Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

I should have been with patients.

So, last week I went to a one day mandatory retreat related to a work committee. The two main topics were How to Organize and Complete Projects and the second, Communication.

Interesting fact learned in the first hour: Success is 90 % communication.

Interesting fact learned in fifth hour: Proportion of time spent on communication for projects: 90%

I’m okay with the first fact, the second one, eh, no. Not okay.

If the group is comprised of professionals, or, people that like to think they are “professionals”, why is the proportion of time so high for communication from beginning to end of project. I see the need at the beginning, but what about initiative? Independent follow through?

Grown-ups that need to be spoon fed, are one of my least favorite things. (I give the new nurse, fresh out of school, exception to this attitude of mine.)

The words ‘self-starter’, ‘autonomy’, ‘follow through’…oh, oh, my favorite.. Accountability.

I should have stood up, gotten on one of the tables, and demanded we talk about accountability.

Right after the CNO left, yep, right after she gave the intro for the visiting speakers then left.

It would have been memorable.


Proof there is art everywhere

Here’s a Sunday afternoon treat  – You don’t  have to be in the medical profession to enjoy this work of art.




Taking a closer look

Betsy at Off The Charts posted this essay published by a mother who, with delicate clarity, points out a ‘Blind Spot’ most of us have.

Please read it. It’s value is priceless.




What’s the first sound you hear in the morning?

Last week was a long week, and I began Friday morning not with a sense of enthusiasm for the tasks to come, but with only a steely resolve  to stay focused and give good nursing care.

My first patient broke  through my guarded demeanor in the most wonderful way.

Her care involved me getting a nurse specialist to come from the third floor to do one  task.

Within five minutes of her arrival, I heard the steady wavelike swish with a regular pop-like drum sound every  half a second coming from behind the curtain.

They’re fetal heart tones, and if you’re not one to find coffee as the salve to getting through the day, I’d say this is actually a better deal. ( This is one of those cool perks to being a nurse.

*My patient was there for a procedure to help her carry her baby to term.

Fetal heart tones, when you hear them, sync with yours. Even if it is not you carrying the baby. There is a power behind them. I could sit here at the computer for hours and still not figure out how to describe it. All I can say is…

My day improved tenfold.



I went to the memorial service of a nurse I worked with twenty years ago.

A Facebook acquaintance made me aware of this elderly nurse’s passing.

The Facebook/nurse friend has quite conservative views compared to mine. I did not expect a friendship to be rekindled at the service. I just wanted to pay my respects. Jean was a strong nurse, a presence. You knew when you looked in her eyes that she’d seen a lot. And helped many people.

The service — nothing in particular stood out. I had heard the stories told by speakers who walked to the front. The last song played surprised me. Jean had specifically picked a country tune. I was thinking it’d be Frank Sinatra or another crooner.

So then I made conversation, left the parlor, got in my car, saw a green funeral procession visor tag stuck under my wiper and that’s when it all changed.

In bolder vertical letters on one side of it was the word ‘FUNERAL’. Something in much small print covered the other side. A commitment prevented me from going on to the cemetery and not having to sneak away before the end ( tacky), so I hurriedly placed the tag on the seat and headed down the road.

When I later got home, I flipped the card over to the other side. It was a poem, Desiderata.

I read it

I’m in love with it, not the author; this is not an envy issue. It’s the intent, the instruction is priceless, lyrical and at the same time crystal clear.

I’ve typed it below. The acknowledgment is at the end.


                                                              By Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise, and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune but do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here. Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be and whatever your labors and aspirations, In the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.


I love how this was placed in my path.


Word tags – Gratitude and Humility

I was angry about my doctor putting me on more medication. Then I clocked in and  met a guy angry  he didn’t have any legs.


Dancing on the Dark Side

darthYes, the title is a teaser.

This post is about running a meeting, my first, at work. My shame will pass. If you’ve read the title, it  means you opened the post, so I’m halfway to getting a comment – that warm fuzzy feeling of having connected with friends and my WordPress family will propel me forward…

My loyal subjects were members of different areas in surgical services. The Director of surgery, she came for the first twenty minutes as she had things to share from our JCAHO visit ( A visit from JCAHO is like having Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, Kylo Ren, Supreme leader Snork all come to see how things are going).

When she left, I put on my ‘Don’t Mess with Me, I’m in charge ‘ face. I got through half the agenda. Too many eyes were staring at me. Too many “Really, we’re away from our real jobs for this?” looks. Some appeared interested – I think it was a perfected practice. ( I know because I’ve done it)

See, I ran out of steam. I couldn’t pull it off. My eyes dropped to the paper in front of me. Thankfully, I had informative sheets to share from a meeting I attended a month earlier. A good five minutes was spent summarizing each.

After, two attendees from different departments discussed a solution regarding patient positioning for ERCP procedures. I beamed like a proud momma as they interacted in our little professional peer setting.

We adjourned the meeting and I walked away with the feeling that I could do this.

For another ten months.

Only ten months.

No more.


It’s just a number

So, I’ve been fifty two for twenty four hour.

It physically feels the same as fifty-one. For now.


An incredible surprise visit from my daughter made day #1 simply amazing – a virtual cake walk.

Pun intended.




bicepJust when I was reaching a low point in my self discipline regarding exercise, hope came at 0900 this last Wednesday. “Hope” ( can’t   tell you his real name) walked down the hall, quadriceps flexing, causing a rivet of wrinkling in his Bermuda shorts, his arms jutting out from his side. A chest that must have measured almost two yards made it impossible for his arms to drop lower toward his hips.

Breezing through his history to confirm the main reason for his visit, I saw the word ‘bodybuilder’.

No kidding.

I stayed oh so professional until a coworker that recognized him from her gym, stopped and said “Hello”. Then the Anesthesiologist came. He made reference to how long ‘Hope’ would have to wait before returning to his workout regime.

I was mesmerized by his muscles. No funny stuff here people. Half a century ago I was an athlete. It was all respect. All respect. But I dropped the bar a little just before starting his IV. I asked him to flex his arm for me.

He did.

And I’ve been to the gym every day since. 🙂


Black History Month

Please read from fellow blogger : Pearls Before Swine

Black History Fun Fact Friday – The Attica Massacre



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