29 Sep A day in the life of – Bright Red Nurse Sarah Blakey
I was asked to write “ a day in the life”
It is a difficult task as there are no two days the same and the work can be very unpredictable.
I work in a range of settings wherever my patients are. This Includes in patients homes, the inpatient wards, the chemotherapy and supportive therapies unit and the outpatients clinic.
My day begins at 8am when I visit my first patient . It is a lady who has AML and is having supportive care in the form of regular blood transfusions and antibiotics as needed, she has had a recent admission to hospital so we discuss this, and her deteriorating condition. She tells me she would like to be at home as much as possible and for end of life care.
I assess her symptoms and take her blood. She is hoping not to need a transfusion this week as she has an invite to a meal with friends, we agree that unless it is really low, I will re visit next week and arrange the transfusion then. She knows she has 24 hours a day access to the hospital if things change suddenly.
As I drive to my next patient I reflect how it is beneficial visiting patients at home as it is more private than in hospital so can have really open communication and the patient has continuity of care seeing the same person each time, I also get a better insight into what my patients life is like, how they are managing with activities of living etc. The other benefit is it frees up the clinics so the Doctors can see more patients or spend more time in clinic.
The next patient is an elderly man with MDS. I have a chat with him and as he tells me he has felt more breathless over the last 2 days, I examine his chest but we are both sure it is a result of him being anaemic. He is becoming expert on his symptoms since he has lived with it for a few years now. He would need hospital transport to bring him to clinic so it saves him a lot of time waiting around if I visit him instead.
The final patient is a man who is dying and so I have not visited to take bloods but just to provide a link from the hospital as it can be difficult for the family when they are at the hospital so much during treatment, to then being at home, cared for by a different team so I am able to be the link between the hospital and community palliative care team.
I usually have more visits but I have to get to the hospital as I have a meeting with the health psychologist. My colleague Cath Cox and I have regular clinical supervision with the psychologist as she is able to facilitate us to support our patients psychologically. She helps us to implement much needed coping strategies to deal with health anxieties that my patients often experience.
I check my emails while I have lunch, then I do my writing up from the morning and refer the lady to community palliative care for future planning.
Next I check my voicemails and return the calls. there is a patient who is on to cycle 4 chemo, I am delighted to inform her that her paraprotien is now unmeasurable therefore her myeloma has responded to the treatment and she is in remission.
1 patient wants to discuss a new side effect of treatment and I ring back to advise him to come to the day unit to be assessed as I am concerned it could be a sign of infection.
There is another call from a new patient I met yesterday with the consultant who has a few questions having read the literature about Leukaemia that I provided yesterday.
I take a handover from Catherine about the patients she has reviewed on the day unit, then I check the blood results from this morning and arrange transfusions as needed and ring the patients to advise of follow up appointments.
I intend to go see some of the inpatients but I get a call from the consultant that they are about to see a new patient. I go to clinic armed with an info booklet and my contact number ready to support the patient and his family to understand what Leukaemia is, what the treatment will be like and to be there to support them through their journey.
As a Bright Red nurse specialist, I am there from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond. The work can be very unpredictable and challenging but is always rewarding. It is an exciting time as there are lots of promising new treatments in Myeloma and finally acute leukaemia.
I feel very privileged to work in such a good team at the hospital and be supported by such an inspiring and enthusiastic charity as Bright Red. I love that I am able to help these very deserving patients.