September, 2006 Archive

September 9, 2006, 7:14 pm

In Honor of My Nursing Instructors

ohloneI had the honor of attending college here, at Ohlone College in Fremont, California. Class of 1978.

Ohlone was the first ADN program to achieve NLN accreditation back in the 1970s.

I received many things from Ohlone.

In fact, I shall utilize nursing diagnosis to illustrate them.

  • Thighs, of steel. Due to climbing 6,956 stairs on a daily basis, secondary to facility existing high atop a hill. Long ago reduced to celllulite, etiology unknown.
  • Associate’s Degree, Nursing. Due to extreme amounts of studying, secondary to life-long ambition to be a nurse, assisted by the Ohlone faculty’s willingness to enroll a teenager and resulting in a life-long career with good pay and great benefits.
  • Husband, male. Due to my friendship whith classmate Sue, secondary to her living next to really cute guy, resulting in marriage one year after graduation.
  • Kids, three, due to marriage to next door neighbor of classmate Sue, secondary to her being enrolled in Ohlone, allowing us to become friends. See Husband, male.
  • Esteem, self. Due to ability to practice nursing, secondary to excellent education, provided by great nursing instructors resulting in being pushed beyond any perceived limits. See Associate’s Degree, Nursing


I have spoken about different nursing instuctors over the last year. This week, however, Amy at Diabetes Mine has introduced an “education” theme for Grand Rounds.

With all the discussion of the need for nurses and RNs with advanced degrees to teach these nurses, I thought I would salute the women (and all my instructors were women) who devoted their careers to the task of educating my generation of nurses.



Adult med/surg. Maternity.

Tall, regal, cool as ice. Impecably dressed and groomed.

I wanted to be her.

“Nurses are educated, not trained. Dogs are trained.”

“It’s nursing science, Kim. Not medical science.”

Yes ma’am.

So here’s to Claudia, who didn’t chide me for fainting during my first delivery, who understood why a 19-year-old senior nursing student just had to get to the beach in the middle of the week, who could stare down a doctor with a professional attitude bordering on superiority (I never could get that right!) and who instilled in me the pride I feel in my profession. In my eyes she was ten feet tall and if I’ve emulated her even remotely, my patients have blessed.



Adult Med/Surg. Psych.

Blond, petite.


So let’s give it up for Sharlene, who never made you feel stupid or clumsy, who gave praise without reservation, who I always remember as smiling and from whom I picked up a life-long interest in psychiatric nursing and an ease with psych patients that helps me in my ER practice to this day.

She is now the Dean of the Health and Exercise Sciences Division at my alma mater.



Adult Med/Surg. Critical Care.

Tall, slim.


The reason I stayed in the nursing program.

So here goes a HUGE thank you to Pat, who saw the frightened teenager under the nursing student facade the day I went home “sick” after ten minutes with my first ICU patient, and who made sure I had support and could dip my foot slowly into the waters of critical care after that. Well, Pat the water was fine. I spent my first 12 years in nursing doing what I was so frightened of that crucial day: critical care.


Nancy D.

Adult Med/Surg. Pediatrics.

Approachable. Funny.


To Nancy D., who sent me home from Pediatrics, aghast that I would show up with a 101.3 degree temperature and who didn’t sweat the clinical hours missed when it was obvious I was getting every single virus in the unit. She made that rotation much less stressful (and I was able to make up the hours!). You lived by my friend Sue, and I go by your house at least twice a week and think of you.


Nancy M.

Adult Med/Surg

Mother figure.

Believed in the basics.

Nancy, you drove us nuts with your test questions and we could argue until the cows came home and you would not give in. I learned more from those debates than I ever could have had I answered the question correctly. You were tough in the classroom but gentle in clinicals and under the “instructor” was a very good nurse. Yes, we knew it!



Psych. Adult Med/Surg.

From Hawaii.


I still remember your story about being able to wear moo-moos to work on Fridays in Hawaii, and this was before I realized just how comfortable they were! You brought a common-sense approach to your lectures and clinicals and I was very comfortable around you in both settings. You left the next year, I heard. Whereever you are, I hope you still wear moo-moos on Friday! Maybe I should invent the moo-moo scrubs!



Adult Med/Surg.

Director of Nursing Program.

Scared the hell out of me.

Didn’t appreciate you at the time, Kathy, but in retrospect you taught me the “manners” of professional interaction and to this day I can tell you that our discussions shape the way in which I deal with my colleagues, doctors and administrators.



Director of the Skills Lab.

Fun, no-stress personality.

Thanks for providing a place for us to study or just “hang out”. You were the instructor who treated us like we were already nurses and imparted your wisdom in a practical, literal way as we injected, inserted and sterile-fielded our way to graduation.


Long post, yes, but I didn’t want to leave anybody out.

The above referenced women made up the nursing instructors for the nursing class of 1978.

I wish I could go back, knowing even half of what I know now. I would have utilized their experiences and knowledge in ways that never even occured to me back then.

So….here’s to all of you, and to the instuctors of today who are forming my colleagues of tomorrow.

You guys rock.

And you will never, ever be forgotten.

