The United Adventure

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

Summary about the placement in trauma & orthopaedics

Good evening fellas,

Me and Sunny-Maria have been in Finland for three weeks now. Christmas is long gone and the year has turned into 2016. Sometimes I catch myself thinking if we even were abroad for the whole autumn. Everything is just so familiar here and nothing’s changed. I guess that’s just Finland.

A little summary about my practical training in trauma & orthopaedics. I guess Sunny-Maria will write her experiences in renal and surgery ward later. As an occupational therapy student I got to do for example these things:

1. Initial interviews

It was week 2, when my educator suggested I could do my first initial interview and gather the basic information about the patient. I just laughed to her and then realized she was serious. But then thought why not, I’m here for learning and I learn best by doing things. My educator was beside me when I went to see the new patient. After the interview I had an awesome feeling and was a bit proud of myself – it wasn’t that scary after all! Later on I really helped my team through stressful times by doing initial interviews on my own.

If the patient wasn’t able to answer the questions, I did the interview with the next of kin or the manager of the residential home. I had to make many phone calls to collect the information or ask the criteria for discharging the patient back to the residential home.

2. Post-op AMT’s

Abbreviated Mental Test had to be done to every patient with fractured neck of femur. The doctors did it before the operation and OT’s after the operation. It is a 10 question checklist, and we can evaluate if the operation has affected to their awareness of time, place etc. or if they have delirium.

3. Went to home visits with co-workers

After seeing quite many British houses I have to say that the Finnish houses are more easy to modify. We don’t have that often very steap steps to the upper floor or carpet on the whole floor. Home visits were a good way to learn and use reasoning: could the patient go home, what changes needs to be done prior going home. For example there were fireplaces working with gas and we had to give the gas safety letter if the person was going to live in the room with fireplace.

4. Meetings with the multiprofessional team

We had every morning a handover, where we discussed (well, briefly talked through) about every patient: why they are in hospital, what is the rehabilitation plan, do they need occupational therapy, are they medically fit for us to see etc.

5. Splints

There were just few patients who needed a foot-drop splint. Trauma and orthopaedics OT’s weren’t the ones who made those – there was a specialist OT for that. But I had the chance to help the specialist to do splints. So interesting!

6. Reasoning the next step for the patient

Trauma & orthopaedics is the place where the rehabilitation process starts. We had to get the patients discharged out of the hospital as soon as possible. There were also discharge nurses for that. And they really knew how to do their job, asking us “Why on earth the patient is still here?”. Occupational therapist’s opinions about the condition of the patient matters a lot when thinking about discharge. We are a part of the decision making whether the patient is going to rehab, home, hospital, residential/nursing home or to a relative’s place. But we can’t make the decision over the patient’s opinion and preference, even if we know what is best for the patient. If they decline for example rehab, we have to tell them what might be the consequences and explain why going to the rehabilitation is the best option. Sometimes OT’s have to bear that burden about the patient declining.

So now when thinking back..

..What I would like to bring to Finland from UK: The warm and friendly team, who cares about you. Everybody shared their life and were quite open, and if someone had birthdays, engagements – whatever – they really celebrated it big! In Finland you’re the one who bakes a cake on your own birthday. When it was close to my last day, a physiotherapist assistant asked me what kind of cake I want. And then she baked it! And we had a big fuddle: food and chatter [UK, dialect, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Bedfordshire: A party or picnic where attendees bring food and wine; a kind of potluck]. I’ve never had such a great farewell party! (Of course we didn’t bring wine to the hospital, haha.)

Finally, few photos from our trips:

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The luggage we had to bring back to Finland. Oh boy, never want to experience that again. We paid £30 for a taxi to take us to our hostel, which was about 5km away from the railway station. London traffic, gotta love it.

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Views from Sky Garden in London.

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On our way to Wicklow Mountains in Ireland. We really fell in love with the Irish people and culture 🙂 This is from P.S. I Love You -bridge.

Overall the experience was worth it – definitely! Professionally it gave us challenges we would have never faced in Finland. I guess now we are more open, brave and ready for all the challenges and jobs in the future. All the international friends we got from all over the world is super, and we’ve been invited to Croatia and India for example. And guess are we going or not! (Just have to collect some money first). So if you doubt whether going to abroad or not – just go! You have nothing to lose.

All the best,

Mirva