February, 2010 Archive

February 22, 2010, 4:44 pm

Five Years On…

Well, this is creepy!

It’s a photo from the Library of Congress‘ digital nursing collection.

It looks like a still from a Hitchcock film.

She’s going to the light….

Actually, she is probably going down to central supply for gauze.

Wouldn’t be surprised if Rod Serling stepped into view…

“Nurse Nell is about to take a step…into the Twilight Zone…”

Oh geeze, now I’m freaking myself out.


I came across a blog post today. I was floored.

I have reprinted it here with permission:

I’ve come to terms with something recently; I have absolutely NO urge to get my BSN.

I used to think that I should, if I could and that I would. Eventually. Now the kids are virtually grown, I have the time, I could swing the funds and I don’t want it. I’m a bedside nurse. Always have been, with the exception of a foray into psych nursing and telephone triage. It’s what I love, when you get down to the core of why I’m a nurse. It’s what I am good at. It’s what my Associate degree prepared me for.

The thought of writing papers and researching and comparing differing nursing models while dealing with the obnoxious topic of nursing diagnoses makes me comatose. (Good ol’ Sister Callista Roy’s Adaptation Model was good enough for me in school and it is good enough for me now…)

Ironically, I love learning! I read the journals, I love attending classes, and working… requires me to keep up-to-date on all the specialties. I want to increase my fluency in Spanish, take a class on Shakespeare, pick up a violin – maybe even learn to play it, speak Japanese and, well, you get the idea.

But….I’ve no interest in managing a department, I respect those who can. Teaching is not one of my gifts. I enjoy the hospital environment; I’ve never been interested in public health nursing. I’ve never needed a BSN to accomplish what I’ve wanted in my career.



Sounds like the writer is pretty adamant.  I should be so sure of myself.

And I was.

Back when I wrote this in September of 2005.


So what changed?

I started blogging. Writing about nursing made me think about nursing. Really think about it.  I started reading the blogs of nursing students.  They were so excited to be entering the profession. Excited. I hadn’t felt that way in years. What did they see in nursing that I no longer saw? Why were they sacrificing so much to embark on a career I had come to take for granted?

I wanted what they had.

I would get that BSN.  I only looked at two programs. I chose the University of Green Bay’s BSN-LINC program. To this day I can’t tell you why. It just felt right.

Of course, I’d take it nice and easy and enjoy the process, like your typical Type A personality.

Yeah, right.

Oh, I’ve enjoyed the process. But like Ike and Tina, I “nevah, evah do nothin’ nice. And easy.”

Well, it turns out I love research, am fascinated by nursing theories, get a thrill out of producing a perfect APA paper and think public health nursing rocks.

I’m such a nerd!

Bedside nursing is wonderful,  but there are public health programs to produce, nursing research to conduct and new generations of colleagues to educate.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll have something to contribute to those areas, as well.



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February 20, 2010, 8:32 am

Why Don’t You Just Become a Doctor?

Ah, the Nursing Olympics!

Here we see the U.S Synchronized Study Team.

The judge, visible at the end of the table, will look for uniform cap placement, the exact angle of the binders, the uniformity of handwriting and the perfect 90 degree angle of the elbows.

Should they meet the stringent criteria, they will receive the coveted Gold Stethoscope.

Which will inadvertently be taken by a physician who asks to borrow it.

(Here’s how long I’ve been a nurse: I was once told by a colleague to get a pink stethoscope because no doctor, being male, would walk off with a pink stethoscope. Yeah, I’m old!)

But in defense of doctors, I recently worked with an ED doc who was frantically searching for his stethoscope. Could not find it anywhere. Finally, one of the nurses found it. Around my neck. Along with my own stethoscope. Truly a red-faced moment.


Change of Shift is now up at the INQRI Blog (The Blog of the Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative). The focus is on education, and was the inspiration behind this post. The next CoS will be hosted by Mamatrauma and submissions can be sent to “clynewarnr at earthlink dot net”.

Leslie at Getting Closer to Myself will be hosting the next Patients for a Moment blog carnival, so send your submissions! Check the link to her blog for the post with all the information!


It was a quiet night in the ED; we were shooting the bull about various topics. I said I would be graduating in May with my BSN and applying to a PhD program next month.

And then came the question.

“Hey Kim, if you are going to go through all that education, why don’t you just become a doctor?”

I explained how nursing is an independent discipline with it’s own body of knowledge and research, that nursing and medicine were separate professions…

I wasn’t getting my point across.

But then I thought of a better question.

“If you are going to go through all that education, why don’t you become a pharmacist?”

Doesn’t make sense, does it?

Neither does the nurse/doctor question.


Do you remember that old television commercial, “If caring were enough, anybody could be a nurse?”

Or this poster, which singlehandedly pulled me out of burnout?

Caring is the heart of nursing. I’d even say it defines nursing (see: Jean Watson).

But, the  foundation of nursing is comprised of anatomy, physiology, psychology, lifespan development, pathophysiology, philosophy, sociology, ethics, multicultural studies, critical thinking, leadership, statistics, research and

Nursing Science!

Why is this so hard for people to understand?

What is the problem?


Oh, I know the usual spiel: nurses used to be “trained” in hospitals, nurses deferred to doctors, nursing did not require a college degree, nurses could not practice independently, nurses just did basic care…yadda, yadda, yadda.

And that was all true.

About 70 years ago.

Well, it’s the 21st century, folks. Let’s drop those excuses once and for all.

There is absolutely no reason for anyone alive today to not understand exactly what nursing is and what nurses do.

We need to talk about it.

Hell, we need to bring it up. At every opportunity.

And please, spare me the nurse recruitment videos with the emotional music and nursing sitting there talking about how they feel they are making a difference. Show me a video with nursing talking about making a difference while discussing what it means to be a nurse. The education involved.  The ability to think critically. The ability to work under pressure. The ability to be flexible. The ability to stand up and advocate for your patient.

For your profession.

And why it is worth pursuing!


Frankly, it takes a good pair of “cohones” to be a nurse. The education is intense and the profession is challenging.

If you want to “help people”, go volunteer at a convalescent home.

If you want to care for people as a professional nurse, you’ll study harder and work harder than you ever imagined.

And when you’ve done that, you’ll “make a difference” in ways you never dreamed of.

So yeah, I’m a little sensitive when someone asks me “Why don’t you just become a doctor?”.

I don’t want to be a doctor.

I’m a Registered Nurse.

Now let me tell you why….

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February 4, 2010, 3:05 pm

Change of Shift is Up; Next Edition Taking Submissions!

OffwhitelogoThe new edition of Change of Shift is up at Rehab RN!

The next edition will  be hosted at the Blog of the Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative, also known as the INQRI Blog. The Initiative is associated with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The theme for this edition of Change of Shift is nursing education.

Submissions can be sent to “INQRIChangeofShift at gmail dot com”.

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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