September 26, 2011, 9:59 pm

24 Hours in the ER on BBC America

You know me.

I’m all over anything that is from the BBC.

But this is different.

There is no TARDIS. And there are nurses along with the doctor. Lots of nurses.

And the only people flying through time and space are the trauma patients before they hit the bus or the ground.

24 Hours in the ER premiers tonight on BBC America. I received a copy of the first two episodes from BBC America unedited for American television. Of course in Great Britian, this was called “24 Hours in A&E”.

On a personal level, I like it. It reminds me of the old “Trauma in the ER”.

On a professional level, it’s like being at work. Even the equipment is the same.

How is the nursing staff portrayed? It will be hard to say without seeing the U.S edit on Tuesday night, but in the first two episodes there are nurse practitioners anesthetizing lacerations, nurses working on trauma teams, taking the lead in Code Blues, advising physicians that their head injured patients aren’t retaining one word of the information they are painstakingly imparting (“Come back tomorrow!”) and doing post-mortem care (don’t see that on TV very often).

It’s realistic without being gory, touching without being sappy, and the nurses are there to save your ass and manage to treat you like a human being in the process.

And if every A&E in England is that freaking polite, I’m pulling up stakes and moving across the pond.

The link I’ve given above is to the “Meet the Staff” page. Take a look at it. I’d work with any one of them in a split second.

I’m hoping to score an interview with Nurse Jen.

They say the producers watched American television to see what our medical shows were like and that they saw we wanted character driven shows.

This is a character driven show, but this time the characters are real. Nurses. Doctors. Porters. Patients. ER techs.You. Me. Our next patient.

I laughed, got my adrenaline up for the trauma codes. And I cried.

But I cry at Doctor Who, so go figure….

I definitely recommend it.

Let me know what you think.

September 18, 2011, 1:47 pm

Somebody’s Baby

Shades of Gordon Ramsay.

Master Nurse Chef!

Will Cherry win the Cream of Wheat challenge?

Can she hold off Sue Barton in the Clear Liquid Clinic Cook Off?

Will they crumble under pressure facing the 5th floor med/surg judging panel?

Who will earn the honor of wearing the cap of the Master Nurse Chef?


Don’t forget that I have discount passes to BlogWorld New Media Expo 2011 for Emergiblog readers!

My presentation is called “Shoot From the HIPAA”. Come and nod your head knowingly and clap for me so I look good. I’m not above bribery.

I have cookies.


The car drifted by the ambulance entrance. The glow of the brake lights lit the corner of my eye.


I closed my textbook. Sigh. I was hoping for downtime.

There was activity in the parking lot. A group emerged, formed a circle and scooted rapidly through the pneumatic doors, right up to the nurses station.

They all spoke at once.

Not breathing…won’t wake up…vomited…alcohol poisoning…can’t wake her up…drinking….not breathing…oh my god…poured water on her…throwing up…called parents…voicemail…

The frantic mass of hair and earrings, denim and tattoos parted to expose my patient, held, barely, by a guy struggling to keep her aloft. Head flopping, arms hanging, hair matted with vomit, tank top stretched out of shape, skirt hiked and everything soaked.

But she was breathing. Sounded like a sailor snoring, but she was breathing.

Less than ten seconds after her arrival, she was breathing on a gurney.


Underage. Under-dressed. Over-drunk.

Got what info I could from her friends, all seven. Name: Stephanie. Age 18. Party. Vodka. Tequila shots. Too much. Found “asleep”, wouldn’t wake up. Water on her face. One girl identified herself as the “Best Friend” and asked to stay, the rest I sent to the waiting room . Best Friend had been the one who called the parents. Said the others were f***ing pissed off at her for doing it.

At least they brought her in.

We settled Stephanie in, did all the usual procedures. I bet she felt very adult when she left home last night, and quite mature as she threw back those tequila shots. She sure didn’t look very adult now. She looked like what she was, a drunk teenager. She will probably be mortified to find out she vomited all over herself and urinated down her legs all over her friend’s car.

