The Orthopedic Trauma World

Caroline Buttress

Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Nursing and Midwifery
Course: BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing
Category: Nursing and midwifery

17 May 2019

No single placement is alike and this could not be truer when considering my last placement on the Orthopedic Trauma ward at Peterborough City Hospital. I had already experienced a placement on an elective Orthopedic ward so I thought that I had some idea of what I was about to encounter... I was wrong!

Unlike the patients on the elective ward, who are booked in for their surgery and have a planned and organised admission, all of the patients I encountered on the trauma ward had not had the good fortune of such preparation.  Admitted for emergency surgery following accidents and incidents ranging from general domestic trips and falls, car accidents and, very sadly, failed suicide attempts, these patients frequently presented with a multitude of issues. Fixing their bones was just a small part in their holistic recovery, as many had a range of other needs to consider.

Following surgery, it is the role of nursing staff and the wider multidisciplinary team to both physically and mentally rehabilitate these patients, many of whom had life changing injuries, so that they can hopefully regain some quality of life.  Often this was challenging due the complexities of each case, but luckily the staff on this ward were determined and motivated to rise to the challenge and enhance patient experience.

I was made to feel very welcome and valued by all members of the team and after a couple of weeks, under the long-armed supervision of my mentor, I was entrusted with a cohort of my own patients on each shift. To begin with, I have to admit that I was a bit trepidatious about taking on this responsibility but soon got into the swing of things and it actually really boosted the confidence I had in myself and my clinical knowledge.

My mentor, an Orthopedic nurse of 35 years, went above and beyond to enhance my learning experience and assured me that she too had confidence in my capabilities.  Eager to learn about patient experiences throughout their admission, I spoke with the wider team and was able to work closely alongside them.  On some occasions I was able to follow my patients down to theatre and witness their surgery.  One patient had had a serious fall and needed reconstructive surgery on both his hip and ankle, it was truly fascinating to watch the surgeons at work. On a separate occasion I went down to watch another patient have an infected abscess drained (this procedure is not for the faint hearted!).

The Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy team work very closely with the ward nurses and I often had the privilege of working in collaboration with them for the sake of patient rehabilitation. Most importantly I had the absolute pleasure and privilege of working with lots of different patients, people of all ages, from all walks of life that, in the main, just wanted to get better and get on with their lives. Many of these people had been previously active and it would seem that this was their drive to push through the pain of their injuries to once again lead a full and normal life.

All in all a wonderful bunch of people that made my time on this placement a wholly enjoyable learning experience.  Now onwards and upwards to my final sign off placement… Gulp!

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