Sorry I haven't posted for a few days but I've been on nights at work! As I've said before, I work as a bank healthcare assistant which means I'm basically temp cover for any ward in the hospital. I love doing night shifts, which doesnt seem to be a common opinion but oh well.
I think working as a HCA is possibly one if the best ways to prepare for a career in medicine. Even though the job is completely different, it gives a very quick idea of whether or not you enjoy the hospital environment and the patients! I know a few people who have completely abandoned the idea of medicine after doing the job because they realise they are not suited to hospital work. Personally, I can't think of anywhere else I'd want to work!
So a bit about the job.... My main roles are patient hygiene, assisting with eating and drinking, doing observations (BP, oxygen sats, heart rate etc) and assisting with mobility. Different NHS Trusts will allow their HCAs to do different things, with varying levels of responsibility. A lot of what you do also depends on the other staff. For instance some staff will be willing to teach you to do other things once they see that you are competant. So I can now do bladder scans, remove cannula's, and remove catheters (I know that doesn't exactly sound thrilling but it makes a nice change!). All in all it's basically about making sure the patient has everything they need and that everything you do is documented, which means a lot of paperwork!
The majority of shifts are drama and incident free but there will be the odd one where you leave wondering why you even bother. Last night I had a Patient screaming at me at 2am (he woke every other patient on the ward up aswell) because I couldn't give him any morphine. Even after explaining that that is the nurses job and that because one of them was on break his request couldn't be met, he still decided to threaten to punch me. Times like that I think the best thing to do is just not to take it personally, and to walk away!
I'm sure I'll post many more stories about work in the future!