August, 2008 Archive

August 24, 2008, 4:28 am

My Charade is the Event of the Season

How could we ever forget the old commercial:

“Remove wrenched ankle..HA-HA-HA!”

I wanted to punch that kid, and I was about the same age!

I was not a good player of “Operation”, either, I always made the nose light up.

Good thing I didn’t go into surgery, folks would be running around with electric, red noses.

The price of the game today? $14.99 on

Did they increase the fee paid for removing that ankle?

I bet the “fees” haven’t changed from the original game. Guess it isn’t so far from real life as I thought.


I am a hollow shell.

How’s that for a dramatic beginning?

It’s how I feel right now, and it hasn’t changed since I last left my unit..

I expended so much mental and emotional energy during my run of night shifts. And no one was critically sick.


Let’s make things clear from the outset, so you don’t think I’m a burnt out old hag.

The vast majority of patients who present to the emergency department are patients who are anxious about something that is happening to their body. It may be serious. It may be nothing.

But they don’t know that.

My job is to validate their feelings, help relieve their symptoms, plan an approach to help them solve the problem and make sure they have the resources to follow up.

This is what I do as a nurse. I engage my patients. I am there for them and my physical and emotional energies are directed at helping them get through a stressful time, be it a life-altering event or a minor illness.

It can be exhausting, but it’s a good exhaustion. A sense of accomplishment. The feeling that maybe my presence and my nursing care made a scary time easier.


But what are you supposed to do when you are being “played”?

When the BS is so thick the unit needs twenty-five septic tanks just to handle triage.

When you might as well be a waitress at the IHOP because all you are basically doing taking the patient’s order, and the patient knows you will do it because they are, well, the “patient”.

When all you are is a legal conduit for drug administration with a clean needle.

When the story you are being told as “history of present illness” has so many holes in it swiss cheese is a block of marble in comparison.

And they know you know it.

But you have to treat them.

And they know it.


I’m not a perfect nurse by any stretch of the imagination (and I have a unit full of colleagues to confirm it!), but I put my heart and soul into my patients.

And I hate being manipulated. More specifically, I hate being part of a system that can be manipulated, at will, by anyone who knows the right buzz words.

Trust me, I see right through the act.

Do they see right through mine?


I am acting, you see.

These patients will never, ever see the anger, frustration, and fatigue (emotional and physical) that being manipulated engenders.

They will get a smile, a warm blanket tucked in, their meal delivered, detailed discharge instructions discussed with them.

Because while I may not be a perfect nurse, I am one hell of an actress.

The performances I put on during a recent run of shifts were worthy of Emmys, Tonys, Oscars and Grammys. (Okay, hold the Grammys, I don’t sing.)

The patients got everything they needed, when they needed it. They also got everything they demanded, when they demanded it.

My charade really was the event of the season.

And I walked away feeling like my soul was dead.


To paraphrase a famous Prince song: this is what it sounds like, when a nurse dies.

I don’t like that feeling.

Thank God I’ve been in the profession long enough to know it doesn’t last.

But it hurts like hell to be numb.

Read »

August 21, 2008, 7:09 am

Change of Shift Vol 3, Number Four

And it’s that time again, folks!

Welcome to Change of Shift!

Many thanks to those who volunteered to host CoS – there are still dates available, but they are filling up fast, so if you would like to host, check out the dates and drop me line.

Are you Twittering? Beth at Pixel RN has a great list of nurses on Twitter, so if you are looking for colleagues on the service, check out her list. I’m there under….wait for it…Emergiblog!


Suzanne at :: adventures in daily living :: starts us off with a very comprehensive post on How to Help a Family With a Medical Emergency That Lands Them in I.C.U. There are things here I never even thought of, and I’ve done the ICU vigil more times than I care to think about!

A big Change of Shift welcome to Denice, a self-described “reluctant” nurse manager who gets “the call” at a very inconvenient time in They came. They saw. They accredited! posted in her blog, Oh to be a Nurse Manager…. It’s great to see the view from the manager’s side of the aisle!

While you are admiring the new digs over at Nurse Ratched’s Place, check out the response to the Joint Commission at the Greatest Hospital in the World in JCAHO Reddiness Swat Team. She’s not kidding.


Oh geeze, just when you think you’ve heard everything…Janet at PixelOne,PurlTwo sends a story about a class on communication she was required to attend, entitled Nurses as Children. You have to read this. And then reach for the Tums. You’ll need them. I did.

Keith at Digital Doorway presents his third installment of his ValueCare, ValueNurses blogging scholarship series with a look at The Aging World. As I’m smack in the middle of the Boomer generation, so I’m not sure whether I’m depressed over the potential for economic hardship or the fact that Keith is younger than me! Over at NurseLinkUp, Keith discusses new legislation regarding nursing practice in Ohio Nurses Allowed to Administer Botox. Look for NurseLinkUp to host Change of Shift in the upcoming months!

