April, 2009 Archive

April 10, 2009, 1:47 pm

And I Begin to Wonder Why You Came

bob-evans-uniformsI tell ya, I was born thirty years too late!

Are these elegant, or what?

Of course, by the time I was wearing white, the dresses were mini-skirts (don’t ask how we bent over in those things!)

And I was never 5’11” or had an 18-inch waist like these nurses did.

(They aren’t bad, they’re just drawn that way…)

But oh, how I would have basked in these dresses back in the old days!

Now I wear scrubs.  I’m comfortable, but I look like I’m working in pajamas.

Apparently Bob Evans is still around, or at least the company is.

They make restaurant uniforms


Okay!  By popular demand (and a suggestion by Doctor Anonymous on his radio show last night), there is now a special page for the BlogWorld/NewMediaExpo 09 Medblogger Conference here on Emergiblog.

If you click the button up top that says “Blog World” it will take you to a dedicated page where you can comment, tell us you are going to be there, talk with those who are,  nag those who aren’t and stay abreast of all the news.

As registration begins or Southwest starts taking reservations, I’ll post it right on the page.

Oh, and no, I don’t get paid by Southwest for mentioning them.

I just think they rock!

Won’t fly with anyone else.


“Why the hell do people get out of bed in the middle of the night for nothing?  I mean, who in their right mind visits an ER at four a.m. for a freaking paper cut?  Are they nuts? What possesses a supposedly rational adult to wake up their spouse and all four of their children and come to the ER because they have a fever of 100.7? Don’t they know Tylenol is over-the-counter, or is it now a controlled substance?”

“They can’t cope.”

“Huh?” I looked up from the stack of charts I was trying to finish.  It had been a very busy shift.  A very busy clinical shift. Not an emergent complaint within ten miles of the joint.  I had smiled through the role of compassionate nurse for six hours and I was not in a good mood, hence the rather rabid rhetorical rant.

The ER doc repeated his answer.

“Patients come to us when they have reached the end of their ability to cope with a problem.”

“Are you serious? Keith, it was a paper cut, for god’s sake!”

“Sure, I’m very serious.  Paper cut, toe pain, headache, abdominal pain.  Everyone winds up here for the same reason.”

I dropped my pen and turned around.

“Think about it,” he continued. “It’s really what we are here for.  When the patient comes in with their problem, they are able to share it and it then becomes our problem. We take it on with them. Their coping skills are depleted, they rely on ours to help them get through the crisis.  Yes, even if it is a paper cut.”


Dr. Keith was right.

That’s exactly why people utilize the ER.  They are unable to cope.  With pain, usually.

But when I really thought about it,  maybe there were other issues, too. Perhaps they were unable to cope with waiting overnight for an answer from a clinic that may or may not give them an appointment. Perhaps they were unable to cope with the fact that they didn’t feel well and had to be at work by 7 a.m., or else.  Maybe they couldn’t cope with what they didn’t know; what if the paper cut was infected or the ankle was broken?

And then I realized something else.


What do nurses do?

Really, at the heart of all patient care.

We help people cope.

With illness. With disability. With fear.  With pain.  With loss. With change.

And then we take it one better.

We give them the skills  to strengthen their existing coping mechanisms and to learn new ones.

By listening. By teaching. By supporting. By encouraging.

It’s what nurses do.


So I came away from my shift with a clearer focus.

I realized I had always known the truth of what had been discussed that night,  but I had lost it in the hectic bustle of numerous non-stop shifts.

Dr. Keith had it down.

I also realized something else.

Nurses don’t have a monopoly on compassion.

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April 7, 2009, 10:38 am

The Top Five Reasons for NOT Getting a BSN…BUSTED!

funny-pictures-cat-says-your-disease-is-incurablejpg1This is hilarious!

Lord knows I have entered the realm of stupidity many a few times in my life!

And let me tell you, there is no cure for stupidity, only an acquired resistance after multiple bouts of dumb behavior!

I wish I had invented the “I Can Has Cheezeburger?” website.

I am about 2 cats (and twenty years) short of qualifying for “crazy cat lady” status, and there are “itteh bitteh kitteh committeh” meetings in my house around the clock!

Love it!


the-handover-logoIf you are writing about EMS in any capacity you want to send me your posts for inclusion in the “Handover” carnival edition I’ll be hosting April 24th! I must say – I’m getting some great submissions!

yearthreelogoChange of Shift will be here next week!  You have a great post on your blog, yes, I’m talking to you, and you know you wanna send it to me, like yesterday.  Better yet, go into your archives and send me what you consider your best post.  Hey, now that is a great idea if I say so myself! Be sure to tell me why you chose the older post and I’ll put it in CoS.


Ah, the vaunted Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

The path to enlightenment.

The epitome of achievement, without which you must fight for your right to be called a professional.

So, why don’t you have it?

Why would you even want it?


I know all the excuses because I gave all the excuses!

Why the hell would someone want a BSN?

Not me.

Are you serious?

Well, here are the top five reasons I (and perhaps you) used to give for not getting a BSN.

I list ’em.

Then I bust ’em.


1.  I don’t have the time.

Who said you had to take it head-on, full-time?  Chances are you don’t have all the non-nursing courses required for the BS degree.  You know, a humanities class, ethnic studies, world culture.  You can dip your toe in by taking one class.  One.  Doesn’t even have to be a nursing class, at least at first.

