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My First week at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton

Another Adventure Begins

Amidst all the play and adventure, I have also started my internship at the renowned St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, Canada. This place is known for its compassionate care and a wide range of medical services, making it a significant healthcare provider in the region. They offer specialized services like mental health care, complex continuing care, and rehabilitation.

Interning in the Surgical Unit

I am starting me nursing experience at the surgical unit 6, which focuses on abdominal disorders. It’s been a unique learning opportunity, watching and assisting nurses interacting with patients with various abdominal health issues.

The Colorful World of Uniforms

One of the first things that caught my eye here was the colorful uniforms. In Sweden, everyone wears white, except for the surgical unit staff who wear green. The healthcare organizations provide the uniforms, and we change into them at work and before going home. Here in Canada, nurses and other healthcare professionals buy their own scrubs, and there’s no strict color code. This results in a rainbow of colors and styles around the hospital, which is quite a vibrant change, though it sometimes makes it hard to tell who’s a visitor and who’s staff.

From Undersköterska to Nurse

Back in Sweden, I work as an undersköterska in the emergency department. This role is crucial for smooth patient care. Transitioning to a nurse in the surgical unit here in Canada is a big change. In Sweden, our teams usually consist of one nurse and two undersköterskor, caring for six to nine patients together (depends on where you work of course). This team-based approach ensures comprehensive patient care and a balanced workload. In contrast, Canadian nurses typically handle three to five patients each and are solely responsible for them, which makes their roles more demanding and maybe even a little lonely.

How Patients Are Identified

Patient identification is another area where I’ve noticed differences. In Sweden, we use social security numbers for unique identification. In Canada, patients are identified by their names and a randomly assigned number upon hospital admission. This method relies on the combination of name and assigned number.

Medication Safety Measures

Medication safety is a standout area in the Canadian system. At St. Joseph’s, they use fingerprint access and two-person sign-offs for medications and narcotics. They also scan both the patient and the medication before administration, ensuring that only authorized personnel handle medications and that patients receive the correct medication. In Sweden, the process is more manual, relying heavily on the nurse’s diligence.

Not all Work but also Play

The work schedule here is also different. Canadian nurses work 12-hour shifts, from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM or 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM. This schedule allows for longer breaks between shifts and maximizes efficiency.

In between our 12-hour shifts, me and Luna have plenty of time off to explore and have fun. We've been enjoying playgrounds and free festivals in Hamilton, as well as world-renowned artists in Toronto. We loved the vibrant Toronto Jazz Festival, where the city's streets were filled with the sounds of talented musicians from around the world. Using our borrowed scooter, we zipped around everywhere, soaking in the lively atmosphere and the incredible music that filled the air.

Another highlight was definitely seeing ECHO by Cirque du Soleil, a spectacular show that weaves together themes of harmony between humans and nature. The story is a breathtaking journey that celebrates the interconnectedness of all living things, reminding us of our responsibility to the planet. We went to the show with Shelley, a wonderful soul we randomly met on the train back home in Sweden a few months ago. She said she was from Toronto so I asked for her number and we gained a new friendship.

Embracing the Subtle Differences

It’s fascinating to observe these differences in roles, responsibilities, patient identification, and medication safety. As I continue my journey at St. Joseph’s Hospital, I look forward to exploring more of these practices and understanding how they enhance the overall patient care experience. After finishing a day in front of the computer learning about the patient journal system I now have access and can have my own patients.

Tip of the Day

Balancing work and play is essential for a healthy and fulfilling life. Remember to always prioritize quality time with family and loved ones. This not only strengthens your relationships but also rejuvenates your mind and spirit, making you more effective and happier in all areas of your life. 🌟

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