June 22, 2006, 6:49 pm

Ask The Nurse! (Or Boycotts Are Buggers)


What’s wrong with this picture?

The nurse is sharing her Pepsi, that’s what.

I don’t nevah share my (diet) Pepsi.

You get your own!

Why, if I had known my own facility sold Coke, I’d have thought twice about accepting my position!

Maybe we can negotiate a “Pepsi Only” clause in our next contract.


Now what’s right with this picture?

Yep, you guessed it!

On the KCS (Kim’s Cap Scale), this nurse is wearing a 10/10.

No flat cap syndrome, perfect arch over the scalp.

Life doesn’t get any better than that!


Shameless self promotion:  new post on Scared to Health


I wasn’t sure what to call this post.

I’m sitting in a local Starbucks, which, bless their caffeinated heart, has my wireless internet lifeline, aka T-Mobile wireless.

But the music is too loud, they only have two cushy seats with two very comfortable butts already ensconced in them (for the last three hours). Now if it was my butt in the chair, I’d sit there for three hours too, so I totally understand.

But the barrista is calling out the drinks in the same manner as a World Cup announcer yelling “Goal!” and Sting is singing rather loudly about some esoteric subject.

They were playing Dylan earlier. Tres cool! I’ll take Bobby any day. He makes me wanna get up and protest something.

Which brings me to my next topic.


Why, you ask, am I sitting in an uncomfortable seat at a loud Starbucks when I could be hoarding one of eight thick, leather, cushy chairs at my local Seattle’s Best?

Because I’m boycotting Borders Bookstore (long story, link to issue in an earlier post) and my precious Seattle’s Best is attached to it.

So if I go to the coffee shop that is an integral part of the bookstore I’m boycotting, then I’m not really boycotting.

If I could get past that logic, I’d be at Seattle’s Best right now.

Trouble is, nobody informed my lumbar-sacral area about the boycott and it is presenting me with painful anti-boycott counter-arguments as I write. It’s like my brain is Bob Dylan and my lumbar sacral spine is Ann Coulter and they are violently arguing.

And that has to be the most stupid analogy on the web.

Let us just say that “Ann”‘s arguments are Vicodin strong.


Nobody ever told me that protest was painful. If you ever see a protest on TV and someone is holding a sign that says “Protect Your Butt, Protest Standing Up!”, it will be me.


Ever wanted to sit down and have lunch with an ER nurse?

Learn the real scoop behind what goes down when you are a patient?



Well just in case you decide it might be interesting, I thought I’d have a post called “Ask the Nurse”.

You send in a question and I answer it.

No medical advice, of course, just my experiences in how things work behind the scenes.

Questions like “How do you nurses manage to stay so beautiful after running into and through body fluids for twelve hours?” will be given top priority.

The question, “Why would someone go to an ER for an enema?” is unanswerable and will be sent to the great blog commode in the sky.

If I get enough questions, I’ll make a post out of it.

If not…..well….

I’ll make some up!


  • Erica

    June 22, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    What a fabulous idea! I completely agree. And I may become known for my unsolicited weigh-ins, if you don’t mind…
    Change of Shift is absolutely wonderful, woman. You’ve done a bang-up job. Thank you.

  • canoehead

    June 23, 2006 at 3:15 am

    OK, ask a nurse…why would a mom with a rash also sign in her 2yo and 4yo with matching complaints of “insect bite.” That’s right, only one bite per kid, and it’s June. Not bad, IMHO she should be sending them outside to play more often and not hanging around my ER.

  • MotherJonesRN

    June 23, 2006 at 6:06 am

    Ask a nurse is a great idea. And sharing a Pepsi…..NEVER! If good Karma depends on sharing Pepsi with others, my next life is doomed.
    You can have the diet Pepsi. I like mine fully leaded with caffine AND sugar. I need the high octane variety to get me through my 16 hour shifts.

  • Chele

    June 23, 2006 at 7:11 am

    Ohhh…great idea. I can’t wait to see what people come up with. My favorite…if your left toe has been hurting for 3 months, why would you decide to come in at 3:00 in the morning on a friday night???? On an ambulance no less!!! THe ER, stranger than fiction!

  • charlesdawson

    June 23, 2006 at 7:21 am

    Hi there from little old England. I have just discovered this great site via my friend Gimpy Mumpy. I used to be a Critical Care Nurse in and around the UK for going on 20 years, now retired with arthritis. And still grumbling.

    OK, ask the Nurse: our favourites were the guys (it was almost always guys) who would turn up at 7am on a Monday morning after a weekend of agony with toothache….abscess, plain as paint. “How long have you had toothache?” “Errm, about a month, Nurse.” “Well, go away with this antibiotic and take painkillers until it’s safe for a dentist to muck around with your teeth.”

