A few months ago I was referred for Phototherapy for my eczema. Thanks to a cancellation I got to start the treatment almost immediately. 10 weeks of going to UV light therapy 3 times a week in increasing doses – Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays. My assessment appointment was on the Tuesday. The treatment was explained to me by nurse from overseas, who was lovely and friendly but whose English wasn’t totally clear. She was the main assistant to the main phototherapy nurse. She was lovely, showed me around and talked me through an out of date, badly photocopied handout, correcting some of the details along the way as there is now new research.

On my first session I walked in and was told me to go into the changing room, take all my clothes off and put on a hospital gown with then opening to the front. All my clothes off!! That hadn’t been communicated to me at the assessment appointment. I didn’t know what to do. 2 weeks after my last period, my period had unexpectedly started. I didn’t know what to do. I indicated to the overseas nurse I had a query, but she was in a hurry to get the next person into the phototherapy machine. I came out my cubicle to ask the main nurse what to do. I was hurried back into my cubicle and told that you aren’t allowed to come out unless given permission. I tried to explain I’d started my period. I was told that for the privacy and dignity for the other patients we are expected to remain in our cubicle. Once I had my answer, I waited in my cubicle until called to go into the machine, tears falling silently down my cheeks, feeling told off. That’s not how to be a nurse.

How to be a nurse though – a bank nurse was filling in  – I walk in, she says,”My name is Marianne, I’m here to cover for R”. Such a tiny thing to say, but it meant such a lot.

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