April, 2007 Archive

April 26, 2007, 7:34 pm

Write Me A River: Nursing Jobs.Org Launches a New Feature


There’s a treatment for student nurses?

Are they some sort of disease?

Is it listed in the DSM-IV?

“Yes doctor, I’m afraid I have an acute case of…gasp…student nurse!”

“There is only one accepted treatment, Mrs. Jones.”

“What is it doctor? I’ll do anything!”

“Cover them in a wool drape and put them in the spotlight.”


That is sure to instill confidence and poise!

Actually, there is only one true cure for “student nurse”.

It’s called graduation!


Have you ever wondered why we use the term “student nurse” instead of “nursing student”, but we refer to our medical counterparts as “medical student” and not “student doctor”?

I’m quite sure there is a wonderfully philosophical post hidden somewhere in that question.

Someday I’ll tackle it.



Great news on the writing front!

Beginning May 8th, NursingJobs.org will feature a nursing column, with a different topic highlighted each day of the week! Two of these columns will be written by yours truly.

I’ll be taking a weekly look at nursing history, along with an additional column focusing on nursing research.

My colleague in this endeavor is well known in the nursing blogosphere! Mother Jones from Nurse Ratched’s Place will be profiling current leaders in the nursing profession.  At the moment, the other columns are by “Mystery Columnists”, but as soon as Shane lets us know who they are I’ll pass it along!

We’re not talking dry, APA-formatted-yawn-inducing material here. We’ll be making these topics fun, humorous, informative and pertinent to every-day practice, so be sure to check us out! I’ll be linking here when the feature goes live on May 8th.


Of course, now that I’ll be writing five blog posts and two columns a week I get immediate writer’s block, or as I like to call it, “blogjectile dysfunction”: the acute onset of fear that nothing you have to say is of any importance. And that’s assuming you can think of anything to say!

Symptoms include: prolonged procrastination manifested by cleaning areas of your house you didn’t even know existed, diaphoresis of the palmar surfaces of the distal portions of the arms, bilaterally (sweaty hands), profuse surfing of the web and obsessive rumination over every shift you’ve ever worked in the hope that inspiration will strike.

The treatment? Read other blogs. Nine times out of ten, another blogger will spark an opinion or an idea.

Thanks, guys!

Read »

April 25, 2007, 4:36 pm

Global Warming: An Inconvenient Hot Flash


Poor Nurse Nancy!

Good thing she got this Unguentine gig.

She never was able to master Rock-Paper-Scissors in elementary school.

Couldn’t really master rectal exams in clinical, either.

But she can measure cervical dilation like nobody’s business!

From the doorway!

Go figure!


The issue of global warming is stirring up controversy throughout our great country.

There are those who pooh-pooh the notion and those who are stockpiling tank tops and shorts in December.

Despite all the debates, there is one cause of global warming that has not been addressed.



Think about it.

There are 2.4 million nurses in the United States

Ninety-two percent (92%) of these nurses are women.

The average age of a registered nurse in the United States is 47 and rising.

Do the math.


I bring this up because the issue of global warming has already hit my emergency department.

It’s The War of the Thermostat!

One nurse will turn up the heat because her tiny little petite self (no envy here folks, move along…) doesn’t have enough body fat to keep her warm.

The minute she leaves the nurse’s station, the other staff member, in the throes of an acute attack of personal global warming (aka: the hot flash) runs over and turns it down.

But that’s not the end!

Another staff member throws open the ambulance doors in the pouring rainstorm with winds at 86 knots, then places herself squarely amid three separate fans at her desk. There’s no denying global warming with this one!

Undaunted, a fourth nurse throws a warm blanket around her wee self like a toga and runs around the department bearing an uncanny resemblance to a skinny Bluto from “Animal House”.


And me? I have yet to experience the spontaneous emissions of heat so endemic to my age group.

Instead, I have a repetitive stress injury from taking off, and the putting on, and then taking off my scrub jacket.

Stop the madness!

Instead of pitying those poor polar bears surfing on their miniscule blocks of melting ice, why not donate to the research behind aerosol estrogen?

Before I go insane between bouts of hyperthermia and can’t-defibrillate-me-I’m-so-cold.

And before I join the legion of fan-worshiping, thermostat-hiking door openers!

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April 24, 2007, 2:32 pm

Administrative Professionals Week: A Look At ER Secretaries


Well, I have to be honest…

I don’t really know what secretaries are really thinking!

Especially emergency department secretaries.

But I can tell you that a great ED secretary can make a department!

Call them what you will: unit clerks, secretaries or administrative assistants.

They all have one thing in common.

An uncanny ability to multitask.

In honor of Administrative Professionals Week, I’d like to pay homage to the intrepid individuals who man the front lines of the emergency department.


Have you ever really watched an ED secretary at work?

At any given time, they are simultaneously:

  • Making a phone call to two different physician exchanges.
  • Greeting patients as they come in the door with a smile and directing them to triage.
  • Answering the two pages they placed ten minutes before.
  • Putting orders in the computer.
  • Paging the ER doc to the phone.
  • Deflecting the anger of patients who have had to wait 3.87 minutes before being roomed.
  • Repeating on the phone, for the 267th time in an hour, that the department does not have advice nurses but would be happy to care for them should they decide to come in.
  • Putting in patient charges.
  • Catching the charts that the nurses forgot to sign.
  • Keeping track of the five piles of unfinished charts that are spread around the nursing station.
  • Pulling up lab results for the consultants who arrive in the department.
  • Paging the charge nurse to take the two sick calls that just came in.
  • Responding to the various requests of staff nurses for labs or finding a rarely-used form.
  • Listening to the nurses ventilate about the frustrations of their job. Okay, they listen to a ton of griping!

And they do it all with a smile.

They never slow down because if they slow down, so does the department.

They are privy to every patient secret in the department and are the epitome of HIPAA compliance.

Their bladder capacity rivals that of an RN.

They hear it all, they see it all…

They do it all.

Should you ever doubt the value of your emergency department administrative assistant, just imagine working a shift without them.

And then remember to say “thank you” to them.


But especially this week.

Read »

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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