Friday, 29 August 2014

Sunsets, Schnitzels and Social Shindigs

Since I got here I have been quite sociable, making new friends and going to theme nights. So far we have had games night, pizza night and wine night. And of course I have also gone camping and to watch the sunset. Last night I went up the hill again to watch the sunset. Unfortunately no photos this time, but it was a completely different sunset, with only a very thin layer of cloud giving more of a rainbow effect. As it got darker it's really amazing to see how different the stars appear up on the hill compared to sea level. With all the light pollution blocking them out you can hardly see any :(

After if got dark we went down to meet some other peeps at the Grand Hotel for $10 Schnitzel and drinks. It was rather huge! After the Grand closed we went to the Federal, but it was also closed, and then the Torres (Australia's Top Pub) where I just had a glass of water, chatted with one of the 'older' grad nurses and an Argentinian who works at the Ibis and also listened to some rather horrible karaoke :/


Friday, 22 August 2014

Horn Island Adventure

Well I have had my first adventure! On the 15th of August I spent two nights on Horn Island with two other grad nurses (the old new grads, me being a new new grad). After a late shift on the Thursday I did the housework on Friday morning and then met up with one of the other girls to catch the ferry over to Horn that evening. The other grad was already on Horn as she is doing her elective at the Public Health Centre (PHC) there. We all stayed at the nurse educators house and played with her dog and the kitten she is fostering - so cute! That night we went to the pub and I had a fish burger and chips for dinner. Was really well cooked, but could have done with some more chips. :)

Waiting for the ferry

Still waiting

So much cuteness!

 The next morning we packed up the ute with very basic camping gear (just the tent and a bowl and set of cutlery between us) and headed off to explore the island. We took some dirt roads and found the remnants of a plane crash. Then we kept driving and found a beach and some bunkers from the war. I think you can do a tour of Horn Island, so I am sure that there would be heaps of information available on the history of Horn and its involvement in the war.

Plane wreck


The first beach

Dog was loving it!

Hermit crabs (big one of the right and top small one). The top
one was trying out new real-estate (the middle small one) but
it wasn't the right fit, so he didn't move in.

In the bunkers

After walking around at the first beach for a bit we headed on to another beautiful spot. I walked down to the rock pools and explored them a bit before climbing back up a fairly steep hill to sit on some rocks and enjoy the view. Then had to do some rock-climbing to get back to the car, which was a bit frightening. Almost got stuck a few times, but in the end I made it out alive! We then went and explored yet another beach (no photos from this one) and had braved a quick dip in the water - also survived that!

Still loving it
Giant clam

Lots of seagrass - no dugongs spotted though


Sea cucumber

By this stage we were all very sunburnt. I did bring some, but of course forgot to apply :/ We headed to our camping destination for the night - Cable Bay (the only name I know). First we had lunch and then set up the tent and organised wood for the campfire. Then it was time for a bit of an explore and another swim once the tide came in. The water wasn't particularly deep, only just enough to cover us lying down but it was refreshing enough :) That night for dinner I made toast over the flames and had cold bolognaise as we hadn't brought any cooking utensil - as I said, very basic.

Once it got dark we were happy just chatting around the fire, which was burning nicely but then all of a sudden the dog ran off towards the beach barking at something. Well that freaked us all out, so we decided to go to bed at about 8.30pm. It was a pretty rough night sleeping on the hard floor. I did have a camp mattress but it wasn't very comfortable and my pillow and the sunburn didn't help make things more comfortable. My heart was racing pretty much all night imagining what every little noise was. The dog kept barking and growling at things, so of course this didn't help settle the nerves. At one point a large flashlight was shining into the tent - it was from a boat on the water, not someone coming to attack, thank goodness! And then the moon was shining straight in, and it was bright too. When we had first gone to bed it was cloudy, but within about 40 minutes it had cleared up and the stars were magnificent, so that was a positive :)

Our pretty little campfire :) ready to go


Exhausted after a big day

The next morning we packed up fairly early and headed back to the nurse educators home. I had a late shift at the hospital, so wanted to be back by at the latest 12, so I could get ready for work. I was OK working that shift, but the next morning I had slept so soundly that I slept through my alarm and woke up at 6.50, when I started work at 7am... It's a good thing I live so close to the hospital, as I still managed to get to work on time!

