First Week


My brain overfloweth.

The new workplace is lovely, the staff are nice, I have a lovely boss and there is a real opportunity to deal with patients and make them happier and healthier.

It's pretty much perfect.


Well, I say it's perfect – but there is but one pubic hair on the bar of soap of pure awesomeness.

All the patient notes that I make are typed straight into a computer, it is a paperless office (apart from the information leaflets that we give to the patients). I have no problem with that as, surprisingly enough, I'm quite happy around computers.

The problem is… It's all Windows systems.


So there will be some retraining while I try to get used to typing on 'cherry' keyboards and remembering that the key commands are different from everything that I use at home.

Also, due to being unable to install any software I don't think I can sync Outlook 2003's calendar with Mobile Me/Google.

Oh, and the browser is IE6.


More seriously though – I'm really looking forward to getting my teeth into working here, the boss is already trying to get me onto a week-long course for minor illnesses and I'm keeping my fingers crossed as it is apparently a really good one and gets me 35 points towards a degree (for my nursing is a lowly Dip(HE)).

I've another three weeks of being 'supernumerary' which means following people around and generally learning things. For example today I learnt more about knee assessment than I have ever dreamt possible from a brilliant physiotherapist who is seconded to the Urgent Care Centre.

My day ended with another man's testicles in my hands so I could examine them – which is a first for me as normally the only reason to have someone else's testicles in my grasp is for the purposes of 'self defence'.


While I'm only working eight hour shifts at the moment I'm finding that I'm more tired than twelve hours of ambulance work – I suspect it's because my brain is, for the first time in ages, consuming huge amounts of energy while I take in both the formal learning and the more 'soft' informal learning that is necessary when trying to integrate yourself into a new group of people.

So basically it's all brilliant (apart from having to use Windows) and I am incredibly happy to have made the switch.

24 thoughts on “First Week”

  1. “…more about knee assessment than I have ever dreamt possible from a brilliant physiotherapist who is seconded…”I've had cause to use the physiotherapy service in Newham twice and I'm thoroughly impressed by its quality. Both people I've seen clearly know their stuff and approach diagnosis with a rigor I've never seen exercised by a doctor. Both problems – an arthritic knee and an impinged shoulder – are of the variety that don't go away but both are pain and trouble free thanks to the treatment and exercise regimes that the physios gave me.

    Shame I can't say the same about all the other health services locally.

  2. I sympathise about the Windows thing. But if you have an email address you can sync via outlook to a number of mobile devices (including iPhone – although it has to be a 3GS or 4 from December).

  3. Sorry about the Windows. I have spent years trying to get proper computing in our trust. I was told that Macs were too expensive but when I suggestedLinux, that seemed to worry them even more!IE6 is because the NPfIT applications were specifically written to lock us in. I imagine your IT dept is working on getting IE7 now. You aren't getting it until we can guarantee that it won't break something…

    Will you get a work smartphone? I have heard stories that you can synch them with Google calendars as well as the Exchange server. This is probably against the rules so don't do it!

  4. Wonderful post. Glad to hear you are happy in the new job.I too have to use windows at work (I have a Mac at home). It does get confusing sometimes as there are so many things you just do without thinking, especially the little things like copy and paste. I make it a point to install Firefox on the work computers. So much better (and safer) than IE.

  5. I use Mac at home and PC at work also.But.. a PC USB keyboard on my Mac!

    I have to remember that to embiggen in Windows it's ctrl +

    but on the Mac (using the PC keyboard) it's Flag +

    Glad you're happier even if you do get tired in the head.

    Does this mean we won't hear about drunks any longer?

    Wacky Little Old Ladies?

    Impossible AND meaningless goals?

  6. one of the physios at ngh used to work at Oldchurch, he was from South Africa and one of thebest, a good physio is worth their weight in gold.

  7. Tom / BrianFirst I am so glad that you are finding your new job to be both challenging (for the right reasons) and interesting. It was clear that you had lost the sparkle with your Ambulance role and needed something to get the grey matter working again.Secondly thanks for continuing to share your wit and wisdom with us. You really can write well and you regularly set me thinking.

  8. Great news, T…Brian :)Glad you're enjoying the new job, and are learning stuff again. If the worst aspect of the job is using a Windows computer, then you are doing well – you do seem to be a lot happier.

    Bad news about Internet Exploder, but that's govt IT for you. Can't you run mini-Firefox or another proper browser off a USB stick? Or will that cause the IT bods to wax most wroth (and possibly froth at the mouth)?

  9. He should only be able to plug in a suitably encrypted USB. We generally only allow ones we issue. If we don't know about it, it just doesn't work. Port Control – sorry!This is not to be awkward. We have all heard of USBs dropped in pub car parks and laptops left on trains etc.

    In our trust, we are generally keen to issue these things to any permanent employee who can give the Service Desk a valid reason. Needing to run Portable Apps is sadly not one. Having to go to other hospitals and do presentations there or whatever does seem to work.

  10. Hello there, i first found your book on my iphone then literally couldn't put it down cos it was so funny! i am a prison nurse so i have a few funny stories of my own but not allowed to blog about it though!loved you book and now on the second one. so so funny, got a friend reading them aswell.

    kutgw! i take it you have moved on from LAS?


  11. Would just like to say I have just finished reading both your books and loved them.I hope you learn about the conditions I have along your journey of medicine. Most Dr's let alone nurses or paramedics have even heard of it let alone know what to do about it. This really needs to change. I went to A&E once, with tachycardia, breathing problems, low bp and semi-concious, after waiting 4hrs to even be seen they didn't have a clue what to do and since I had perked up a little by the time they saw me, I ended up going home without them doing anything.

    My conditions are Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (Autonomic dysfunction) caused by a hereditary condition; Ehlers-Danlos.

  12. Hi Brian,Congrats on the new job!

    I'm all very new to this but I just wanted to say (here comes the gushing bit) brilliant work with the blog. I must admit I discovered it by chance (its because I got a kindle for my birthday and I got your books because they were free!!) but i'm pleased I did!!

    Keep up the good work, its made me understand what a fantastic job you do.


  13. Wonderful to hear that you are enjoying your first week, sorry to hear about Windows and best wishes with the course. Patrick.

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