  • Dawn

    June 23, 2006 at 7:54 am

    I love this idea!
    Okay, here goes. I’m graduating in December, sitting boards in January. Tell me why I should consider ER nursing.

    As for the enema, I worked as an LPN in a GI practice, and whenever the GPs or internists had a patient with a ‘blockage problem’, they’d always call us to give the patient an enema, ‘since you’re a GI nurse’. I used that opportunity to train in the MAs in the fine art of opening a Fleet box and administering the contents of said box.

  • Jodi

    June 23, 2006 at 8:54 am

    We don’t drink Pepsi down here….it’s Coke. In fact we call everything Coke. It’s weird. It’s like “Kleenex”, Even if it might be a “Puffs” tissue, it’s still a “Kleenex”.

    My question would be: Where do ya’ll ER nurses get all your adrenalin? I know you probably tap into the pituitary sometimes but maybe it’s the Pepsi?

  • Susan

    June 23, 2006 at 10:07 am

    Sit down and have lunch with an ER nurse? You must be joking! I haven’t had lunch sitting down since I started in the ER. We use the run-by-grab-and-shove-into-mouth technique for nutritional health.

    But Ask A Nurse is a wonderful idea. I can’t wait to pick your brain!

  • Sid Schwab

    June 23, 2006 at 10:53 am

    As to the KCS (Kim’s Cap Scale): I’m with you. When I first went into practice, as a young and less than self-assured surgeon, my nurse, Evelyn, was very old school. Always in starchy white, and with her nurse cap perched perfectly. No other nurses in the clinic wore caps, much less were they all whitey and formal. My patients loved it. And I was well aware that she conferred much credibility on this rosy-cheeked neophyte.

  • Linda

    June 23, 2006 at 11:55 am

    ok…i’m going to think up some questions but in the mean time you need to add that link about Borders. I have no idea why you are boycotting them!

  • Fat Doctor

    June 23, 2006 at 5:24 pm

    First of all, I sense that you have a wierd fixation with nursing caps. I hope you wear one in your casket, not that I hope you die…that sounded bad. Anyhoo, here’s my question: Why do some ER staff members (doctors, nurses, techs, secretaries) get so darned JADED? At our hospital, it’s backbiting sarcasm all day, every day. What do you say?

  • Hannah

    June 23, 2006 at 5:31 pm

    Is it because they selling SHOCK magazine, Kim?


    I have some questions I will e-mail you.


    At the graduation/candlelighting/pinning for our school’s June, 2006 class which I attended there was a cap incident. A husband brought a box up when he was going to “pin” his wife, the graduating student nurse. It was non-descript and actually looked like it–from a distance–that it might have been one of those boxes that comes with everything to plant a lilly or something.

    Anyway…she accepted the box, with surprise, he pinned her, they posed for their photo, all as the instructor was reading the student nurse’s “blurb” of her thanks to family and her hopes for nursing, etc.

    She returned to her seat on the stage in the second row, and hubby to his in the audience. 45 minutes or so later, when the group of student nurses all got up for the candlelighting (and closing of the ceremony, before a slide show of photos of all of them through school) she had on a CAP! A real honest-to-goodness nurse’ cap…

    SO COOL!


  • Mel

    June 23, 2006 at 5:50 pm

    I’m also botcotting Borders, Kim. On behalf of my brother now deployed in Iraq, thank you. The theft of that photo was/is shameless. Lucky for me, my favorite coffee shops are both locally owned. 😉

  • punchberry

    June 24, 2006 at 9:19 am

    I have a question. I have really enjoyed reading about your work in the E.R. as well as your experience as a patient and a family member. You do a great job of explaining the insights that one side brings to the other. Ok, so, you have often explained that your facility is superior to the one that you use as a patient. Why do you go there? Is it just that the desire for privacy outweighs the benefits of a superior facility that happens to know you, or is there something more? Also, have your recent experiences from the “other side” changed any of the ways you do your job?

    Thanks, Kim. I truly look forward to each of your posts.

  • RevKrull

    June 24, 2006 at 11:07 pm

    Hi Kim. I do enjoy reading your blog, and make a point to stop by at least once a week. Here’s my question for you – Given your years as an ED/critical care nurse, what would you say is the percentage of people who present at the ED of your hospital who really shouldn’t be at the ED (i.e., those people don’t have “emergencies”)? Thanks!

  • Too Fat 4 Ponies

    June 25, 2006 at 9:02 am

    I love your humor!

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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