Monday 21 November 2016

Familiar faces on the wards

November 2016: Wonderful to recognise patients on the wards and be greeted by familiar faces.  The ebb and flow on the ward means that patients are often in for short stays.   

I checked in with a charming elderly gentleman today, sitting expectantly waiting for a family member to take him home.  Having found his Reiki treatment relaxing and enjoyable last week, we’ll make sure he can continue to be seen when he comes back into the Day Care Unit for his next round of treatment.

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Learning the rules all over again

November: It’s a little less like being the ‘new girl’ today. There are friendly faces on the ward, staff I recognise from last week and a greeting or two from nurses on their well-earned break.

I’ve given treatments to clients with both Sickle Cell Disease and Thalassaemia before, but the world of difference between a ‘client’ who’s having a good day and can visit my private practice, and a Sickle Cell ‘patient’ who’s been rushed into hospital in a pain crisis is eye-opening. I had the pleasure of talking about Reiki with a young woman, clearly in deep pain despite the heaviest of medication, and she decided she’d like to experience a Reiki treatment right away. (She’s a frequent visitor, so we already have Consent Forms for her on file, so I could go straight ahead.) Within 5 – 10 minutes I could see her breath easing and deepening, her hands unclasping and the physical tension being released from her taught muscles. I stayed with her for half an hour, moving gently and quietly around the bed so as not to disturb her, being able to place my hands lightly on her head and along her side, down to her feet. When I left, she was resting with her eyes closed – what a contrast.

It occurs to me that nobody actually likes the photo on their ID badge. However, in my picture I’m wearing my new Full Circle Therapies Team polo shirt. My future here at St George’s will always be in ‘short sleeves’ – bare below the elbows, no jewellery (wedding band the exception) and no nail varnish has started, and I’m already keenly aware of just how many anti bacterial gel dispensers there are within easy reach.

When teaching school children about food hygiene some years ago, I remember explaining that a really thorough hand-washing would take about the same time as singing ‘Happy Birthday’. In Haematology, it’s like learning the rules all over again. Before and after we come into contact with a patient, hands must be washed to the standards indicated on reminder boards above each sink. While it’s common sense, here at St George’s it potentially a matter of life and death – such basic hygiene protocols are key to the way Practitioners fit into this new environment.

Monday 17 October 2016

Reiki on the paediatric wards

October 2016:  I had an opportunity to visit two Paediatric wards today, shadowing an experience Reflexologist who’s worked with children and babies for years.  Such a privilege to see how easily she’s accepted by the staff, parents and children.   

When the time comes, and we can go through our Child Safeguarding exams to level 3, it’s our ambition that Reiki treatments will be offered right here.  I’ve compelted by Safeguarding Level 1 (96.7% - very proud) and hope to continue with the next levels towards the end of the year.

Monday 19 September 2016

Explain by giving Reiki

September 2016: As all of the Therapy appointments offered by Full Circle are recorded on an index by month, and it’s gratifying and exciting to see this Patient Data List has an increasing number of Reiki treatments being given to patients and their supporters.   

It’s been hugely valuable also to offer treatments to any staff members who show an interest and can make time to experience what we’re bringing to St George’s. In addition to continued training and mentoring on the ward, I’ll be offering 4 consecutive treatments to a specialist within St George’s.   

The best way to explain and demonstrate the benefit will always be to give a Reiki treatment. 

Monday 15 August 2016

Two black biros at all times

August: Having an important bit of information close to hand when we need it can be troublesome. Whether that’s a notebook crammed with valuable medical acronyms or nurses’ handover sheet with complex details about today’s patients, an A4 sized bag is all we can carry around with us.   

Knowing that that I’ll be wearing a disposable apron each time I’m in a patient’s rooms, I’ve chosen an open top bag on a strap which crosses my body.  This may seem like a small detail but I realised, as I was giving a treatment last week, that a ‘back pack’ style of bag was becoming uncomfortable as I was reaching across an unavoidable obstacle to give a Reiki treatment.  I was being careful about my posture from a H&S perspective, but the straps were digging in a restricting my own circulation.   

A cautionary tale, with a very successful outcome today.  It’s helpful to make notes as I go along about length of treatment, any relatable anecdotes or reactions.  By the end of the afternoon, treating 3 – 5 patients, it’s hard to remember the details I want to record with accuracy. 
“2 black biros at all times” – I’m so glad I was warned.  Who could have predicted that 1 will always run out when you need it most.  Today was a case in point.  Mindful of doctors, nurses and other staff navigating the restricted space around the nurses’ station, I had secured both the Clinical Notes from the central filing system and a clean surface on which to lean.  (Before offering Reiki to the patient, I had checked her progress in these notes, reviewing as much as I was qualified to glean about her progress over the past 48 hours – nothing was contraindicated, thankfully.)   

Poised, ready to make my brief entry in today’s notes, I was mightily grateful for the reserve biro.  We aim to be sensitive to the multiple priorities on the ward and to blend in easily, so anticipation’s important, even when it comes to a humble biro.

Monday 11 July 2016

Offering a sense of balance and support... in blue medical gloves

July: In these early days of visiting patients in their rooms, Raquel and I are shadowing a senior Full Circle Therapist.  It’s inspiring to hear the sensitivity of her approach.   It becomes clear that some of the patients on the ward are ‘old friends’, people with conditions which mean they need multiple admissions as in-patients for their treatment.  Gabriel and the FC team will have been on hand to to offer massage, reflexology etc on previous visits and they’re being very welcoming of Reiki as something new and beneficial to offer.  While often the conventional medical treatments they’re going through may be less than pleasant, it feels inspiring to have joined a team who can offer alternative approached to improve patients’ experiences and support the well being while they’re at St George’s.

As and when, frequently being recommended by our Full Circle colleagues, we’re starting to give Reiki treatments to patients.  A big “thank you” to The Reiki Association for continuing to provide your clear and helpful leaflets which we leave with patients.  In professional practice, my client group are self-selecting, having been drawn to Reiki for many reasons.  With this mixed group of patients, only some are familiar with our practice.  It’s reassuring for these patients, many of whom may be experiencing anxiety and pain with their illnesses, to know that Reiki’s safe and could offer support and a sense of balance they would welcome.  It’s also wonderful for continuity of understanding to know we’re all ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’ – hospital staff, therapists and patients sharing the same information.  We’re keen to be as clear as possible when we offer a Reiki treatment. 

When it first dawned on me that I’d be wearing blue medical gloves when giving Reiki treatments, I felt a bit ‘challenged’. I know Reiki will work through any kind of barrier, so that’s not it.  It’s the practical side that’s going through my mind – won’t my hands become sweaty in the gloves? Won’t gloves feel strange and I treat ‘hands-on’? However, these are such a vulnerable group of patients, that every measure to control the risk of infection is vital. We wear disposable aprons also to keep a safe barrier between us and the patients, as well as masks in some cases.  

Monday 27 June 2016

No 'ifs or buts'

27th June:  I’m so disappointed today.  I woke with a sense of a scratchy throat, and that’s enough to mean I have to cancel my training today at St George’s. There are no ‘ifs or buts’ – if I’m not 100% confident of my health, I have to stay away.

I wonder if people ever develop phantom symptoms, an overly cautious concern about being ‘fit for purpose’.  However, as the day wears on, it’s clear that it was the right decision.  My immune system’s good and I’ll be through this in a couple of days.

The patients in Haematology aren’t as fortunate since either their conditions, or the treatments for their conditions, often compromise immune system function.  Having put the time aside in my diary, it gives me a window to review my notes.