Even though today is our last day, we are still learning so much. I had the opportunity to learn some of the tasks of a healthcare assistant in the hospital. The assistant at the end of the shift is responsible for restocking medicines in the nurse's car, counting how many syringes there are, and how many sacks need to be replaced, such as medicines, banners, etc.
Here at the Principe de Henares hospital everything is very practical, when a nurse or a healthcare assistant removes medicine and notices that the stock is finished, they utilise the modern and efficient technologies they have access to in the hospital which allows them to request what needs to be replaced.
I would like to thank GTI and Léargas for accepting me on this Erasmus+ programme, and also to the hospital that received us with open arms. It has been an experience that I will carry with me for life. There is nothing better than doing something that you love and for me it was a gift to have had this opportunity. Thanks to everyone who made this placement possible.
Work experience is an important part of becoming ‘workplace-ready’, building useful skills that cannot be taught in the classroom, as well as making contacts that students otherwise would not be exposed to.
Work experience is an excellent way of ensuring people are aware of different types of career and vocational pathways that may be available to them within the health sector. While there can be many demands placed on a hospital worker, there are also great rewards. These come from helping people in need, which can be very satisfying. Everything you do contributes towards supporting families and patients when they are at their most vulnerable. It really is a very special type of work and it is for this reason that I enjoy health care work.
As a qualified hair stylist for many years, a profession which I love, I realised that I wanted to change careers. I decided to go back to college to study healthcare and I am delighted that I made the decision to study at GTI. I now realise that I want to pursue this new career pathway in order to help people. This fantastic experience of undertaking work experience in Alcala, Madrid has confirmed that this career is what I want to follow.
I am very thankful for this once in a lifetime experience and I am very grateful to GTI, Erasmus+ and Leargas for their role in organising this placement. I now know what I want to do when I get back to Ireland, and my main goal is that I want to help people in need, utilising my experience as a mother of six wonderful children.
Thanks for the experience...
As a first-year healthcare student, there is nothing quite as exciting and nerve-wracking as your first-ever placement in a hospital. My overall experience working in one of the most busiest hospitals was feeling like it was a one in a life time experience. I made so many new friends and learned a lot of Spanish during my time here. Gaining work experience is important for potential students like me as it demonstrates that you have awareness of what working in the health service is really like. While the work is often challenging and extremely rewarding, it is not all glamorous in the blood bank. It gave me a good opportunity to develop my communication skills and experience working with a wide range of people from a variety of different backgrounds. As well as demonstrating my enthusiasm for my career choice, I have also developed key skills which will be excellent for my CV.
The placement allowed me to:
Work experience in healthcare gave me a valuable insight into the working lives of health professionals. Yet this does not mean that I have to solely apply it in a hospital setting. I can use my skills and use them for a variety of future jobs, placements or to volunteer in other areas such as, a high street pharmacy, residential care or retirement home, day centre for people with physical or learning disabilities, or a doctors’ reception.
I have also become more aware that developing key skills are not all gained from just work experience. Even looking after your younger brothers and sisters involves a huge degree of responsibility and important interpersonal and communication skills. I have gained so much experience and I think it is one of the best opportunities I have experienced and I would encourage everyone to take part in an Erasmus+ placement if they get the opportunity. You get the chance to learn so much and you can bring what you learn back to your community to be a better health professional. GTI, Erasmus and Leargas have provided some of the best education opportunities out there and for this I am so thankful for this amazing opportunity.
The last two days i've been working alongside assistant Narea, a very entertaining assistant! We had a patient today who did not want to eat his food, as outlined previously, it is important that patients maintain their strength by eating the hospital meals provided. In a fun way, Narea used her good sense of humour to persuade the patient to eat, which proved to be very effective.
Over the past two days I worked with Narea because she has seven patients in her care. These patients have not been able to get out of bed so they had to be cared for in their beds. I was acting as her assistant helping with these patients. It can be much easier to take care of someone who can go to the bathroom alone, who can move around freely even though they are sick in a hospital, but when you have patients that are immobile, it can be a bit difficult to do all the work yourself. People required all sorts of help, for example patients may require a tube in their nose to breathe, a tube to urinate, a tube to feed. It's not an easy job.
On Monday I was responsible for taking the temperature of all the patients in my area and cleaning all the thermometers so that we do not run the risk of infection or spreading infections from one patient to another.
I also had the experience of working in the stroke unit with a patient who had a stroke. I had the chance not only to see the care given, but also to help care for this patient. The patient had tubes all over her body and I helped in the process of bathing, putting on her clothes, and changing that patient's bedding. It was an incredible experience for me. The director of my area called me and told me to take part in the care of this patient as it was a very good learning experience for me. In the unit for patients who have suffered a stroke, there are two rooms connected to this room. When that patient improves, they get transferred to the next room, a special room that remains in the area for people with a need for treatment.
This has been a wonderful experience for me so far and has allowed me to see what kind of career I want for myself.
Today, Monday February 19th, we were asked to work in the kitchen to assist the team with food preparation. We worked with about 30 staff. There were many things I noticed, They had excellent hygiene standards as per policy and procedure and were so organised. Caoimhe and myself were asked to join a few doctors who were going to talk to three chefs who specialised in Dysphagia with the elderly.
There was four doctors with us and one was a speech therapist, she was there as the role of speech, language pathologist in managing Dysphagia in the elderly. They are responsible for the diagnosis of swallowing problems and determine a course of treatment direct to the chef to cook for them. I learned today that there are many reasons why dysphagia is common among the elderly people.
As they get older and they are sensitive and muscle weaken, that means they can't chew or swallow and the risk of inhalation of food is high. There was a Geriatric doctor who diagnoses, also known as as a Geriatrician for the elderly.
