Category: Nursing

Fitness in Pregnancy

One of a mother’s biggest concerns when she falls pregnant is her body and it’s changing shape. Hand-in-hand with this is, of course, her fitness in pregnancy! Will her body ever return to the same shape? How can she stay fit? Can she exercise while she’s pregnant? Is it important to stay in shape? The good news is that staying fit when you’re expecting is possible – and that’s why I’m here! (more…)

What I Want to be When I’m Big

I liked the idea of the latest post for Writers Bootcampza – Find a job ad in the paper. Write about your life if you had that job.

I’ve always wondered if I went into the wrong career.  Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do – but it gets a bit depressing after a while when I see how successful everyone else is.  I have an honours degree, with 8 years of work experience and I earn a reasonably shitty salary.  Sure, it’s to be expected because I’m ‘just a nurse’, but nonetheless, it just doesn’t seem fair.  There are people with no qualifications at all earning more than me, or people just entering the job market earning more than me, and that’s what gets me down.

It’s probably too late now to change careers completely (my parents would murder me), but I don’t necessarily want to change careers.  I am absolutely LOVING my job.  I just really wish I could earn more money, and have a better chance for growth!  Yeah, yeah, money doesn’t make you happy.  But it does buy you chocolate, and that’s pretty much the same thing.  (See previous post.)

The job ad I found: Account Manager.

Looking for an account manager to join a dynamic team of email media and marketing specialists. The ideal candidate is passionate about email and digital marketing, can think on their feet, and comfortable managing blue-chip accounts on their own. They thrive under pressure, enjoy being part of a team and enjoy working in a fun, open environment.
The ideal candidate with have prior digital (with email marketing or online media, or social media) experience in a client service role, with experience providing consultative advice to clients. Must have excellent written and oral communication skills.
You should be able to work in a collaborative environment, where you can use your problem-solving skills to assess situations, evaluate options, make decisions, draw conclusions and exercise good judgment.

I think I’d be pretty good in this kind of position..

My life in this job..  I’d be earning more money, and working in a young, dynamic team would inspire me to work even harder, ultimately leading to greater job opportunities.  I reckon I’d be constantly on-the-go, liaising with clients which would often involve a lot of travelling.  It would probably also involve plenty meetings, and business lunches.  Fancy!  Very different from my current 07:00-15:30 job, then gym, then come home to cook kind of lifestyle.

I’d probably have less time on my hands, to be honest, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you enjoy what you’re doing.  At the end of the day, it makes it all more worth it, wouldn’t you say?  I like the idea of responsibility falling on me, and people looking to me to assess situations and provide advice and judgement.

If I could go back in time, and be perfectly honest, I doubt I would have gone into nursing.  Like I say, I don’t hate my job – I love it.  The thing is, it hasn’t been an easy road to travel and after many years of trials and tribulations, I feel I should just be doing better for myself.  I think I’m well suited to a career in digital, social, PR, or journalism.  Sure, I don’t have any experience in it, but I do think I have the right personality for it, and I’m pretty damn sure I’d really enjoy it.  Perhaps the key now is to figure out how to incorporate my current career with some part-time work in digital and use two of my loves to become more content in life.

Teething – The Myths and Truths

Last Wednesday, I attended a training workshop hosted by Pfizer titled ‘The Myths and Truths about Teething’.  The talk was given by Dr Angela Gilhespie, a dentist.

I thought this sounded rather interesting as I’ve heard plenty patients talk about teething, as well as friends and even my own parents.  I didn’t understand how there could be myths about it.  Until Dr Gilhespie opened up my eyes.

It turns out there is no such thing as teething.  You read that right.  There is no such thing as teething.  Tooth eruption is not strongly associated with any significant symptoms (such as fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, crying, restlessness).  Parents say how their child cries due to the pain of teething – but, there is no nerve supply and therefore, no pain involved!

The biggest myth is that teething is a cause of serious illness.  One-tenth of all children are reported to die from teething-related symptoms however these deaths are caused by the remedies used unnecessarily for teething in the first place, such as opioids and alkaloids!

Mrs Winslow's Sooth Syrup - which, it turned out, contained Morphine!
Mrs Winslow’s Soothing Syrup – which, it turned out, contained Morphine!

Ultimately, when a tooth erupts, there is no cutting of the gum, no wound to bleed, no wound infection, no pain, no fever, and no systemic upset!  The redness and inflammation you see on the gums is due to plaque build up because babies are simply being given too much sugar and their mouths are not being cleaned adequately!

So, you may ask, why is my baby displaying these symptoms – because they truly may have fever, upset stomachs, etc..  It simply comes down to correlation and coincidence.  When we are pregnant, our bodies’ own circulating antibodies are present in the bloodstream of the fetus.  Once a baby is born, these circulating antibodies remain in their body until around 4-6 months of age.  This just so happens to coincide with when ‘teething’ starts.  At this stage, once the circulating antibodies have left the baby’s system, the level of immunity of the baby is at its lowest point.  This means that baby is more susceptible to other diseases and is simply getting sick.


The fever, upset tummy, crying, restlessness, loss of appetite (I could go on forever) are because baby is sick with something else – not with teething!  Most commonly, these symptoms are caused by unrelated systemic illnesses, ear infection and tooth decay.  By thinking it is teething, we are simply delaying the diagnosis of our babies!

