- You learn that you can never clean too much.
- You start judging people for the way they wash their hands.
- You notice your OWN capillary refill time, even when you weren't trying to test your own capillary refill time.
- You learn to go to sleep at whatever time is necessary to get a decent night before your 5:30 alarm.
- You become grateful for the fact that long shifts mean you miss rush hour, both ends of the day. Small mercies.
- You do something wrong and you get told off and then you cry and wish that time travel was a legitimate option.
- You find out that you can never have too much food for a 12 1/2 hour shift.
- You learn that if you eat it all, your uniform is considerably tighter at the end of the day than at the start.
- Same applies for the end of the placement, compared to the start.
- You start wondering why you haven't always looked after your feet. 12 hours on them is a long time.
- You realise you shouldn't have spent all that time worrying about the shoes that you were going to wear. Nobody wears nice shoes. Nobody. It's almost a sin. COMFORT IS EVERYTHING.
- You hear a child screaming in the street, on your day off, and you think 'oh it's just the anaesthetic'.
- Your actual real life job which you actually get paid for becomes this little safe haven. Nothing can surprise you now, this position you've held for 3 years feels like absolute second nature.
It also becomes increasingly difficult to write, even when it's the only healthy coping mechanism you know, about anything. About half way through my placement, I found that I was having a hard time with processing what I was thinking, but I didn't really understand why. Then it occurred to me - I was having a hard time because I felt as though I wasn't allowed an opinion. I felt as though I was being pushed against a wall and wasn't not able to process anything in the way that I feel most able - to discuss, or to write.
When you become a healthcare student, you may not be qualified yet, but you put yourself under an umbrella of healthcare professionals in terms of how you are allowed to conduct yourself. Obviously this applies to how I conduct myself when I'm on placement, on the wards, in the hospital, all of the obvious places. It's probably also obvious that this applies to my life outside the wards - on public transport, on nights out, in the street. The less obvious aspect is that this also dictates what you are allowed to put online. For me, that's a pretty big deal.
I have felt roughly 46308 since my year started. I've been excited, scared, sad, insulted, frustrated, relieved, and just plain happy about what I was doing; but I'm not allowed to elaborate on any of that, or at least not right now. I'm allowed to make very general, reflective comments which don't identify a person, time or place - but when you've been on one ward and on one placement for five weeks, that pretty much amounts to not being able to say anything at all for a few months.
This isn't only annoying to me because I'm a massive social media over sharer. It's annoying because we are taught to learn reflectively, and this is how I naturally want to do it. I don't really blog for other people, although the biggest compliment is when other people understand or enjoy my writing. I write because it's therapeutic and helps me to really consider what I think. I happen to do that in the form of a blog, especially when something is new, or I have a particularly strong opinion about it. I know what you're thinking - just write it on a note on your phone, just text someone, write it in a journal, etc. They're good 'second bests' - but second bests none the less. I really don't know why, but hitting that publish button makes all the difference.
I'd genuinely really like to hear what other writers do about sharing information which is personal, either to you or someone else.