August, 2009 Archive

August 25, 2009, 10:42 am

Take a Good Look at My Face; You’ll See My Smile Looks Out of Place

funny-pictures-tiny-bird-is-fierceLet’s just say work has been rather challenging lately, so when I came home and found this in my mailbox I had a good laugh!

I feel like standing up and screaming to the world that I am in charge!

Of my life. Of my job. Of my time.

When in reality, I’m just a little “fuzzy” who is trying to convince the world she’s in control.

Well, at least I’m cute.


Warning: the following is not a “happy-happy-joy-joy” post about nursing.  It is a post born of of fatigue, frustration and another “F” word I’ll hold back from using. Happy Peppy Emergiblog will return in another post.  Just not this one.


It’s been hell.

No matter how fast you run, how much compassion you display , how many hours you put in, how professional you behave or how well you perform…

It’s never enough.

More. More. More.

Faster. Faster. Faster.

Now. Now. Now.

Me, me, ME, Nurse! Me, me ME!

Well, there is only enough of me to go around.


I always try to keep my patients apprised what what is going on the department when it gets busy. In a general way, of course.  I make sure they have any medications they need to be comfortable (yep, pain medicine is the priority in my book)  and I tell them I will be back to check on them, when they can expect their test results and, if they are being admitted, what needs to happen before they can go up to a room.

This is especially important when it’s the middle of the night and eight patients needing acute work-ups walk in within one hour.

The patients know it is busy even before I get them settled and informed – hell, they enter the department in groups of three!  They enter the department watching the person next to them vomiting their guts out at the desk.

But it doesn’t matter.

Now. Now. Now.

Faster. Faster. Faster.

Me, me ME, Nurse! Me, me ME!


You know how some hospitals measure their door-to-balloon times for cardiac catheterizations?

Well, I measured our door-to-pain medication times.

Informally. Over three nights.

You know what we average, at night, with bare-bones staffing that would send those who monitor nurse-patient staffing ratios into full blown anaphylactic shock?

Thirty minutes.

Door-to-pain medication.

Thirty minutes.

(That’s why patients come all the way from the far reaches of the Bay Area to see us instead of World Famous Medical Center With Attached Medical School Where They Will Wait Hours and Hours.)

And it still isn’t enough.

Now. Now. Now.

Faster. Faster. Faster.

Me, me, ME, Nurse. Me, me ME.


I’m a damned good nurse.

I pride myself on my patient care.

I can take more curves thrown at me, tolerate more patient idiosyncracies and deal with more challenging personalities than anyone I know and do it all with a smile on my face.

I understand that when someone is acutely ill (real or perceived), they tend to turn inward. What is going on around them is not necessarily in their sphere of awareness.

But if they are:

alert and oriented

evaluated and medicated

settled and informed

and their senses are intact…

When they can see and hear that the department is full…

When they can see and hear that more patients are arriving on foot and by ambulance…

When they can see and hear that the nurses are running their asses off…

And all I hear is:

Now. Now. Now.

Faster. Faster. Faster.

Me, me ME, Nurse! Me, me, ME

….well, that is just flat out wrong.


My god, people, look around you!

Call me a horrible nurse, a burned-out witch  or accuse me of having no compassion for the sick,

It can’t be any worse than what I’ve been dealing with lately.

And I’m flat out fed up.

But I have no choice but to keep on going.

With a smile on my face, of course.


with a smile on my face.

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August 19, 2009, 6:54 pm

Change of Shift: Vol. Four, Number 4

OffwhitelogoWelcome to this edition of Change of Shift, the blog carnival by, about and for nurses!

We have old friends, new bloggers and few “editor’s choice” picks thrown into the mix.



Nurses continue to discuss health care reform and I wanted to pass on a link to a great BlogHer page that gives you More Tools to Get Your Own Scoop on the Health Care Debate. Great resource!

Meet the newest member of the nursing blogosphere! Her blog is Nursing Student Chronicles and See You Next Week is heartbreaking. Go say hi…and welcome! : )

Mother Jones uses her Mac to write about health care reform so why on earth should she boycott Apple? She pleads her case in Get Your Hands Off My iPhone Fox News! at Nurse Ratched’s Place.

Head Nurse Jo knows exactly how to stay safe. For the record, I plan to use the technique described in You Gotta Know When to Hold ‘Em beginning with my next shift.


Oh man, this is a hoot! Seems Nurse Jackie is channeling Nurse K over at Crass-Pollination. It looks like the producers may be getting their material straight from K! It’s here, in Nurse K Obit Game Makes it into Nurse Jackie. Coincidence? I think not!

