Nursing Voices

Sunday, February 25, 2007

First Name Basis

It's never a good thing when a patient is called in, and everyone working triage groans. If all the nurses working know you by your first name:

A. You've been here WAY too many times.
B. Clearly, you come in for unnecessary and frivolous admissions... and
C. You always get sent back home. (if there were really something wrong with you, you'd stay)

We had a visit from a patient (let's call her Margo), who we've gotten to know very well over the past several years, now on her fourth baby.

Resident: "I have a patient coming in... it's Margo ___."

Cacophony of disbelief from everyone within earshot: "Oh nooo... not again!"

She's 32 weeks (a mere 8 or so more to go!) and only on her 9th admission to OB triage during this pregnancy, which, in comparison to her first pregnancy, isn't bad. With that child, she was on visit #36 by the time she finally delivered, and practically everyone who worked OB knew her name. Considering we only triage patients who are 20 weeks and up, that's more than a few visits per week. Back then, I remember caring for her two days in a row, both times for a slip and fall on icy pavement. Oh, Margo.

It never ceases to amaze me that she is willing to drag her husband and several small (screaming) children to the hospital in the middle of the night, through nasty weather because she's feeling some vague abdominal pain and general discomfort.

She actually told the person wheeling her up from the ER, "I really think it's something serious this time... I'm not kidding."

She was triaged and discharged back home with a clean bill of health within 45 minutes.

Until next time...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

It's Thursday, and Change of Shift is up!

Check it out over at Protect the Airway.
Nice job, AC!

And the Meme Goes On...


/jo and Kim have both posted their *must-have* lists, and tagged a few of my other favorite bloggers...

This meme is proving to be an interesting glimpse inside other nurses' heads.

How do you come up with the four things you really think you can't live without?
Where do you start?
Where do you draw the line?

What do you covet?
What do you really desire that is just beyond your grasp?

These are not things we often sit down and mull over, unless prompted.

I found "What I Covet" to be most challenging and revealing. There are any number of things that I'd really like to have, but when the thought of a real vacation occurred, I could feel my heart beat a little faster, my adrenaline begin to surge. I usually put desires like this far from my conscious mind because I know how unlikely they are to become reality, at least anytime soon. But all the same, we must have something to dream about, something for which to strive. The mental pictures evoked by thoughts of a leisurely stroll through the cobblestone streets of a small Italian village, a vigorous walk up the winding staircase at the Basilique de Sacre-Coeur, an hour or two or four wandering the halls of any museum. For whatever reason, these images motivate me, give me that essential burst of energy, that ray of hope that there may be more to this than day in, day out, week after week. A peek into the future, if I can hold onto it and make it mine.

I'm off to save the world, or at the very least a bunch of moms and babies!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Things I Can't Live Without

Inspiration strikes! (finally.)

Well, ok. Shane tagged me, so I'm more or less compelled to seek out the inspiration to write... but this was fun, and I look forward to reading others' responses as well. Keep tabs on everyone who's been tagged for this meme at the Nursing Jobs blog.

I had to laugh while browsing through a few of the past "Things I Can't Live Without" articles on, looking for that ever-elusive inspiration. The successful business owners who have been interviewed elaborate on the objects of value in their daily professional lives. They *can't live* without a whole lotta really expensive gadgets and gizmos. This is not what I had first planned to blog about when I imagined the most important aspects of my working world. I was thinking more along the lines of: I can't live without sleep, I can't live without the constant intellectual and emotional support of my co-workers, I can't live without hugs from my kids when I walk in the door...

In the interest of sticking to the topic, I'll conform to the heart of the idea. I'm not sure I can narrow it down to just four, but then again, my "things" aren't quite as extravagant as those Inc 500 folks, either. Keeping it simple and honest, here are the "things" that I can't live without:

Dansko Clogs $104.95

I heart my clogs. In all seriousness, I could not live without them, as my feet would likely go on strike. And with the miles I put on every night I work, this is not an option. I flirted with a few months of plantar fasciitis a couple of years ago, and don't care to be debilitated like that ever again. These clogs are awesome, durable, supportive, and best of all... blood and amniotic fluid-proof! They are worth the chunk of change.

At the same time, clogs and sterile blue scrubs are terribly bo-ring! Comfortable, but come ON. It's like wearing unflattering pajamas to work every night. So, I have about a gazillion pairs of fun socks, just to spice it up a bit, even if I'm the only one that can see them. I know they're there.

Johnson's softcream extra care healing hand cream $4.79

The effect of washing your hands approximately 501 times every night? Hands that are raw, chapped, cracking at the knuckles, and peeling between the fingers. Argh! I love this lotion, and it works.

bandage scissors $3.99

I keep a pair of my own bandage scissors in the back pocket of my scrubs, and I use them constantly throughout the night. Who knew that something so rudimentary could be absolutely essential?

clicky pens

Gotta love drug reps. Well, ok, not really. But I do love the pens that they leave lying around, usually transported to L&D in the pockets of the various docs that constitute a steady stream through the unit all day and night. I always like to have at least one "clicky" pen in my pocket... they're more user-friendly and they don't go launching out of my pocket every time I bend over like the regular Bic ones do.

However, I was flabbergasted to find these pens for sale on e-Bay. Hellooooo, people... they're FREE!

