National Apprenticeship Week - Blog by Hannah Cluskey

17th 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

Hannah Cluskey is a Health and Social Care Apprentice working on Plym Neuro Rehabilitation Unit. Here she talks us through a typical day on the unit.

Morning Shift: 07.30am -15.30pm

I could discuss with you what happens on a day to day basis at PNRU because every day is different, but sometimes two days can be similar. I’m going to discuss one part of the day which is an early shift. I am one of two apprentices working at PNRU.  Working in a place like PNRU is something I never thought I would do but I accepted the challenge, find it very rewarding and I thoroughly enjoy it. We see patients struggling with different types of neurological problems on PNRU and when they leave fully recovered, or still with those neurological problems but able to live with them, it is very rewarding. The PNRU ward is a fantastic place to work and the staff have made me feel welcome and have taught me the skills I need to know to become a skilled Health Care Assistant.

Walking in the doors at 7.15am I put my lunch in the fridge, grab myself a quick cup of tea and sit in the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) room to prepare for the day. If I was off the day before I would ask if there was any new admissions or if it’s been busy.

7.30am approaches and I walk down to the nurse’s station saying my good mornings along the way, I look up to the white board and see who’s working, then make my way down to the treatment room ready for handover and to see if anything has happened  overnight. After handover I find out what bays and side rooms I’ll be working in this morning and if there are any one to one patients I’ll be caring for. I make a list of the patient’s names I’ll be caring for I then go down to the therapy board and find out what my patients schedule of treatment is for today, which could be a Physiotherapist, Speech and Language, Occupational Therapist or Personal Activities of Daily Living.

I then look at the times to see if there are any 9 o’clock therapies and then I will go and see if the patients for these therapies are awake. If not, I will give them a gentle wakeup call just to let them know they have an early appointment and if they would like a shower or just a wash. Most patients do prefer a shower in the morning, and if this the case I will firstly find out if this particular patient is in need of medication or if they have already had it.  If they’re not Nil by Mouth I then I’d ask if they would like breakfast before their shower, then go and fetch their breakfast. I will also ask everybody in that bay if they would like breakfast too.

Whilst all the patients are eating I will check observation (OBs) charts and see who needs them done as well as how many times in my shift they need to be completed. I also check to see if any patients need sugar levels checked (for diabetic patients) and if any patients need to be turned (to check for pressure areas) or flushes.

After showering (hopefully not getting too wet) I help dress the patients and get them ready for their appointments in time. I then strip and clean beds or, if there are any patients who do not have any appointments for the day, then I encourage them to sit out in their chair. Whilst doing all this activity I will also be checking the patients charts and making sure they are all up to date. For example, if there are any pads to weigh or bowel monitoring, I will document it.

Lunchtime; all patients are back from their appointments and we encourage for them to eat in the dining room. If there are any patients who are on supervised eating I will make sure that patient has someone there or I will be supervising. After lunch some patients like to go back to bed before any afternoon therapies start or if they have any visitors coming in at 2pm. To do this I will get one of the other HCA’s to help me if I am using a hoist, as it is a two person job which enables us to get the patient back into bed safely.  I will then check to see if they are due another set of OBs or need a flush of water to keep them hydrated as this is one of the competencies I have learned on the ward.

I will then mark down on their bedside folder which side of the bed they’re on for other staff later on to know if they need turned to relieve pressure as doing this will prevent bed sores. I will then go round checking again if all notes are written up and OBs, turns and flushes are up to date on all patients. By this time it’s usually 15.30pm and time to go home.

This is what we would class as a straight forward day, but sometimes patients don’t want to get up, they might be ill or staff may be running late due to unforeseen circumstances in getting to that patient  to get them ready for their therapies.  Sometimes we have new admissions on the ward and we may need to change patients round to different bays etc.  We deal with all different patients; some are on alarm cushions so we can hear if they stand up or get out of bed when it is not safe for them to do so. Also some patients need to be checked hourly. Each day, each shift is different at PNRU and that’s what I enjoy.

To find out more about apprenticeships with Livewell Southwest please click here.