Posted in Articles, Writing

Pressure, fatigue and burnout in the caring sector.

 
 It’s a tired health industry
 I love it when my human side sneaks out from behind the façade of

 

‘organiser extraordinaire’ or ‘multi-tasking I got it all together senior nurse’ or ‘mega capable whirlwind speedy gonzales who has 3 brains and ten arms’

 

who when the truth be told, is rarely able to achieve work satisfaction, who is always drowning in the demand and NEVER catching up, and who is so burnt out she can’t even remember when the flame was extinguished.

This crippling phenomenon is not exclusive to me-It is nursing, and medicine, and other health disciplines CONTINUOUSLY battling to provide a service with a dangerously low level of skilled staff.
Why are there so few skilled staff? Because they all leave. Because they are burnt out and over worked and under valued and disrespected by patients, by other equally stressed colleagues and by the health system as a whole.

There are those individuals who always make it work for themselves of course, but the large majority persevere through their battles not making them known in view of avoiding being a trouble maker, and are largely forgotten about. Those who have real issues with work/life/balance, with bullying, and with unfair treatment, but who have no voice.

Why? Because nobody has the time or the energy to help them.

What a tragedy it is to lose so many wonderfully experienced professionals. What a shame to those entering the health industry to have so few mentors from which to learn. Those that remain are often too tired and too stressed to give one more ounce of their being to a fresh new and excited student, and that’s the truth.

So what then is the problem and why can’t we fix it?

Economics? Poor communication between hospital big wigs and front line workers? Environmental factors? (Shift work and long physically demanding hours together with poor skill mix), or is it simply a case of working in a high pressure environment hour after hour, year after long year which in effect kicks longevity in the guts?

I guess it’s different for everyone… but something that’s true for us all, is that it ain’t easy.

 
 

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Posted in blogging, fitness, Writing

Triathlon

 

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The Triathlon I did on the weekend…

Every step of the run felt like sandpaper slowly scraping the skin off my toes. I thought seriously about stopping, taking my shoes off and wiping away the grains that were responsible, but wasn’t keen on losing time, and then there was the risk of losing all motivation to continue…

I competed in an Olympic distance triathlon today (1.5km/40km/10km) ‘Twas a bit of a rash decision to say the least, no training for 7 weeks post the Cairns 70.3 Swim and Cycle legs (1.9km/90km), but I was interested to see just how much fitness I had lost in this time, and of course I was adding in a run.

The shower was hot. Nice, but the sting inside my blistered, nicely sandpapered toes was something comparable to childbirth-That may be a slight over exaggeration, but I think you get the point. My sun tinged shoulders and face screamed the moment the drops of water cascaded across their surface-and then I exhaled.

It was a spectacular Far North Winters day. Sun, blue skies despite some patchy rain, and warmth that was conducive to casual dress-but it was the water temperature that was worrying me. I despise swimming in cold water. Makes me feel like I’m in Antarctica imitating a seal or something-I am NOT a seal. Or a penguin for that matter, but the water was ok…in fact it was the least of my problems.

“Mum. Let’s go for a cycle” Xavier piped

Now let me just say, he never says that.

It’s like ripping out his appendix with no anaesthetic to get him to ride, but today, he chooses to ask when I am a shattered woman.

“Are you serious Xav?”

“Hmm. No not really, but can you take me to the Esplanade because I need to catch some pokemon’s.

It is very windy on the Nade today. Windy August I call it, so I’m hiding in a nice little sheltered spot, writing this, whilst the ‘lighty’-translation for non Zimbabweans-young child-runs around with a small square object in his hands, dodging all the other Pokemon hunters, trying to avoid collisions with trees and dangerous moving objects, pressing random buttons and apparently catching little teddy bear things that give him points and the uttermost satisfaction with life-I’ll never understand how this game has become globally viral with millions of people across cultures, nationalities, and races, transfixed. It makes international political warfare a total joke-just give them Pokemon.

…whoever knew the secret to happiness was that simple-well kids of course, that’s who…and dogs, who do similar things with tennis balls-run after them and don a smile so big you’d swear their tongue was going to fall out.

The swim was lovely, a few waves, a bit of nausea, but I hadn’t lost that much, and I was grateful. The cycle was another story.

Me and my $500 buck second hand Aluminium bicycle had arguments with the headwind, although having said this, I thought I was fairing quite well, considering. I did notice that there were less and less cyclists on the course and I began to feel suspicious that I wasn’t as fast as I thought I was.

I approached the last turnaround and the marshall lady person, was standing in the middle of the road…

“Are you in the race?”

I was flabbergasted.

“Yes?” I yelled

“Oh. Well then are you in a team love?”

“No?” I yelled again.

What is with this lady? I mean it wasn’t as if I was the only competitor left on the course. There was one man, he didn’t quite fit on his seat properly, but he was there, and there was a bloke having a little rest while he replied his tyre, then there was the lady. Plenty of people left, I thought. I have no idea who she was, as I couldn’t see her face. It was covered. With her hair. Her visibility must have been appalling.

It’s a massive reality check when all one wants to do is go home, lick ones wounds, feel sorry for oneself for a while, beg for sympathy, shower and curl up in bed, but instead, the ball of life keeps rolling and one ends up enduring gale force winds, in the sun, buying cinnamon donuts and milkshakes for the love of a little Pokemon hunter and his happiness.

I only have one word for the run leg;

Sandpaper.

No, I can think of a few more- I am not a one word person, except when I’m extremely tired (sometimes not even then) or extremely grumpy;

Snail pace, hot (Cairns residents are lying when they tell you it’s winter. We never have winter, just less of a summer), strangely satisfying-in a kind of painful sadistic kind of way, and complete.

Yes. I completed it, which is what I was aiming to do.

The time is largely irrelevant to me, but humans generally don’t understand words…what they want is numbers.

Final time?

2:43 Hours.

Thank goodness it wasn’t over 3, and thank goodness I trusted myself enough to enter, regardless of my fitness status quo; for the experience, the camaraderie, the fresh ocean air, and the sympathy I am hoping to receive for the blisters…they really are quite big…huge, no they’re huge.

Thanks to all my friends who supported me.

XN

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