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Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health
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DavidFR has 34 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health.

English trained nurse, British born of Ukrainian/Italian origins, now a naturalised Frenchman. Very much an internationalist!

DavidFR's Latest Activity

  1. DavidFR

    Any nurses wished they had become doctors?

    No, for the simple reason that medicine's too limiting. You become a cardiologist for example, you're generally a cardiologist for life. Become an oncologist, oncologist for life, usually. Nursing has given me variety: oncology, infectious diseases, occupational health and hepatology are what I consider my real specialities, but I've also worked in respiratory, cardiac, burns and plastics. I've worked with inpatients, outpatients, hospital, community, outreach and for an international inter-governmental organisation. I don't believe I'd have had such variety as a doctor. In further studies too, doctors are limited largely to the clinical whereas my higher studies have taken in a lot of sociology, psychology and social theory which I adored for the more global view that gave me of patients. As stated above, different jobs and I really get quite annoyed at the "when will you go on to be a doctor?" "A masters! You should have been a doctor!" type reactions - as if nursing is somehow not worthwhile. Best of luck with your MSN!
  2. DavidFR

    Frazzled New Nurse Stuck on Rotating Shifts

    If your health is suffering, can you involve occupational health? I don't know how it works where you are, but in my experience in both the UK and France, it's possible for occupational health to impose or at least suggest that you should be on day shifts only. If your year is up in January that's only five months to go. Do you have any holiday to take before then? And if you start job hunting a good two or three months in advance, that will give you the impetus to keep going with a goal in sight. I'm a night nurse and I love it but I realise it's hell if your body can't take it. Some people just can't do nights. Have you tried Melatonin for sleeping in the day? Do you black out your windows, have no screen light in the room etc.? Best of luck!
  3. DavidFR

    Cisplatin Pre & Post Hydration

    I have actually had that happen with young people, not often, but it does occur.
  4. DavidFR

    Where were you...9/11

    I'm not American but I had American neighbours at the time who are still very close friends. I had been out shopping with one of them, said my goodbyes and went home (afternoon Paris time). No sooner am I in the door and the neigbour I've just left is on the phone screaming "Turn on your TV set!" All channels had those horrible images of the twin towers falling. I spent the rest of the day glued to the TV. One of those horrible world events that everybody remembers, and hopefully, unites us.
  5. DavidFR

    Transgender nurses?

    I know a health care assistant (nurses aide or "aide soignant" here in France) who is transitioning male to female. The hospital and most staff have been very supportive. Of course there have been the minority who are snide, but as a trans person I'm sure you're already well aware such ignorant people exist. I had this hassle for being gay when I went through nursing school in the 80's. Now I'm glad to say being gay isn't an issue most of the time, hence I hope we can move forward in the same way as a society with our attitude to trans issues. If anything, this will possibly make you a better nurse in some respects because you'll be sensitive to issues and problems most of us never have to face. I wish you all the best in both your transition and your nursing school.
  6. DavidFR

    Careers outside the hospital?

    Have you thought of occupational health out in a company, factory or organisation? Occy health can be very stimulating if you choose the right setting. I did it for 5 years in an international inter-governmental organisation. As well as standard OH we were trained in ergonomics and did ergonomic advice, workstation assessements etc. We also allowed the staff to use us for their outside prescriptions for dressings, blood tests etc. which made it more general. With people going all over the world on mission there was the travel advice, vaccinations etc. We also got involved in the invalidity commisions when people were on long term sick. I most loved the fact that in this organisation we dealt with staff from all corners of the globe. Health promotion was a huge part of our rôle. In the time I was there we did awareness and screening campaigns for breast cancer, bowel cancer, skin cancer, blood borne viruses, repetitive strain injury and alcohol abuse. It was a nice breather from hospital work, not to mention the Monday to Friday "normal" working week, home every evening.
  7. DavidFR

    Haunted Hospital??

