My first patient.
My first shift.
My first, real, emergency response drive.
My first cardiac arrest.
My first trauma.
My first poorly patient.
My first “I need clean uniform...”
I’m new. Less than 3 months old. I’ve not even seen a three month old patient yet, that how brand new I am. It’s scary. At times, terrifying. My mind still goes blank and I almost freeze at some points. But that’s okay. Everyone is like this. Even the most experienced clinician still has moments of “what do I do here!?!”
I am constantly saying in my head: “it’s fine, I’m new. I’m still finding my feet.”
Everyday in this job is a learning experience. No matter how long you’ve done it for, or previous experiences, or education you’ve had - there is always something that will throw you. I still think in my head about the best way to gain a history, assess a patient and write a PRF. I change it constantly to see how it works, flows or looks. I’ve confused myself, confused the patient and looked hopelessly to my colleague for a lifeline - which they’ve happily thrown for me to catch. I’ve gone almost silent on some jobs - just to take in what’s being said, presented and how to deal with the situation as a whole. I’ve occasionally thrown in the odd question that’s not necessarily helped the initial assessment, but aided my learning and development. Every patient is different, every incident is a contrast to the last, next, or future.
People will tell you how to do this, or do that or things your should and/or should not do. They’ll tell you how to drive, they’ll give you short cuts. But just hang fire, this is something I’ve grasped quickly (mostly because I’m from PTS) - it’s your driving licence. Do what you want with your own licence, not what others want you to. If the MDT tells you it requires a 999 response, undertake that response drive - of course, apply common sense and your training before whizzing down the road!!
My first. I think for months, maybe years, I’ll still be faced with situations that are “my first.” I’ve queued in A&E, my legs have ached, my tummy has rumbled. I’ve crossed my legs as I’ve needed the loo - mostly because I misjudged the opportunity to go back at station/hospital. Another little tip, take something to drink with you on the vehicle - that drop of water is a life saver!
I’ve come home from “my first”, and sat watching the sun rise, thinking - what the hell did I witness? Or, I can’t wait to climb into bed and just curl into my partners arms. I’ve been frustrated and angered when we’ve been diverted from a 4 hour old fall to an NHS 111. But that's the job. Never ever judge what the cover says.
I also want you to take note - people will roll their eyes about the stuff you’ll attend, but be professional. Treat every single patient with the same care, passion and professionalism as you would with the 87 year old female who’s been on the floor for hours.
My clinical tutor said to me: “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” And that’s something I will always remember, use and maintain throughout my career. I will always take as much as I can from every person I work with and patient I have contact with. My first experience.
My first. It won't ever be my last.
It will always be my first. For a while, until I get the hang of this!