* Edited Sat. March 3rd.
Well, I must say, it's been a fairly busy week of orientation. Near the end, I actually had some time to play around on the computer (in the doctor's examination room, shivering from the air conditioner that's kept at 22C), but never got a chance to finish the post... so I'm editing it and sending the more interesting (hopefully) portions:
We've been told we can use the internet here whenever the room isn't being used for hospital purposes. I may have to work out a way to get pictures over here. Alas, I may be limited to word pictures for the most part. Sounds like most people don't mind my stories though.
We've had five days of orientation so far (yes, I'm typing this while at work...trust me, it's really slow right now.) Day one and two involved a lot of following around, asking questions, and doing random tasks as that's how I learn best, by observing. Laurie on the other hand may have spent a half hour following around, and then proceeded to make herself useful with random tasks that aren't so different from what she's done before, and especially in spots where she can observe the regular routine(Such as feeding an elderly patient). It would seem she can't stand following and can't learn from watching, she'd rather just do it.
On day one (Monday) it was a slow day, so Laurie and I were invited along with one of the nurses who wasn't working that day to go for a quick trip down to Cobar. Of course, we jumped at it. We went home around 1:30, wolfed down lunch, changed out of our uniforms, and smeared on a thick greasy layer of sunscreen. The trip included Tammy (nurse from the hospital), her sister Jodi, Jodi's baby Kilahny, and the two of us. We shared the back seat with the four month old, and settled in for the 1 1/2 hour drive in the equivalent of a large SUV. Not much to say about the countryside, the road was about as straight and flat as the #1 highway through Saskatchewan, with a random mixture of shrubs and trees as groundcover (couldn't see any distance away from the road). Cobar's a little mining town, Jodi had some police duties to attend to, and then we went out for coffee (Laurie's all excited cause I ordered a Mocha. That means nothing... she didn't see how much sugar I added :D) We were a bit late for shopping, since everything in Australia seems to close at 5pm, but we hit a couple small stores, and Laurie found herself a nice purse. Did I ever mention that in Sydney she bought herself a massive, colossal "mom" purse. Seriously, she can fit as much in there as the bag she sent home with Kristen with the intention to downsize her travel gear. I warned Laurie I'd be including this in the blog, and apparently she's going to find a way to post some embarassing photos. Anyways...... where was I? Cobar. Yes, Cobar is a mining town, richer than Bourke (OKay, I know everyone is pronouncing the "r" when they read the name... DROP IT!!, use all the same pronunciation of letters around the r as you would with the r, just don't use the r. clear as mud? I thought so.)
So anyways, we drove home after the short trip, and saw wild goats, runaway sheep, kangaroos, and apparently there were two massive iguanas that I was never fast enough to spot. It was fun, going out, getting to know some people, seeing the town and countryside.
Back to our orientation (bet you already forgot that was the original topic). Day two there was a little more happening around here, got to see some minor things come in to the ER. Apparently AFTER we left all the action happened, as in literally half an hour after we left. So Wednesday we were on evening shift and show up to find out there's been a rash of sick calls and orientation is now over... Don't worry, we weren't left on our own, there was another RN on, which means that with us they had one more RN than a regular shift. Normal is two RNs and two ENs (like an LPN, or for the non-hospital-initiated, a lower paid nurse who gets less than a year training, most of it on-the-job, and can't do certain meds, procedures, etc.) We learned a little more about running an ER, since that's all part and parcel of the job, and the doctor only comes in if someone is serious enough to warrant their presence.
And for the last two days of orientation, I was evenings and Laurie was nights. Which is why I'm at the library, to let her sleep, though honestly if she can sleep through an earthquake, I dunno why I bother keeping quiet.
What have I learned?
1. People with redback spider bites come into the hospital in extreme pain, and don't get antivenom unless they happen to have heart/lung or other systemic problems. Sooooo glad I never got bit. On the other hand, apparently if I can find out where they are, there are people who make antivenom who will pay for live redback spiders. :D
2. ECG machines are actually quite simple to set-up and use.
3. In a small hospital, when things are slow... they're REALLY slow. You can even say the dreaded "q" word and nothing happens (ie:quiet, the saying of which gets you massive glares and often brings on horrible tragedies within a few minutes/hours of saying it).
4. Never assume a patient who complains of extreme pain and may have broken something will actually stay on the stretcher where you left him, especially if you've given him something to dull the pain.
5. When you come to a small town, people have heard about you long before you figure out their name.
6. Just because another country speaks english doesn't mean they use the same words you do, or that you will be able to understand them. But having a good vocabulary that includes obscure old-fashioned words can come in awfully handy when in Australia (they use a lot of old-English three-syllable type words that have gone out of fashion in Canada).
7. A store that's open late is open until 8pm. Most close at 5pm.
8. In a small town, you can make roads so wide that the cars park facing the curb, and there's still room for two lanes of traffic.
9. In a small town, it's so quiet that you hear the car coming long before you see it.
10. No one but us actually walks places in this town.