Friday, 12 December 2014

Diary: Week 11

So the second week of my Hospital placement has been and gone. Week 2 went pretty much as week 1 did really, lots of fundamental care with some lovely patients. I'm writing this a week late due to starting my Ambulance shifts pretty much as soon as I finished my second week in the Hospital so expect two updates quite close together.

Read on to see what else I got upto.

My focus away from basic care skills was really all cardiac related, I know it's a huge part of my knowledge requirement as a Paramedic that I understand all things heart. With that in mind, I managed to go and see an Echocardiogram which involves carrying out an ultrasound of a Patients heart, it allows you to look at the valves within the heart for things like calcification, regurgitation or any other sorts of defects. I found this fascinating to observe and I was lucky enough to have a Cardiologist talk me through everything I was seeing and what it was they were looking for.

I also got to see how Pacemakers are maintained and serviced in there 'checkups'. I witnessed a heart being slowed right down and then the rate being increased to around 130 beats per minute all controlled by a machine temporarily linked to the Pacemaker that the patient had fitted. We could also view logged accounts of any time the Pacemaker has had to control any dangerous arrhythmia's which included what it was, when it was, and what action was taken to correct it. Until this point I was quite ignorant to how much information these devices could actually record!

Probably my favorite part of this week however was assisting in the running of an out-patients chest pain clinic. The Nurse Practitioner I worked with was an artist as far as all things Cardiology was concerned, she was absolutely oozing knowledge and enthusiasm and I learned alot. I got the chance to carry out several Cardiovascular examinations including listening to heart sounds and to patients breathing with my Stethoscope, then question them around their chest pain to try and ascertain whether it was pleural or angina pains they were experiencing or something more sinister - we even got patients up on a Treadmill to put strain on their heart and monitor the changes on a 12-lead ECG.

I was sad to leave on my last day on the Ward, I'd been given some excellent learning opportunities and the staff were all very keen to pass on the gems of their experience and knowledge to a keen, question filled Student Paramedic - but I was looking forward to my upcoming Paramedic Placement out on the Ambulances, check back in a few days to see how I got on with my first week out on the road.

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