The Forgotten Voices – Witness To Abuse In Healthcare

Sometimes I forget what I witnessed and then other times, things remind me about it. You hear about horrible situations with patients/residents and you think to yourself how could anyone possibly do such things to these vulnerable people. Maybe I was just naive to think that anything like that could occur around me.

It’s taken time to sort of gain an understanding of what I saw and heard. It’s taken time to heal mentality. I realised that I needed to use this experience, to raise awareness and shine a light on how abuse in health care affects the witnesses too.

I remember a few years back, I stumbled across a documentary of a care home which was under investigation for abuse allegations, I watched the horrendous videos included in the documentary. I was so enraged, disgusted and ashamed that anyone could do such things to ANYONE. I began going on a rant about how if I ever saw such things, I would never stand there and allow it, I would do this and that. Gosh, I was so wrong and once again naive.

When I witnessed the abuse, I just stood there. I froze. I couldn’t say anything, I couldn’t actually believe I was seeing such revolting behaviour. Tears filled my eyes as I turned away, gripping the wardrobe in disbelief. How could someone do that? I felt physically sick. As the woman who did these horrible things walked out, I embraced the resident. Crying together on the edge of the bed. We were in shock.

You know, I was always taught if you see something wrong, go and speak to an adult. I was the adult in this situation and I wasn’t entirely sure what to do. Questions kept running through my head – What if I’m over exaggerating? What about her career, her family and her reputation? What about the residents feelings?

I just couldn’t cope with it, it was tough. I was sadly fortunate enough at the time to have a friend with me who also witnessed the abuse. We spoke about it together and how important it was to speak up and get something done before she hurts somebody else. If you ask anyone in my life at the moment they will tell you that I am very strong-headed and determined, once my friend and I decided to report this lady. I was determined to see it right through, ensuring that something was done and she couldn’t hurt anyone else.

It’s coming up to two years since this all went on and yet I still feel like it was yesterday. I have chosen a career in care which means that I have chosen to be a continued advocate for life, for everyone around me.

If there’s one thing I could say to you if you have ever seen anything which has made to doubt the standard of care. Speak up. Don’t let the person you are supposed to speak up for suffer in silence, as a witness don’t suffer in silence. You need to be heard! They need you to speak up for them as they sometimes can’t speak up themselves. I know it is scary to report someone but you are at times the only person who is able to speak for them. Don’t let them be forgotten. We are the voices, let’s be heard.

Rhianne X

@Carer2Nurse

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Top 3 Tips To Being The Best Advocate You Can Be – My Experience

It can be tough knowing how to be an outstanding advocate and being effective, sometimes it is easier said then done when it comes to standing up for something you think is wrong and being the voice for people. Especially when it comes to working in Health care, many people face issues like this every single day and I cannot express enough how important it is. In the UK we have a responsibility whether you are a carer, a nurse or any other profession to be an advocate, this isn’t always just for your patients/residents but this could be for a work colleague or a member of the public. I was put in a situation where I was tested in the work place, I was given the opportunity to show that I am an advocate for my residents and I will stand up for them as they may not have a voice to do so themselves. 

What was my experience?

Working in a care home you have to work with all types of different people, whether they have been working in care for years (some longer than your age) or whether they are new to the professional. People work differently, at different paces, deal with situations differently and have different relationships with the residents. Some residents may find that they are able to have more of a joke with a certain member of staff but be able to confine more in another. What I experience I believe has shaped my career path and only made me want to be a nurse more, I really want to be an advocate for people who cannot speak up or who are too scared too. I witnessed neglect, physical and verbal abuse towards vulnerable people. 

What makes my experience even worse than you could imagine was the fact that you hear about it on television, on the radio or word of mouth about things which have happened but you never think in a million years that you will witness it with your own eyes. It made me feel sick, I was so ill from what I saw. I am glad that I said something, that I spoke up and I no longer feeling guilty for possibly ending someones career, I am an advocate as stated on the 6Cs and as stated on the NMC code of conduct. I will stand up for what is right and wrong and be that voice.

I have put together My Top 3 Ways To Be The Best Advocate You Can Be – I found these ways have helped me come to terms with what I witnessed and they impact my decisions every single time I work. 

1. Know The Facts

Whether its something you think is small or something big, know your facts. Make sure that you keep information on everything. Dates, times, people involved, witnesses absolutely anything you think is important to have. It could be that you may have caught the wrong end of the stick or it could be something serious, sometimes when you are so busy or there is a lot going on. Times and dates slip from your mind, make sure that as soon as you witness anything or hear anything that you write all the facts down. 