    As a student nurse on night duty (1986!) we heard a woman screaming in pain. Running down to where the noise was coming from, that room was empty. Patients in surrounding rooms sleeping peacefully. Nobody visible outside looking out of the windows. Nobody heard anything on the ward next door or on the floors above and below. Seemingly nothing going on. We didn't know but when the day staff came on and we told them, one of the older staff said that many years ago a lady had died in that room who had terrible uncontrollable pain from ophthalmic shingles. Intermittantly, night staff report hearing screaming coming from that room when it's empty. I DID hear something that night, but I don't believe in ghosts. I'm quite prepared to accept it could have come from outside or a neighbouring patient could have been screaming out during a bad dream. I'm equally prepared to accept that perhaps there are cybernetic fields, energy fields etc. or some other scientific explanation that we don't yet fully understand for these kinds of happenings. I was once interviewed on this incident by a guy studying such phenomena for his PhD, but we lost contact and I never got to know what his conclusions were. Sure, people really do see and hear strange things, but ghosts? No, I really don't think so.
  8. DavidFR

    Why do some nurses use their titles as a big ego boost?

    I started as a Nursing Auxilliary (Nurses' Aide in the UK) and was as proud of myself then as I am now with a masters. When asked what I do I say I'm a nurse (and in my last days in the UK when I was a Clinical Nurse Specialist, the reponse was still "I'm a Nurse"). Most people outside nursing aren't aware of the distinctions and don't actually care. Most good nurses will judge you on your patient care and your effictiveness as a colleague, not on your qualifications. Those who constantly flaunt a higher qualification have a self esteem problem, frankly. Yes, tell people when you're asked, but I have a colleague for example who is jokingly known as Jennifer "did I ever mention I have a masters by any chance" A****" (not her real name). That tells you everything - any respect people might have had for her masters is neutralised by her constant talking about it. For years I was the RGN (RN) while my partner was an EN (LVN). With his extensive ICU and CCU experience I would often bow to his superior knowledge. I always respected him and that didn't suddenly go up a grade the day he converted to RGN (RN), although I was proud of his acheivement. Yes, it's about egos and self worth. I'm proud of my achievements but I don't talk about them every day. If I mention them here of course I'm bragging a little, but is anybody reading actually impressed? No, of course not. I actually firmly believe in one level of qualified nurse. Here in France we just have one nurse, the IDE, and we're all equal (no senior this, junior that, charge hand, team leader etc. Each nurse is fully responsible for his/her own patients. We help each other as a team but I'm not senior or junior to my colleagues. We're helped by aide soignants (care assistants) who have trained for 1 year but are NOT nurses. Thus there is no RN/LVN war to be fought (as indeed in the UK they phased out the EN but sadly still have a laughingly hierarchical grading system). Any post-basic course, degree, masters etc. is a wonderful personal bonus, but it isn't essential and doesn't necessarily make you a better nurse. Some nurses get so bogged down in their academia they can tell you what impact post-modern theory might have on health care but they've forgotten how to take somebody to the toilet.
  9. DavidFR

    Misconceptions/truths about specialities

    Oncology is people dying of cancer. You never deal with emergencies. They are all not for resus. The reality is that oncology is a very acute speciality indeed. Many of our patients are very unstable while still being perfectly viable for resuscitation. Some have an extremely good prognosis, and those who don't may have a period of reasonably good quality life to go before being labelled "palliative" hence not for resus. You will deal with septic shock, respiratory distress, cardiac arrythmia, intestinal obstruction, acute renal failure, acute pleural and pericardial effusions, PEs, acute neurological decompensation, endocrine crises, bleeds, sometimes horrendous side-effects from chemo, radiotherapy, curietherapy and immunotherapy. You will run for the crash trolley, put out the crash call and transfer many patients to ICU. Yes, you'll talk to patients and families and make people comfortable in their dying hours, but you'll also do alot more than that. My acute nursing skills have never been so challenged.
  10. DavidFR

    allnurses has Become so Politicized

    I believe everything in life is political, nothing more so than health, health care and the way we manage it. I thought the whole point of a forum was for debate and an exchange of ideas, so if we are seeing disagreements debated out, political or otherwise, that's a good thing. I do agree with you however that where that's done with disrespect, name calling etc. then no, that's totally undesirable and surely that's what the mods are here to sort out. I've been a mod on another forum and it isn't always an easy task. Sometimes we are a bit too quick to scream foul play if we have a post edited or whatever. I think in general the mods here do their job effectively. I would disagree with you on the "good 'ole days" having posted on here sporadically since 2004. Like all other forums, there have always been the spats, the trolls, the threads that get out of hand etc. and I'm sure no forum ever escapes this. I don't believe it was any better back then. In the "good 'ole days" I received both xenophobic and homophobic comments from certain posters. I once started a thread asking people their views on sexual assistance for paralysed patients, which is legal in some countries, and the vitriol I received was unbelievable, to the point of being accused of having sex with my patients (I was in occupational health at the time, so a highly unlikely scenario). I hadn't even stated if I was for, against or neutral yet simply raising the subject for debate made me the devil incarnate. So no, I don't believe we should look back with rose coloured glasses!
  11. DavidFR

