February, 2006 Archive

February 20, 2006, 5:11 pm

Trying To Be A Nurse, But Really I’m Just A Mom

Oh no!

It’s menopause!

She’s gonna blow any minute!

The father looks ready to grab the kid and run at the first sign of a hot flash!

And he thought her PMS was bad!

She probably has just read “The Feminine Mystique” by Betty Freidan and she wants to escape the confines of her middle-class prison and decide to “find” herself.

She’ll refuse to make dinner.

She’ll make her husband iron his own shirts!

My god, she might even enroll in a college class.

Actually, I really am a bundle of nerves right now.

My eldest daughter is having surgery and I’ll be on a flight to Portland to spend a week with her while she recouperates.

Now, I am usually strong in these situations, but I made the mistake of reading too much on the internet (you really can have too much information) and this is not a good thing.

A previous appendectomy found a “carcinoid tumor”. The doctor said it was a “miracle” that she had her appendix out when she did, because that would have turned into a slow-growing cancer that would have affected her intestines and liver.

Whew! Bullet dodged.

That time. I’ve only heard a doctor use the word “miracle” twice in my presence. I’ll tell you about the other time in another post.

Without divulging too much information without her permission, let’s just say that part of the blood work that was done today was a tumor marker for cancer.

I’m trying to be “A NURSE”, but today I’m just “a mom” who is very scared.

The next time a family member goes into surgery I will wish to be totally ignorant.

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2:48 am

I Blog, Therefore I Say Thanks!

I started blogging because I realized I knew enough about something (nursing) that I could actually contribute to the blogosphere. I also learned that if your write well enough (see The Bleat by James Lileks), everyday life can be interesting.

What I didn’t realize is that I would get so much more out of blogging than I could ever contribute.

Prior to launching Emergiblog, I had never read a single medical or nursing related blog. My daily reads were Hugh Hewitt, Instapundit, Lileks, Fraters Libertas and Powerline.
With the exception of Lileks, they were all politically inclined.

One day I clicked on a link to “Grand Rounds” and I realized there was an entire, worldwide niche of blogs related to health care.

It has changed my life.

And not because I sit around all day and read blogs. Although I do. As far as I am concerned it is no different than sitting reading a book all day and no one gets upset about that, do they? (This last sentence was intended for my hubby who won’t read it anyway…..)

Here’s how my life is different since I began to read the medical blogosphere:

  • I have developed a deeper respect for physicians now that I have a deeper understanding of what they must endure to earn the right to practice their profession.
  • I realized that doctors are people. They hurt, they worry, they ache and they get sick just like the rest of us.
    • Why it took me 28 years to figure that out is beyond me.
    • I now cut my docs a lot more slack, knowing the responsibility they shoulder.
  • I have learned that health care concerns are the same everywhere in the world. We may have different political ideas but whether we are in Iran, Singapore, Israel, Australia, Canada, England or the USA, when it comes to health care, our hopes and dreams are the same.
  • I have been inspired to “read up” on diseases and actually have a huge pathology book sitting next to me on the couch. The enthusiasm of the nursing students and the fact that some of my future colleagues are beginning their journey in their 30s and 40s makes me energized about making sure I am up-to-date on the latest nursing ideas.
    • It has helped me to re-appreciate my profession and increased the pride I feel about being a Registered Nurse again. Sometimes, over the years we can forget why we wanted to be nurses. I remember.
    • It has also made it fun to work with the student nurses we now have in the ER
  • I have more of an idea of how things work behind-the-scenes: in hospital administration, physician credentialing, pharmacology.
  • It has brought back memories of patients I had not thought of in years and patients who I thought I had forgotten. The more I blog, the more I remember.
  • I have read the blogs of patients and learned so much more about what they go through and what they expect of me as a caregiver. I’ve always said, I learn the most from my patients.

So basically, I get so much out of reading the blogs of my colleagues in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, administration that I’m sorry it took me so long to get in the swing of things.

But I am proud to be considered one of the health care bloggers. I imagine I’ll be blogging about nursing for a long time. Lord knows there is never a dearth of material!

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1:23 am

Does This Cap Make Me Look Fat?

I’m confused.

This ad to the left is okay? Three hunky men drop their scrub pants to the floor and look like they meant to do it. No outcry? (Except maybe whoa baby!) These could be nurses, you know! Or the ER doctor standing next to you. Or the OR doc in surgery.

I may never look at a ER doc the same way again (hey, I said I was confused, not stupid….).

The ad does not hint at the occupation, they just assume everyone will think they’re doctors. They could be RNs, OR techs, ER techs…..

It didn’t even make a ripple on the waters of opinion.

But this ad gets everyone all freaked and offended and gets pulled off the magazine pages as fast as you can say STAT.


I admit that I was instinctively offended at the Maidenform ad but demurely stated, “Oh my!” at the Jockey ad. Okay, okay, I said “Whoo Hoo!” but not so loud that my husband could hear me.

At least the ad depicts the Maidenform woman as a doctor and doesn’t assume she’s a nurse, whereas the Jockey ad leaves the occupation (and not much else) to the reader’s interpretation.

You know, I don’t think I would want to know who wears what underwear at work. Especially if it’s a thong…who on earth would walk around with a permanent wedgie? Then again for some of us, any underwear becomes a thong during the course of a shift…..

Sometimes you can have too much information about your co-workers (and your bloggers).


I want my “uniform” back.

I want my cap.

I know it sounds old-fashioned and stupid and archaic and pretentious and (fill in your own adjective here), but I want people to know I’m a nurse on sight.

It isn’t enough to have a name tag with an official-sized font on it. Half the time it’s backwards anyway.

Three times this week I had patients ask me, even after my initial introduction as “their” nurse, if I was an RN. After I said “yes” the next question was, “How long have you been doing this?”


Almost thirty fargin’ years, bub.

I said it nicer than that.

But I am going to make some changes. My blogging colleague over at Third Degree Nurse got me thinking more about looking professional and about scrubs and how we present ourselves to patients.

So, I’m switching to solid color scrubs. No Peanuts, Spongebob Squarepants, American Flags, strawberries – yes that is what graces my ample self. No wonder the adults have to ask if I am an RN. I look like a creature from “Adult Swim” on the Cartoon Network.

There is a local hospital that color-codes their employees and the nurses are obligated to wear white. At first I thought that to be a stupid decision by administration, but now I am not so sure. I’m not sure if I can really go back to all-white, but it really isn’t a bad idea.

And the cap. I’ve worn it before. The patient’s respectful behavior quadruples. The ribbing that I take from my colleagues is unbelievable. But every person who sees me knows I’m an RN. I may wear it again, it works with any solid color scrub. I graduated from Ohlone College so my cap has a thick green and thinner gold stripe across the top, which was the sign of a graduate waaaaay back when “What’s Happenin'” was what was happenin’.

It’s time for a professional makeover. And I don’t need Trinny and Susannah from “What Not to Wear” to help me.


By the way, I passed my ACLS/BLS recertification with flying colors and got 100% on the test.
I worried needlessly, it was a great class.

I took hold of my new cards and gleefully walked out the door of the facility, only to trip on the doorstop and fall on my butt.

So much for looking like a professional….

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About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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