2. Get Support

If you feel like something is wrong, speak to someone in confidence. Get their opinion on the situation and tell them how you feel. I was lucky enough that during my ordeal I had a friend close by who helped me through it all, I was doubting whether I saw things right or whether I was just over thinking things. The advice they gave me helped me realise what I saw was wrong and that I needed to do something about it. I also want to add when it comes to getting their opinion, don’t let that dishearten you, some people may think that certain types of abuse can be ignored. NO WAY! Follow your gut and stand your ground, let them know how it has made you feel. Remember to work in care you need to be compassionate and have courage.  

3. Raise Your Voice

I know that before I witnessed abuse I always remember hearing about how we need to speak up and that we will be listened to etc.. I can say first hand that this does not always happen, people will doubt what you say, possibly not believe it but have in your mind that you are the voice of that vulnerable person and you need to be heard. Raise your voice loud, follow your procedures, follow the steps whatever you need to do but ensure you are heard.

If you have experienced something like what I have before how did you deal with it? Has it shaped you as a person? What tips do you have to being the best advocate you can be? Let me know in the comments below or send me a message on my instagram @Carer2Nurse.

Rhianne X

An Update; 2 Months On..

Hi! So as you can see from previous blog posts.. my last post was back in late may, which is shocking. I didn’t realise working 2 jobs would make it so difficult to write any blog posts especially since I work nights and I am able to access the internet. To be honest the past 2 months have just whizzed by, I didn’t even realise it was that long since my last post. Quite a few things have happened since my last post and I think its only fair as part of my journey to keep you in the loop.

1. Home Trips!

Since the last post, I have literally spent the weekends either working or traveling to and from England visiting family. It’s expensive and time-consuming but it is totally worth it, I have a 8 month old niece who is a miniature version of myself weirdly enough and I like to travel down when I can to see her as I feel living 350 miles away, I really am missing out on her growing and finding her personality. I also travelled down previously for my cousin’s wedding and my parents big pearl (30th) wedding anniversary! 

2. Health Assessment at University!

If you are a student or you’re starting this year at University, you will be aware of the dreaded Health Assessment needed to officially confirm your place at University. This assessment consists of lots of questions, medical history, vaccinations and a nurse determining whether you are in fact fit enough to be a nurse. I had mine earlier this week and I was stressing loads leading up to it, this was partly due to the fact that last week on my way back from England I was involved in a Coach Crash. Yes, I know it sounds horrific however no one was really injured apart from a few bumps and bruises, I managed (don’t ask how) to sprain my knee! So I have been panicking about whether I would still be able to do my nursing, and after explaining it all to the Occupational Nurse. She gave me the all clear and signed me off as fit to work! YAY!!!! What makes this even better is the fact that I have practically had all the jabs required so there was no need for blood to be taken however in September I will need to have the Hep B jabs. 

3. Decorating and Making Everything Homely!

If you have read previous blog posts you would know that I haven’t long moved into a new flat with Ali. We had decorated a lot before we moved our stuff in but because of work commitments, we sort of had to chuck our stuff in and deal with it until we had time to get things sorted. The worse part of this is that the flat isn’t really that homely. Off white walls and basic carpet with the same furniture. Since my last post we have been sorting the flat out slowly on my days (or hours) off, we have rearranged the furniture, done some painting and it is starting to come together!

4. Buying More Stationery! (Please take my bank card off me Ali.. Help)

Stationery… it still has a hold on me. If anyone is prepared for University it is me. I have been buying stationery for months now and I have no space! I am pretty sure I have every colour of the rainbow (not even remotely joking). However I blame the shops, they keep releasing things which are soooooo cute. I also have been dying to get TheHappyPlannerCompany Nursing student bundle but I wanted to wait until the health assessment to make sure I was 100% confirmed. So today I ordered the Nursing Ultimate Bundle and I can’t wait for it to arrive, I will post lots of pictures of it on my Instagram (@Carer2Nurse). The September 2018 Ultimate Nursing Students Package comes with a reflective journal, milestone cards, nurse lanyard, week to view pad and a really cute nursing tote bag! If you want to have a look yourself here is the link –TheHappyPlannerCompany

If you have any ideas of future blog posts, feel free to message or comment on here. All ideas and comments are appreciated, if it is more easier you can also Direct Message me on Instagram @Carer2Nurse

Rhianne X

 

Top 3 Things I’ve Struggled The Most With When Working Night Shifts!

