August, 2007 Archive

August 7, 2007, 9:32 am

Soak Up the Sun With Grand Rounds!


Oh lord help me.

I’m sitting at Starbucks and they are playing a falsetto version of “I Shot the Sheriff”.

Where is Eric Clapton when you need him?

Well just forget falsetto reggae for a moment, because it’s time for Grand Rounds and this time Hsien takes us to the beach!

Okay, maybe it isn’t a “beach house on the moon” but it is most certainly a virtual beach house at Eye On DNA this morning!

Pay a visit, and don’t forget to bring your sunscreen!

All offers of a margarita will be gladly accepted!


Well, well! It seems that the summer of 2005 was a very good year for new blogs!

Jenni Prokopy and Chronic celebrate two years of babes and blogging! Emergiblog would like to extend a hearty congratulations to Jenni and all Chronic Babes everywhere!

You don’t have to be a Chronic Babe to pull some great ideas from the site, but you will be a regular reader once you check it out!


Change of Shift comes “home to mama” this week, as Emergiblog hosts the nursing carnival on August 9th! All submissions can be sent to me through the “Contact Me” button or through Blog Carnival.

Methinks Change of Shift needs a new logo…hmmm……

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August 6, 2007, 3:53 am

Pacing the Cage


What is up with these old Red Cross ads?

The nurses always look like they are auditioning for “American Idol”.

This one looks like she is in the middle of “My Heart Will Go On”.

Imagine if Simon Cowell was your manager!

Actually, which judge would make the better manager?

Randy would call you “dawg” while he wrote you up and remind you that you have to “bring it” every shift.

Paula wouldn’t know bad nursing care from a hole in the ground and she’d cry if she had to write you up.

Simon would never write you up because if he had a problem with you, he’d tell you right out!  Plus, he’d come to work in those black T-shirts.

I vote for Simon.


Oh great. I’m sitting here at Starbucks and this guy who looks like Charlie Daniels (complete with hat) has been sitting next to me for the last thirty minutes talking to himself non-stop. I mean non-stop! At least I think he is talking to himself. He is looking at me, though.

Sorry, dude. I’m off duty.

The eerie thing is he can’t see what I’m typing on the screen, but his stream-of-consciousness has touched on everything I have been writing at least once.

He is now discussing the “colors of our minds”. I believe his are quite vivid.

He’s actually rather fascinating. Must be the old psych nurse in me.

Ah, now we are onto conspiracies and Merv Griffin…


I’m restless.

I feel like a HDTV with 200 satellite channels and they’re all infomercials.

Lots of ideas, plenty of topics.

Nothing flowing.

Cerebral Fleets, anyone?


It’s waiting for something to happen but not being sure what it is. Not quite anxiety, not quite boredom.

Not quite comfortable.


Maybe it’s the summer doldrums. They don’t call August the “dog days of summer” for nothing.


I can’t figure it out.

I cut back to six days per pay period at work. My son gets married in 6 days. My daughter begins her senior year in two weeks and life settles back into a routine.

And then there is all the fun stuff to look forward to!


Notre Dame football starts on September 1st – the pom poms that have been collecting dust since January are ready for their 2007 inaugural game! Of course, there won’t be any Brady Quinn, but that’s okay because…

The NFL starts on August 11th!!! Cleveland Browns vs. Kansas City – first pre-season game!

I just found out Brady Quinn is holding out for a better contract. Come on, Brady!

Don’t blow your chance to take a few snaps this season! I bought your jersey and everything! Ugh!


My semester begins on September 4th. Ten units. I’m actually looking forward to it.

I realized if I really pushed it, I could complete the program by December of 2008. The question is can I push it and still enjoy the process? That was one of my goals for the program, to enjoy the process without getting all stressed about finishing.


Actually, spending the day at Starbucks has helped. That and enough espresso to propel a car for a year.

My friend here is still talking. Britney Spears is his daughter and he is talking about a good dear friend who has retired. The occasional sex reference gets thrown in, but nothing inappropriate. His mother lived to be 94 and never wanted to smoke, while his father would sit in bridge clubs just to breathe the smoke.

I’m still finding this guy fascinating. I’m not sure if that should bother me or not.

Ah…there’s Paul McCartney on the speaker…

Life is good.

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August 4, 2007, 5:03 pm

It Takes a Village…



I love this photo!

