Off to the Night Shift I go
August 12, 2014 § 6 Comments
Whoa, time is going by fast! It’s been almost a month since my last post and it feels more like a week. In that time, we had one last trip to Halsa with almost Skjalg’s entire family on his dad’s side – everyone except his sister, Kaja, who had to work. Then there were a few days back in Bodø before I hopped my flight(s) home to Budapest for summer practice (which I am doing in the pediatrics hospital). I had a couple days back here before practice started, but I don’t remember what I did. I think there was a lot of sleeping. It was so, so nice to be back home in my own space, in the middle of this beautiful, bustling city.
I was really nervous for the first day of nursing practice. I had no idea what to expect, save for a few tips I got from our friend Mads, who did the practice in July:
You have to work 120 hours, max 12 hours in a day. You can’t work weekends and you have to work one night shift. This means that you can finish it in 10 working days (9 day shifts and 1 night shift). The earliest you start is 6 am and the latest you work until is 6 pm. Our night shift was from 6pm to 6am.
You are not gonna be working with any english students. You get paired together with a hungarian student and the two of you go to a specific ward and you never see the other students again. I worked in the rheumatology/nephrology/immunology ward by the way. You have to work at the same times as your hungarian partner because he/she needs to translate (the nurses don’t know a single word of english and the doctors don’t work with you). So you have to agree with him/her when you can work. It’s normal to just bang it out in 10 working days.
All in all, I thought it was really worthwhile. Ok, there’s no money, but I learned a lot in those 6 days i worked… more than if I had worked in Norway at a sykehjem. It started getting repetitive towards the end and the days get longer though, but that’s just how it is with jobs like these.
The morning of, I was expecting to be met with a crowd of students in front of the head nurse’s office door. Instead, it was empty. I checked the clock a couple 100 times, just to be sure that I hadn’t made some big mistake (i.e. wrong day, wrong time, possible time change). At 7 on the dot, I just decided to go with it and knocked on her door. It ended up that Jun, the younger brother of my friend and groupmate Rina, was the only other English student doing practice there. Jun and Rina were raised partly in the US, in Tennessee, and partly in Japan. Jun also attended college in Minnesota. They both speak perfect American English, so I have to remind myself that they live in Japan and not the states.
The head nurse led us down a long hallway and on the way, explained that we would be working the first week in the gastroenterology department and then after that, the Neurology department. Since the nurses of Gastroenterology were all on vacation, they had temporarily moved Neurology down to the Gastroenterology department and combined the two. Once we entered the department, we were introduced to the head nurse (of neurology) and our Hungarian partner, Miklós (pronounced: meek-lowsh). After the introductions, we were led to a restroom where we could change. Jun and I exchanged glances of panic and then informed them that we hadn’t been told of any uniform and only had what we had on us. In the past, when we have visited hospitals where we need special clothing, we were given scrubs/lab coats. I was wearing a white t-shirt, black pants and shoes and Jun was wearing grey pants and a white shirt. There was half an hour or so of bureaucratic drama (we weren’t allowed to loan scrubs without a signed note from the university) and finally we ended up with some plastic booties and long white lab coats. Once we got off work that day, it was off to the malls to buy some all white shirts, pants and shoes.
A week has gone by since we started our practice and the days have been full with work, working out and studying for my courses on Coursera. On Wednesday, I spent the day studying for, and then taking my quiz, in Exercise Physiology. Then, this past weekend, I had my final in Programmed Cell Death. I was slacking a bit on the lectures, so I didn’t turn in my final until late Sunday night. I ended up with a 95% in the course, with which I am pretty satisfied. It wasn’t always extremely exciting material to cover, but I feel that I have learned a lot that will help me this coming year. If anything, I’m happy that I understand the mechanisms behind some current cancer treatments.
Tonight we will be having our first and only night shift. I tried to sleep in as long as possible, since I will be working from 18:00-6:00. I’ll be bringing some movies and a book, since I know there will be nothing to do. Hopefully it’s not too terrible!