Tag Archives: RN

A letter to my 3 million friends … and *sigh* the folks at “The View”

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Dear Joy and her friends …

I understand that your view of healthcare and nurses in general may be very limited.  Why, I suppose if I had all that fancy money (which I don’t), I’d have home visits from Doctors with Doctor’s stethoscopes too.  So I understand your ignorance.  First I do want to say, thank you to Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson, for bringing nursing to the headlines.  It’s nice not to hear about another socialite and what non important thing she/he did today.

I also suppose that you know about “Hollywood” nurses.  Hot Lips Houlihan, that nurse from Grey’s Anatomy, and who knows who else.  I also suppose you think that I wear a short white dress with my breasts hanging out.  And I also suppose you think that I constantly have sex in the supply and/or linen and/or janitor closet at the hospital.  Let me tell you the juicy stuff …. I don’t. Hollywood has either sexualized the nurse into something we don’t represent, or like the nurse on the TV show Scrubs … a total bitch.  Again, I’m not those either.

Did you know that it was a school teacher turned nurse that started the American Red Cross?  Did you know that it was a nurse that started Planned Parenthood?  Did you know that it was nurses that started organized home visits and midwifery?  No, you probably didn’t.

Did you know that it’s the nurse who holds the parent’s hands as their new-born baby is being taken away after delivery due to complications?  Did you know that it’s the nurse who comforts the parent, spouse, children, who-ever when a loved one dies unexpectedly?  Did you know it’s the nurse who listens, without judgement, to children who are abused (sexually, physically, emotionally) while we exam them? Did you know that it’s the nurse who listens, without judgement, to the patient who can’t get off drugs to improve their life… but tells us how they will sell their body for their next fix?  Did you know that it is the nurse who does chest compressions to save the life of our patients (and not “Hollywood” compressions)?  Did you know that we are the ones that holds the emesis bucket while the cancer patient throws up during their sixth round of chemo?  No, you probably did not.  Did you know that we are bound by privacy laws … so we can’t share any of this?  We can’t share our day with our family when we get home, so we can vent like other people do about their jobs? No, we have to internalize it and move on.

Did you know that it’s the nurse who celebrates with the patient, who walks for the first time after a tragic accident?  Did you know that it’s the nurse who celebrates with the child who is able to eat for the first time after being unable to eat for weeks at a time?  Did you know that it’s the nurse who celebrates with a patient when they get the all clear from their cancer?  Did you know it’s the nurse who celebrates with the parents after the birth of a child, who took many years of trying and treatments carry a child full term?  No, you probably didn’t.

I am a nurse, and I am a nurse educator.  We take (mostly) unknowing students and teach them how to be professional, caring, and compassionate.  I teach them that our elderly have fantastic stories that they will only ever get out of a book, and here is their chance to hear it first hand.  I’ve talked to patients who told me of their time in Vietnam during the War.  Of how they were working at a factory in San Diego, when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor … and how everyone stopped to listen over the radio … all while the patient had tears in their eyes.  I’ve had patients tell me about their first television in the home, watching man walk on the moon, how they literally walked up a hill and back down to get to school in the morning.  These students are going into a hard, body breaking career, not the most glamorous, not the best paying, many times not the best smelling, but oh so rewarding.  They will never be able to look back and say, “I wish I never did that.”

Did you know that the Gallup polls put nurses at the number one spot every year as the most trusted profession?  Only one year we did not meet that … was for 9/11 … it went to the Firefighters … and yeah, I’ll give them that!   Did you know that nurses are not only in the hospital and at the bedside?  We are your school nurses, your chart auditors for your lawyer, your case manager, your advocate, your educator, your researcher, your politician, your communicator, your counselor, change agent, leader, clinician, advance practice nurse, administration, forensic nurse, military nurse, and so many other roles.

We cannot do our jobs without other nurses, physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, speech therapists occupational therapists, physical therapists, pharmacists, nutritionist/dietitians, case Manager/social workers, EMT/EMS teams,  pastoral care, nursing assistants,secretaries, house keeping, kitchen help, janitors and so many more.  When they say it takes a village …. well it takes a team to take care of patients and families.  So we thank you!

To my 3 million friends … now is our awakening … we have been fired up.  I beg of you to take action for the nursing profession.  Become active in your national, state and local nursing groups. Become active in the actions happening in Washington D.C. that affect nurses, nursing care, and how we do our jobs.  Be active and aware in the state boards of nursing where you live … know what it going on in your own state legislature that affects the care you will be giving.  Be aware of the actions of the Robert J. Woodson foundation, QSEN, the IOM’s Future of Nursing … all of these can and will affect you!

Do the best nurse you can be … don’t be there for a paycheck … if that’s where you are at … find another area of nursing that fits you.  As Miss Colorado said, nursing is her talent.  It is not a skill that we are born with.  Find what your passion is and go to it.  I love education … It’s so rewarding to me, it’s my passion.  Find your nursing talent.

As for you Joy and the rest of the View … other professions may refuse to service you if you offended them like you have us (have you got that yet, we are offended!).  But in nursing, we are caring and compassionate … so when you come into our care … we will still take care of you to the best of our abilities, as we have sworn with the Nightingale pledge.  Because all lives matter.  Even yours.

NURSING teaching stethoscope

NURSING teaching stethoscope

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Plan of Action

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Back in the day, when I managed restaurants, we always had to have a plan of action.  Depending on what area you were a manager of depended on your plan.  A plan to lower food costs, labor costs, etc, etc, etc.

