What do I actually do?

I haven’t really told you what I actually do at the hospital.

My title is ” meal time volunteer.”

The first thing I do when I enter the ward is to identify any barrier patients. Unfortunately these patients have an infectious disease and therefore I am unable to help these patients.

I then greet the staff on the ward. I find that it is important to greet the staff because I find that there are always new faces on the team.

I wash my hands,put on a apron and I start by cleaning the patients tables. I always smile and briefly talk to each patient (as long as they are not sleeping!)

I then select a patient to sit and talk with before the food is prepared, I find that talking to a patient helps me get into the mindset of my volunteering role and it keeps the patients happy.

Once the mealtime bell rings the whole ward will prepare for lunch time. NUH (Nottingham University Hospital) has protected meal time. This means that all routine medical care is stopped so we can focus on the mealtime. This allows the patients to not be disrupted.

I help by distributing the meals and deserts. I then will sit with a patient and encourage them to eat or I would do small jobs for the nursing staff that would help them out such as getting an extra ice cream pot.

I then will start to bring the trays in and collect the rubbish from lunchtime. After this I will either sit with a patient or I will head off to the bus stop.

I really enjoy what I do. It doesn’t seam like much but it does have a significant impact on the patients and the rest of the staff. I am glad I have the opportunity to do this weekly.  I encourage anyone who wants to do any medical careers to volunteer it will help you decide whether medicine is for you and it will help you develop your fundamental skills needed to interact with in a team and with patients.

Having a smile

It’s simple. Just smile!

A genuine smile can make a big impact on the people around you, it uplifts the mood and spirits of other.

It is really important to keep the environment around you a happy one. I found this to be more important in a medical setting such as a ward.

I always smile as much as i can when i pace up and down the ward. It keeps the nurses and HCAs happy to see me happy. This means they can provide  better care to the patients as they are happier. It also means that we all get along a lot better. It allows us all to have banter and it keeps the team happy.

It also helps the patients. The patients do not want to be stuck in a hospital bed for weeks. It is a very unpleasant experience. When i smile with the patients they normally smile back and it makes them happy. When it makes them happy it means that they are a lot easier to treat and care for. I volunteer on a elderly ward and most of the patients are immobile and bed bound because they are not strong enough to move around independently. This means that their quality of life is not the best. So, making the patients happy and smiling helps improve their quality of life and their experience.

The impact of a smile is underestimated.

Keep smiling!

 

 

 

 

Fitness new year resolution

I know this isn’t anything to do with medicine but i feel like I need to share my experience of my fitness journey. Especially how it is the new year.

 

I believe that when it comes to fitness, people often fail because they dont see their results fast enough. So here are 5 tips that I have learnt on how to build muscle and to stay on top of your fitness goal.

Figure out why:

I cannot stress this enough. Internal motivation will always triumph over external motivation. In other words, find out why you want to change your health and fitness. Is it because you want to stay fit and become a good example to your patients?, maybe it’s to impress someone or to improve yourself both mentally and physically. For me it was to improve myself mentally and physically. Pushing your body to it’s limit will allow you to improve yourself psychically  as well as  mentally. There is also the element of setting a good example to people around me and hopefully in the future inspire my patients to improve their health.

Don’t over complicate it:

The fitness world is becoming too much about business than it is about fitness. To make money many companies are selling their products as the best: buy the best protein, buy the best programme, buy the best meal plan. To help you overcome this, learn how to achieve your goal by reading scientific articles. To build muscle for a beginner is simple. Eat more calories than you burn so you have enough calories to build muscle, and progress with your exercise. If you’re benching 45kg one week for 3 sets for 5 reps, then you should aim to increase the amount of weight or increase the amount of reps. The progression will force your muscles to grow. Its that simple. ( It is that simple for a beginner but after a year or 2 you must change up your program and other factors)

Start small:

I know that the feeling of inspiration and motivation will want you to do everything at once: change up your diet completely, put yourself through big intense workouts. But, for the most part,this may not be the best thing! Focus on one thing at a time and take small steps. Instead of completely changing up your diet, why dont you swap white bread for brown bread or reduce the amount of sweets you eat a week. If you’re too strict you can make it seem impossible so you will give up.  With this said, you maybe the complete opposite. With the motivation at the high you maybe able to maintain your focus and stay consistent enough for you too see results. Many people say (me including) that once you start seeing results you will become addicted and you will never turn back!

Don’t be afraid to go to the gym:

I know many people who are afraid to go to the gym because they are scared of been humiliated in front of the whole gym. To be 100% honest they do not care! They do not care how much you are curling or benching. In fact many people who go to the gym would rather you go to them and ask them for advice. If you are really self conscious then there are other options. You can go to the gym with your friends or a family member. If not, then you can simply workout at home. Have no equipment? Its fine, use your body-weight to do push ups ect. We all have to start somewhere!

Don’t make excuses.

This is so simple but such a common mistake. “you coming gym bro?” “Nah, I am tired”

This is such a pitfall for many.I, myself fell into this trap. One day i felt really tired and i decided not to workout. I rested and went back to train the next day but i made the same excuse. On the second, third and fourth day it was the same excuse. The funny thing was i was getting 10 hours sleep a night. It was lack of will power. Like i said at the start. It is as much of a mental growth than it is physical. Overcoming mindsets like this one develops strength.

