Tele’s Claire gets plastered by staff at Ninewells

It’s not often you’re invited to come and get plastered at Ninewells.

But our reporter Claire Hutchison was invited along to the fifth National Casting event to have a go at putting a cast on a volunteer, and describes how she got on below (Claire’s casting session).

The orthopaedic unit was opened up to staff and students in a bid to show exactly what goes into helping patients suffering from breaks and sprains – and just how much skill is involved.

Participants at the event got to try their hand at plaster casting and applying splints.

It came at a particularly fitting time for NHS Tayside, which is due to open a major trauma centre on November 19.

Tara Gellan gets a cast put on by Claire MacDonald and Craig Forbes

Lesley McNicol, senior charge nurse and event organiser, said orthopaedic staff will be heavily involved in the new unit.

She said: “If someone has had a major trauma, they will probably have multiple broken bones.

“We will see them through from the beginning to the end of treatment, with lots of support in the middle.”

Tina Osborne, senior product manager for event organisers BSN Medical, said the event was an excellent opportunity for medical staff to showcase the work of staff.

She said: “National Casting Day is an event to celebrate and promote the skills and services of plaster rooms, orthopaedic and fracture teams.”

Claire’s casting session

Mary Thomson (top row) shows Claire how its done with help from Anna-Mae Rooney. Above (right) Tara Gellan gets a cast put on by Claire MacDonald and Craig Forbes.
Mary Thomson shows Claire how its done with help from Anna-Mae Rooney

I jumped off a swing and broke my arm when I was 12, leaving me stuck with a bright pink plaster cast for the first few months of secondary school.

Little did I know that 11 years later, I would be on the other side of the chair, plastering up someone else.

The orthopaedics unit at Ninewells Hospital was bustling with all kinds of patients suffering from breaks and sprains.

I learned how to put a plaster of Paris backslab cast on my unlucky victim Anna-Mae Rooney, a 19-year-old nursing student at Dundee University.

Anna-Mae is still learning the ropes herself.

My teacher, Ninewells healthcare assistant Mary Thomson, taught me to measure a gauze bandage strip and place it on the table, then make eight layers of plaster of Paris.

The dry gauze was then applied around the forearm, the plaster slab was immersed in water and I placed it smoothly on Anna-Mae’s arm.

Finally, a short strip of gauze bandage was soaked and applied around her arm and sealed off with a final piece of plaster on top.

Having been awarded a four out of 10 for my efforts, I think it’s unlikely that a career in nursing is in my future.