Archive for the ‘Rant’ Category

Why do we do it?

April 13th, 2009 1 comment

It’s not unusual – I go home or manage to meet up with my family. I’ll usually be presented with a “present” in the form of a cut or bruise from my brother or sister. More recently I’ve had the joy of a rash. These are generally trivial and more of a joke than any serious test of what I’ve learned.

Move up a few generations and things are a bit different. Here I have statins, B-blockers and ACE inhibitors of all sizes. I get updated on any recent changes (whether I want to know or not) and spend a bit of time trying to work out what the trade name actually is. This is fine, I’m (sadly) quite interested in this. I stop myself from making any real comments though – save maybe trying to explain what the drug does. Anything beyond that 1) I tend not to know and 2) don’t want to treat my family anyway.

Unfortunately my restraint doesn’t seem to be shared by my peers. The most recent example of this was one of my colleagues explaining to a relative the findings of a new study. The relative was told they “probably don’t need to be on it” and that it “has these new problems”. More annoyingly, my friend was planning to send the article so that it could be taken to their relatives GP who “might not have seen it”.

I have no doubt that evidence based medicine isn’t practiced as well as it possible could be but this concerns me for different reasons. Firstly, treating family members is not exactly recommended, even by those fully qualified. More than that, however, is the poor GP who is going to be presented with a BMJ article that the patient was told to bring.

It’s confusing for the patient and annoying for the GP. I don’t like it.

This isn’t an isolated incident either. I’ve heard of younger students advising about post-stroke medication for example.

Perhaps we should be taught about where our limits should be as students? I can think of a few sessions that this could fit into.

Categories: Medical, Rant Tags: , ,

Attendance – why bother?

February 2nd, 2009 No comments

Snow - From my window

This was the view from my window today. Whilst it wasn’t particularly bad up here England seems fairly paralysed by the snow.

However, I only had 1 class on today. The problem is this happened to be PBL at the hospital, a 30 minute train trip away. That is, of course, after I get to the station which requires a 15 minute walk.

I have no real problem walking in snow and I knew the train was running so I was pleased to turn up to PBL on time. Out of the 12 of us in the group, 6 started at 9am this week and were all waiting. From the remaining 6 only 1 other was already there. We began the process, full in the knowledge that the remaining 4 almost never turned up on time (a different post!). Expecting to see them stumble in around half past I was astonished to finish (after only an hour, heh) without them either turning up or letting us know.

Who cares?

Pretty much nobody. They’ll have to explain their absence – assuming it even gets logged – but then what? If we had waited for them, we’d be giving up our time to ensure they get some benefits. If they had turned up we’d be expected to update them on what had been said – we’d still be losing time.

I’m not going to admit I attend everything perfectly but if snow is the excuse, and it probably will be, I’d be pretty annoyed. They all get transport and my 45 minute trip would probably take them closer to 20 – for free too – it just makes my effort seem pointless.

I’ve got 2 of them tomorrow for GP, will they show?

Will it snow?

We’ll see.

Categories: Rant Tags: , ,

Broke a Mac…

August 7th, 2008 2 comments

I knew it wouldn’t be impossible, just quite difficult.

However, it seems I’ve broke the battery at least. Technically the die hard mactards would probably claim the computer itself is fine (a fair point, something I’d probably say).

The problem? The battery doesn’t appear to be recognised. Apple knows about it but unfortunately none of those work to solve it.

Honestly, I think i’ll be needing a new battery (99 from Apple!) but I plan on taking it into the Apple store tomorrow and see if there are any other options.

Apart from that, I now have grown a hatred for the MagSafe power adapter.

On the plus side, I did manage to fix our DVD recorder after my mum decided it would be a good idea to put two DVDs in at the same time…

Categories: Geeky, Rant Tags: , , ,

Becoming an “expert”

July 22nd, 2008 No comments

So today I found this article which lead me to the rather excellent new facebook design. Applications seem to be back in the proper place (out of view) and I hope it stays that way.

However, this quote from the article (my emphasis), really got me wondering:

Facebook expert Tony Beresford said that the site’s revamp was a positive move.

Just how in the world do you become a Facebook expert? Answers on a postcard please. Google pointed me here which I totally agree with.

Maybe I could be a WordPress expert? Certainly a Mac expert. Perhaps I’m a Scottish culture expert?

Sigh, not going to be reading Sky News again in a hurry,

Categories: Rant Tags: , , , ,

When is something “urgent”?

