Archive for nurse’s blog. psychiatric nursing

Looking Back

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, life and modern times, mental health with tags , on May 27, 2013 by leovineknight

My next-door neighbour was a very interesting man, and also a member of a dying breed. He had a domed head which towered above a horseshoe of wispy white hair, a time-worn wrinkled face, ill-fitting clothes and big army boots. Handicapped by a hideous curvature of the spine and a pronounced limp, he had a grotesque appearance, yet he was a kindly, tolerant man who would help anybody out, and he always wore a smile. He was nearing retirement age, but still worked at the university, 50 miles away, where even his colleagues knew him as ‘the mad professor’.
The professor had a keen sense of duty, and never missed a day at college, always climbing the hill to the railway station at 6.30 a.m., in good time for his train which departed twenty minutes later. His limp was the product of an old war wound coupled with latter day arthritis, and as the pain gradually worsened, his daily climb became a grim struggle.
One winter morning he found the hill covered in snow and ice. He was weak and very unsteady on his feet, so he dropped to his hands and knees and crawled to the top of the hill, where an astonished stranger showed pity and helped him to the station. The professor was lathered in sweat, and deeply distressed. For the first time in thirty years, he was going to be late.
It was 6.55a.m. when he finally limped onto platform 3.
Yet, the train was still there.
The guards had delayed its departure, for the man who was more reliable than a clock. The man who was a proper standard.

He’s dead now, of course.


Career Nursing

Posted in Blogging, jobs, careers and work, mental health, satire and humour with tags , on March 31, 2013 by leovineknight

I began flicking through the vacancy sheets which had recently arrived. All the staff did this religiously, either because they wanted to leave immediately, or because they wanted to leave a good deal sooner than that. I waded through the usual stream of secretarial jobs, senior executive gravy trains and foreign legion posts in hellhole dementia wards, and pushed it to one side. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the ‘Nursing Times’ any more because all the staff made for the jobs column like vultures descending on the carcass of an elephant, so Richard cancelled our subscription to make sure we didn’t leave en masse one day. He needn’t have bothered, because most of the staff just went through the motions, joyously imagining the successful interview, the nonchalant resignation tendered to indignant managers, the insanely jealous colleagues, the perfect job satisfaction in their new action-packed role – and then they woke up.
‘Ideal’ jobs in psychiatric nursing were rarer than hens’ teeth and staff either discovered this chastening truth the hard way, or they played mind games with the vacancy sheets and stayed where they were with the devil they knew. Still, I wasn’t as badly off as the fire-eating striptease artist I read about the other day. She not only had to work with a Bengal tiger and a sexually aroused python, she had to play flute and saxophone in the intermissions too.

Myopia Dystopia

Posted in Blogging, jobs, careers and work, mental health, satire and humour with tags , , on January 2, 2013 by leovineknight

I wandered on past the usual row of people on a pigeon-stained bench watching their lives go by, the greengrocer cracking jokes with his regular customers before turning back grimly to his cold shop, and three pensioners dressed as American children, pushing prams. A germ factory made a beeline towards me, coughing like a bazooka at everyone in his path, while the hive itself buzzed and droned without obvious product. Alongside the parking bays, stood an arms-crossed know-all; waiting for his daily dose of driving errors and the opportunity to shake his head so sagely (one day he would learn to drive and show them all how it was done properly)…….


Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, jobs, careers and work, mental health with tags , , on November 11, 2012 by leovineknight

“You’ll be telling me you’re in favour of euthanasia for the mentally ill next, Steve.”
“Under certain strict conditions, I’m in favour of euthanasia for anybody who’s enduring a legalised torture chamber. But that’s a red herring – the vast majority of mentally disordered people can certainly lead a positive life, if only we’d stop being ‘saints’ and genuinely encourage them.”
“By ‘encourage’ them, I suppose you mean force them to work at something.”
“The only force necessary to get most people to work in a decent society is to give them a conscience, show them a useful goal, and withhold the soft options.”
“We’re never going to agree on this Steve. You just come across as being heartless.”
That was a terminal indictment of a lover.

System Sickness

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, books, journals and diaries, jobs, careers and work, mental health with tags , on October 23, 2012 by leovineknight

Oh yes.
Psychiatric nurses in our part of the world are entitled to spend six months sick leave every year on full pay, and for many this is a temptation far too generous to decline. There seems to be an unofficial roster which staff use to co-ordinate their sick time, and it’s quite possible to predict the next period of sickness for particular nurses by observing their patterns over previous years. One nurse is completely unselfconscious about taking the same two weeks off every year just before Christmas, while another specialises in taking all his normal holiday entitlement in the first eight months of the year, so that ‘sickness’ can provide the necessary breaks later on. Great care is taken by the malingerers to ensure that only two staff at any one time are on long-term sick, because any more than this and the unit could grind to a standstill, forcing the managers to leave their dream worlds and examine the situation more closely. Time and again, supposedly sick staff are observed drinking pints of bitter in beer gardens, laughing uproariously on main shopping streets, and leaving the town to go on foreign holidays. One nurse was recently seen drinking a tin of lager at home with their feet up on their T.V. set fifteen minutes after phoning in sick with ‘nausea’, and another famously broke their arm during a house removal when they were already off sick with a bad back.
A large percentage of our nursing staff are on antidepressant medication, and almost as many have regular sessions with psychologists or counsellors, not only because they consider themselves to be desperately unwell, but because these measures are an essential part of their ongoing ‘sick role’ presentation to managers.
There’s really an unspoken agreement between managers and malingerers, that providing the administrative procedure of occupational health appointments, sick note production and return to work interviews is correctly followed, then the malingerers can continue to abuse the system indefinitely. This wonderful quid pro quo enables local managers to avoid messy confrontations with staff and their union representatives, while at the same time demonstrating that they’re doing their jobs.
It will soon be the case that staff claim more physical and mental illness than the patients they’re supposedly looking after……

A Day Off

Posted in Blogging, jobs, careers and work, mental health, satire and humour with tags , , on September 18, 2012 by leovineknight

A shiny black cockroach walked around the brass footrest, and a fat man slumped to the floor in a pool of piss, while his pals knocked their dominos on the rough-grained table, and we savoured our unspoken pact. Two bags of salted peanuts later, we left, and I followed those perfect shapes up the rickety stairs.
Once again.

“Fancy a joint, Steve?” she said later.
“Oh, I thought you were vegetarian?”
“You’re always joking…. Now get rolling.”
In everybody’s life there is usually one glorious idyll. A few weeks, or months, of pure bliss. A time when heaven is glimpsed.

A ride on the beautiful bubble…

Busman’s Holiday

Posted in Blogging, jobs, careers and work, mental health, satire and humour with tags , , on September 13, 2012 by leovineknight

When we went on a trip to Scotland, the hired minibus was crashed on arrival, stranding ten patients for five days in a remote slate hostel, with no T.V., radio, telephone or other ‘mod cons’. One gentleman quickly became bored, and started to walk the two hundred plus miles home, while another developed concussion because she repeatedly cracked her head on the bunks she couldn’t get used to. On one camping holiday, staff woke up to find a patient missing, and eventually recovered him from a pleasure park nine miles away, while holidays at sea side resorts were eventually abandoned because of the difficulty in explaining wet and soiled beds to understandably irate landladies. Stately homes were not usually a success either, as patients normally walked past the finest works of art looking at their shoes and complaining about the no smoking regulations, or they set off alarms by sitting on priceless Chippendale furniture and (in one famous case) lying on the Royal half tester bed……

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