Friday, 15 August 2014

And that concludes my first week on the ward

Well I have completed my first week on the ward (as the titled my have suggested) and officially will no longer be supernumery or buddied up with another nurse. So, from Sunday I will be on my own! Although for two of my shifts I was left alone for the last two hours anyway. The first time I was left by myself was a bit stressful, as I hadn't realised that some of the paperwork hadn't been done, so I was trying to get that done, had an in-service to attend, notes to write, and still provide nursing cares. I didn't end up getting out of work until 4pm (was supposed to finish at 3.30). The next day I was much more prepared and organised :)

So far I don't have a payroll number or a uniform. I have just been wearing the pair of pants and one of the skirts I used for prac (so at least they are being put to good use) and then just some nicer shirts/blouses that I have. It was hard putting in an order form for the uniforms as I have no idea how the sizing is. It was a bit of a guessing game, so we shall see. Apparently a shipment of uniforms was coming from Cairns on the 14th, so hopefully the order got put in on time and I will have more to wear, without having to wash twice a week. And hopefully my payroll number doesn't take too long either, but by the looks of it I won't be paid this coming Wednesday. It's a good thing I got my tax return before I arrived!

Nursing at the Thursday Island hospital is so far fairly similar to nursing at a big hospital, although of course there are differences. We have lots of people come in and out by helicopter given the location. There is also limited equipment here, so a lot of people get transferred to Cairns Base Hospital for further tests and treatment. Given the proximity to PNG we also have people that come down from there, so customs are involved with those patients. Some things I've seen that you aren't likely to see in Brisbane - Tuberculosis and possibly leprosy (they aren't sure about that one yet, waiting on test results).

Besides work, nothing much else is happening. I got woken up the other night by a loud banging noise. I thought someone was trying to break in! Turns out it was someone who had been locked up at the police station banging because he was 'f$*&ing starving!' Was rather annoying hearing that at probably around 2am I the morning, and again at around 6. I guess it's bound to happen occasionally given how close I am to the police station.

Tonight and tomorrow night I am staying at Horn Island for a bit of an explore there, so my next post will most likely be about that. I'm going with a couple of other grad nurses (who are already halfway and nearly finished their programs) and a doctor. We will be staying at the nurse educators house tonight and then camping Saturday night. Really looking forward to it! But for now I need to do some housework. Not so exciting :/

Sunday, 10 August 2014

First day on the ward!

Well it's been a while since I last wrote. Not much else has been happening. The second day of orientation was dull. It was all video conferenced and hard to concentrate. I must admit I didn't get much out of that day. Thursday (7 Aug) we had the cultural program, which was introduced as to the Aboriginal and (particularly) Torres Strait Islander cultures. It was fantastic. The educator made us 'design' an island with meeting places, sacred spots, etc. and then name it. She then came along and built buildings, 'moved' us from our homes (putting us near the sewage and dump) and renamed our island (after NSW State of Origin players - boo!!). And then told us it was 'for our own good'. It really hit home the impact of colonisation on the indigenous people.

Friday was our first day on the ward! I had a very complex patient - had to give him a tablet and a do a very simple dressing on a wound that was pretty much healed. And then he got discharged, so had no patients for the rest of the day. Like I said, complex. Nah, it was a good way to ease into the ward environment, and it meant we had time to orientate ourselves to the ward, go through all the paperwork, and of course do the discharge, which was easier then I expected. Maybe being a smaller hospital (and only having one patient) it was easier to listen in on the Dr's ward round and to know exactly who is being discharged when. The most exciting part was signing off on the nursing notes without having to be counter-signed. I'm a big nurse now!