I bet we all have some great stories about practical jokes at work. Nurse Kathy at NurseConnect tells us a few gems as she discusses the reason we should Lighten Up.


Has nursing changed you? How are you seen by friends and family now that you are a nurse? Nurse Laura, also from NurseConnect, ponders these questions in Have You Changed Since Becoming a Nurse? (In answer to one of her questions, I “veg” out so much on my days off, I’m growing roots!)

ERMurse has been to some meetings and he shares his version of the proceedings in Annoying Consultant Speak posted at ER Murse. Been there, heard that! What a pain.

NurseConnect continues their guest blogger series with Karen Siroky, a nurse and director of She shares her views on the nursing shortage and encourages all RNs out there to take some creative steps to do their part to help She details some of these steps in Pay It Forward.


Beka over at Medscape Nurses wonders just how much technology is enough in How High Tech Must We Go in ICU Today? She links to an article about an almost unbelievable ICU!

Alvaro at SharpBrains weighs in with a post on Neurogenesis and Brain Plasticity in Adult Brains. It seems you are never to old to learn and the act of learning is healthy for your brain (and your patients’ brains!)

You can find Heather Johnson in many places on the web, but this time she comes to us from with a quick look at Loan Tips for the New Grad. In the same vein, Sarah Scrafford offers guidance in Understanding Your U.S. Federal Financial Aid Options: Perkins and Stafford which can be found at Online I present these for our new grad colleagues and those about ready to embark on their nursing education (including my daughter!)

This looks intriguing! Sally Thompson presents 100 Open Courseware Collections in Health and Medicine over at Nursing Colleges & Training Schools.


Thanks for reading this edition of Change of Shift. The September 4th edition will be hosted at Nurse Ratched’s Place. You can submit via the Blog Carnival button or send your submissions to “motherjonesrn at yahoo dot com”.

See you then!

Read »

August 19, 2008, 10:52 am

Dewey or Don’t We? Grand Rounds Goes to the Library

Ever wonder what we did before the internet?

You’re looking at it.

The Dewey Decimal System.

If you have to look it up, you’re too young to remember it.

Let’s put it this way: it gave Kerri at Six Until Me a nightmare.

A nightmare that became the theme for this week’s Grand Rounds!

Melvil Dewey would be proud!


I’d like to thank Scrubs Gallery for their continued support of Emergiblog. You guys rock, and the site gets better and better!


The Healthcare Today site is growing fast! I’m proud to be in the company of some pretty heavy hitting bloggers over there, and you can easily sign up.

Then, you can submit your own posts to the headlines and vote on those already there. It’s not only a quick look at the blogosphere topics, but mainstream media links as well.

Find an article you like? Submit it for all of us to see.

It’s easy to read, easy to navigate and easy to submit anything you find interesting.

Something I found just a few minutes ago was a post from Clinical Cases and Images: Does Michael Phelps Have Marfan Syndrome? If not for Healthcare Today, I may have missed an interesting look at a phenomenal athlete.


You may have noticed the Johnson and Johnson widget on the sidebar. This connects directly to the J&J Health Channel on You Tube with Dr. Nancy Snyderman.

You may recognize Dr. Snyderman from the Today show – I remember when she was a local surgeon here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The topics are varied and interesting, so do check them out.

And of course a HUGE thanks to J&J for sponsoring the medbloggers at BlogWorldExpo! The nursing profession is very lucky to have such a wonderful corporate supporter!


There is some furniture rearrangement going on at Emergiblog.

Apps are coming and going…

It all stems from BlogHer08. Lots of internet folks there with new things to try.


Yedda is an interesting app. You sign up and then folks ask you questions based on your stated areas of expertise/interest. I guess not too many people are interested in nursing, ERs or Jeff Scott Soto, because I’ve not gotten a single question.

Check it out if you are interested in learning more. Heck, you can even ask me a question!


Adoptic is an app in beta that I am looking at closely.

You sign up and join “communities”. Snippets of posts from those communities show up on your sidebar (as you can see here on Emergiblog) and your posts show up on other sites in the community, giving your blog more exposure.

You pick which posts to promote and which communities you belong to.

I belong to the entrepreneur, literature and writing, science and health communities, so the snippets you see on this blog will be related to one of those four areas.


And, it’s not too late to get those Change of Shift submission in! I’ll be putting it together tomorrow (along with getting the youngest ready for college – who needs sleep anyway?), so get those last minute submission in via the contact button or the Blog Carnival submission button.


PS – I’m on Twitter now! Yes, I have joined the Twitter Twiteration! I’m there under “Emergiblog” so if you’d like to follow me (or would like me to follow you), come on over!

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...

Continue reading »

Find Me On...
Twitter     Technorati

Subscribe to Emergiblog

Office of the National Nurse

Zippy Was Here

Healthcare Blogger Code of Ethics

  • Perspective
  • Confidentiality
  • Disclosure
  • Reliability
  • Courtesy