The United Adventure

studying, practical training, placement, occupational therapy, University of Northampton, hospital

Monthly Archives: November 2015

Are you alright!

We’re finally alright, thanks. Couple weeks ago we had a loong week at home because we both fell in sick and had (still have) very persistent flu. Because of the flu I got also experience English health care from different perspective as a patient. For me seeing the doctor (private consultation) on the other side of the city in a walk-in centre, getting a prescription and an antibiotic cost 80 pounds (more than 100 euros) – I keep my fingers crossed that my travel insurance is worth it. My visit in the walk-in centre was quite interesting because this was my second time when passed an area in Leicester where I looked around and found myself being the only ‘white person’. That’s something that doesn’t happen in Finland. In Leicester there are more than 50 percent of living here are foreign or from ethnic minority. So we see people from sooo many cultures, countries and religions every day!

I have met especially people who have Indian background and one of the funniest meeting happened on one Monday in the supermarket. I  had a annoying cough and I decided to go to buy some syrup for my throat. There I was reading those packages and couldn’t make a decision (surprise..) what to choose. Then one salesclerk asked me if I needed help. We started to discuss about flu, medicines, cultures, Finland, Aki Kaurismäki, Nokia, diversity of Leicester etc. After that the salesclerk asked my name and I answered “Sunny” because that’s the way people call me here. The clerk looked me curiously then turned and showed his name badge “Sunny”. So his name was also Sunny and he is a man. Of course I explained how my name is written really and said it in Finnish, but the moment was so amusing that we both laughed for a good while and shook hands like “Nice to meet you Sunny! My name is Sunny.”. He also asked me for a drink later and I laughed on my way to home that not everyday a namesake ask you out. Later I heard that Sunny is very common Indian name so he isn’t the only namesake I’ve here.

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For us it has looked that all these cultures can live here in harmony. The truth can be different but that’s what we have seen and it’s very positive. We have also been very happy of our international friends we have met especially in Northampton. It’s just so fantastic that people can be from India, Dubai, Krotian or Finland and still we all laugh at the same things and can share unforgettable moments together. So before we fell in ill we were seeing those nice guys from all over the world in Northampton for few days and had a good time there. We were watching fireworks for 5th of November (big day in England), dancing in a club and we also pop in a Indian parade which was for Diwali (Indian new year).

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We have only ONE week our placements to go and it will go so f-a-s-t. At the moment we’re little bit stressed about PPLAT and all the assignments we have to complete before our last day… piece of cake (or maybe not). Where comes to my mind that British people love cakes! And sweets. And coffee (yep coffee, the claim that tells British drink mostly tee is a big hoax, be aware!). To be honest we are waiting for going back to Finland, hopefully there is snow when we arrive! But before that we’ll go to see what’s other side of the see, in Ireland, green moorlands? And our plan is also check how London prepares for Christmas!

xxx Sunny

See you soon Finland!

November already?!

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Oy mates,

Long time no see! Time just seems to fly in Leicester. Now we’ve been one month in our placements and learned so many things! Don’t actually know where to begin but I’ll try to add just occupational therapy and hospital stuff here. So here’s some thoughts:

1. The hierarchy of the workers

This is very different from Finland’s style. When OT’s graduate, they are band 5 OT’s, and have to gain experience in different working places. They work about one year in each and then can decide where they want to specialize. After they’ve gained experiences and worked for many years, they can “level up” to band 6 and band 7 – and eventually come “Senior Occupational Therapists”. Above all this, occupational therapists have assistants and technical inctructors who help OT’s doing many things like washing and dressing assessments, saving things on computer, doing home visits etc. The working roles are different on each band. The upper band OT has more responsibilities than the lower one. It’s funny that usually the OT assistants (OTA) and occupational therapy technical instructors (OTTI) have more working experience (15+ years) and still they have less responsibilities and less salary.

I think we should have this kind of system in Finland as well. You can’t gain enough experience in university and decide there in which area you want to work. At least I, Sunny-Maria and loads of our friends feel like that. It would be nice to gain more experience in different working places. In uni you just don’t have enough practical training, even though there is lots of it.

2. British hospital world just loves abbreviations!

It’s a completely different language out there. People don’t just write their paper medical notes with abbreviations, they also TALK using abbreviations. How much information would you receive from a sentence: “The patient is #R NOF, so have you sent section 2 and filled the NWB pathway?” or “Pt can FWB and OT Ax will focus on Tx and considering POC.” or “Pt is happy sharing information with NOK, MDT and NRS.” This is the world we’ve been to the last weeks. The first weeks were honestly exhausting. Now it feels like we’ve settled in and can understand what people actually speak!

3. Medical notes on paper

Which century do we live in? While in Finland you’re used to that everything’s on computer: the patient’s details, previous medical notes, referrals, other professionals notes, here almost everything seems to be on paper. At the end of our placements we’re probably professionals in reading other peoples handwriting. The revolution of information technology is coming to British hospitals little by little. The staff seems to be a bit against the change. They think it takes even more time away from the patients to look things on the computer. Of course the computer systems have to be good enough to save time and increase the effectiveness of patients treatment.

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And now: How are we? Are we all right? Are we OK? These seem to be the most common questions people ask. At first we thought we looked like we’re not all right, but it’s just a British habit to ask that 😀 About 1-2 weeks ago our social life was lacking of people and we were kinda low in mood because of that. We missed our friends in Northampton and in Finland, and wished we had just come to study at uni rather than doing placements. But we breathed and rebooted ourselves and went to see people. Local pub’s movie night gave us lots of laughter with stupid zombie jokes (The Shaun of the Dead) and charity shopping, preparing food and watching V for Vendetta together with a new friend on Halloween night gave us lots of new energy. This week we’re planning to travel back to Northampton to see our lovely friends and the fireworks! November the 5th is a big thing here, fireworks everywhere!

We try to keep you updated soon,

Xx, Mirva