Check out a few BSN programs.  Find out what they require outside of the nursing classes.  Then take that class at your local junior college; make sure the units are transferable.

One. Class.

I bet you can take them online, too, giving you even more flexibility.

If you have the time to read this post, you have the time to read an assignment.


2.  I don’t have the money (aka: In this economy? Are you nuts?)

Oh, I feel your pain here, fellow nurses. Trust me.

But there are ways to work around it.

Take your non-nursing requirements at a junior college.  I’m taking both my ethnic studies requirement and my world culture class online from my local junior college, and both are transferable to the UWGB. I paid a whopping $100 for both classes, six units.  Had I gone to the university level, I’d have paid $360 for one unit.

Most hospitals have something available for continuing education, and classes toward an advanced degree count.  It may not be great, but it is something. Parlay that into a future benefit by taking a class that will count for something other than just CEs.

As far as choosing an educational institution, you will save money if you can stay in-state. The tuition will be much lower.  I’m an “out-of-state” student at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, and while I think it is a fantastic program, my checkbook shows the difference.

And remember, you can work at your own pace.  If that pace is dictated by the checkbook, that’s okay.

3.  It will take too long. (AKA: It’s too much work!)

What is “too long”?  Time is going to pass whether you take a class or not.  You might as well have it pass with some units to show for it at the end.  That’s the beauty of getting a BSN in this day and age.  You work at YOUR pace, you take your time, with classes that fit into YOUR schedule.

By the way, have you taken any classes for anything since your nursing graduation? Did you take an art history class? A music appreciation class? A literature class? You might be shocked at how much credit you have sitting in your life experience.  I took two paralegal classes once, just for fun. “Intro to the Legal Profession” and “Litigation I”, through Cal State Hayward’s extension program.

They both counted as upper division electives toward my BSN.  And I had taken them twenty years ago.

4.  I’m too old (AKA: Oh god! I’ll have to take statistics!)

Oh, puhlease. I’ve got half a century behind me and, God willing, half a century in front of me.  You’re too old for what?  Did your brain put up a barrier to any future educational input?  Have you bought into the notion that “older” means slowing down?

Let me tell you, education is wasted on the young.  Find out what it is like to get an education and appreciate it!  I appreciated nothing when I was nineteen.  Not the fact I had been chosen for the nursing program right out of the gate, not the fact that it was FREE back then.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  If I knew then what I know now, I’d have run my instructors ragged with questions and picked their brains until they were as dry as the Mohave.

You are sitting there with decades of hands-on nursing experience behind you. You have so much to contribute to classes, to your colleagues….

About the only reason this excuse works is that you intend to retire in a year.  And if you are, your 401K is in better shape than mine…..

(PS – if you can add, subtract, multiply and divide, you can do statistics.)

5.  I don’t get any benefits from having a BSN (AKA: I’m already a good nurse without it!)

Well, if you are defining “benefit” as a tangible increase in greenbacks, I can’t argue with you there.

While earning a living as an RN is great no matter what your education level, there are intangible benefits to the BSN.  As my colleague who is thisclose to her PhD said to me, “It won’t change the way you practice, because you already practice at a high level. It will, however, change the way you think about how you practice.”

Anytime you can increase your knowledge and blend it with your experience,  you are “benefiting” from it.  And so are your patients.

The nurse my patients get now is not the nurse they would have gotten three years ago.

Oh, I’m a good nurse. Always have been. Safe, caring, knowledgable. And proud of my ADN and the program that produced it.

But I’m a better nurse now. Not because my degree may be higher than the nurse working next to me, but because I, personally, have a deeper knowledge of my profession than I had before.  A better understanding of why I do what I do as an RN.  An increased ability to think critically about patient care and what I, as an RN, can provide.

More money?  Nope.

But the intangibles are worth every cent I’m paying for the BSN.  Every drop of blood, sweat and tears.

And I’m not even done yet.


If you have ever, ever considered going back for your degree, now is the time to start.

Do it for yourself.

Do it for your patients.

Do it for your career.  For flexibility.

You never know what opportunities will come in the future, but barring a few exceptions,  I can pretty much guarantee that opportunity will require at least a BSN.

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April 3, 2009, 12:33 pm

15 Minutes of Fame at Blog Talk Radio!

bugHow fun!

I just got off the radio with Jim Turner, Social Media and Conference Director of BlogWorldExpo/New Media Expo 09.

That had to be the fastest hour I’ve ever spent!

What really made it great was being able to discuss the upcoming MedBlogger track with the other guests.


medpagetoday1I had a chance to personally thank Bob Stern from MedPage Today for their co-sponsorship of the track.

I learned much more about MedPage Today and appreciate what they are doing to make sure current information is available for physicians, making it easier to stay on top of the latest healthcare news.


drgwenn-is-in-header-revised2Dr. Val was enroute to Chicago during the broadcast, so Dr. Gwenn of Dr. Gwenn Is In acted as pinch-hitter.

Gwenn is great, she is even more enthusiastic than I am!

You can listen to the show here.

I’m afraid to listen…I always sound like a dork.

In this case, a very enthusiastic dork! : D

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...

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