Happy International Nurses’ Day!

Today is International Nurses’ Day and being a nurse myself I know how important it is for us to have this day of recognition.  Being a nurse isn’t an easy career.  In fact, it isn’t a career, it’s a vocation.  We are born to be nurses, it’s not a choice it’s in our blood.  I don’t remember a time when I wanted to be anything but a nurse.  And I don’t know any nurses who didn’t always want to be one either.

Being a nurse first and foremost means putting others before ourselves.  We are advocates for every single person who walks through the door of our workplaces.  We want only the best for them.  We skip breaks, continuously leave work late and forget about our own needs.  Just to make sure our patients have the best care.

Last night I got home from a 12.5 hour shift.  I had had my lunch break at 6:30pm.  Yes, lunch, at 6:30pm!  One of my patients had steadily become more unwell through the course of the day and until I knew he was stable and a bit better, I didn’t want to disappear for half an hour to go and sit down.

This isn’t an unusual example, most of my colleagues have had the same thing happen to them.  Because we just don’t think of ourselves first.  Some days I don’t even manage to get time to go to the loo when I’m on shift.  Of course, I will think ‘I need the loo’ at lunchtime but something comes up and I forget about my needs.  It’s only when I get home that I realise I haven’t been all day!

Staying hydrated is something we are all guilty of not doing.  We preach to our patients about how important it is to stay well hydrated.  ‘ Please make sure you drink at least 1-2 litres a day’ is something that regularly comes out of my mouth.  Yesterday I didn’t even finish a 500ml bottle of water.  I should probably start listening to myself!

But even though we all experience days when we don’t have time to eat, drink, wee or sit down, we come back day after day.  We clear up sick, poo, wee, all with a smile on our faces (even if it is a bit of a forced one..!) and we never complain about it.  I’m pretty sure in a lot of other jobs none of this would happen!  Especially not for the pay we get either!

Why?  Because we love what we do.  Our passion is to care for others.  To make sure we are doing our best for those we look after.  To put others before ourselves.  I can’t even start to tell you how good it feels when you see someone go from being so unwell they can barely get out of bed, to walking out of the door feeling 100 times better.  Knowing you helped them get there.  Even if it was just sitting and listening to them, holding their hand when they felt rubbish or giving them a big smile when they were feeling a bit down.  It’s these little gestures that make a patient’s day.

So Happy Nurses’ Day to all my friends and colleagues, and to any nurses reading this now.  And if you aren’t one but you know a nurse, please wish them a Happy Nurses’ Day and show them your appreciation!


4 Tips to make returning to work after maternity leave easier

I’ve been back at work for 2 months now and I remember that first morning drive in like it was yesterday. Going back after maternity leave was something I knew would be hard to do. Funnily I didn’t feel sad that I had left my baby.  He was with my mum and I knew he was well looked after.  But I still cried, I cried because I was going back to work, because my maternity leave was over and my bubble was broken.

I had started becoming more and more anxious about going back to work two months before I was due back.  I didn’t do any KIT days, firstly because I had no childcare to do them, and secondly, I just didn’t feel like it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, I wouldn’t give up the career I have made for love nor money.  Yet this dread washed over me.  I work as a nurse and things are always changing in the workplace, policies change, routines change, and staff change.  Going back after a 13 month break is hard.  Getting myself out of the house, dressed and ready is hard on a normal day, but making sure that I’m ready as well as making sure my child has everything ready as well.

I’m massively unorganised, I never remember to do things when they need to be done and I’m barely ever prepared ahead of time.  So going back to work and needing to make sure I’ve sorted myself as well as Oliver was a big change!

So here are my top 4 tips for going back to work:

Be prepared

Whether it be getting your bag ready the night before, or making sure you’ve laid out your clothes, being prepared is always number one!  I always make sure I make my lunch, iron my uniform and pack Oliver’s bag the night before.  I also lay out his clothes so when Stu gets him ready in the morning he looks acceptable (because we all know men never dress them in coordinated items!).

Remember it is good for you

It’s good to have that time where you are just you, not mummy.  You have a chance to utilise your knowledge and skills, to show yourself you can do it!  It’s also good to show your child that justbecause you are a mother you don’t have to give up who you were before, what you have worked hard to become!

It’s good for your child too 

Being left with someone other than you and learning to spend time away from you is always going to be good.  If they are with a childminder or in a nursery, they are also learning to socialise with other children, be it older or younger.  It’s all aiding in their development.

Don’t get worked up

This is one piece of advice I wish I had taken.  I got myself so worked up on my first day back, and actually it was fine.  Ten times better than I thought it would be.  Just take it easy on those first few days back, don’t put to much on your plate, don’t be afraid to say no and don’t be afraid to ask.  Nobody is expecting you to be at the top of your game on your first week back!

So there are my top 4 tips for going back to work after maternity leave.  Do you have any advice for mums going back?

This post first appeared on Meet Other Mums where I am a regular blogger.  Please go and check it out as there are some brilliant other blogs there!


Hot Pink Wellingtons

Ditching the Dummy

When Oliver was born I knew I would give him a dummy/soother/dodie/pacifier (what ever you like to call it!).  I really didn’t like the idea of thumb sucking, Stuart sucked his as a child and his sister still sucks hers in her 30’s, so Stu was also very keen to do anything to stop Oliver sucking his!  He knew exactly how hard it was to stop that habit, your thumb will always be with you, a dummy won’t!

The dummy was the best thing I ever decided to do.  It would help soothe him instantly, if we were out and about it would usually keep him happy and calm.  He loved his dummy, but I knew that eventually it would be something we would be taking away.

From the outset I knew I wanted to take the dummy away when Oliver turned one.  However, when he turned one, I couldn’t do it.  I had stopped breastfeeding and I didn’t ‘t want to take the only other thing he found comfort in.  So we kept on with it.  But last weekend I was sat there thinking out loud with Stu and we both decided we should just go for it. We should ditch the dummy. At 14 months, he didn’t use it for comfort, it was more of a habit!

How did we do it?

On Monday morning I made sure I went to his room before he woke up and I took the dummy away from his cot.  I then made sure all other dummies around the house were out of reach or hidden.  We went completely cold turkey, I expected tantrums, crying and just a grumpy baby.  What I got was a happy content baby, who maybe moaned a little more than normal but did really well.

Bedtime came around and I didn’t have high expectations.  Oliver has never been great at settling off to sleep alone, so I thought he would go into full meltdown.  Well I was totally surprised!  He went down with no problems.  And guess what, we haven’t looked back.  Now we are almost 10 days down the line and Oliver isn’t bothered at all.

So that’s how we ditched the dummy, cold turkey worked for us.  If you have stopped using one, how did you do it?