Confessions on the Dance Floor by Madonna $12.99

Ok, I admit it. I'm a Madonna fan. I just can't help it. This CD gets me psyched up for working, working out, doing laundry, whatever. When I'm not listening to NPR on the way to work, I'm listening to this for a guaranteed burst of energy.

What I Covet ...

A real vacation. $$$ way-more-than-I-can-afford.99

It's been years. Ideally, I'd love to take a trip to Europe. Doesn't even really matter where... England, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain. I'd take any or all of them, preferably with ample time for mindless wandering, lots of picture-taking, exploring castles and cemeteries, visiting museums and lounging at charming cafes. Ohhhhhh...

Who's Next...

I can't resist tagging Kim at Emergiblog. She's one of my favorite bloggers, plus I'm interested to see what "things" she can't live without!

JustCallMeJo over at Sinus Arrhythmia has an insightful and quirky take on the world of ICU nursing. What can't you live without, /jo?

Tag, you're it!
Plus, go check out Beth's "things" at PixelRN. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I've been tagged by Shane. Well, go figger. Stay tuned for "Things I Can't Live Without."

And watch out... you may be next!

Tag, you're IT!

An Outstanding Nurse... and Registered-Nurse-to-Be

Due to a severe case of Major Lack of Inspiration as of late, I've been completely MIA. I'm still here... and hope to be back in full force one of these days. The spring thaw will come.


In the meantime, I'm honored to present the first non-blogger entry for the Nursing Jobs educational scholarships, totalling $5,000 and to be awarded March 31. Get your entries posted by March 19!

When Shane sent this essay out, offering to let one of us post it to our blog, I was immediately drawn to Sarah's story of courage and affirmation. It would seem that she has been "called" to the right profession. What an incredible nurse! Check it out:

Why I Chose Nursing
by Sarah, LPN

Approximately 6 years ago, I was living in Raleigh, NC. I had a job in the mortgage industry, a "wonderful" husband, a beautiful home, two great kids, and thought I had it all. However, as it sometimes happens, the rug was pulled out from under my high-heeled shoes. My "wonderful" husband decided he wasn’t through dating other women and so we divorced. It was left up to me to provide for myself and my two children. Though I was making a 6-figure-a-year salary, I was quickly beginning to see that it isn’t always about the money. The stress of trying to take care of my children and make a living was catching up fast.

So, I turned to my high-school dream of becoming a nurse. It was a dream that I had pushed to the back of my mind when I decided to marry and start a family. But I could not pursue my goal, work, and take care of my children alone. So, I reluctantly left the city and returned to my childhood home in Arkansas - and to my family. My parents were such a great help in my pursuit of my RN. However, after 2 years of school, I realized that there was no way my children and I could continue without income. So I decided to take 11 months, get my LPN, and work until my children could graduate from high school. And that’s what I did.

I have always dreamed of being a nurse and now that I am, I realize even more that this is what I was born to do. I chose to work in the geriatric field because I feel a connection with the elderly and a need to protect the weak. I am in constant search of ways to make my residents feel useful and wanted. I can’t begin to describe the wonderful feeling of joy I receive from my job. Though my salary will never be as it once was, there truly is not enough money in the world to replace the feeling of satisfaction I receive in my work. I became a nurse because I want to make a difference. Now that I am an LPN, I want to continue my education and become an RN. I feel that as an RN I will have a greater effect on LPNs and other nurses. There’s a saying "give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day- teach him to fish and he’ll never be hungry". I feel that this can be applied to my current situation. As an LPN, I can touch the lives of my residents only. As an RN, I can influence the LPNs who will touch so many more.

At times I can’t understand why any caring person would not pursue nursing. Then, at other times I see nurses that make me question why they would consider nursing. I feel that nursing is a profession that each person should be "called" to do. Being a nurse is not what you do – it’s what you ARE. And I can proudly say, I am a Nurse.


Good luck to you, Sarah. It's obvious that you'll succeed in whatever path you choose.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Time for Change... of Shift

Change of Shift is up over at Nurse Ratched's Place...
It's a Valentine's edition. Can't you feel the love?

In other news, my creative juice pipes have frozen and burst.
Here's hoping we get a thaw sometime soon.
This week has been consumed with shoveling, snow days, shivering and shoveling some more.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

On the Other Hand.

And in sharp contrast to Labor Girl:


She rolled in by ambulance. Well, ok, the roads were a bit treacherous.

EMT: "23 year old female, fourth baby, term, her water broke about 20 minutes ago, she usually delivers an hour after her water breaks."


I'm getting her hooked up to the monitors, asking the usual questions...

Any health problems? No.
Any problems during the pregnancy? No.
Clear fluid? Yes.
Any bleeding? No.
Feeling the baby move? Yes.
Who is your doctor? I don't have one.


I don't have one.

You didn't see anyone during the pregnancy? No.
Not even one time? No.

Okie doke.

How do you know how far along you are? I'm about 9 months.


Is there anyone on the way to be with you? No, my husband is home with our other children.

Oh my.

I said, "It's ok, honey. We're here with you." And I held her hand.


She did deliver a term infant about an hour after her water broke. Doesn't like doctors. Doesn't like hospitals. But my baby will be just fine.

And she's probably right.