I arrived to Málaga for a couple of days before the practical training. I was located for those days at a hotel near the city of Málaga. The first thing to notice when I arrived, was the hot and humid climate. I had to change my long trousers for shorts.
I visited the Old Town which was flocked with tourist. Moving in the tiny streets of the Old Town was slow. But the architecture of the buildings, along with their history dating back to the middle age made it worthy. The food is good and affordable. There are many bars and restaurants which are usually full. The locals also go out for a drink or two.
Figure 1 Photo from Málaga shopping street
There are many small shops around the centre of Torremolinos and you can find almost anything you want, also there are countless amounts of Chinese shops which sells from daily groceries to decorative objects. There shops are usually packed and full of items, with very narrow aisle.
I moved to Torremolinos the day before the practice started. I rented an apartment via online, from the centre of Torremolinos. The apartment was nice and cozy, unfortunately the very first night I heard a banging next door, and later an alarm set off. So, I had to call the police because of an attempted burglary, later I got informed that the house which was embargoed was already empty and probably the previous owners were trying to occupy the house.
Starting the practice
I went to a meeting with the head nurse from the Clinic I was going to do the practices. The head nurse told me that I should buy a nursing uniform. This was different than in Finland where students also use clothing given by the employee, because of sanitary rules. There was an epidemic outbreak weeks before I arrived and there were still cases of Listeria coming out in Andalucía and I was worried I had to wash my own clothing.
One-way bus trip was 1,55€, I went a week paying the single ticket. Then I bought a monthly ticket for the bus. The bus stopped every 20 minutes and took about 10 minutes to get nearby the clinic. I had always my own lunch or dinner, and there was a store nearby open, if groceries were needed.
Figure 2 The uniform was inexpensive, bought it in a nearby Chinese shop.
I started my week with evening shifts, the first shift was nice, and I could see how the nurses interact with the patients and what kind of patients there is to take care of. The interaction with the patients is warm and natural, although there are sometimes language barriers between the nurses and patients, but the patients get their treatment. I paid attention to broad beds and small narrow passages, turning the beds in those passages needed skill. Also, the rooms were spacious and although there were usually two beds, only one bed was in use. This was surely for the privacy of the patients.
The medication is given by room number, not by name. That can create confusion if there are two patients in the same room, but I suppose there is a good practice for that. I used to have hand disinfectant in every room in my workplace, but I only have seen bottles of alcohol to be putted on gauzes., also the gauntlets must be taken from the office. For position changes there are no sliding linen, so we grabbed the patients, which is the way I learnt not to do it.
The nurses have given me the chance of putting IV cannulation, preparing medication and checking them. Two of four cannulations went well, although I couldn’t avoid blood spilling to the floor and patients’ bed. I learned much about IV cannulation with the nurse Bea.
I was supposed to do geriatric practice, but there is no geriatric ward on the hospital, the head nurse told me I was going to rotate the whole hospital from the inpatient ward, to surgery and urgencies. The inpatient ward was mainly patients going to a programmed operation, so it was mainly a surgery ward, the surgeries varied from beauty surgeries to cardiovascular surgeries. The age of the patients also varied from infants to elderly. There were some patients who were brought by urgencies unit to take more evaluation on their condition.
The work on the ward was sometimes hectic, and to add some thrill, the doctors wrote all the procedures and care instruction with the medication by hand. We had a couple of moments where we couldn’t understand what the doctor had wrote. The nurses also wrote by hand all the medication that was given that day, there were no computers. The third day I was giving independently IV medication to the patients. The blood pressure was taken manually, because the electric one was broken, also the manual blood pressure was fixed but it didn’t fill well. They told me that the situation in private hospitals like I was doing my practice was worse than in public hospital where for example alcohol hand gel was part of good aseptic procedures, but in the inpatients ward where I was there was no alcohol gel.
I received a month before the arrival the information for my practices. The University demands you to enroll yourself on the courses, and instructions were given. The first process was called the pre-enrollment where you selected the courses you do in the university, they sent ID and password for an incoming students’ website.
I went to the campus three times to take care of the enrollment, the third time I booked an appointment with the tutor to get the papers signed and enrollment happen. The area of the campus is around three metro stops, with wide desert areas
In the Clinic I wasn’t given a shift timetable but was instructed to come one week evening shifts and another week mornings.
The free time I spend outdoors walking with the locals and going to bars and meeting new people. The weather is hot and you can easily go on t-shirts in the night.
Figure 3 Me at the local gay club, Parthenon.