It was very interesting the chef had some samples of food we could taste. I developed key skills of awareness today about the role and importance of food for the elderly. It really made me consider the important role food plays in all our lives.
A typical day at work for me is checking the vital signs and interacting with the different patients. In the Blood bank " Banco de Sangre" we properly store blood,draw and maintain documentation and record all activity. My job at the hospital is a Technician assistant who works with patients, making them comfortable during the procedure and monitoring vital signs.Technicians collect, label and prepare blood, plasma and other components for transfusions. In addition, blood bank technicians consistently interact with the public, conducting interviews and testing samples to screen potential donors.
As a donor carer, you'll take blood by inserting a needle into a vein, usually in the donor’s arm. You'll then monitor the blood and pack it safely into cool bags for transporting or sending.
Working in a donor centre, you'll:
I became aware that donating blood is as good for your health as it is for the receiver. Findings have shown that donating blood reduces the risk of heart attacks and even cancer. It even burns 650 calories for every pint of blood donated. A young girl came in to donate her blood and she was an O-, I was impressed when I was told by the nurse that an O- is an important blood type as you can help people in emergency situations. O- blood cells are also called universal meaning they can be transfused to any patient in need. O- are the blood that is carried on medical helicopters. I am very interested in the blood bank area and when I go back to Ireland I am considering to donate my blood to help others.
Iron affects how thick and sticky the texture of the blood is. High iron levels causes the blood to be thicker. Raised iron levels also accelerate the oxidisation process of cholesterol. That's why it is important to check your iron often to see if your blood is thin or thick. I developed critical healthcare skills in this work at the hospital as it offered me an insight into how blood is so important in the lives of others and how donating blood can be the reason a person continues to live a long and healthy life.
The placement at this hospital has allowed me to gain the confidence I never knew i had in terms of seeking other healthcare paths which have been opened up to me in a new and challenging way. I have observed patients in all kinds of situations in relation to the blood donor issue and I was able to read body language very well in some of the patients who may have presented with fear or anticipation. At the end of the day I was very happy with myself that i was able to put these clients at ease and allow them the space they needed before, during and after the procedure
So far, for me it has been a great experience to be able to participate in this great Erasmus+ placement. This was our last weekend here in Alcala de Henares, as next Saturday we returned home. This weekend I had the opportunity to visit the Jardin Botanico de Madrid, and it was spectacular.
The Royal Botanic Garden of Madrid is a research centre of the Higher Council of Scientific Research. Founded by Royal Order of 17 October 1755 by King Ferdinand VI in the Soto de Migas Calientes, near the Manzanares River, Carlos III ordered the transfer to his present situation in 1781, to the Paseo del Prado. Next to the Museum of Natural Sciences, which was being built (now the Prado Museum), in Madrid, Spain. This botanical garden houses three stepped terraces, plants of America and the Pacific, as well as European plants. Overall it was such a great experience visiting such a beautiful place.
It has been so nice spending time with the Spanish people during the time we have been here. I have a friend in Valencia who for the past 15 years, has come to Ireland working as an au pair to help me with my six children. Over the years we have always stayed in contact with her. When we would come to Spain as a family she would meet with us and join us for two weeks. Mai's friend was opening a grooming saloon and Caoimhe and myself were invited to the opening night in Benidorm and Altea. It was a great night and we were the only Irish people there and we received a great welcoming.
Some of the Spanish people made their way over to us and spoke some Spanish and English. Later at around 10pm we were invited to dinner. This is the usual time that the Spanish people eat. We were honoured to be invited and had a great time experiencing the great culture and food. We felt special to be part such a wonderful experience.
Next day Caoimhe and myself were invited to Mai's parents house in Valencia. Again it was a wonderful experience sitting around a table for 5 hours, eating and enjoying the Spanish way of living. As her parents have no English, it was interesting to experience how we could all communicate through laughter, which was fun. The Spanish take great pride having their family gathered around a table on a Sunday afternoon spending hours together, whereas us Irish 'eat and run'! We had a great day and we especially enjoyed the lovely Paella.
The importance of supplying the right food for each patient and the correct diet is very important. The healthcare assistant are responsible for making sure that each patient receives the appropriate food with their diet indicated by the doctor of nutrition. At the time of delivery, it's important to pay attention to the label of each tray with the exact food for the patient. The label shows if the patient is diabetic, their cholesterol level etc. For example, some patients can only eat liquid food and some patients can not eat at all.
Delivering the wrong food to a patient can result in a tragedy, so delivery has to be done accurately and then the assistant collecting the food tray has to review each patient's diet. They then make a report indicating the patient's diet for the next meal, making changes where required to the diet because the doctor may indicate changes that are required for the following day.
I was impressed by the efficiency of the hospital, even at the time of delivering and collecting food, infection and control practiced. I had the experience of seeing a patient choking on food. It happened at the nursing home that i'm doing my work experience at. Here you can see the importance of making certain that each patient receives the appropriate food.
Today we learned a lot in the classroom about infection control, and how to prevent infection from spreading. I had the privilege of helping with the care of a person with influenza b where the room is isolated in order to contain the virus so it does not spread through the air.
It is a privilege to be able to put into practice what we have learned in GTI, especially in such a delicate area as infection. Today I had the opportunity to help take care of a patient in which the infection spreads through contact with others. We used a long sleeved apron, gloves and it was not necessary to use mascara because the infection was not tranferable by air.
Today I was also in charge of bringing a patient's blood sample to the blood bank. In the hospital, the Healthcare assistant is responsible for taking all blood, urine and other samples to the laboratory.
I had the pleasure of working with Ruana Mari, an excellent Healthcare assistant
Health Care 2017/18
Map of Madrid