Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

I broke one of my rules, but it turned out okay.

” Could I get you a warm blanket? Our pre-op area is kind of cold.”

I had her husband ready to go, Discharge teaching initiated and prophylactic antibiotic started, there was nothing left to do but chart the medication.

“Sure, that’d be nice.”

When I returned with the blanket, I noticed, as I have before, this was one of those couples that struggled when required to sit together in a place such as pre-op where there is no T.V, computer, or gaggle of children to fill the space. The wife with her shoulders stiff, moved her eyes everywhere but toward her husband. He stared straight ahead.

“Did you two have far to drive this morning?”

“No,” he said, “We live close.”

“Good, you’ll get home fast and you’ll both catch up on whatever sleep you didn’t get last night.”

I had just put my head down to make sure the consents were flagged for the surgeon when the patient asked me a question.

“How long have you been a nurse?”

“Thirty-six years.” Sometimes I can’t believe it’s been that long.

“Our daughter’s in a Nursing program.”

Thirty-six years gives you a lot of opportunity to meet family members of someone in Nursing school, but this was different. My patient’s wife, her mouth turned down the second he shared that fact.

Before I could stop myself, I did it. I broke one of my rules. I made the conversation about me.

“I’m working on the first draft of a book for young nurses, kind of a Self-Help book.”

The wife cocked her head thoughtfully.

“Oh, what kind of advise would you give?”

What I said came from a place deep down in the center of my soul.

“It’s important to remember, your patients, they’re the ones in pain, not you. They’re the ones grieving — it’s not yours to carry. Forgetting that is self centered and also brings imbalance to your life outside of work.”

I don’t know if the wife’s dour look triggered my response. I held my breath when she started to speak.

“That’s really good advise.”

She turned to her husband and continued.

” We should tell her that.”

I need to finish the draft.

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ZIP IT – The 40 Day Challenge by Karen Ehman

Worked way too many hours last week…Nurses Week…Ha!

It’s fitting that I read this earlier today. It’ll be helpful tomorrow – Monday morning – coming too soon.

IMG_1769 (1)

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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’!

 

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I Promise, I’ll try to not make this sound preachy

advise

I’m feeling advanced enough in my career to give a little advice. Because I am also feeling old (I don’t look my age, just feeling it), it’s going to come across sounding maternal. Here it is…

It might be a while before the economy makes a significant change, and while the clock ticks slowly, older nurses continue to work a job that is not only mentally and emotionally taxing, it is also a physical strain on the body. I mean seriously, if you don’t have chronic back pain by the time you are fifty, you are a rarity, a unicorn among your peers. I did a little research to see what advisors say about the nursing profession.

According to a National workplace survey, between 1991 and 2012, about three in four nurses (74 percent) were working at age 62 and about one in four (24 percent) were working at age 69.

Fidelity Investments reported that nurses have been saving for retirement at a greater rate than other employees, 12.6 percent compared to 10.5 percent, but 60 percent are still concerned they will never be able to retire, according to Alexandra Taussig, Senior PVP of marketing at Fidelity.

That’s right, and this isn’t a surprise to any nurse that takes any active interest in investment guides or has a sister that pushes them to think about their retirement so they can have a little fun before they are too old to do so.

As long as you are working, and at a hospital, like most, that only gives raises based on measureable performance, here’s some practical advice to both the young and the old. If you are over fifty, stop spending $50 a week eating at the hospital cafeteria, bring your lunch, put that money in your IRA. If you are under forty, get on a committee, work toward your BSN, and if nothing else, stay those extra couple of hours, it looks good.

Plan for your future. Take care of yourself.

I almost waited too long to start doing it myself.

5 Comments »

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