National Apprenticeship Week - Blog by Bronwyn Shaw

16th March 2016

14th - 18th March 2016 is National Apprenticeships Week.
As part of this week, we will be featuring a new blog every day from our Health & Social Care Apprentices

Bronwyn Shaw is a Health & Social Care Apprentice working on Bridford Ward at the Glenbourne Unit. Here she talks us through a typical week.

At just 19 years old, I am privileged to have an apprenticeship with Livewell Southwest. I was delighted to be placed on the acute psychiatric Bridford ward in the Glenbourne Unit, which cares for people with mental illness who are unable to cope at home or in the community. There is a great sense of teamwork and mutual staff support. My mentor and colleagues really made me feel welcome, respected and valued as an equal. Learning new skills is done at my pace without pressure. I love going to work because it is really rewarding and no day (or hour) is ever the same!

Monday early shift, 7am-3pm
At 7am shift handover we are briefed on what has happened in the previous shift, and any significant issues or changes in recent days including new patient admissions.   Each staff member is assigned with their role for each hour on a rota. In the morning I carried out and recorded all the physical observations of patients - blood pressure, pulse, oxygen saturations and temperature taken. For patients allowed to leave the unit we check what they plan to do, with whom, where and what time they will return to the unit. We then make sure a nurse assesses the patient, records when the patient leaves and what time they’re back. When you are not assigned to a specific role, you can spend time chatting with patients, playing board games and offer support as and when it is needed.

Tuesday late shift, 12pm-8pm
Shift started with escorting a patient home to walk their dog. This activity is called ‘Protected time’ between 12-3pm where patients can be supported outside of the unit. The patient and I enjoyed a walk for an hour before returning to Glenbourne. On return I was on hourly board checks, which involves going around the unit to account for the whereabouts of all the patients for their safety and noting for example W (ward) or G (garden) on the records. Towards the end of the shift I write up my notes on the computer - generally writing how the patient appeared in mood and whether there is anything colleagues should be aware of.

Wednesday - College day
All the apprentices attend college to complete weekly assignments. Everyone really likes this because it is a chance for us all to get together and talk about what we are up to at work.

Thursday early shift, 7am-3pm
Today for the first time I was put on a ‘1:1 observation at arm’s length’ which happens when there are safety concerns for the patient. This meant that I had to stay close to the patient for an hour, noting in a folder what they were doing and how they appeared in mood. I took the responsibility very seriously and was a bit nervous, but the team were lovely and explained what I needed to do. The hour was spent chatting with the patient before they watched television and then a colleague took over for the next hour

Friday Late Shift, 12-8pm
A settled day on the ward with daily cleaning tasks, door duty, patient observations and ensuring those on food and fluid charts were encouraged to hydrate and eat.