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Elective Competition Winner 2017

By Laura Dunn

Elective Competition Winner 2017


After a long but thankfully uneventful journey I arrive in Calgary. I have a few days to settle in before getting started at the hospital and my Canadian hosts waste no time in getting started on the "Canadian bucket list" they've put together, first up: learning to canoe, pumpkin pie and butter tarts.

The canoeing was good fun, though it's been a while since my arms have worked that hard. The butter tarts were tasty, but I remain unsure on pumpkin pie, maybe I'd have to be Canadian to fully appreciate it?

We also had an ill fated hike which had to be rerouted due to bears in the area, that's one Canadian experience I'm happy to go without!

My first morning in NICU was pretty frantic, and this was only the level two site, this was meant to be breaking me in gently! Before the start of the ward round the resident hands me an orange and advises me to eat it, I'll be grateful for it by the end of the morning.

Two hours and thirty babies later and she was right, that's not to mention the three resus codes we're called to during that time. Two of the codes didn't end up needing us but one of the babies needed some breathing support so was brought through to the unit.

This site only really sees babies over 30 weeks corrected gestational age so they tend to be more stable, but that doesn't stop the resus calls from being pretty intense, mainly due to the fact there are two teams working in one room, one for baby and one for mum.

At the end of the week I get to join in with the mock resus teaching in the simulation. It's a completely different process to resuscitating adults, I find my own heart racing, and I'm just trying to ventilate a doll, it's hard to imagine doing this on a tiny 23 weeker.

Luckily the senior nurse in the team helps me out by calling out my timings for breaths to help me focus, it's scarily easy to get distracted while there's so much going on. I'm glad I've a couple more years and plenty of practice ahead of me before I'll have the responsibility of resuscitating real babies!

Watch out for more updates from Laura on her elective adventures! 

Are you going on an elective?  Head off on your travels safe in the knowledge that we've got you covered for problems such as cancellations for exam re-sit cancellations, HIV needle-stick injuries or unforeseen medical expenses with elective insurance from Wesleyan.

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