The Nurse Pratitioner’s Place looks at the idea of Nurse Practitioners as Primary Medical Homes. Are NPs able to take total care of their patients? Does this have to be a turf war?

Barbara at Florence dot com submits a post from her Medscape blog, On Your Meds discussing what motivates parents to champion advocacy efforts. There is also a scholarship opportunity in Hope and the Power of Parents. Reading the entire post will require Medscape registration (What? You aren’t registered at Medscape? It’s SO worth it!!!).


Speaking of Medscape, blogger Beka Serdans from In Own Words: Medscape Nurses looks at staffing levels and retention and wonders Are You Leaving or Staying ? Take the poll; stay for the great discussion in the comments and check out the follow up post !

Grab a Kleenex. Reality Rounds gives a heartbreaking account of trying to save a life in For They Know Not What They Do. Powerful. ‘Nuff said.

There is a lot of discussion about Britian’s National Health Service these days. I’m pretty sure we don’t get the whole story. As someone who works in the NHS every day, Julie from Life in the NHS wonders Is the NHS Such a Bad Thing?


Have you ever worked with a “Beth”? Are you a “Beth”? Nurse Kathy explains exactly what that means in The Essential Employee her Nursing Dynamics and Clinical Issues blog at NurseConnect.

Also at NurseConnect, Career Transitions and Other Nurse Topics, Nurse Laura asks Nurses: How Healthy is Your Work Environment? Does it help you advance in the profession or does it impede your function? How do we make sure we have what we need?

In Comments from the Peanut Gallery, Elaine at Miss-Elaine-ious, RN describes how her compressed/accelerated RN program differed from the classic four-year route. Great read for those interested in nursing as a second career!


Sleepy docs – one of the facts of night shift nursing. Wanderer at Lost on the Floor deals with a doctor who sometimes needs a refresher course the morning after he’s on call. See Sleepy Head.

Whoa! The Angry Nurse has a few choice words for parents of the intoxicated in An ER Brochure I’d Like to See.

Carolyn, one of the nurse practitioners at Healthy Hearts with Heartstrong presents Carotid Artery Stenting Can Prevent Strokes.


Here’s a couple of submissions that aren’t from nurses, but that nurses may find interesting:

Cognitive function has huge implications for our patients. Alvaro at SharpBrains always has interesting articles, and he was published in the Frontiers in Neuroscience journal! He shares that article with us in Preparing Society for the Cognitive Age. It’s all about brain fitness.

Jimmy from The Web Nurse at Masters in Nursing Online sends a list of 40 Free Open Courseware Classes About the Human Body. Need a refresher on anatomy and physiology? You may find it here!


Thanks for reading this edition of Change of Shift and many thanks to all who submitted this week (and to those who are surprised to find their submissions here ; ) ! The next CoS will be at This Crazy Miracle Called Life on September 3rd.  You can send submission to Amanda via the Blog Carnival button on the right side bar or directly to “agmcgaha at gmail dot com”.

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August 16, 2009, 8:51 am

Hey, Mr. POST Man (and Woman)

jukeboxHey! My nursing school did not have a jukebox!

For you young ‘uns who think music has always come out of an iPod, you put your quarter in the machine and chose one or two songs for it to play (via vinyl 45s).

I looked up the American Top 40 for my nursing school graduation date. The closest I could find was July 8, 1978

Here were the top five songs: (a) Shadow Dancing by Andy Gibb – oh HELL yeah! (b) Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty – sax to DIE for; (c) Take a Chance on Me by Abba – Zofran required; (d) Use Ta Be My Girl by the O’Jays – uh, no; and (e) Still the Same by Bob Seger – rockin’!

I wonder what year it was and what these nurses listened to that day?


Have a post – send it to me! It’s carnival time at Emergiblog!


I’m still accepting submissions for the next Change of Shift on Thursday! I know it’s summer and I know it’s nice out but the nursing blogosphere is still hopping (I know, I’m reading your stuff!).

And hey, docs, how about some nurse related posts from you, too! And patients, I know you have some nurse stories. I’ll even print the ones that will curl our hair! Use the Blog Carnival button or the “Contact” button up top.


And speaking of patients, the Patients for a Moment blog carnival is up at Adventures of a Funky Heart (nice job, Steve!). I will be hosting the patient blog carnival here on August 26th – so come one, come all – the only theme is that of being/caring for/living with patients! Again, the “Contact” button will land those submissions right in my mail box.

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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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