I have started my plan of action.  I filled out my financial aid information (FAFSA).  Yup, sure did!  I’ve been in contact with UCA and UAMS, and getting advice on whether I should get my BSN or go right into my MSN.  I’m excited, but afraid of the cost!  UCA tuition is $206 for undergraduate and $245.50 for graduate – Per credit hour!  ACK!  UAMS is $198 and $281, respectively.  WOW.  Just WOW.

I’m hoping to start this fall, if not January at the latest.  🙂  Wish me luck!  (OMG, what the heck am I thinking, going back to school!!!!!!!)

Primary Care Nursing

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The hospital I work at has been on “team” nursing for many many years.  A unit has 30 beds, during the day there are 3 RNs, 3 LPNs, and 3 Techs (CNAs), and each group has 10 patients.  Of course there is a support nurse, and a charge, and the unit manager on the floor.  At night, ideally, there would be 3 RNs, 2 LPNs, and 2 Techs, but at times there might only be 2 RNs.  The RN’s primary duty is to assess, teach, intervene, etc.  LPN is meds and dressing changes, and the tech would be vital signs, feeding, and bed, toileting,  and bath care.

Recently, they’ve tried to go to primary nursing on one floor, with hopes to move the entire hospital to this (and get Magnet status).  During the day, there would be 6 nurses (5 RNs and an LPN).  According to state law, the patient needs to be assessed by an RN at least once in a 24 hour period.  So the charge nurse would assess the LPNs patients, then the LPN could take over and chart from there.  Everyone else would assess and chart, and do their meds, etc.  At night, there would be the charge nurse, and 4 RNs and 1 LPN, and the same concept would follow.

I’ve had no problem when I’ve gone to this floor to work, it’s been great, no problems.  Last week they changed the staffing grid.  So last night, I had 8 patients primary care.  Me.  Me to do meds, assessment, interventions, Dr calling, and so on.  It’s crazy.  How do they except us to give good patient care?  My license, my livelihood is on the line.  If this is what is expected, I will move to the ER, or even another institution.  I really do enjoy my job, but this is not a safe practice IMO.

I understand the nursing shortage, I understand the need for money cuts, but didn’t all take a pledge to do no harm (beneficence) when we entered the field of nursing?

I do plan to make my thoughts known to my supervisor, hopefully my voice will be heard!

EEK!

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So since I graduated, I of course had to go through orientation at work.  I have been an LPN on the cardiac floor, which has become home to me.  But for my greedy little hands, I decided to go to the float pool when I graduated (more money an hour!).  So during normal float pool orientation (as my memory serves me when I was a PCP/CNA in float), you spend maybe a week or so in each floor/unit, so you know the basics of how that unit runs.  Great idea huh?  For my RN float orientation, they put my on the cardiac floor for FOUR WEEKS!  Yes four. Quatro!  Piece.  Of.  Cake.  By the end I was easily able to handle the sometimes necessary 15 patients that we had.  Like I said, piece of cake!

So we go camping, take my boards, diddle daddle, so I’m off for almost two weeks.  I think, hmmm when I go back, I’ll take JUST  ten patients.  Yeah.  Uh huh.  10.  So I spend my first week back on the Oncology unit.  Cancer.  Yuck.  My wonderful father in law died on that floor two years ago.  I hate working there.  I won’t go on about the nurses that work there, because that’s another entire post in itself. 

As I’m sitting in report, listening about patient’s external vaginal tumors, FU5, loads and loads of morphine, cancer here, there, being “ate all up”, I’m thinking WTF?  Where are the post cath, check your groin site, vitals good, pedal pulses good patients?  These people are freaking S-I-C-K.  Ten my ass.  Maybe TWO!

I did have a great very experienced nurse that taught many things.  Our night started with me just following her, since I wasn’t certified to handle any chemo (Thank GOD).  But between having to give 5 units of blood, the chemo, the morphine, and one patient living out his last moments, Ten o’clock came and we had only seen three patients!  I took the last 6 patients, who were the “healthier” ones in the bunch.  Our blood finished, we changed the chemo, our patient passed away, and I somehow survived.  The next two nights were easier, if that’s what you want to call it.

The next week, I went with another float nurse.  We spent our first night in my 2nd love, the ER.   I love it there.  Last year when I was suppose to graduate, that’s where I had a job at.   They offered me a spot again this year, but for some strange reason I opted to stay on the floor.  Most of the night we had level four stuff, you know, the school nurse role.  Cut fingers, bitten off toe nails, headaches, etc.  Pretty simple stuff.  The second night we were on rehab.  Lots of post knee and hips.  Pretty simple despite the bigger load of patients.  And the third night was on our primary nursing floor, neuro.  Again five patients, pretty simple.  Lots of turning and neuro checks.  Again, I survived.

But tonight, alas, my time has come.  I enter the world of nursing by myself.  I will shine my stethoscope and press my whites.  My orientation time has come.  I will have my own group of patients to tend to.  I will wipe the brow of the weary, care for the sick, and love the weak ones.

Ok, wtf!  Really now!  I know that I will forever be in orientation and learning, and I know that I will have other nurses and staff around to ask and get help from.  But holy heck!  I’m kinda scared!  Which if you know me, the know it all, that’s a pretty big thing for me to say.  I wish they’d stick me on the cardiac floor!

Twelve hours!  Ack!  Wish me luck!