September, 2008 Archive

September 30, 2008, 1:13 pm

BlogWorldExpo09 Medblogger Poll Is Up and Running!

Yeah, it’s finally up!

The list of topics for BlogWorld09 is up!

I voted already! Go ahead and vote now – choose eight topics you would like to see.


How to vote:

1. Click on “Comment” at the bottom of the poll.

2. Click on the “Vote” tab. You should then be able to pick your eight topics.

3. If you are asked to enter a password (as the poll is private), it is “blog”.


The eleventh topic, Networking Outside the Medical Blogosphere, could not be added to the list, but you can still vote for it by sending me a comment or an email and I’ll keep track.

Voting goes on until the end of November

The list has been placed in random order to avoid any personal bias on my part.


Don’t forget that Keith (Digital Doorway) will be hosting the next Change of Shift on Thursday over at NurseLinkUp!

It’s not too late to send in your submissions! Send them to Keith via Blog Carnival or to “nursekeith at gmail dot com”.


Grand Rounds is up this week over at Jeffrey’s blog, Monash Medical Student.

The theme is “Medicine and War”.

Somber theme, excellent submissions.

Definitely worth checking out.

Over a latte, of course!

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September 29, 2008, 4:23 pm

Zippy Greets Kim!

Hey! Zippy here!

Kim finally came home! She was on a trip when I arrived, how rude but that’s okay!

I’m here at an undisclosed location in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Yeah, I was already in San Francisco, but Kim says we’re just going to hang out.

I need some rest after my Hawaiian adventure. In fact, I think I still have sand in my claws!

I wonder where Kim will take me!

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September 28, 2008, 3:06 pm

“We Manage Chaos”

(Well, I thought I was homeward bound. Turns out they overbooked my flight from Phoenix to Oakland, and needed volunteers to take a later flight. What’s in it for me? A bigger jet, dinner and a free round-trip ticket to anywhere US Airways flies in the US. Hello?

Heck yeah, I’ll volunteer! I’m exhausted but I’m thinking, “NASCAR, here I come!”. My husband has it tagged for something else. Not a chance, Bub – Coca Cola 600, 2009, I’m so there! So I’m blogging in a combo Wolfgang Puck/Pretzel Mania/TCBY/Pizza Hut cubicle. It’s the only place with a plug!)


Here I am with Mary Tyler Moore on the Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis.

Or at least her statue.

I didn’t have a hat to toss, darn it!

The mall is beautiful, with sidewalk cafes, plants and flowers – and every store you can imagine.

This photo is somewhat misleading.

The statue really doesn’t look like Mary.

And I’m not seven months pregnant.

In fact, I’m much thinner than this.

Trust me.


When I decided to attend the ENA conference, I expected to be inspired and informed

I didn’t expect Major William White.

He wasn’t on the agenda.

He was asked to reprise a statement he had made during the General Assembly for the Opening Keynote.

Major White is the Director of Trauma Education for the Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute. He served in Iraq as the nurse manager of the emergency department in the International Zone.

They cared for everyone: men, women, children, Iraqi, American. Insurgents.


Think your ER is busy? Imagine a two minute (maybe) heads up that you are getting fifteen major trauma patients from a bombing. Horrible injuries. Multiple amputations. As you gear up to care for those, more are being pulled from collapsed buildings and being brought in for care and your ER itself is under fire.

In the middle of all this, a reporter embedded with the unit puts a microphone up to you and asks how you handle all this? How are you able to deal with it?

Major White had an answer.

He said, “We are ER nurses, this is what we do. We manage chaos.”

That was perfect.


We manage chaos.

Most of us have never had to manage it in an ER in the center of a war zone, but that is exactly what we do as emergency department nurses. Every department. Every day. Every shift.

We manage chaos.

We manage it when the rooms are packed, the hallway becomes an ICU, the waiting area is full of people who should be roomed and two people call in sick for the next shift.

We manage it with a patient who is acting out because their ability to cope is gone.

We manage it when a family hears the news that their loved one is gone.

From the department level down to the individual patient, we make order out of chaos.


Major White’s comments during the Keynote Address were brief, vivid, poignant and inspiring.

I started to lose it when he told us that the staff of the ER had made a pact. A staff member would always be with a patient if they were terminally injured; no one in that ER in the middle of Iraq would ever die without someone at the bedside. No one would die alone.

And it didn’t matter who you were.


This post doesn’t even begin to convey how proud I felt to be an ER nurse that day.

I’ll never see one-millionth of what Major White has seen. I’ll never have that level of awesome responsibility.

But I’ll hold my head up a little higher when I realize I am in a profession that allows me to call someone like Major White a professional colleague.

He brought clarity to the role of the emergency nurse in one sentence.


No matter what nursing specialty you work in, stop to think about what you do.

Really stop and think about it.

Not just anyone can do what we do.

We’re nurses.

And we should be proud of our accomplishments.

Every department. Every day. Every shift.

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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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