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3:24 pm

A Moment of Silence…for Penn State. ‘Nuff Said.


Forgive any typos in this post.

I am typing with Notre Dame pom-poms on both hands.

Never let it be said that I am not a humble Irish fan, but you all know the drill.

Please join in as I now lead the entire world in the chorus of the Notre Dame fight song.

Forgive me if I don’t join in, it’s only the end of the third quarter and I am already hoarse. But don’t let that stop you:

Cheer, cheer for Old Notre Dame
Wake up the echoes cheering her name,
Send the volley cheer on high,
Shake down the thunder from the sky,
What though the odds be great or small
Old Notre Dame will win over all,
While her loyal sons are marching
Onward to Victory.

Very good!

And yes, I am wearing my Joe Montana #3 jersey.

You know, there is still one quarter to go and I am going to post this right now. If Penn State gets over 31 points in the fourth quarter, I will remove this post and disavow any knowledge of it.

Yes, I am one hell of a humble Irish fan!

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September 8, 2006, 10:43 am

Oh No, I Did NOT Just Read This…


You can tell this is from a different era.

No longer do we hawk materials destined to end up in the vast land fill of discarded consumerism.

The milk carton.

Your…personal….milk carton.

Use it once and throw it away.

Discard like any other empty food package and don’t you dare feel a twinge of guilt!

Lord knows we can’t have our milkmen carrying heavy things like glass.

I am old enough to remember the milkman.

(That creaking you hear? I just crossed my knees.)

Obviously nurses stood for purity and wholesomeness back then.

If a nurse says it’s okay, it’s okay!

Nurse = milk.

Oh. I get it now.


There’s a new NHS doctor in town! He’s an A&E doc and he’s angry! He is also entertaining and it will be interesting to get an A&E doc’s take on emergency medicine. Check out Why Do We All Lie? at Angry NHS Doctor . If his comments aren’t working yet (new to Blogger, he is!), send him an email and say hi!


And don’t forget the Carnival of Hope coming up on September 15th at Rickety Contrivances of Doing Good Susan reminds us: “…the deadline for Carnival of Hope is fast approaching! Please e-mail your submissions to SusanPal(at)aol(dot)com by 5 PM Pacific time this coming Thursday, September 14.”


Ah…Starbucks is offering some good music this morning. Walked into a bit of Jackie Wilson, followed by some Sam Cooke, a little Motown. This should make waiting for my tires fun! I was just called and told the steel belts were showing.

And a lady never has her steel belts showing…


While researching the local hospital that we would be using prn now that hubby has a new doctor, I decided to check out the “Careers” section.

You can tell a lot about a hospital by how many positions it has open for RNs. If there aren’t too many, it’s probably a good place. If you see twenty open positions for the ER or the med/surg unit, you might want to think twice about what sort of hospital it is.

Very pretty, easy-to-navigate web site, nice looking facility.

And then I ran across this at the bottom of the description of the ER nurse position:

We think you’ll like our campus and our work environment. We like to brag about our upscale patients, our upscale medical staff, and our upscale employees.” (emphasis mine)

Here is the link, if you would like to see it in context.

Would someone please tell me what in heaven’s name is an “upscale patient”?

This hospital does reside in a high-income community, but so have other hospitals I have worked at and never, ever did they make refererence to the social rank of their patients.

And I have never, ever seen anything that categorizes patients by their income.

Does this mean that they suffer no homeless, no un-insured? They can’t turn them away, so how do they deal with those of us who are not “upscale”?

And what about “upscale” employees?

I live in a San Francisco suburb that is a microcosm of the entire world. I live with all races, creeds and income levels. We have our homeless, our renters, our homeowners and those whose income will far exceed what I will ever make all within one block of my home.

Am I “upscale” enough for this place? I might flunk the “looking-down-my-nose” part of the orientation. I’m not good at that. Never have been.

Then we have the “upscale” medical staff? Does this mean no laid-back, long-haired hippie-type docs? I happen to like that “model” – they make the best ER docs, in my experience (and I’m a sucker for a guy with long hair). But could they possibly be “upscale” enough for this place?

Nowhere else on this website does the word “upscale” appear in relation to a patient description.

I think this is a code word designed to let prospective nurses know they won’t have to deal with “riff-raff”.

Well, the “riff-raff” need health care, too. Some of my best friends are “riff-raff” and some of my favorite patients have been street people.


Somehow I can’t get the Billy Joel video of “Uptown Girl” out of my head.

I guess in this case it might be an “Uptown Appy” who has never had a “Backstreet Doc”.

Heck, I’d take a doc who looked like a Backstreet Boy anyday..

But I digress.


So, go ahead and brag about your “upscale” patients. We are one of the lucky folk, the ones with insurance, so I’m sure we will meet the “upscale” requirement should we need to utilize your services.

But you won’t ever find me working for you.

You see, I don’t care about the social class of my patients.

And if all you see in your ER are the “upscales” of the world, your employees are missing out on the rich tapestry that is American society.

Despite your elitist attitude, it’s nothing I would brag about in an employment ad.


New post at Scared to Health in which one doctor is fired and another is chosen…

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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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