September, 2011 Archive

September 6, 2011, 1:22 pm

Change of Shift – September, 2011

Welcome to the September, 2011 edition of Change of Shift!

This is quite the eclectic selection of posts from across the nursing blogosphere, composed of those submitted for inclusion and those I found in my travels through the neighborhood.

Remember, submissions are always accepted for Change of Shift, there is never a deadline to meet, so don’t hesitate to submit a post at any time.

Let’s begin!


Editor’s Choice: Keith Carlson of Digital Doorway lost his mother to a stroke in June. My Mother: Rest in Peace is his tribute to this amazing woman. There is nothing I can add except to tell you to have your tissue within reach.

‘Tis the time for a rhyme! Dr. Charles is Calling for Entries in the 2011 Charles Prize for Poetry Contest at The Examining Room of Dr. Charles. Now, my poetry skills leave much to be desired, but I know there are nurses out there who rock in the poetry department! Deadline is end of September.

Do I love a nursing cap, or what? Medscape Nurses, I am bowing in your general direction! The entire Medscape series on the nursing cap, both history articles and slideshows, can be found here: Celebrating Nurses: What Happened to the Cap?


Step back to early June in this powerful post by Marcy Phipps at AJN’s Off the Charts, and feel the heat in Stillness and Violence: The Dog Days.

Your nurse wants to help you, but they can only go so far. Nurse Practitioners Save Lives wants to know How Can Your Nurse Practitioner Help You Today? and when you ask why you should go STAT to the hospital, Ummm, Because You’re Yellow? at The Nurse Practitioner’s Place.

Keith at Digital Doorway also submits a Book Review: Critical Care by Theresa Brown (read the last quote – wow!).


Ah, the “Suggestion Box”, an invention for those whose don’t have the guts to come right out and say it. As noted by RehabRN in The Power of Suggestion.

On a more somber note, Running Wildly runs into her Worst Fearagain!

The Infusion Nurse Blog is now two years old! Go wish Cora a Happy Blogiversary, and check out Two-wah…., a post that gives links to her top five posts from the past year. I always learn something new from Infusion Nurse! Congratulations, Cora!!!


At The Dog Ate My Care Plan, Isn’tSheLovlei is taking on Coming to Work Sick: The CYA Culture. (Oh, don’t even get me started!) She links to two more posts on the same topic, one by Terri at Nurse Ratched’s Place and one by TorontoEmergencyRN at Those Emergency Blues. Be sure to check those out, too.

Speaking of Nurse Ratched’s Place, In Go Ask Mother: The Interview, Terri gives us a peek at an upcoming project and a dose of encouragement to her nursing colleagues, present and future.

Nurse Teeny asks the ultimate question over at The Makings of a Nurse in Pain in the...I am looking forward to the answers to this post!


Gina continues her series with Interview – School Nurse at Code Blog: Tales of a Nurse, and it just so happens that her interviewee, Erin, blogs at Tales of a School Zoned Nurse! Check out this post from January: Sweet Victory, At Last.

Adam Sanford submits an article on nursing camp (think “summer camp” for prospective nursing students, ranging from free to over $6000!) Check out What is Nursing Camp? at Nursing School Degrees.

And finally, I’m blogging over at Masters in! I blog twice a week on nursing topics related to education. I finally decided what role option I want for my MSN, and wrote about it here: Clinical Nurse Leader, Is This The Role For You?


And that’s it for this edition of Change of Shift! Remember, I’m always accepting submissions. Click the “Contact” button at the top of the page and send your submission link directly to me. When I receive a goodly number of submissions, I’ll post the next edition.

If you are looking for even more nursing blogs, check out the Best in Nurse Blogs over at the Millionaire Nurse Blog. Nerdy Nurse is filling in for Dr. Dean and has a great selection of posts for even more great reading!

Thanks for reading!

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September 1, 2011, 4:17 pm

To My Daughter, Senior Nurse

My youngest daughter has begun her senior year in nursing school at a university in the Pacific northwest. She never read Cherry Ames, never wanted a blue cape. never tried on my cap.