 

If you need  any help please message me or comment, i am happy to help.

 

Good luck!

 

Don’t let your situation define you, let your why define you.

The biggest question is why.

I have wanted to be a doctor for a long time, even though I have had other thoughts about other careers, medicine has always been a recurring option. Every step I take in this journey, the harder it gets. I have to admit that I have had times where I wanted to give up but the reason why I want to be a doctor prevailed.

There are many reasons why I want to be come  a doctor but I never thought in depth why until a few years back. There was a mate in my class who was struggling to do his work. It wasn’t because he was unable to do it but it was because he wasn’t able to engage with the task.  He started to disrupt the class and then had an altercation with the teacher, he shouted ” why am I even doing this? It’s pointless!”

At the time, I reflected on what  just happened and I wondered the same thing. When am I going to need all the 10 other subjects i am taking? My answer was simple: the grades to get into medical school.

Back then, this reason was good enough, but the pressure hit me when I started my GCSE’s. The lack of understanding the why behind becoming a doctor was limited to: I like helping people and I love biology.  It came to one point where I felt hopeless and I asked myself what is the point and still came up with the same answer.

I did it again, I asked myself why at A level and this is why…

From my volunteering experience I have found that there isn’t anything more satisfying than sitting with a person and just talking. Getting to know who they are and their experiences is amazing. What is even more amazing is for a random person, who you have never met before, to tell you everything about them, to tell you their deepest thoughts and cry on your shoulder. I have witnessed and experienced the repercussions of what it feels like to lose someone you care about.

So when I ask myself why am I learning about something that is boring this is what I think: it may not directly link to medicine but it does directly link to the fundamental knowledge of what is required of a doctor, with out this knowledge I will not be able to progress onto more advance knowledge and therefore I cannot learn about how to save and improve lives.

This means I will not be able to allow other people to continue making new memories and continue sharing their experiences.

I will not be able to save people from losing a loved one.

Don’t let your situation define you, let your why define you.

The Importance of being a team player.

In medicine you will have to work in a team. Just because you are a team member doesn’t mean you are a team player!

 

I have been part of many teams. This includes extracurricular activities, academic competitions and volunteering. I am currently volunteering on a ward which has a fantastic team.Today, whilst volunteering on the ward,I wondered what make this multidisciplinary team so successful and here are my thoughts…

 

My first thought is that we are all focused on one goal: to give the best patient care. We all want what is best for our patients. No matter what our personal differences are, we all are here to provide the best possible care. Any good team will prioritise this goal over personal differences and do their best to achieve the aim.

 

The second thought is more of an observation.Most healthcare teams are multidisciplinary therefore meaning that different roles within the team are focused on different aspects of patient care. For example doctors focus more on diagnosing, curing and managing a disease or a condition whereas nurses and HCA focus more on delivering the care needed. Not only do nurses and HCA focus on delivering physical care they also care for patients emotionally.However, from my observations, what makes a team member successful is not being exclusive to your job description. For example, strictly speaking as a meal time volunteer I am only supposed to help out with serving the meals and encouraging patients to eat their food. However I have made multiple trips to the shop for patients who are bed bound, I have had lengthy chats with patients who are anxious and I have even helped patients out with their phones. All the staff do jobs that are not within their job description but if we all kept exclusive to our titles then patient’s care would not be successful and the team would be dysfunctional.

 

My last thought is to be empathetic to your colleagues.Working in the medical field can be physically and emotionally taxing meaning not every day will be a good day. Understanding this and understanding that we all deal with situations differently will allow you to understand your colleagues.With this in mind it may mean that you will have to help out a little more than you usually do to maintain a good level of patient care if one of your colleagues are not feeling their best.

 

The three points above are what i believe a good team player must have. To be focused on the main objective is fundamental and to do everything in your power to achieve this objective without any problems are key.  

 

The importance of communication!

As a meal time volunteer, I must clean all the patient’s tables before they eat. This is to make sure they are eating in a clean and hygienic environment. Half way through cleaning the tables, i came across a woman sitting in her chair that was beside her bed. I politely asked how she was and before she could answer she became quite distressed and tearful.

I knelt beside her and asked her what was the matter. She simply replied “I’m lonely.” I offered her a tissue and I poured her some water. She explained to me how she is so anxious about going back home because she cannot stand being alone. We spoke for over an hour and it became quite clear that she felt that she was a burden to society and she was too afraid to ask for help. I explained to her that she doesn’t have to be  alone, and there is a lot of measures that can help her. When I left she was happy. On the journey home I reflected on my experience.

I learned the true meaning of communication. I did a quick search to find the meaning of the term “communication” . It states “the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium” This might be the definition but in practise it is nothing like that! It’s about understanding and empathising with the person you are conversing with. It is about understand and engaging with the content as well as showing a real interest in what they have to say. I keep thinking what if I never asked the woman how she was feeling. She would have simply kept her anxiety inside her.

Letting it eat away.