Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

Endless Types of Impairment

This last week I had a patient to prepare for surgery who was blind in one eye and with significant vision loss in the other. He, and his wife, had come in a week earlier for his surgery interview.

It was there that the consents, surgical and anesthesia, were read to him before a large ‘X’ was placed a the signature line in order for him to navigate where to place his signature. At the bottom of the form the P.A.T nurse ( aka interview nurse) had written ‘ consents read to patient.’

Yesterday, the O.R. Nurse challenged this as being sufficient. Out of earshot, my simple response to her inquiry was ,” Hey, he’s alert and orientated, told me exactly what he is having done today. Actually a very articulate gentleman.”

She sought the input of her supervisor.

The supervisor came to our area and approached me. I stated that asking his wife to sign a durable power of attorney was diminishing to his intellect, awareness, and sensitivity as he was read every single risk to anesthesia – and there are fifteen listed at the top of our anesthesia consent forms. It’s a daunting read, whether you’re doing it yourself, or someone is reading the consent to you.

The supervisor took an alternate route and told me she wanted to first call Risk Management before he was allowed to go the O.R.

Risk management confirmed that what the P.A.T nurse did was appropriate.

I’ve never wanted this blog to be a place where I make habit of blasting leadership, the nursing profession, or my peers. In theory, calling Risk, not a bad thing, it’s a valuable department. But for this situation, it was, in my opinion, overkill.

And it pushed my buttons.

When you enter the hospital for treatment and sit first with someone in registration, I suspect that no one reads the whole financial statement form to you.

Just sign at the bottom.

After your insurance information is verified.

After it is know where to send all the bills.


There are worse impairments than visual impairment.

And often they belong to everyone but the patients.


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’!



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:




What a Silly Idea !


It started with a text I received at 0500: Calling out sick

Me: Get better.

Response: Remember, Suzann’s also off.


Next text to me: You’re in charge.

In my head I screamed Noooooooo! I want to stay in my bubble with my patients.

I was going to stay in my bubble with my patients.

There would be no charge person today. I would pretend for about ten minutes after clocking in — stand at the desk and look over the schedule with an authoritative air, ask the other a.m. nurses how they were doing. (They’re both older than me, been nurses longer. That’s how this duty should be designated! Years of duty, not time on the unit 🙂 )

My sick little coworker must have been light-headed when she wrote the last text.

So anyway, I thought as I drove…

Every time a surgeon came in, I was going to flip my head in the direction of the desk and grunt, hoping they’d understand my eloquent expression to mean “the bay numbers are next to your patients’ names on the schedule.” When the phone rang, I was going to exaggerate my movement, make it seem like I was incredibly busy. If an OR nurse came over, I was going to get that Oh my God, I’m so busy look. (They’ll either offer to help or hold up their hands and reassure me they can come back later).

Now, I’m not promoting anarchy here — call it a culture of independence, hehe.

My patients will be taken care of.

The place won’t fall apart.

And when the manager calls to check in around 0630, I won’t blatantly admit any anxiety, I’ll just let a little slip out in the tone of my voice.

…Fast forward

She came in early.

We were fine.

The trauma of being in charge for seventy-five minutes didn’t leave too many scars.

I went back to my bubble 🙂



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