March 12th, 2008 No comments

So there I was, dashing from shop to shop in the rain (although, thankfully, nothing like that’s been hitting our friends down south) when I receive a text message from my commandant. Normally when I receive a message at this time of day when we have training at night it is to tell me it has been cancelled. However, not so on this occasion.The message read something along the lines of “please attend tonight, letter received, urgent”.

My companion at the time started asking me what I had done wrong, assuming the message had been sent to just me. I racked my previous duties to consider if I had done anything worthy of a letter from above. They best I could come up with at the time was this poor blog. I wondered if someone somewhere had found it and had a problem with what I was writing.

As we pondered, I dropped a quick message in to one of my colleagues who also happens to be a Glasgow medic. They eventually got back to me to let me know that they might struggle to make it, being out of Glasgow and having a fair bit of work to do and I inferred (correctly) that she too had received the message. I also had a lot to be getting on with as my essay at that stage was far from finished. However, being urgent, I attended dutifully.

Was it urgent?


I don’t think so anyway.

It was referring to the possible increase in insurance that might happen due to a lack of people attending moving and handling courses. This fee might even have to be paid by members! However, if that was to happen the company would pay it on our behalf. So all in all the letter was meaningless.

My colleague was really annoyed at this, as she could’ve been doing her work due in tomorrow. I was only mildly annoyed as I hadn’t really expected anything big. However, it raises a point.

If this is to keep happening for trivial matters (we have an AGM in 3 weeks, could’ve waited till then, no?) then when something that is actually urgent occurs I may be inclined to ignore it.

That said, something positive did take place which fully justified attending. We each received a new and improved first aid bag. They’re only about a month and a bit behind, but that’s not too bad I guess. Here’s a snap of the new (left) and old bag, with a pen for size comparison.


Ignoring the fact it’s a really bad picture, you can see why it’s such an improvement. Now all I need is some stuff to put in it. I think I’ve bought enough so I’ll just keep my eye of for free supplies.

Another benefit of attending was the chance to put my name down for a rather big event at the end of the month. Not 100% sure I can make it, but I’ll hopefully find a way to get there. All I need to try and do now is get a hard hat and blue suit before then. Heh, one can dream.

Categories: First aid, Rant Tags:

St Andrew’s woes

January 19th, 2008 2 comments

Disclaimer – This is not meant to offend anyone and should not be taken as such. It is simply observations I’m making about my first 2-3 months as a member. My views my change over time or I may end up correcting some of these myself in the future (who knows?). I do enjoy it, regardless of what’s here

Around the start of November in my 1st year (06) I finally discovered the existence of the voluntary first aid societies (applicable to me were the British Red Cross (BRC) and St Andrews Ambulance Association (StAAA)). I’ve still got my initial email enquiries to firstly StAAA HQ trying to sell myself to them and desperate for further information. After a while (over a month of getting sent from HQ -> Exec -> Company) I got an offer to come to some room in Caledonia University on a Monday night. By this point I was home or going home for Christmas so I didn’t go. I’m a pretty shy person and was really looking for information, not being invited to some strange place.

In the end I tried the Red Cross. They scared me asking for references, birth certificates and more for an interview (in some far away location) by the end of a week. I apologies, explained the difficulties, and left it at that. March became August before I got round to trying to find out more. This was a combination of exam and summer holidays, but I wish I’d got my finger out earlier, I really do.

I got another invitation to come to some night. I didn’t want to do this, I wanted to know more first. The same people giving my the invitation were holding a public first aid class for 4 Sundays which I would finish just before going back for 2nd year. After a few more emails and cheque problems I got on the course and met some pretty decent people. I was still terrified going into the first class but the difference here was a hotel in the middle of the city and I knew the area reasonably well, instead of a office in the south of Glasgow or a Uni towards the north(ish).

After the 4 weeks I probed into joining the company. I’d already met a number of the members (though I knew it not) and all I had to do was get a Disclosure and some references….simple! The Disclosure was a major cock-up. I handed it in at the start of September and finally got in back in November, only because I phoned and found out it hadn’t been received. It was well over a year now than when I first contacted someone to volunteer before being considered a member.

My aim here was to show the very negative impression I got out of these people. Why should volunteering be a chore for the potential volunteer? If I’d been given a standard reply to my enquiry providing my with information potential recruits would need, such as:

  • What volunteering would required
  • The structure of StAAA
  • The contacts of exec’s and companies (which is available in the members section of the website, for some confusing reason)
  • A general welcoming reply, without being ignored for a month in an email inbox

This would be a short document, kept accessible publicly on their website. How many potential volunteers are lost because of lack of information or by not being as persevering as myself?