In light of my previous post with the actual benefits of working night shifts, I only thought it would be fair to do a blog post telling you what I have actually struggled with working night shifts. Night shifts are not only so, so tiring but there are quite a few other things which I struggle with when it comes to night shifts. Here are my top 3!

1. Social Life!

Having worked constant night shifts for the past 3 years, I don’t even know what a social life is anymore. I mean I’m not claiming to be a major hermit or anything but working nights has truly messed my social life up. This is mainly because I sleep during the day and I’m awake at unsociable hours on my days off..meaning no one is ever available to do anything. Although I’ve struggled extremely with this, I am quite lucky that on my days off I have Ali around to keep my company. (Even though he can be a pain in my back side, the majority of the time).

2. Sleep!!

Oh sleep, how I miss sleep so much. Sleep takes the prize for the one I’ve struggled with the most, I have always loved my sleep. Since working nights, I have forgotten the feeling of waking up by myself with no alarms, dark rooms and someone to cuddle up to. On night shift mode I am a single, miserable, tired and lazy dog lady, I wish I could remember a day where I have actually woken up feeling like I have had a decent sleep because no matter how many days off I have in-between night shifts, I never really am fully refreshed.

3. Food And Diet!

 I have been on a diet now for just over 3 months, I slowly began seeing big changes when I began working day shifts, this was because I had structure and I was walking a hell of a lot. I still walk quite a lot as where I work my night shift is about just under 3 miles there and back and plus all the massive hills around here, it is not the same as walking all day and feeling healthy. Working night shift I have really struggled with my relationship with food, I sleep all day and wake up around 12pm – 1pm if I’m lucky and don’t eat until around 6pm – 7pm, I then maybe have something to eat around 3am in the morning, which is terrible. 

Although I moan a lot about night shift, I keep reminding myself that in approximately 3 months I will no longer be on full-time night shift anymore (unless the uni feels like they want to put me on night shift again.. I will cry). 

Do you like night shifts? or are you like me? Let me know in the comments and if you have any ideas for future blogs, send me a message. 

Speak soon.

Rhianne X

Top 5 Things I Have Achieved Since My Last Blog Post!

Hi guys! I know I’m terrible. I did say in my previous blog post that I would do at least 1 blog post per week but as you can see I’ve not done it, I do have an excuse though!(& I know I’m full of excuses) however since my last blog post I have moved to a new flat with my partner, which meant no internet to upload any blog posts! I also decided to widen my experience and get another job, working for an agency in a care home specialising in Mental Health which means not much spare time to do anything. 

So you’re probably wondering what sort of rubbish I will be blogging about today, I have decided to blog about my top 5 things I’ve achieved since my last blog post! 

1. Became A Dementia Friend!

If you aren’t a dementia friend already make sure you do it, you can do this by going on the Alzheimer charity website or simply writing Dementia Friend in google. Being a dementia friend shows that you are aware of dementia and you are there to help, whether it’s someone who appears confused at your local shop or someone you see struggling to cross the road. It shows them that you are a Dementia friend there to help.. not only do you get a little badge to wear with pride but you get an awesome certificate!

2. Finished 3 Courses Online Plus 2 Badges!

 When I applied for University I wrote in my personal statement that I would be completing some online courses to further my knowledge in care, I have so far completed 3 courses online and 2 badges. I have been doing these mostly on my night shifts as its quiet and I have time to get them done and surprising I am actually learning quite a lot from the courses. 

3. Applied To Volunteer For Alzheimer Scotland!

I decided a few months ago to volunteer for an organisation but I didn’t want just any charity to volunteer for, I wanted something personal and rewarding. I have previously volunteered for the British Heart Foundation as this was close to my heart due to my mother and the amazing rehabilitation classes they offered to her and me for FREE!! But after a few months of researching I decided to approach Alzheimer Scotland to see what volunteering opportunities are available, I will update you when I’ve received an email letting me know! 

4. Completed My Student Finance Application!

If you’re a student or you have been a student, you will know the absolute annoyance that the dreaded student finance is, you have constantly got to provide them with evidence of earnings and when it comes to not being Scottish and living in Scotland the process is worse. 101 questions and a residency form letter and ya girl Rhi Rhi has official received her award for student finance! (Yayyyyyyyy!!)

