Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

Oh Dear Dear Senator Walsh

Oh Dear Senator Walsh,

I was hoping you’d had some bad personal experiences with care rendered by nurses to you, family, or friends.

Not because I want anyone have substandard care much less unsafe care by nursing professionals, but because I hoped your excuse wouldn’t have been as pathetic as a reference to ‘being tired.’

Just a few weeks ago we had a dozen nurses in our OR working on a patient in a life threatening situation. One nurses sole job was to check, match, infuse packed red blood cells, and monitor the patient for a reaction to the infusion while the surgeon sewed vessels and suctioned blood seeping out from a ruptured aneurysm. I met another, the OR circulating nurse the next morning as she came out to meet my pre-op patient. She was focused, checked everything thoroughly, and reported to the family when my patient was heading to recovery room.

That nurse.

She’d gone home at 3:30 in the morning and returned at 7:00.

Just like you, She was tired also. And she didn’t bring a deck of cards to work.

That was cheeky, I’ll back off.

Your idea of challenging 12 hour shifts with a return to 8 hour shifts…Please do some more homework on this.

Going to a three shift per 24 hour continuum, requires hiring more staffing. My own hospital , that I love dearly, reports that it cost over $25,000 to put a new nurse through orientation.

Please see the below quote by the American Association of College of Nursing:

Federal figures project that if current trends continue, the shortage of RNs will continue to grow throughout the next 20 years. By 2020, more than 800,000 RN positions are expected to go unfilled nationwide, according to the National Center for Workforce Analysis, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Eight hour shifts doesn’t fix this.

Taking better care of our nurses will.

Regards,

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Running this by my WordPress family before editing, adding more statistics on this issue, and sending my letter to Senator Walsh with a request for her to be an advocate for healthcare professional rather than a Joy Behar wannabee, with too much time at the microphone.

6 Comments »

Sweet Dreams

A fellow blogger did a post about her experience becoming a CPAP user.

Nat gets cozy with her new CPAP

It made me feel so much better about my journey to getting this fatigue issue resolved.

In a time when everyone is more responsive to cute pictures where your hair and make-up are just right and the captions are heavy on the ‘perky’, I love reading REAL life stuff that encourages me to keep at it and not give up!

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One of my jobs

She came in with the others that show up first thing in the morning, the ‘7:30’s we collectively call the first arrivals.

Her husband walked five feet behind. Before I spoke, she did.

“Which way is East?”

I immediately understood why she asked, but I didn’t have an answer. I have no sense of direction even when in my car unless I turn on the dashboard compass, so just imagine the dumb look on my face when she asked this simple question.

Her husband saved me and pointed in the direction behind me.

Then I regained my bearings.

“Let me move some chairs. You both can pray together.”

Within a few minutes they were in the pre – op bay next to me, curtain in front of them, with only their mats visible at the bottom hem.

It was just two weeks earlier that forty-nine people who shared my patients’ same faith were murdered in New Zealand. Not even children were spared.

While I stood outside the bay waiting for them to pull the curtain back, I was filled with an overwhelming empathy and a new understanding of something I don’t think consciously about in my role as a Nurse.

We use standard precautions, wash our hands, wear gloves, masks when needed, even gown up if the diagnosis requires it. We practice sterile technique, audit our clinical practices, do quality control testing… the list goes on.

In those ten minutes, my understanding of the importance of someone feeling safe grew tenfold.

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I almost didn’t want to share this because my empathetic response is miniscule compared to the turbulent emotions families surely experienced when the New Zealand massacre occurred.

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I consider myself lucky to have gotten this patient to take care of.

Having a job that teaches me how to be a better human is a pretty damn special job.

 

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Denied

deniedUp until recently, I never understood why someone would drag their feet on the matter of getting a professional medical opinion for a ailment or physical injury.  There’s insurance or the ER ( I shouldn’t be so glib about the ER option, but hey, it is what it is.)

Then I fell at home in October. One of those dumb slip and falls on a wet spot on the floor. It was an ‘Oh  *&#@! , don’t move’ kind of fall.

I did get up after a few minutes, happy that the stabbing in my right knee was only temporary. …Until two weeks later when the pains returned with any exertion or longer than normal days on my feet.

Off to the doctor. Then Xray. Then Physical therapy. Then back to the Orthopedic surgeon. Then for a MRI.

At this point, I have been informed by letter that all my physical therapy has been denied. And now my diagnostic studies have been denied.

I DO take responsibility for being late returning the letter of inquiry to ensure that I wasn’t in a car accident or that this wasn’t a work injury.

The word is SUBROGATION.

My carrier wants assurance there is no other way they can get some other company to help pay what they are expected to cover.

My phone calls to United Healthcare will continue.

Will I work through this without any further professional care?

Yep.