As you can see from the name on the side, this baby was photographed by Mr. Tom Arma, aka “The most published baby photographer in the world!”

Check out his website for the epitome of the word “cute”.

If I have grandkids, I’m going to photograph them in a nurse’s cap and stethoscope.

Not any grandsons, of course. They just get the stethoscope.


I may have just set a record. I’m sitting in my second Starbucks of the day. I’ve never done that before!

And the Police are playing – geeze, how annoying can Sting be? “A goo-goo-goo, A ga-ga-ga.” Warning: impending emesis if they don’t change this music…

Don’t stand so close to me…

Don’t worry!


The baby and I have a lot in common – and I don’t mean the rolls of fat!

You see I once was a “baby” nurse. A new graduate with virtually no confidence, petrified at the thought of actually being a nurse.

To tell my head from a hole in the ground required a topographical map.

What happened to me that first year would never happen today, it just isn’t done.

Let’s just say I lucked out.


I’ve always found it funny that I ended up in critical care. After all, it was my ICU rotation in school that had me leaving mid-shift so I could go to the college and quit – with only six weeks to go!

I was convinced I was going to kill somebody.

Med-surg was not my thing, so when a small community hospital advertised for their 10-bed cardiac step-down/education unit, I applied and was interviewed.

For some reason, they gave me the job. I had zero cardiac training. The deal? They would pay for me to go through a cardiac course if I agreed to stay on the job one year.

I said yes.


They promptly closed the unit, an ostensibly temporary situation. That meant that my preceptor and me, a non-cardiac certified new grad would be working down in the Coronary Care unit.

This was in December. They weren’t able to put me in a cardiac class until April of the next year.

For four months, I came to work full-time and was never counted as staff!


I was able to work side-by-side with experienced nurses every day. They would answer my questions, taught me how to read a monitor and backed me up every single shift.

There were two cardiologists with offices in the hospital. When they found out I was new, they sat with me and explained preload and afterload and other tricks-of-the-trade, like hooking nitroprusside directly into the saline lock because it was safer than having it go through back up tubing, or how to troubleshoot a Swan-Ganz catheter if the wave form was poor.

They were always willing to answer questions and explain why something was ordered.

The unit nurses were just as supportive. Hours were spent discussing PVC-vs-aberrancy strips with my older colleagues. I was so green, the first time a patient went into bradycardia my preceptor threw a box of atropine into the room and yelled “push this”! I had to yell back “how much!!??”. “Half the syringe – point five!”

Hey! It worked!

Atropine rocked!


By the time I was enrolled in the cardiac course, I already knew how to read every rhythm and which ones to treat and why.

I knew I had “made it” when I called one of the cardiologists at 0200 for a patient who experienced a sudden, intense shortness of breath.

After I gave the rundown of symptoms, he said, “Kim, you know what you’re seeing. What do you think is happening?”

“She threw a pulmonary embolism.”


I was right!


I kept my end of the bargain. I stayed a full ten years at that facility.

The reason I stayed is the story behind the story.

You see, I had serious doubts about my ability to be a nurse after I graduated. I constantly wondered, “what the hell did I get myself into?”

By stumbling upon an experienced, enthusiastic and supportive group I was able to learn in a safe environment while growing confidence in my nursing ability.


You know the old saying “it takes a village to raise a child”?

Well, it takes a “village” to raise a new nurse. I know. I was mentored by a “village” of my colleagues.

Twenty-nine years later, I’m still nursing and I’m good at what I do.

I firmly believe I wouldn’t be where I am now had I not been supported in those scary first days.

How many new nurses are we losing to “culture shock” before their first year of practice is over?

How can we keep new nurses from finding the exit door?

Maybe the first step is not eating our young, but helping them find their strengths and mentoring them into confidence.

It worked for me.


Side note: Cardiac care was much different back then! Patients spent at least a week in the unit with commode privileges and then could get up to the bathroom using a “long cord” to keep them attached to the monitor. Later, when the unit was open, they would spend ten days or so in the cardiac step down unit getting “educated” on all matters cardiac.

We needed a doctor’s order to discuss sexual activity with the patients – there was a special booklet for that! There was no troponin, only CK, CKMB, LDH, SGOT and SGPT levels. You didn’t have to worry about running a patient to the cath lab, they did not exist. It was said a bypass was good for five years. Calcium channel blockers were experimental and we never heard of TPA!

We’ve come a long way, baby!


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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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