    Question about uniforms

    I left the UK 20 years ago. So glad it has changed. I get the impression from our American friends that it's normal practice for them to wear their uniform to and from work, as indeed it was once upon a time in the UK. On a visit to England in 2008 I did see a uniformed nurse in a pub, pint and all. That was in Burnley. I realise that's 12 years ago but the years fly at my age, it seems like 10 minutes ago. Glad it doesn't happen in Scotland!
  12. A very very long shot as I'm not sure how many British nurses look at this site but I'll try anyway! Trying to organise a reunion of the student nurse set who started training in March 1983 and qualified in 1986 at Plymouth School of Nursing, Derriford Hospital. Wendy has done a lot work getting hold of people but some of you are seemingly untraceable, possibly due to married surnames (Julie, Natasha, Tina, Charlaine, even Steve though I'm sure you kept your surname!) If by any outside chance any of you see this do send me a PM for details (if you haven't guessed, it's David!) If you have colleagues or friends who trained in Plymouth at that time do point this out them please. Thanks.
  13. DavidFR

    Falsely accused of not passing patient meds

    If you have evidence that they deleted records have you thought about asking a lawyer's advice?
  14. DavidFR

    Falsely accused of not passing patient meds

    You say it's "probably" the 4th time it's happened. You need to be sure. Document each incident. Take your evidence to HR and involve a union if you can. If you are being bullied nip it in the bud now. People like this are basically cowards and need standing up to. Good luck.
  15. I think it all depends on the staff dealing with you. When I'm the patient I say I'm a nurse and I appreciate that people speak to me on their level. I've never had bad or defensive treatment from a doctor, nurse or other health care worker and it's generally been positive that they know I'm a nurse. As a relative my experiences have been mixed. When my parents were alive whenever either of them was hospitalised they immediately proudly announced "oh my son's a nurse" so no anonymity for me. It often meant I could get things done, especially when my mum was in long term care in her final years. Once when my mother was on an acute medical floor and frequently when she was in psychiatric care I got outright hostility and defensiveness from the staff. I worked it out that these were bad nurses in general anyhow, whereas the good nurses have always treated me with respect. Just this Tuesday I was in day care for a small procedure and everyone knew I was a nurse - all fine.
  16. DavidFR

    Unpaid breaks comparison

    We'll agree to differ on terminology. To me "on the ward" means you haven't left the confines of the space enclosed within the ward doors and that includes non-patient areas such as the treatment room, secretary's office, doctor's office, nurses' office and yes, "salle de repos" which can be translated as rest room. In France we have a single room culture, not open bays, so there aren't patients and relatives wandering round as is common on British wards. They usually stay in their rooms and if they want something or have a question they ring. You may consider it bad management to just have two nurses on a night shift but the reality is, nobody is going to put 3 or 4 nurses on nights for a 12 bedded ward in either country. I am often on nights with one other nurse. When (s)he is in the rest room on break I will only ever disturb him/her for a dire emergency, however I'm comforted that they're there if needs be and not 7 floors away in the canteen. I remember being left alone on wards in the UK and yes, that is bad management. If as you suggest, the ward area got so busy that your breaks were disturbed on a permanent basis, believe me that would be addressed in France. I agree it probably wouldn't in the UK. The fundamental difference between the two countries is that while you had years of Thatcherism the French had 14 years of Mitterand's socialism and that has fundamentally affected the directions our two nations have taken since and the state of public services today. I've been in France nearly 20 years - I appreciate my paid break, the free meal, and since it rarely gets disturbed I don't mind having it within the ward doors. I essentially still get my break away from the patients with all the benefits you describe. I occasionally get disturbed for a real emergency - so what, I'm being paid and my colleague hasn't been left in the merde. Yes, I do believe that is a more civilised way of organising healthcare. British nurses are used and abused - I've been there. I don't feel abused in France. I speak from experience. I never said it was civilised to not get a break. I said it was civilised to get a paid one, and if I very occasionally sacrifice it to help a colleague that's fine. Believe me, if it was ever abused, French unions would be on it.

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