July, 2008 Archive

July 9, 2008, 9:51 pm

Change of Shift: Volume Three, No. 1

This edition of Change of Shift marks the beginning of its third year.

In celebration, I asked nurse bloggers to send in their first posts and tell us a bit about why they started blogging.

I was surprised at how long some of my colleagues have been writing about their nursing adventures, sharing their lives and opinions.

Many thanks to all the bloggers, nursing and otherwise, who have supported CoS over the last two years and to all who have hosted the carnival.

Let’s get started!


Geena has been blogging at Code Blog since 2002! She was the first nurse blogger I found (after I realizing here were other nurses in the blogosphere), and getting a button on her website meant you had “arrived”. I was thrilled when Emergiblog made the list. Here, in one of her first posts, is a heart stopping story (no pun intended) of a patient who just had to mess with his equipment! Her latest post is Shift Change.


I wasn’t the only blogger jump-started by Geena! Disappearing John has been blogging since 2004. I’ll let him tell the story:

I cheated. This is my second post. I originally started my blog with no idea where it was going. I had recently had gastric bypass surgery and the stress from that, coupled with being in nursing school, was causing stress in my relationship, so I found some blogs, that led me to more blogs, that led me to more blogs, and so on. Reading my first few posts, I am struck by a few things: I obviously had not heard of “spell check” yet, and it is fun to read some of the wonder in my “voice” as I worked in various roles during school. It has been almost three years for me as a blogger, and it is truly the longest hobby (and cheapest hobby) I have ever had… My favorite ear;y post was actually my ninth, titled “I miss my best friend”. Geena, at CodeBlog stumbled across it when I submitted something else for a new thing called “Grand Rounds” and politely included my drivel with the writings of so many other medical bloggers. From that day, I was hooked….

Check out DisappearingJohn RN: Bear with me, I’m new to this… posted at DisappearingJohn RN. His latest post is What Has Me Laughing Today…


NPs Save Lives has been blogging since February of 2005. She tells about her blogging history and where it has taken her in How The Nurse Practitioner’s Place Was Born posted at The Nurse Practitioner’s Place. Geena was one of her first readers, too. Are you detecting a pattern here?

Beth began her blogging career in 2005 and chronicles her experience with death in MICU in Nurse + Blog = PixelRN posted at PixelRN. She muses, “As I revisit this post, I am wondering, ‘Is it any wonder I don’t work in the MICU any more?'” Check out her latest post, Nurses and Creative Writing.


Crystal wasn’t “Nurse Pickle” when she started blogging but she is now! Another alumnus of the “Class of 2005”, she notes:

Looking back, I didn’t realize it has been almost three years since I started my blog. I originally started my blog while I was working on my pre-reqs to get into nursing school. It was meant as a way for me “talk” about things going on in my life. I’m now a nurse and still blogging. I talk a lot about my transition and my everyday life. Nothing too exciting! Thanks for taking me back down memory lane!

Her inaugural post Nurse Pickle: Welcome To Me can be found at Nurse Pickle. In addition, check out her latest post, Coping.


Girl in Greenwood is now an RN, but back in July of 2004 she was still working toward being accepted to a nursing school. She’s come a long way, but you can see her first steps in girl in greenwood: get thyself to a nursing school, go! posted at girl in greenwood.

Our student nurse colleague at Brain Scramble is coming up on the first anniversary of her blog (August, 2007) and she introduces herself in Welcome to Brain Scramble‚ She notes:

I started blogging because, firstly, writing is just something I have to do. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. Secondly, I wanted a way to really investigate the things I experienced in nursing school and beyond. This is no ordinary profession, as you well know. I also wanted to connect with other nurses and nursing students around the country, to share in their experiences as well. I have come to realize that nurse bloggers make up a very special part of our profession, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

See her progress in her most recent post, Code.