 

 

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Listening Lesson

Through conversation with a good friend recently, I learned the importance of not just pausing in the sense the we remember not to interrupt someone talking to us, but to also internally pause and let what they are saying sink in.

What someone tells you, whether it be something personal or not, treat it just like the taste of a perfectly seasoned fillet mignon or a rich crème brulee’. Savor it. The trust a friend, a patient, or a family member places in you when they share their thoughts, it’s a gift.

I think, for a while, I’d forgotten this.

Yes, there is a lot of background noise in this world, some useless static. It can leave you overwhelmed. I know that I sometimes put myself in ‘fix it’ mode or want to quickly throw my two cents in, lest I be considered disconnected from the conversation.

I’m going to have more faith in listening, just listening.

Who knows how much more I can learn!

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54 + 1

I’m now 54 years and one day old.

I should have posted yesterday.

It would have been more chic than posting today, but my daughter came down from NYC for my birthday and being in the moment with her was ten times more important.

I’m sure all of you agree. When you don’t get to see your loved ones routinely, your heart occasionally aches and those visits, they are soooooo special!

So

Fifty-four

I had a financial goal set for by the time I was fifty. I hit it a month after my birthday.

I set a weight loss goal for ‘by fifty- four’. One of many set with each passing year. Ha!

As the day drew nearer and I noted that I had finished reading Gratitude by Oliver Sachs and was simultaneously reading Notes on Hope by Anne Lamott and Soul Keeping by Christian author John Ortberg, I had to ask myself …the theme of these books…was it a coincidence or a message?

 Who am I kidding? I don’t believe in coincidence any more than I believe an anesthesiologist will offer to start a difficult IV.

So on the day of my fifty-fourth birthday, this is what I understood;

I understand how much I don’t know.

There are some things I have to unlearn.

I have to stop worrying about what other people think.

And,

I’m doing better than I give myself credit for.

 

12 Comments »

My Cup

 

waterOver a year ago, during a long conversation with the Director of Surgery. I told her that patient care “…fills my cup.”

I’m entering my third year as the Chairperson for the Surgical Services Unit Practice council. This is because no one will step as Vice Chair and prepare to do it the following year. Via e-mail exchange, leadership reported no success in getting one of my peers to take on the role.

This responsibility is draining my cup.

Warning to younger/newer nurses: If patient care brings you joy, don’t let anyone  fool you into to thinking leadership on a committee is just a ‘once a month thing’!

 

6 Comments »

New Blogger Alert!

If you think being a nurse is hard, try being a manager. I imagine it’s not easy. I mean, before Christmas I saw my boss in a pre op bay and someone was hooking her up to a monitor ( she runs half marathons so …the chest pain … not clogged arteries)

Here’s a link to her site:

https://nurseboss.wordpress.com/2019/01/19/someone-needed-to-say-it/comment-page-1/#comment-3

 

 

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Prompt / Thank you Miss Hill!

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Dec. 29/18

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The dreams they tell, I don’ t always think it’s the anesthesia. I do wonder, but I say nothing out loud.

” There were three of them, big playing cards, just like the movie Alice In Wonderland, you know, the mean  Queen of Hearts, flat card body with her square  head on top and the Jacks lined up behind her, but no heads in my dream, just life sized cards falling out of a window. And me, down below, thinking I could catch them. Then the luau started…”

Now he’s waving his arms left and right. I reach quick for his swinging IV tubing and turned to the CRNA for the remainder of report.

” …and he got some Ketamine due to sensitivity to the Propofol and Fentanyl”

Aah, good old Ketamine.

” You girls are so pretty with your crowns on… hey, my dream, what does it mean?”

Vital signs good, abdomen soft, no pain.

“Sir, I think you should ask someone else…after your medicine wears off.”

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Last post for 2018

gratitude

Gratitude by Oliver Sacks, this is how I need to enter into Christmas Day, sharing  the joy of having gotten to read this book compliments of parents who have such a respect for literature that they purchased it for me months ago and gave it as an early Christmas gift.

Dr. Sacks, professor of Neurology at NYU, wrote a collection of neurological case histories, his last book being a memoir where he revealed his vulnerabilities when faced with the return of melanoma and the numbering of his days.

He doesn’t speak of his impending death with pathos or overt drama. Although other publications chronicle traumatic childhood experiences, he brushes over them and leans into what he learned, not what he endured. Despite his luminous medical and writing career, he is humble and writes this memoir in a way that everyone can relate to.

On the inside cover there is a quote,

“It is the fate of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.”

I have a tendency to believe that physicians, in general, are prone to be more self-absorbed than most. (Theirs is a demanding profession. I understand some of the need for elevated self-love and unwavering confidence.)

Dr. Sacks, through his writing, demonstrates that you can have an analytic mind and still help people understand what it means to be human.

I get the title.

Come on in 2019, I’m ready.

6 Comments »

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