She never expressed an interest in nursing.

I mentioned it as a career possibility during the high school years. She wheeled around and said, “Mom, you hate your job. That’s all I ever hear!”


Be careful what you say around your kids.



Dear Rebecca,

No one was more surprised than I when the voice on the line identified themselves as the School of Nursing, and asked for you. Telling no one, you went and changed your major to nursing!

My inspiration was a fictional storybook and nursing cap, yours was an interest in embryology and a desire to work in neonatal intensive care. I had no clue what I was getting into. You lived with it every day of your life, and you chose to take it on, anyway.

That’s my girl!

Now, six semesters and a summer session later, you’re a senior. This time next year, you will be a registered nurse.

Does that scare the hell out of you?

It scared the hell out of me, back in the day. The closer to graduation, the more I studied and the less I knew. I was afraid that I would hurt a patient because I didn’t know enough. I thought I would never know enough. I told you the story of leaving clinicals with the intention of quitting for that very reason, with eight weeks left until graduation.

I was scared.

But you don’t have to be scared. You don’t have to know everything there is to know. You will learn what you need to know. The whole point of a nursing education is to teach you how to learn. What you are learning now is only the foundation of a lifetime of nursing education. You are learning how to think like a nurse.

And it’s already happening. I hear it in your phone calls. Your thinking process is being transformed. When you call me on the phone and tell me you knew a patient was in trouble before the vital signs changed, you are thinking like a nurse. Critical thinking takes place at the subconscious level! Intuition is what you feel when your mind sees subtle changes and starts problem solving before the crisis begins.

Rebecca, you are thinking like a nurse.

When you fight to suction a patient in distress when those around you seem to have forgotten the “comfort” aspect of “comfort care”, you are thinking like a nurse. (And don’t ever, ever, EVER lose that passion.)

This is an important year and this opportunity to learn, to be a student, will never happen again. Take advantage of every minute:

  • Absorb everything you can. If there is an opportunity to observe, be there. If there is a chance to assist, do it. If there is a procedure to be performed, volunteer. Your hand is the first one up for everything. Nothing will build your confidence faster than having a procedure “under your belt”.
  • Your professors are a wealth of information and experience. USE THEM! (Yes, even the ones you think are boring!) They are professionals committed to educating the next generation of nurses. They are not out to get you, trip you up or fail you. Your success means they have succeeded. Understanding that they are on your side will make a huge difference in how you approach this year.
  • Oh, and you are not going to harm anyone. Follow the rules, to the letter. Let the world around you be going absolutely crazy, but not you. You stay calm, collected. Check every med. Every time. Every armband. Every time. Question every order that seems off. Every time. No short cuts. Ever. Yes, your clinical preceptor may seem frustrated. Tough. It’s your practice, you go by the rules and you will be fine, and safe.

You are going to have times this year, probably many times, usually after clinicals, when you will be ready to chuck the whole thing and go work the drive-thru window at McDonalds. Does the phrase “Why the hell am I doing this?” sound familiar? I still have these moments, usually in the middle of a hairy shift in the ER. They pass. Every time.

And Rebecca, it’s all worth it. All the stress and the work and feeling like you want to bang your head into a wall with frustration. It’s all worth it.

Do something. It seems silly. Get a piece of paper.

Write your name.

Rebecca, RN, BSN.

Haven’t you done that yet? From the time I was nine years old I was writing Kim McAllister, RN on everything I could find. And when things seem crappy and you are wondering what the hell it’s all about, write out your full name with the credentials after it.

Because that’s the prize. There is four years of work and a lifetime of pride wrapped up in that signature. Keep your eyes on those letters and what they mean. It will make things easier to deal with when you are in the throes of finals week, or exhausting clinicals.

Of course, there is always the phone and I am always ready to commiserate on crummy test questions and boring lectures.

Oh, and one more thing.

I am so proud of you. More than you could ever know.



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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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