New RN Miss-Elaine-ious has been blogging since September of 2007. Her first post was entitled The Life and Times of a Long Term Student. Elaine says:

I have yet to have my first anniversary of blogging, but so far it has been a great way to reflect on the happenings of transitioning from being a student nurse, to Registered Nurse and a new grad working in the Emergency Department. I originally found medical/nursing blogging because I was interested in learning the TRUE aspects of the job, and whether I would like nursing. Alhough I still haven’t decided 100%, so far I’m liking what I am doing, and I hope that continues. In the end, I love the health care field, and nursing allows me to be truly immersed in it.

Her latest post is entitled, Dreaming as a Nurse.


Oh my! I’m a Blog Mother! Mother Jones over at Nurse Ratched’s Place began her blogging career on June 26, 2006 and when asked why she started, she replied,

It was because of YOU! Remember? You encouraged me to write a blog because I told you that I had a twisted sense of humor. Thank you for being my blog buddy and for help me launch my new career.

Well, you’re welcome! Indeed your twisted sense of humor has made for some interesting, thought provoking and hilarious posts. Nurse Ratched’s Place is also the second home of CoS, having hosted seven times! Meet Mother Jones as she introduced herself in Mother Jones – RN. Her latest post is It’s Always the Nurse’s Fault.


Wanderer at Lost on the Floor has revamped his original post to include some “color commentary”. He’s been blogging since March of 2007. Here is You Never Forget Your First.

I don’t think any look back at the nursing blogosphere is complete without including Mediblogopathy. Started in November of 2004 by Hypnokitten, she, too, was a reader of Geena’s. Later she was joined by Paeds, RN. Being named “Nurse Blog of the Month” in November of 2005 by Mediblogopathy was a thrill for me and I’ll always be grateful to Hypnokitten for the honor. Although there have been no postings for a year, this edition of CoS would not be complete without the first post of this blog, I Had to do It!


As for Emergiblog, my motivations for blogging can be found right here on the site. I started on August 1, 2005 and will begin my fourth year of blogging in a couple of weeks. I’ll include my second post, entitled Circadian Rhythm Caper. This was the post that caught the eye of Bora, who included a link the week he hosted Grand Rounds. The rest, as they say, is…well…still going strong!


To all the nurses who blog and who took the time to share their beginnings with us in this special edition of Change of Shift, thank you! To all the nurses (and doctors!) who hosted Change of Shift, my heartfelt gratitude.

There are many wonderful nurse bloggers who can be found below the posts in my links section. Check them out!

So here’s to many more years of writing and many more blogs by nurses. I’ll have the rest of the year up on the Change of Shift page – anyone who wants to host, please let me know!


The next Change of Shift will be here at Emergiblog. Use the contact button or Blog Carnival to submit. Those whose submissions I could not use this week due to the theme of the edition are welcome to submit for the next edition

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July 8, 2008, 11:16 am

There’s No Shrinkage in Grand Rounds!

One of the best Grand Rounds themes ever…TBTAM over at The Blog That Ate Manhattan goes Seinfeld!

About the only topic not covered this week is “shrinkage”!

Not only are the topics looking fantastic, but the presentation will have you giggling and reaching for your Seinfeld DVDs.

To quote Jerry himself, this edition of GR will not leave you feeling “short-changed”!


Don’t forget that the next Change of Shift is a special one, as the Nursing blog carnival will begin its third year!

I’m asking all nurse bloggers to send me their very first post with a bit of a backstory on why they started blogging.

Great submissions are coming in and I’ll be taking them all the way up to 9 pm PDT on Wednesday night. Send them to me via the contact button up top or through Blog Carnival.

What could be easier, no writing required! Let’s look at how far we’ve come over the last three years.


I’ve been doing some work on my links in the section below. Blogs that have not had posts since January or February, blogs that are invitation only or whose writers have “closed shop” have been taken off the listing.

If I have taken off a link in error please let me know!

I did notice my paramedic section is woefully underlinked, so if you know of any good paramedic blogs, I’ll be happy to link them. I’ll also be checking the blog links on the medic blogs, too.


I’m in the process of going through my Patient blog section, and while checking with with Ron at 2 Sides 2 Ron, I was shocked to learn that a diagnosis of HIV positive will prevent you from entering the country.

