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'What amazing things have you witnessed while on placement?'

On placement the other day I witnessed a practical procedure that left me feeling truly astonished.

It was a procedure called ‘cardioversion’. When a patient’s heart is beating out of rhythm and the symptoms are severe enough to warrant the risk of a general anaesthetic they are connected to a defibrillator and shocked. The hope is that this process will restart the heart’s natural rhythm and alleviate any symptoms.

I was genuinely amazed that this process even existed. It’s one of the amazing things about being a student nurse, you can turn up one day and be introduced to something you may never have considered before.

So while I was pushing the resuscitation trolly out of the recovery unit towards the theatre in preparation for the cardioversions, I started thinking about other things that have amazed me while on placement.

There was the time when I came back from work after spending a day in the x-ray department. I told my wife that I had seen the most amazing procedure to date. Under the guidance of x-ray, a doctor had inserted wire into a patient’s groin up one leg and down the other and inflated a balloon to allow blood to flow through the vein. Then just to make sure, he inserted a stent (a little tube to keep the vein open).

It was one of those occasions that really made me marvel at technology.

I want to know what procedures or treatments you have come into contact with through your training that have left you lost for words.

What are some of your wow moments?

Readers' comments (65)

  • HEY

    Ladies and Gentlemen !

    I have just received received an email from Ms Woogara the "Acting" on line editor of the Nursing Times.

    I will not bore you by reproducing the whole document but invite your comment on the final sentence.

    Here it is ! :-

    I hope that you consider this warning and adapt your behaviour on accordingly. If you do not, I am afraid that we will be forced to disable your account.

    Fortunately a friend who just happens to be a lawyer was with me when I opened the mail.

    I am pleased to have been guided by her in formulating a response to Ms Woogara.

    We have asked for a full and open apology to be published in the NT. I sincerely hope that happens

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  • Adam Roxby

    Hello everyone.

    As always, this is my most enjoyable part of my work with the Student Nursing Times; responding to the comments.

    Now obviously I can’t respond to each one in person but I will try to address some of the major themes and threads of conversation and possibly the best way to start with that is by talking about some of the criticisms.

    Firstly I’d like to apologise for my lateness in appearing in the comments section but I’m just taking some time out from churning through an essay.

    Here we go, I think some people have misunderstood what I meant by amazement. I don’t consider the procedure I saw to be some result of magic but I am more amazed at the fact that it’s a procedure that I knew nothing about despite having had a number of years’ experience in a hospital. I think in general, people who work in healthcare can become immune to the astonishing things that they do and it’s only when we talk about them to people who aren’t involved in healthcare that we begin to have an appreciation for what we do every day. In that respect I think amazement is the right word although I could have probably got away with saying it just the once.

    On another point, my use of slightly layman terminology was not to demonstrate my full range of knowledge but rather to get my point across to students, professionals and members of the public. These articles are read by a variety of different people and in the space that I had I wanted to ensure that I wasn’t leaving anybody behind. Hopefully if people’s interest has been stimulated then they can seek out one of the peer-reviewed clinical articles provided by the Nursing Times but the purpose of this article was to give an anecdote from my own experience but also to encourage others to share their experiences from practice. I’m glad that people have shared their stories and have found the learning process exciting. The ability to have an exciting and entertaining placement doesn’t preclude professionalism or learning.

    So thank you once again for being engaged and I’ll see you on the next article.

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  • Anonymous

    Adam Roxby | 31-May-2012 4:27 pm

    as usual, Adam, a good, original and refreshing topic for discussion, especially for students and for those who cared to stick to the title and add their own observations. I find it a privilege, which also adds an interesting perspective to one's own experience, that qualified nurses and anybody else may also participate by reading and adding their comments.

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  • Adam ,

    Well done ! at least you have put in an appearance.

    However , perhaps you would be better advised to pursue a career in Politics! You say you will respond to your critics but then sidestep the issues !

    Go back and look at my very early post and answer the question ----------Then I will be really impressed.

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  • Anonymous

    Frankly Adam I'm amazed you've bothered to give the nasty and sarcastic criticism your time of day. Well done for doing so in a composed and dignified manner so sorely lacking in comments you are responding to.

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  • Just to keep you all updated and to ensure the Acting Editor cannot deny receipt of this message


    You will have received my email dated May 31 2012 timed at 21: 36 and I note you have failed to respond.

    I am now advised to require you to respond within the next 48 hours .

    Failure to comply with this reasonable request may result in legal action being taken against you personally and the NURSING TIMES.


    Apologies for removing my full name, I am sure you will all understand

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  • Anonymous

    JRT if you have the patience for the 2nd link to open it does exist. It is an article published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology

    "General anaesthesia for external electrical cardioversion of atrial fibrillation: experience of an exclusively cardiological procedural management"

    Well worth a read.

    As regards Balloon angioplasty in simple terms isnt that effectively a guidewire introducing a balloon tipped catheter (inflated once its target obstruction reached) into an artery to relieve said obstruction?

    Just checked with my partner who is a Cardiologist and he agrees with my comments.

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  • Anonymous

    Exactly what legal action against do you intend to take against the Nursing Times and the Acting Editor?

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  • Anonymous 6:12

    Many thanks I will try the link again

    However , I have to say that in a career spanning many years I have never witnessed a GA being administered to a patient undergoing cardioversion.

    You do not need to explain in "simple terms" what balloon angioplasty is ----------I know !!

    My point relates to the original article which describes an anatomically impossible procedure !

    The original article made no reference to balloon angioplasty.

    Once again I feel forced to insist that student placements are not intended to provide "amazing" freak show entertainment. If students witness a procedure which they do not comprehend I would argue the student has a duty to inform themselves before rushing to publish nonsense.

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  • Anonymous 6:19 pm

    That is not for me to say. My solicitor having reviewed my posts believes a case can be made against the Assistant Editor and the NT.

    I will keep you and everyone else updated on this matter as it evolves.

    It would of course be much simpler if Ms Woogara and the NT just issued a Public apology.

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