May 15, 2007, 10:29 pm

First, Remove the Beam From Your Own Eye…


Well, here’s something you don’t see everyday.

Let’s all hop into bed and take a picture with the patient.

They don’t look any too happy about it, either.

I’m sure Florence would not have approved the resting of one’s person on the patient’s bed.

Showing cleavage through one’s crinolines was bad enough.


Never realized how theraputic blogging could be. It’s very comforting to have something productive to focus on right now. I can’t vouch for the quality given the current labile state of my emotions, but I have to write.

Got a 100% in my Leadership and Management class. That seemed very important last week. I’m happy I received it – worked hard for it – but in the scheme of things it’s just a grade.


There is nothing like a stint as a family member in a hospital to stimulate some blog posts.

The hospital I was visiting has an ER the size of a football field, and sees two hundred patients at a time. At once. Concurrently. In rooms.

Holy cow. In my ER if we see 75 in twenty-four hours, it feels like we ran our butts off.

This ER has forty nurses (40!!!!) on their PM shift.

We have four.


Imagine a private room with sliding glass doors in a large, spacious monitored unit.

The patient is post-op and has fallen asleep, hand on the PCA button which is mercifully infusing Morphine.

Visitors are talking with family outside the closed door. Family in the room are barely whispering, if they talk at all.

The patient’s nurse comes in with linen, takes one look at her charge and mouths “Sleep is more important right now….”

Nerves had been on edge, but as more family arrived things began to settle down.

The patient is stable, for now. Everything is quiet…peaceful..

And then it happened.


The door flies open and a different nurse makes an announcement. LOUDLY!

Very nice, very helpful and EXTREMELY LOUD.

It felt like someone had fired a shotgun in the room.

It was like those advertisements for speakers that blow your hair back.

Like a cheese grater to the face.

The patient shot awake. The family visibly jumped.


Have you ever wondered how you come across to patients?

I tend to have an outgoing, gregarious personality.

Do I sound like that nurse?


I think I come across as friendly, but I wonder if I come across as abrasive or LOUD. The nurse who came in with her announcement was a wonderful, wonderful professional. She just didn’t sense the vibe of her surroundings before jumping in.

I’m sounding all new-age-y now.

But it is something that never occured to me before.

This occured in an inpatient unit, but patients in an emergency department are also scared, in pain and sick.

I tend to be full of energy and it shows.

ERs are loud and hectic enough without having a nurse that sucks your energy.

There is a lot to be said for a soft voice, a gentle touch. A light dimmed.

For getting the “feel” of a situation and of your patient/family before you just barge in and take over care.

And so, before I go plucking the mote out of the eye of my colleague I’ll take the beam out of my own and make sure I speak softly and gauge my patients’ personalities before I jump in with both feet.

I think my patients will appreciate it.


  • Candy

    May 16, 2007 at 7:01 am

    I think your patients appreciate you no matter what. SMF is lucky to have you — the heart of nursing is patient care and part of that is learning something new every day. “Each one teach one” doesn’t just mean directly. Maybe the loud friendly nurse in the other SMF will read this and see herself — and learn from you.

  • Matt M

    May 16, 2007 at 7:01 am

    After a stint in the hospital, my wife looked forward most of all to being able to undisturbed sleep when she got home.

  • Student Nurse Nancy

    May 16, 2007 at 7:04 am

    Good point! I noticed the same thing with some of my student peers. One in particular had a bad habit of taking a “baby talk” tone with her elderly patients. I can bet you she didn’t even realize it was happening. Fortunately I overheard the instructor mentioning it to her and she quickly stopped.

  • AlisonH

    May 16, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    Eh, she just must have had me as a patient earlier. I’m deaf as a post without my hearing aids.

  • La Bellota, SN

    May 17, 2007 at 10:16 am

    Excellent. I think this point was driven home to me before I started nursing school. I used to work in a Mammography center. We had to be very mindful about keeping our emotions in check and how they might be viewed by an anxious patient.

    But after closing time……wooooot…..hee.

    I am enjoying your blog very, very much.

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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