Did you know that?

The USA is one of twelve nations that have the same policy. Here are the others: Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Sudan, Qatar, Brunei, Oman, Moldova, Russia, Armenia, and South Korea.

Let me quote Ron:

HIV is the only medical condition that permanently precludes admission. Not even leprosy and tuberculosis are grounds for exclusion. Only a record of terrorism, tax evasion, money laundering or child smuggling has the same effect.

Hellooooo? This is the 21st century and not 1981.

It’s in the process of being reversed, but we need to make our feelings known to our legislators to facilitate the change.

Check out Ron’s post here: Help Reverse the US Government’s Discriminatory HIV Travel Ban.

I don’t “get political” very often, but this is just wrong.

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July 7, 2008, 12:06 pm

It Don’t Come Easy

Every now and then I need to stop and remember why I stay in nursing.

I knew Johnson and Johnson had a “Discover Nursing” campaign, I just didn’t know how active it still was.

Until I saw a commercial on CNN. About nursing. About becoming a nurse. I revisited the “Discover Nursing” website and was surprised to see an amazingly comprehensive, informative nursing site.

This company means business.

I also found free stuff! Free posters and brochures on becoming a nurse, in English and Spanish. I ordered some to put up in the ER and some brochures for the waiting room. I intend to carry some with me and hand them out whenever I can.

Check out the website, get some posters and brochures and be a part of recruiting our future colleagues.

Disclosure: Johnson and Johnson has graciously paid my registration for this month’s BlogHer08 convention in San Francisco. This post (unsolicited, btw) is my way of thanking them and hopefully giving back a small part of what they have given to nursing in general.

And today, me in particular.

Because sometimes I need to be reminded why I am still a nurse.


It used to be easier, dealing with death.

Oh, occasionally a particularly devastating case would get to me, but I worked codes with professional detachment and took care of the surviving family members with compassion and professionalism.

It used to be easy.

It’s not so easy anymore.


I knew you for a little over an hour, and the minute I saw you I knew you were dying. War had been raging inside your body for over three years; you met every battle with determination.

The enemy was pernicious. Malevolent. This particular enemy always is. Silent until its damage is irreparable, it was now ready to end its rampage.

I knew it. And so did you. In the few words we exchanged, you told me you were ready to “turn the page”; you were so exhausted.

Bone weary. Exhaustion so deep that you didn’t have the energy to even want to fight anymore.

I gave you my hand. You gave it a squeeze.

Peace was at hand.

Twenty minutes later you were gone.


As I watched your monitor slowly dissolve into that undulating line of asystole, my throat tightened and my eyes burned. I made sure your family members were comfortable and I went to the nurses station to do the required paperwork. That infernal, damned paperwork.

You had just died, but God forbid that I do anything but the required paperwork. It was the most important aspect of the night.

Not the fact that I was ready to cry. I made it to the bathroom, but that made it worse so I swallowed hard, came back out and talked to your doctor, the coroner and the donor network, finished your chart and sent you to our “refrigeration unit”. That’s what the transplant coordinator called it. Guess “morgue” is no longer PC.

I didn’t even know you.

But two hours later I was crying for you on my way home from work.


Why is dealing with death becoming so much harder? As a young nurse, it was what I did.

It was also something that happened to other people.

Is it my age that makes me more aware of my own mortality, making death that much harder to deal with?

Is it that I have now buried my parents-in-law, my father, three grandparents, an uncle, an aunt and two brothers-in-law, the last four within the last 18 months?

Is it because I know the feeling of the shock that sets in immediately following the split second of disbelief or the depth of the sadness that precedes the seemingly endless, painful ache?


I’m not sure what it is, but the more I experience death, the more it affects me and the harder it is to control my emotions.

I wondered if maybe it was time for me to get out of this line of nursing, that maybe I had lost the ability to detach enough to remain the impartial professional.

Then I realized, after all these years I should be thankful that I can still feel for my patients and grieve their loss.

When I stop feeling for my patients, that would be the time I would need to explore another avenue of nursing.

As for now, I’ll stay right where I am.

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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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