April 29, 2009, 9:21 am

Oh, the Humanity!


This is bizarre!

Check out the claim:

“Laboratory tests over the last few years have proven that babies who start drinking soda during that early formative period have a much highter chance of gaining acceptance and “fitting in” during those akward pre-teen and teen years.”

Say what?

Well then my kids all should have been voted “Most Popular” because they were exposed to Diet Pepsi from the get-go through breast feeding. I loves me my Diet Pepsi!

I always wanted to be more popular.  Now I can blame my parents.

Did people really believe this tripe?



Tomorrow, Gina at Code Blog: Tales of a Nurse will be hosting Change of Shift.

The theme is, well, being human.

You know, those times when maybe you don’t quite act like a professional?

My problem wasn’t thinking of one.

My problem was picking which one to use!

I can take a lot.  I do take a lot.

But play me for a fool, push me far enough, and I will break.

To claim otherwise would be playing myself for a fool.


He was elderly.  From South America. Or South Africa.  The location isn’t important.

He didn’t speak English.

He had arrived via 911 transport from a nursing home.

Because he vomited.


I’m sure there was more to the story.

But that was the story I got.


The family arrived later.  All ten of them. In the middle of the night.  They were cool.  They stayed in the waiting room.

Except one.

I didn’t mind.  I can work in front of family.  And now I had someone who could not only give me an idea of the patient’s baseline, but who could also communicate with the patient.


When Family Member arrived, I started to explain what tests we would run, when I was cut off mid-sentence.

“Why did he vomit?”

“Well, we aren’t sure, we are running tests to see what the problem might be, we are looking for….”

“It’s not that. Get him a blanket.  He’s cold.”

I got him two more warm blankets to go with the five that were already on the bed.

“….and we will also be checking for…”

“He doesn’t have that.”


Two differential diagnoses ruled out secondary to Family Member insistence that they do not exist.


I had already set up to place an IV.

I exposed the forearm and placed the tourniquet.  Ah, a good one!

I turned to put on my gloves.

I turned back.

The arm was covered.

“He’s cold.”

I explained that while I could keep the rest of the patient bundled up, I had to expose the arm for the IV.

I inserted the angiocath.

“Do you have to do that?  It hurts.  Can you not do that?”

“Actually, I need to do it so that I can get blood samples and give him something for nausea.”

“Are you in yet?  It hurts?  Do you have blood yet?  Oh God!  It hurts.  Why don’t you have it yet? When will you stop?”.

I had the line within 15 seconds, max.


I left the room to get the nausea medicine.

I came back in, exposed the forearm where the closest IV port was located and turned to get the syringe.

When I turned back the arm was covered.

“He’s cold.”

I gave the medicine and covered the patient back up.

I turned to dispose of the syringe and then turned back to the patient.

Family Member was feeding the patient a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

Where the hell did that come from!

In the middle of the night!

“Oh, he can’t have solid food right now!  He was vomiting!”

“He’s hungry.”

“Please put it away until we know what is wrong with your father/brother/husband/uncle/whatever.”


I entered the room a few minutes later to do a straight catheterization for a specimen.

The light was off.

No biggie, those lights are bright!

I turned the light on, explained what I was going to do and bent my head to open the package and set up.

The light went out.

“It bothers his eyes.”

“I understand, but I have to see what I am doing.”

The light went back on.

I exposed the little bit of anatomy required for the straight cath and turned to put on my gloves.

I turned back to the patient to place the drape.

The patient was covered.

“He’s cold.”


I threw up my (gloved) hands in obvious frustration and said in a voice that I’m sure was a bit to loud and a bit too harsh, with a more than a touch of “pissed off”:

Hon, you have GOT to BACK OFF and LET ME DO MY JOB!

Family member apologized and the catheterization commenced.

The patient was covered by the time my gloves were off.

I heard the click of the light switch as I left the room.


I was not proud of that outburst, and it won’t garner an “Excellent” on the patient satisfaction survey.

But I was past frustrated and more than angry.

I was seething.

And I erupted.

And I wonder why I’m on medication for high blood pressure and acid reflux.

What’s next?

I need to find another field of nursing.

But that’s fodder for another post.

April 26, 2009, 7:53 am

Nurse Jackie: Drug Addicted Nurse Character Hits the Airwaves…Again

header_nursejackieThat’s Edie Falco.

You remember.  She played Carmella Soprano.

Great actress; I love her.

Too bad I won’t be watching her new character on Showtime.


“Nurse Jackie” is a new series.

I received an email from Showtime asking me if I would curate a selection of nursing experiences for an upcoming “Nurse Stories” web site that would coincide with the debut of Nurse Week and “Nurse Jackie”.


I don’t get email from Showtime every day, so this sounded pretty interesting.

I went to the website to check out the show before responding.

I made it through one video.


Nurse Jackie is a competent, hard-as-nails, take-no-prisoners ER nurse.

With a heart, of course.

One minute she’s telling a doctor he’s full of it, the next minute she tells a patient to get out of her ER (classic!).

Edie Falco is perfect as the title character.

You’ve all worked with her.

Hell, you might even be her!


My first reaction?

Oh..my..god, they did it!

They made a show with a strong nurse protagonist, and damn! if they didn’t get the ER environment down!

I had goosebumps, literally.

I was ready to (a) start getting Showtime, (b) spread the word far and wide and (c) take the job.

But then…


They started grabbing her chest.