I've had the weekend off, which I thought I would enjoy while I could! So it's been quite a relaxing one. I started Saturday morning by cleaning - the bathroom needed a good thorough clean, but it's much better now :) And I rearranged the furniture - all three pieces :P Last night the girls 'next door' (we are all in the same building) had a sushi and board games night. So I met some new people which was good :) I slept in this morning and haven't done much since. Will go for a run later and then get ready for my next shift on the ward tomorrow morning :)

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Orientation - First day of 'work'

Well had my first day of 'work' today - orientation. It was as good as any orientation could be - we watched the fire safety DVD AGAIN (for about the millionth time), got set up with our passwords, and manual handling, etc. Orientation goes until the end of the week, and we have a cultural program on Thursday. There is a whole sheet of other stuff that we have to do online as well, each with its own timeframe of when it has to be completed. Thinking I might get a start on it ASAP, then it's done :)

Haven't been doing much the last couple of days. Just settling in and finding my way around, by running around the island - have been for three runs in the last three days :) At the moment I've just been doing short/slower runs to wear in my new shoes and see how my knee is. It seems to be holding up OK! I've been going between 3:30 and 4:30pm. It's been warm, but the breeze helps a bit. Except when you're running into it :@ Yesterday I went and sussed out the pool/gym complex on my run, so I'm thinking of going there tomorrow and joining up. Here is a pic from my run today :)

The sun sets later up here then in Brisbane at about 6.30pm, instead of 5.30. So it always gets to about 6pm and I'm surprised by how late it is. The sun doesn't rise much later up though, only about 20 minutes behind Brisbane. But I do have block out curtains, which is good as the light from the police station shines in all night otherwise. I think I must live in the safest part on the whole island, surrounded by the hospital and the police station :P Well that is all for now, might see if I can do some training!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

A Little Tour and My First Food Shop

The nurses I'm living with took me on a tour of the island this morning and to the local grocery store - the IBIS which stands for Islanders Board of Industry and Service. It was very lucky and convenient that we had the use of a car, so was a great way to get my bearings and do a bit of a starter shop. This place is sooo beautiful. Here are some photos from my phone.

My first shopping receipt - $100 doesn't go far. But I did buy about 18 portions of meat, in that BBQ pack, so it's not so bad I guess. And as I'm not paying for rent, electricity, or water, and get a remoteness allowance, it all makes up for it!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

A Plane, A Bus and A Ferry..

Well actually it was a car ride to the airport, two planes from Brisbane - Cairns - Horn Island. A bus to the ferry, ferry from Horn Island to Thursday Island, bus to the hospital and then a very short (1 minute) walk to my new home! So, after leaving Reece's just before 7am, I finally arrived 'home' some time between 4.30 and 5pm. Was a long day! The goodbye at the airport wasn't too bad, there were no tears! Although I had shed plenty during the week :(

My flights were unremarkable,  but I did have two seats to myself on both flights. That was nice as it meant I could stretch out a little :). Upon arrival at Horn Island I got very nervous, but the man at the Rebel ferry services was very nice and my name was on the manifest! (Which meant I wasn't stranded on Horn Island). I arrived at the hospital and got my key and starter food pack. The food pack consisted of a loaf of wholemeal bread, long life milk, tea and coffee, some spreads, mini cereal packets and 3 pieces of fruit. I was very lucky that one of the other nurses kindly offered to cook dinner for me. And it was delicious!

I am in the 'Groupshare' house, room number 15. It is awesome being only about a minute to the hospital!! My room is huge and has it's own ensuite. I share a fridge with one other nurse andd there is a shared kitchen between four of us, with a more communal lounge room. I also have my own little balcony, from which I can see the water (even if it is just glimpses through the trees) :)

The weather is much warmer then Brisbane - I am back in shorts and t-shirt. But it's not too bad. I have the balcony door open, but no fan or a/c as of yet. I'll wait till it gets a bit more humid before that comes on. Tomorrow the other nurses have offered to take me on a little tour of the island and to the IBIS supermarket. It is only open from 0900-1300 on the weekends, so I was obviously too late to go shopping when I arrived.

Anyway, I am exhausted. I'll leave you with some pics of this beautiful place, and then I'm going to bed!

Cloud that I thought looked like a duck

Ferry to TI

So Beautiful

So much space