August 25, 2009, 11:45 pm

Patients For A Moment: Vol. 1, No. 6

patientforamomentWelcome to Patients For A Moment!

Emergiblog is proud to host the sixth installment of this patient blog carnival, brainchild of Duncan Cross. Who is cool. And I know. I’ve met him! : )

The theme? Patients and their experiences. The patient blogosphere is varied and vibrant, and this week’s submissions reflect that fact.

So let’s get started!

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Lisa Emrich lives with (and blogs about) multiple sclerosis at Brass and Ivory.  She also runs the Carnival for MS Bloggers. She shares her experiences with the financial aspect of illness, from insurance premiums to medication costs in Getting Squeezed.  In Gratitude Friday and Health Care Questions, take a look at what you like/dislike about your coverage and explore your feelings on health care reform.

Congenital heart disease does not discriminate, but Steve at Adventures of a Funky Heart observes that the majority of congenital heart disease survivors are caucasion. Do health care discrepancies play a role in survival? Steve looks at this very topic in Hearts Aren’t White

These posts from Kate at After Cancer, Now What? blew me out of the water. First, in Formula Tax Deduction, we find out a woman with a double mastectomy cannot use her Flexible Spending Account to buy formula. And get ready, because you will not believe this one….there is a bill in Congress that would make pet care expenses tax deductible. Read the details at No Formula But Pet Food Okay?

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Blogger (and author!) Laurie at A Chronic Dose pens a poignant post about waiting and hoping…balancing the needs of chronic illness with an all-out passion for life in Hope (or Something Like It).

Duncan discusses an urgent issue in Mr. Poopy Pants. The title is cute, the problem is very serious. If you have ever, ever had to get to a bathroom, like, yesterday (overactive bladder, anyone? I’m just sayin’), you will relate to this issue. Be sure to check out Ally’s Law; it’s amazing that it took legislation to get needed access for this problem.

Over at Novel Patient, Lauren writes about her experiences with Sjogren’s Syndrome, realizing that sometimes you have to cry to get through the sadness before you can take A New Look. And sometimes, that “new look” is literal – check out the new haircut! : )

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Barbara at In Sickness and In Health has lived with chronic pain and in Mercy Killings? she wonders if suicide can ever shift from psychological pathology to a reasonable choice. Be sure to read the very frank, honest comments in response.

I love this one! Lisa at Invisible Illness Awareness may have had to take the wheelchair from the hotel to the Disneyland, but that did not keep her from having some fun and she tells us all about Why I Rode Space Mountain and Celebrated Irresponsibility! Lisa was also the host of Grand Rounds last week, and I owe her a link. So here it is!

RehabRN talks about the need for flexibility when working with patients, and she even has a mini-patient carnival of her own right here in Please Be Patient…!  A few more for the blog roll!

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I don’t have to say a word about this submission. It’s a photo essay from Laura at Adventures in Juggling entitled Wordless Wednesday – Adventures in Meningococcal Meningitis. And it didn’t stop there. Laura adds the last chapter in Meningococcal Bullets. That is freaking scary.

Reality Rounds takes a page out of the headlines as Michael Jackson’s death shows us what happens When the Paycheck Takes Precedent Over the Patient. I wonder what part of “do no harm” the doctor didn’t understand.

Barbara from Florence dot com recalls her experience as a patient while giving birth to her daughter in Happy 21st Birthday, Margaret!.  A study in the benefit of actually listening to a patient…

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Should You Bring a Loved One to Your Doctor’s Appointments? asks Diana from Somebody Heal Me: the Musings of a Chronic Migraineur. Could it be sending the wrong message?

And last but never, ever least, Rachel at Tales of My Thirties stays home alone while her diabetic husband takes a road trip. It’s not as innocent as it sounds, for five years ago he had a hypoglycemic-induced seizure after pulling off road.  Did they both make it through okay?  Find out in The Survival Instinct.

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That does it for this edition of Patients for a Moment.

The next installment will be hosted by Leslie at Getting Closer to Myself.

It’s been fun – thanks for reading!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

Always…

with a smile on my face.

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.

Enjoy!

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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.

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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!!!).

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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?

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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”.

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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