Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Learning and learning lots

Yesterdays attempt at a blog post had me listing all the things I had learnt from placement. Good news is that I have learnt so much that I spent 2-3 hours and I still wasn't done explaining. Bad news is that it still isn't finished and after amazing cake tonight I am a little too brain dead for the task.  So again, ranting.

... okay I am not sure what I am meant to be ranting about. Maybe if I start it will just come to me. Hmmm.

Placement is good. Over the weeks I have been in to assist (where I can) with Tilt Table Tests, Angiograms, Pacemaker placements, Biventricular Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator placements and Loop recorder implants. I have only just begun to work in the operating part of the day surgery so I am still learning a lot of what goes on in there. I know what to explain to the patients and what the rationale behind the intervention is but as far as the details, I didn't follow the flow of conversation. I somehow seem to be talking to the right people though. I started a conversation with a radiographer today asking about his role and how you interpretate the results given, for him to print out a worksheet he gives to his students that detailed all the major arteries around the heart. He then talked me through what was happening during each step of the operation. I have then been mistaken a few times by doctors and radiographers as being a medical student for asking these questions. Rarely in this area have I come across a person who said: "You don't need to know that in that much detail" and leave the conversation there.

Oh that struck a nerve, prepare for the rant.

This is an issue I have had throughout my education, people not explaining because I don't "need" to know. In all likely hood I will forget most of what I have learnt here on placement if I never end up working in a heart specialty area. That is fine. It doesn't mean I shouldn't know or shouldn't be told these details. In my mind it helps to solidify the important bits because without the overall rules the details and exceptions don't fit. It is also now a part of my job. I don't want to give something to a patient or treat a patient the way I was told to by the doctor without having at least some idea of what the reasons are behind it.

This "you don't need to learn that" issue happened with my older brother in primary school where the teacher refused to tell the little 6-year-old how to spell a really long word because it wasn't a part of what he was set to learn at that age. The school agreed as well and wouldn't do anything about it. What did my parents do? Pulled him out of that school and found a new one.

The issues that I had, were teachers in high school not understanding how I connected information. I have a pace, and often I find you don't need to go over information again if you meet that pace. Going too fast isn't an issue with me unless I have no prior knowledge of the subject area. What is worse for me, is people being too slow.

So in high school, I had a lot of teachers willing to explain or teach me things inside or outside of class. However, they felt that because I needed to ask again or request for them to sit down and run it through with me, that they had to be slooooooooooooooow and take me through each baby step and have me repeat it before I could get to the next bit. I also found this annoying because running through things from the beginning helps me to remember the broader details before I get to the smaller ones. Often when I sat with a teacher, I would have to slowly go through things I already remembered for an hour before I got to the things I wanted to learn from them, only then for the lesson to be over. Useful.

Maybe though, this is something I have gotten better at through nursing. People only try to say things once. If you don't catch what the doctor is saying has he runs away it is a hassle to find out what they said and becomes a waste of time. Forcing yourself to quickly understand information and commands to allow for the next spurt is natural for the type of work I have found myself in. It also makes the hours pass by quicker, so you have to pay attention. It is hard at first when you have spent 8+ weeks playing video games until 4am only to start working again and find that your brain is not as sharp as you thought it was.

I find it also infuriating when people wont accept that they don't know. Don't send me the wrong way, don't look so unsure because if you don't know you don't know

Having someone say that they don't know isn't a reflection on how bad they are, no one is expected to know all the details and if someone is good at their job they will know where their span of knowledge is and work to increase it. What I have done for people I have taught stuff to is look it up with them. see if it makes sense to me and hopefully this will help me to remember as well.

This happens in my video game life too as a younger person often finding myself talking to a slightly older crowds at conventions. "Oh yeah, that was the best game, remember?" No... I don't. I didn't play that game. I didn't grow up in the loving arms of Nintendo. The first 'new' game I got for myself and myself only was Final Fantasy X, in 2005. You can't fake that you played that game or know all about it when you simply didn't. You can't magically add loved childhood games to your list when you didn't play them. An old friend of mine used to do that and it drove me up the wall. Younger than I, kept on going on about the Atari generation and how great that was. Come on man, you can't bullshit like that, you weren't even a part of that generation nor did you own an Atari console until you were 17. Lord.

I guess the take away message from this is that learning isn't easy but it makes life easier in ways. Through weeks of focusing on knowing as much as I can from this area in such a short time I have found the general nursing practices a lot easier. Mixing medications becomes easier because you know where it is going and why we want it to be there. Talking to worried patients becomes easier because you know what their care is. I will be sad to leave this learning experience but happy to be able to sleep and play more video games.

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