I think in a the short video I watched (five minutes?) Nurse Jackie had her breasts fondled by three men.

Oh great.

My first thought?

Here we go again with the nurse-as-sex-object stereotype.

(Actually, my first thought is that I must be working in the wrong hospitals.)

But it got worse.


Nurse Jackie is a drug addict.

Has back pain.

Snorts crushed up Percocets.

Oh no they didn’t………


Oh yes.

They did.

Now, would somebody please tell me why, why? they had to portray this nurse as a drug addict?

Did they not see that they had the potential for one hell of a nurse character here?

Did they not see that they could break the mold of media stereotypes in nursing and pave new ground?

Did they not see that there is enough material to build a nurse character out of what happens in the ER alone without adding the oh-so-subtle touch of drug addiction?


If you’re an nurse who spends a lot of time with other people fondling you, you might like this show.

If you’re an RN and addicted to drugs, you might like this show.

In fact, why don’t you go check out the website for yourself.

Watch the video, get a feel for the character.

Tell me what you think.

Tell Showtime what you think.

And if you are really pissed, write to The Truth About Nursing.

I already did.


As for me?

I (a) am not subscribing to Showtime, (b) will not promote the show to anyone outside this blog post and (c) did not take the job.

I am so sick, and so tired, of stupid media portrayals of nurses.

Didn’t watch “ER”.  No “Grey’s Anatomy”. Won’t watch “House”.

Here goes trying to explain to my patients, again, that “no, I don’t watch that show because of the portrayal of nursing.”


You blew it, Showtime.

Of course, it’s not too late to rectify the issues, the show has not debuted yet.

But know this:

No matter how funny, how dramatic or how well written “Nurse Jackie” is, you are doing nothing to advance or promote the nursing profession. But then I guess the goal is ratings and nothing defines a “hit” like sex and drugs.


“Nurse Jackie” is described as “Saint!  Sinner!”.



Sound familiar?



April 23, 2009, 9:00 pm

The Handover Meets “Emergency”: The Best of EMS

the-handover-logoWelcome to The Handover – the Carnival of EMS!

Emergiblog is proud to host this edition of the best of the EMS blogosphere!

The theme for this month is “Emergency”.

Is there a single paramedic/EMT alive today who didn’t love this show? Is there a single nurse “of a certain age” who didn’t wish she was Dixie McCall?

That’s what I thought!

So let’s get going with Johnny and Roy and the guys of Rescue 51 as we begin The Handover…..


crewI know Medics who eventually become firefighters, but sometimes it happens the other way around. Lt.Michael Morse of the Providence, Rhode Island Fire Department looks back at how he found himself working rescue in Stay Safe Out There, from his blog (and book!), Rescuing Providence.



Ambulance driver? No way does anyone still think this!  Do they?  Chris Kaiser NREMT-P, EMT-PS, EMT-P, EMT-P has heard it all and begs to differ in Oh no you didn’t…, posted at Life Under the Lights. As Chris notes, “information saves lives”.


There comes a time when every medic has to ask themselves just what type of medic they really are. Steve at The EMT Spot asks Are You the Opening Act or the Rock Star?


1288489382554958381It’s easy to laugh at “Emergency” when we watch it these days, but Happy Medic takes away a different message as described in the poignant post They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To at You Called 911…For This?

Suicide is devastating.  For all who are impacted by it, including the medics.  Medic999 discusses his feelings about this horrible tragedy in a sensitive post that raises more questions than answers.

When it’s the death of a co-worker, the question is simply “Why?”. Manchmedic shares his feelings about this in Marathon, at Life in Manch Vegas. For background, read A Slap in the Face.



Medic/Nurse has seen the system from both sides of the ambulance entrance. Another poignant story awaits at Medic/Nurse’s Blog in 94 Years Old.

Ever feel like you have a black cloud over your head? Meet Black Cloud ER Tech.  He has 12 years of EMS experience behind him (and he isn’t even thirty!).  In a guest blogger post on Emergiblog, he looks back on his career and shares tips on how he manages to handle it all in Riding the Storm – a 12 Year Storm.



Jamie Davis produces a podcast for EMS at MedicCast.com. The lastest episode looks at Ambulance MVA’s in the News.

Epijunky takes a looks at her latest shift in Today, by the Numbers at Pink, Warm and Dry. It’s a list, and it’s beautiful. For when you need to remember why you do what you do.



Safety net or free ride? No matter how many stories you hear like this, your jaw still drops. Paramedic Supermonkey takes on the Oregon Health Plan in “Free” Health Care.

This. Is. EMS. Truths (II) at Drug-induced Hallucinations.

When it isn’t supposed to be “bad one”…take a ride with Kal, a Scotland medic, and see if your adrenaline doesn’t start flowing as you read along with Qismet, at Trauma Queen.

LOL! I’m sure there’s a great story behind this post at Ridin’ the Bus, but I think we’ll need to read between the…uh…lines of Attention L&D Nurses…


And now let’s hear from Dixie McCall, the medics’ friend.  Look behind the overacting emotion and listen to the message.

No, nurses don’t resent paramedics or EMTs.

They have our respect.

And we will defend them just as passionately today.

We just don’t get to wear totally cool caps when we do it.

Thanks guys (and gals)…and be careful out there.


The next Handover will be held over at Michael’s place, Rescuing Providence, and the theme is “Partners”.

Many thanks to Mark at Medic999 for allowing me to host.

Thanks for reading!

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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