Locked in a room for seven hours with twenty-five nurses... it's not everyone's idea of a hard first day at work.
But anyhoo, I'm back, I'm alive (though not entirely awake) and I've learnt a lot of valuable lessons. I've also met Duncan Selbie, the Chief Executive, who told us that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. If I followed advice like that, I wouldn't have a blog.
Anyhoo, my journey to Haywards Heath on the free NHS bus was a constant joy. Lisa walked me to the bus stop to make sure I didn't lose my sandwiches, and I tried to sit next to someone who looked more like Milhouse than Nelson Muntz. Frankly I was lucky I got a seat at all. But having travelled through the Sussex countryside at high speed on a bus which was clearly exceeding the safety limits on standing passengers, we arrived at the Princess Royal Hospital (ten minutes late - I'd complain if it wasn't free), and I found my way to the seminar room to pick up my name badge and welcome folder.
Or I would have done if (a) they'd managed to find me on the list, and (b) they hadn't run out of folders. It was all sorted by lunchtime though, and I have to say that wearing a badge with a star where your name should be is definitely a conversation starter at coffee break. I told everyone I was Employee of the Month at McDonalds.
There were about thirty of us there, of which four were men and most were nurses. In fact we were given the startling statistic (which I'm inclined to disbelieve) that of the 5,500 people who work for the Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals Trust, 71% are women are 74% are part-time. So if I want to fit in, I'll either have to work less or have a sex change.
To be honest though, I seemed to fit in quite well. I sat at the back with the old fogies (we were all over thirty), and we spent the day moaning to each other about the heating, the coffee, and the fact that none of us could see the screen without our glasses. We also came bottom of the 'fun' (I'm putting that word in inverted commas) quiz because we thought that Philip Larkin wrote 'The Darling Buds of May'. I'm taking no responsibility for that one.
Anyway, if you think seven hours of lectures about core values, information governance, diversity, occupational health, complaints awareness and library records sounds a little on the dull side, then you'd be... um... mostly right, but on the bright side, the day also featured twenty-five minutes of information on the hospital's 'Major Incident Plan'. So I now know what to do if we're hit by a tsunami. Apparently you close your eyes and swim for it.
Anyhoo, I was home before six, so now I just need to fill in my course appraisal form, make tomorrow's sandwiches, pack my bag and set the alarm for 6:30am, and I can go to bed. Am I really supposed to do this every day until I retire?