It’s a training day. I’ve been sent to a rehab unit to learn how to give sub-cut injections of Tinzaparin, so I can add it to my roster of skills in the community. It’s all gone pretty well. Sara’s a good teacher, exacting but humane, giving me the space to practise whilst maintaining control. I like spending time with her. She inspires confidence, and the patients instinctively trust her.
She knocks on the next door on the list, and when the patient answers we both go in.
‘Good morning, Mr Templeton! My name’s Sara and I’m an Advanced Nurse Practitioner. Jim’s a nursing assistant and I’m teaching him how to give Tinzaparin injections. He’s done lots already, but he just needs one or two more. I wondered if it would be okay if he gave you your injection today?’
‘You?’ says Mr Templeton, frowning.
‘Yep’ I say, clutching my sharps bin in front of me, a little self-consciously, like a charity collector standing outside a supermarket.
‘Why? Why not me?’
‘You just don’t seem the type.’
He sniffs, and starts fussing with the things on his over-bed tray, looking up with a start when I say something else.
‘What type do I seem?’
‘What type do I seem, Mr Templeton?’
‘Oh, I don’t know. A tad rough and ready. Builder, perhaps?’
‘Well – it’s true – I have done some building work in the past…’
‘And this is the one you think should give me an injection? In my abdomen?’ he asks Sara.
‘Yes. Would that be okay?’
He turns to look at me again, his thick eyebrows quivering with alarm.
‘It’s not like knocking down some chimney, y’know?’
‘Or sweeping the yard.’
‘There’s a bit more to it than that.’
‘So you’ll be gentle?’
‘I will. I promise.’ I put the sharps bin on the table. ‘And if you feel anything, I’ll give you a hefty discount.’
‘I say I’ll do my best.’
‘Very well, then,’ he says, relaxing back into his pillows. ‘I give my consent.’
We run through the procedure again, ensuring the medication chart is properly authorised, has all the necessary details filled in, the dosage, route, start and end dates and so on.
‘Okay, Mr Templeton.’
‘Please. Call me Harry.’
‘Okay, Harry. This is the bit where I check that we’ve got the right patient. So – can I ask you to give me your full name and date of birth, please?’
‘Ah! Name, rank and serial number, is it?’
‘If you’d be so good.’
He tells me, then gives a little salute.
‘Carry on, Corporal,’ he says, and squeezing his eyes shut, slowly raises the top of his Minion-print pyjamas.