Differences of working on a hospital ship in a 3rd world country...
- We recycle and sterilize everything! Those little plastic medicine cups we would throw away after putting 2 pills in it...yeah we sterilize those. It's funny how in 2 short weeks I've changed from being weirded out by sterilizing those, to now wondering if there is anything else we can sterilize and re-use!
- 8 hour shifts. I never thought I would get used to working any less than 12 hours and 4 days off a week, but here I am loving 8 hours. The time goes by so fast! Especially day shift; you eat lunch and then its practically time to go!
- Spiritual life. It's amazing that we get to pray together for our patients, and fellow nurses before and after each shift. Often we sing worship songs, and the patient's will sing along, too! After every morning shift, the day nurse takes the patients up to deck 7 and some volunteers have games and worship music. There is nothing like ending your day worshipping the Lord with your patients! Praying with your patient before they go into surgery.
- Having babies around. I took care of my first peds patient my very first day of work here. It was awesome and scary all at the same time. Patient's are allowed one caretaker to stay with them throughout their hospital stay, and sometimes that means that the patient might be a Mom and her "caretaker" is her 6 month old baby that we get to play with all day! That has been one of my favorite things here, and the Moms don't mind you taking their baby, strapping it to your back, and walking around all day!
- Caretakers sleeping under the bed. You read that right. Forget about the fold up cots, our family members sleep on a mattress under the bed! It's amazing that they don't even second guess sleeping on the floor, its actually more unusual to sleep on a bed!
- Having to explain how to use a toilet
- All the patients in one room, no curtains, no doors.
- No bedside tables, IV poles, or monitors
- Patients helping other patients
- Watching what you throw in the trash. Anything can be resold i.e. empty cans of Ensure so we have to take off the labels, or cut our IV tubing so it cannot be reused.
- Changing linens three days a week
- Walking your patients to the OR
- Taking 1 minute to get to work
- Living a few doors down from your patients
- Being a walking blood bank. I was notified tonight that there is a patient with my blood type having surgery tomorrow. Because there is no way to store blood, if they need blood for the patient they will call me and I'll donate my blood, walk it to the OR and administer it right then and there!
Hope this gives you a little insight into my world, and helps you think about yours a little differently! Good night!