5. Bought More University Stuff!

Time is running out until I start University, it’s almost 3 months until my first day at uni and the panic has begun, to be quite honest since my last blog post I have gone on multiple shopping sprees (mostly for stationary). Out of my list of things I need for my 1st year, I am pretty much finished apart from a few little extra bits and bobs left to get. I have considered myself quite lucky when it comes to preparation in terms of me working and being able to pay for a bit more expensive items then I was able to the first time around.

If you have any ideas for further blogs, please don’t hesitate to message me or leave a little comment below!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend, speak soon.

Rhianne X

 

 

Top 3 Advantages Of Working Night Shift!

Well I did say in my last blog post that I would be posting a new post at least once a week but life has got on top of me again (I’m bad I know). Anyway I do have a perfectly good reason to why I’ve been rubbish with blog posts, that is because my partner and I received our new flat keys and we’ve been there decorating making it homely but also I’ve been so busy because of work and being put back on night shift which I hate! So in the theme of that I thought I would do Top 3 Advantages of working night-shift, it was quite difficult to really choose my top 3 reasons because Night shift really isn’t that great. 

1. There is more time to get things done;

On night shift you have plenty of time to get things done, whether that’s organising the paper work or doing extra cleaning, you tend to have time to spare on a night shift. Obviously this is different on some nights where it is so hectic that you don’t even get a chance to sit down and have something to eat. I found on Night shift I had spare time to spend with residents and do things with them which sometimes in the day, the day staff didn’t have time for. In my previous job this sometimes was painting residents nails or even plaiting their hair. 

2. If you have children or other commitments it works better;

I personally don’t have any children but I do have a fur baby who I hate leaving alone for longer than an hour at a time, night shift works better when it comes down to him as it allows me to be there all day for him when my partner is at work and for my partner to be there for him at night when I am away. This tends to be why a lot of people who work night shift are parents as it works around their kids sleeping patterns. 

3. You have extra time to spare during your day

I don’t know whether it’s just me where I have done night shift for 3 years now that really finds that night shift mode, I am able to have more time to spare in the day. At the moment I work night shift starting at 10.30pm until 7.30am 4 nights on and 4 nights off, after previous working 8pm – 8am I do prefer the 10.30pm start, this is because I get up at like 4pm – 5pm after getting to sleep at maybe 8.30am-9.00am and I feel fully refreshed giving me 5 or 6 hours before I even need to consider leaving the house. 

If you work night shift, what do you like about it? Let me know in the comments! 59691

Rhianne X

 

 

My Top 3 Things I Am Most Excited About For Starting University!

It has been over 2 weeks since my last blog post, which is gutting as I’m so used to writing at least 2-3 blog posts per week. I have been so busy especially with starting my new job that on my days off I am so exhausted and I literally have zero energy to even write a blog post or spell check it! I have decided that I will post at least 1 blog post per week, which I know isn’t a lot but it is when you are so busy. 

So the blog post today I have decided to choose is  my top 3 things I am excited about for starting University. My emotions have been a bit different this time around, I think it’s because when I got accepted into University in 2015 it was so emotional and I was so looking forward to the freedom of moving away and being independent. Here are my new top 3!

1. A different mindset 

I will be honest with you the first time I went to University I wasn’t mature at all, I was looking for a way to get away from home and attempt to be independent and support myself whilst learning but l failed as I was caught up in the partying, spending money which I didn’t have and romance. I held down 2 different jobs which was an aspect of maturity but I was more interested in making friends and trying to fit in rather than focusing on my course. I think the difference this time around which makes me more excited is the fact I am going to University simply to do my course as this time I will be living off campus and commuting to Uni. 

2. Moving on in my career 

For the last 3 years my career path has not progressed at all, I am partly to blame due to the fact I was offered progression in my career but I declined as I was set in my ways that I wanted to go to Uni and that was it. I am most excited about this part as I will be finishing Uni as a qualified nurse which is something which is high in the care industry.

3. Making new friends with similar interests

If you met me in real life I can assure you that I am one of the most awkward people you would ever meet, I am not awkward when it comes to working and interacting with professionals but when it comes to a situation of making friends I hide in my shell. I think this point links up to number 1 of the things which I am excited about. I wasn’t going to make friends at all as crazy as it seems as I didn’t want to make the same mistakes as before but I think after growing up a little I know the true meaning of having a friend. I’m excited to meet people who share similar interests and building on that as before when I went to Uni, I changed my interests to fit in rather than embracing them.

If you’re starting University this year or in the upcoming years, what are you excited about the most? I’d love to hear! 

Rhianne