One of the most common causes of the symptoms mistaken for teething is Primary Herpetic Gingivostomatitis or cold sores.  By looking at the baby’s upper palate, you will most likely see fluid-filled clear vesicles which are indicative of a herpes infection.  There is no other way you would know.  A blood test (HSV Type 1) can be done to confirm this.  If you’re wondering how a baby might get herpes, think of the number of people who lovingly give the baby kisses on the lips..  Herpes is extremely contagious and spreads very easily.

We find that bottle-fed babies are ‘sicker’ and this is simply because they have fewer antibodies because they aren’t getting any through breastmilk.

The problem with all of this is that babies are being medicated unnecessarily.  Systemic analgesics and topical anaesthetics are being given to babies regularly by up to 76% of moms, according to a 2010 study by Owais.  Many over the counter teething remedies have dangerous ingredients known to cause disease and illness in babies and young children!

In a 1979 study by Swann, it was found that out of 50 ‘teething’ children, 48 of them had a medical condition and 1 had bacterial meningitis!  If treated inappropriately for ‘teething’, this baby would have passed away.

I urge all parents, and soon-to-be parents to read up on this and educate themselves.  We need to change the thought pattern from our parents and realize the truth.

Dr Gilhespie released a book called ‘The ABCs of Children’s Teeth’.  Please check it out, it’s extremely interesting.  You can also have a look at her website.  This post is in no way sponsored – I am just intrigued at how everything I thought I knew was incorrect!


The Truth About Labour – Your Birth Plan

Often, there is so much information to take in with regards to labour, that many people don’t know the facts from the falsehoods.  Here is the truth about: Your Birth Plan.

Your Birth Plan

Your birth plan can change.  It doesn’t happen often, but it is always possible that your birth plan may need to change and your original ideas may not go according to plan. You, therefore, need to be prepared for this. Complications can, and do, happen. In order to be better prepared for this, it is important to go in with an open-mind. By all means, have a birth plan in place and know what you want, but remember that anything can happen.

It is also important that you have a trusting relationship with your Obstetrician or Midwife and believe that they want the best for you, and will help you make decisions in the interest of you and your unborn baby. Remember that although you may want to deliver in a specific way with specific conditions, at the end of the day, the most important thing is that both you, and your baby, are safe, healthy and happy.



My First Day

I started the new job yesterday and am pleased to say it was a great experience, and I left with a smile on my face.  I’m at one of the Netcare Stork’s Nest clinics.

It started off with some detective work.  I had never used the staff entrance or parking before – all I knew was they were somewhere at the back of the building.  So, on my arrival, I had to engage stealth mode and find people to follow in.  I eventually found my way into the building but then had no clue how to get to the clinic.  So I walked around (and got a little lost) but eventually found my way.

I was given my own set of keys at reception (fancy), and went to open up.  Everyone who works in the clinic is currently on leave (except for me of course), so I was sort of thrown in the deep end.  I discovered the light switches, and explored through cupboards to see where everything was and then started with the routine.  I joined the handover in our Labour Ward to find out which patients were there and what their stories were.  On entering the ward, the staff all greeted me with a hug to welcome me.  How sweet is that?!

After that, I compiled a list of all the babies that needed their first vaccinations (Oral Polio Virus or OPV and Bacillus Calmette–Guérin or BCG).  I did all the paperwork and then got ready to start the vaccinations.

Now, with vaccinating babies, there is a ton of health education and information to give to the moms and dads so that they know what you’re doing with their newborns, and know what to expect.  With my luck, thanks to flu and an over-zealous New Years Eve celebration, I have lost my voice.  So, for over an hour, I squeaked and squawked trying to explain everything.  Needless to say, a couple people had a good giggle and just called me a party animal, because clearly I must have lost my voice from celebrating.

After that, the girl who I am replacing at the clinic (she’s moving down to Durban) took me for lunch for us to get to know each other better.  It was so refreshing to have someone interested in me, and friendly, and talkative.  All along, I had thought there was a problem with ME!  Not so.

After lunch, I went to help out in the labour ward some more until 3PM came which meant HOME TIME!  Perfect hours.

There is A LOT to learn in this job, which I love.  The people are awesome, the work is interesting.  Needless to say, I’m very happy.

The Truth About Labour – Nausea and Vomiting

Often, there is so much information to take in with regards to labour, that many people don’t know the facts from the falsehoods.  Here is the truth about: Nausea and Vomiting.

Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting is common, particularly in advanced labour as women enter the ‘transitional phase’ where the cervix is dilated 7cm or more. The nausea and vomiting can be caused by the pain of labour, pain medication given during labour, such as Pethidine, and even anaesthetic medication (like the epidural) which causes nausea and vomiting due to a drop in Blood Pressure after administration.

Digestion stops in labour, so if there is any undigested food in your stomach, this is a likely cause of vomiting. It is recommended that you eat light foods in labour rather than having a heavy meal, and be sure to sip water and energy drinks. You may find that sucking on ice chips helps with the nausea, too. Many hospitals administer anti-emetic medication to help stop the nausea and vomiting.

Acupressure can help with the feelings of nausea – apply pressure in the middle of the inner arm, about three finger widths from the palm whenever nauseous, and hold the pressure there until the nausea goes away.

An acupressure point to help ease nausea
An acupressure point to help ease nausea