliveries of preterm babies, or twins and triplets.  It is always a nice feeling to finally witness these babies to complete their journey on the unit and get discharged home.

Walking onto a neonatal unit that everyone talks about is the temperature.  The warmth on the unit comforting and cosy in the winter, yet in the summer it is stifling and overpowering.

I am obsessed with washing my hands and I think this is a trait that all neonatal nurses possess to protect those babies.

One most enjoyable part of my job as neonatal nurse was to build incredible bonds with both the babies and their parents – from parents telling you that they will be happy to leave their baby and go home now that they are in safe hands and that you’re looking after their baby.

3. What is the best thing about being a neonatal nurse?

Working as a neonatal nurse is highly stressful but caring for these small vulnerable humans and helping and nurturing them to get strong enough to go home is the best thing a neonatal nurse can experience.

4. Why do you think it is so important that we celebrate events like this and recognise the important work that these individuals do?

It is important to recognise those who care for the most fragile and vulnerable babies as they take their first breaths. Celebrating the dedication and commitment of these neonatal nurses to their profession is a way to encourage others interested in the field to take a loser look.  Also it is a way to thank them for all their hard but rewarding work.

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A Day in the Life of an HPN Patient: Brook's Experience...

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Why did you volunteer to complete the Rucksack Challenge for Inspiration Healthcare?

I volunteered to complete the rucksack challenge because, whilst I have experienced being a carer for someone who was dependent on this for the last 4 years of their lives, I have never had to deal with the day to day effort of carrying this around and undertaking a normal day.

What did you find the easiest/most achievable about the challenge? 

There’s nothing easy about being fed by PN, ones normality is overtaken by the need to immediately consider all aspects of being connected, before morning ablutions, what clothing to wear, what the days activities are, etc. Making it normal and routine does come in time, but it is also an appendage that cannot be forgotten.

What aspects of the day did you find the most challenging? 

The most difficult things are the things one takes for granted, getting into a car to drive to work, where does the rucksack go? Carrying your rucksack, or in my case using the trolley, at the same time as carrying a laptop bag, a case with documents in, mobile phone, etc. Going to the bathroom during the day was interesting, as was using the kitchen and making a cup of tea; I would have like to use the rucksack but was devastated to discover one of the straps was missing!

The reactions of others was very interesting, I was staying at a hotel, somewhere I stay regularly long term for business, the staff there know me well but couldn’t communicate with me as normal when they saw me with my line ‘attached’ and pulling a trolley of feed. A couple of people in the office felt unable to speak with me (need to consider disabled access and acceptance) and just one offered to help me when I was trying to make a cup of tea.

Overall, what are your thoughts? 

It’s been amazing to be involved and to be able to discuss the subject to a wider audience, I am very lucky that I have had a few years of practical experience and was able to discuss the whole issue of PN with others and explain the dependency. The ‘hidden illness’ aspect of any disability is always hard to deal with; I hope in some small way we have helped to shine a light into the corners.

 

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Rebecca's experience of HAN Week 2020...

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Why did you volunteer to complete the Rucksack Challenge for Inspiration Healthcare?

I volunteered to take part in the Inspiration Rucksack challenge to give me a better understanding of HPN and what patients experience on a day to day basis, I like to push myself out of my comfort zone and am always up for a new challenge! I am new to Inspiration so also hoped that it would give me some product knowledge and a better understanding of who our customers and end users are.

 At the start of the day we were given a guide on setting up the giving set. I found this fairly straight forward to do with Katie’s help, however, I wasn’t required to do the full set up due to not actually infusing the fluid so I can imagine it could be more difficult for a real patient. I found carrying/walking with the rucksack easier than I thought I would as it wasn’t too heavy, and it was comfortable to wear on my back.

What aspects of the day did you find the most challenging? 

The most challenging aspect of the day were the little day to day activities I take for granted like jumping up to put my phone on charge, going to the toilet, getting in and out of my car and bending down to pick things up. These all of a sudden required me to think about what I was doing, making sure I didn’t pull on the tube or get it tangled up, and carrying a rucksack just to travel a few meters to the other side of the room. Not eating was also a challenge! It was strange getting to lunch time and not having anything to eat, although I wonder how much of that is just habit. This also affected my energy levels quite a lot and I felt sluggish and tired in the afternoon, especially after carrying the extra weight around all morning!

When I was wearing the rucksack in public, a few people noticed the tube and I got a few stares which was frustrating, luckily, it didn’t bother me too much but it did make me think of how I would have felt as a teenager; probably very self-conscious and embarrassed, I can imagine a lot of patients feel the same.

Overall, what are your thoughts? 

Overall, I am really happy that I took part in this, I have learnt so much about how and why patients use HPN as well as the challenges they face while doing so. I hope that it has raised awareness and educated others too.

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