A New School Year A New Placement.

I am now in my second year our of a three year course, I am back in practice, new assignment and new skills to be learnt. Once again i am out in the community going to patients houses, not with the district nurses but with the Palliative Care Team. A team of specialist nurses to provide support and advice for those who will never get better.

Not only is it cancer patients but dementia, Motor Neuron Disease (MND) and many more which i haven't come across on my travels. Being a 24 year old dealing with death and dying everyday has been hard, but not as hard as some of the family members are coping without any help wanting to create the best death possible for their loved one. Best death? that may be something you may think is crazy but really its not. What it means it making sure that they dying person has no pain, is comfortable and is where they want to be, whether its at home in a hospice or even in the hospital.

When i started with this placement i wasn't sure how i would get on, but they skills i have learnt are priceless, and being able to reflect with my mentor after every visit has meant that i can ask those awkward questions that you wouldn't want to say in front of a patient, by awkward questions i mean the anatomy questions about how the cancer is growing and spreading, something most people don't wish to discuss, some are still in denial and think that it'll pass and they will recover. Personally i have found these patients the most upsetting, because by not accepting an dealing with what is happening they are robbing themselves of the time that they have left.

From all the patients that i have seen so far they have all given me the same advice, firstly, do what you want, don't wait till you're older. This was regarding things like travelling and seeing the world, "do it while you're young and can enjoy it". And secondly, don't get old, which is something i think we all wish that we could stop. But both of these words of wisdom are valid. Why put off tomorrow when you could do today?

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