But that’s all in the past. I’m here now. Boy, was my selling myself not required.

Being honest, and polite, I can only call what I’ve seen and heard so far as a bureaucratic mess. At the shop floor level things are pretty dandy – we attend, we treat, we leave. The problem comes higher up. A sample of problems:

  • After ~3 months of being a fully Disclosed, uniformed member I still have no equipment or bag. I would buy my own but it needs to match everyone else’s. I’ve bought my own belt, cool packs, torch, face mask, gloves, etc but can’t do anything as I’ve nowhere to put them.
  • I was never, ever, properly told about who does what in the company. What I know stems from the website and StAAA regulations (which I haven’t been given, found them in the lost pages of another company).
  • Company training nights very rarely involve any training.
  • There is a general attitude that you can’t “fail” at First Aid. I disagree. If you can’t perform basic clinical tasks you should not be allowed on duty.
  • Things are far too hidden and secret, both at a company, exec and national level. Council meets regularly (I can now see dates!). Surely these meetings are recorded as minutes? Why aren’t they available? There is a distinct lack of any communication from above the company tier. Arguments at a company level are unresolved, left to brew until they spill over into public view.
  • I only just got access to the member pages in the last 2 weeks. It takes that long to come up with an ID number and badge?
  • I want someone please to show me how to claim expenses…
  • I want someone please to tell me radio protocol (although I’ve read all about it in the regulations…which I don’t have)
  • I want someone please to explain why I need to be a member for a year before being put on a training course for a machine designed for people without training.
  • I want someone (please?) to show me how to put someone on a scoop.
  • I want to feel as confident as people seem to think I am when I go on duty.

At lot of this could be addressed by having 2 or 3 of the training nights separating new members and running through a quick session. Nothing explicitly formal but things that are relevant and not included in a standard first aid course. We get new members all the time (about 3 since I’ve been in, most following a public class). This could be developed into a small handbook available for them to read. I may even prepare my own if I see new members struggling to work out what’s going on.

I have other, wider concerns about fitness for members on a duty. I won’t lengthen this post any longer by putting them in here so they’ll be later.

I have no idea if anyone interested will ever find this post, but that’s not really the point. If you do though and are wondering whether to join StAAA/BRC or have joined and are major confused, please feel free to contact me (up to date email address on about page). I won’t bite and might be able to answer some questions.

Above all I do enjoy the work, however much the above might not suggest it.

Categories: First aid, Rant Tags:

Dislosures take 2

November 2nd, 2007 No comments

So 6+ weeks is a long time to wait for a Disclosure. Especially when I’ve already had two done previously and Disclosure Scotland has the waiting time of about 14 days. As I was looking at this last night I found out that Disclosure Scotland can be contacted to find out about the process of a Disclosure. They recommend however we contact the Registered Body first to see if they still have it, which for me is CRBS.

Gave them a ring this morning and they were having none of it. They said that St Andrews had to contact them to go “through security”. Sounds like the PC culture speech for “we’re too scared of what might happen if you’re not who you say you are”. Personally, that just sounds stupid. They must, at least, be able to do a quick check on their system and see if they even received a Disclosure in my name. I could tell them virtually every detail on it if they wanted me to prove who the hell I am.

Disclosure Scotland obviously agreed with me. The member of staff I received when I phoned was only too happy to check whether they had received my Disclosure or not. After taking a few details he told me I had one in 2005 and 2006 but none this year. Great, where the hell is it then?

I’ve come up with 3 options:

  1. It’s still at St Andrews doing god knows what
  2. It’s at CRBS gathering dust or something
  3. It’s lost in the post

Even if we take the best of these and assume CRBS sent it today, I won’t get it for another 2 weeks at least. If we look at the worst it could be another month at least, after I fill out another form.

Personally though I’m more annoyed that because of the bureaucracy involved one part of the process is happy to converse with me and the other isn’t. Just highlights another flaw in this whole system. Gah!

Categories: Rant Tags:

What goes through their mind?

October 30th, 2007 No comments


When they decide to do this? And the wonder why I don’t particularly want to live with them next year….

Categories: Rant Tags:

Kanye West

September 1st, 2007 1 comment

I fail to see why everyone keeps going on about him. Every time I listen to the radio or TV that is remotely musical he’s mentioned. The song also makes me want to extend my dogs cuts to my arm.

Categories: General, Rant Tags:

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