I got the number for the parents from Best Friend. I called; the call went to voice mail. I left a message. I hate that.


I passed the waiting room on my way to the lab. Stephanie’s friends were laughing and joking.

“Oh man, we shoulda got a picture when we were dumping water on her.” Much merriment.

“Yeah! Let’s get one in the hospital…upload it!”



Now I’m not stupid, and there are ways of talking to people that gets your message across without sounding like a total bitch. You know, making them think you are on their wavelength when you’d like nothing better than to put your fist in their face.

“Hey guys, I couldn’t help overhearing. I need to let you know that taking pictures in the hospital is not allowed. It’s the law, and besides that wouldn’t really be fair to Stephanie, right? It was nice of you to get help for her, she needs your support.”

That’s what I said. My unspoken thought was “…and not a single one of your is setting foot in that room for any reason.”


I was fuming. Stephanie may have been an adult by law, but right now she was as helpless as an infant and I had a duty to protect her. She might wake up and cuss me up one side and down the other, but this child-adult was somebody’s baby. I raised three kids. I would have wanted someone protecting them.

Hell, I was 18 once. Back then you did stupid things and cringed at the memory. But the years went by, you matured and moved on. Today mistakes are documented for posterity and a dumb mistake follows you for the rest of your life.

Well, not this one. Not tonight.


The group of “friends” left soon after, with no opportunity to be photojournalists. Best Friend left with them, leaving her number in case the parents did not call by the time Stephanie was ready for discharge.

They did call, around sunrise. They were frantic, they thought Stephanie had come home and was asleep in her room.

Uh. No.

Stephanie woke up, too. Didn’t feel so good. Mom and Dad were bringing clean clothes. I told her why hers weren’t usable. “Ewwwww!” she said, gingerly climbing back into the gurney. I acknowledged that she probably didn’t feel like having a lecture on alcohol, that the decision on whether or not to drink was totally hers.

But we talked about what happens after the drinking is over.

To put it in nursing diagnoses terms, we talked about “Control, loss of.”

We talked about loss of control of airway and aspiration of vomit.

We talked about loss of control of bladder and peeing all over a friend’s car.

We talked about loss of control of our environment, and photos winding up on the Internet. Forever.

We talked about loss of control of awareness, and of those who would take advantage of that.


Teenagers think they are invincible. Talking about death – it won’t happen to them.

Talking about not drinking – they can do what they want!

But what’s the one thing they do want?

Control over their lives.

Stephanie lost control of her life for a prolonged period tonight.

That should scare the hell out of her.

I hope she learned a lesson from it.

And if I did nothing else, at least I gave her a chance to cringe at the memory, mature and move on.

September 14, 2011, 9:39 pm

BlogWorld New Media Expo 2011 – Social Health Track Year THREE!

It’s that time of year – and I’m not talking about Halloween candy!

BlogWorld Expo is about seven weeks away, and this year my favorite convention is in Los Angeles!

Swimming pools! Movie stars!

Oh wait, that was Beverly Hills…

Close enough!

I’d go if they held it in Antarctica.


If you blog, vlog, podcast, tweet, bleat or produce any media online, this is where you need to be. I can’t describe it – it’s like walking into a room with a thousand other human beings and knowing “these are my people!” And you’ve never even met any of them!

Those blogs you read every day? Yeah, those guys? They’re here. And you can talk to them. Famous bloggers. Names you see every single day on Twitter. People with a godzillion followers. Right there! And it’s like, no big deal!

Am I geeking out on you? Yep.

Am I amped? You bet I’m amped!


Now for the other best part…

For the third year in a row, the Social Health Track is back at BlogWorld, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson!

And not just one day. Oh no.

Last year we slammed so much into one day it was like a cruise ship buffet on steroids.

This year the Social Health Track covers eight sessions. Three days.


There is something for everyone.

Patients. Providers. Industry.

Bloggers, podcasters, videographers, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, medics, and yes, that means you!

The schedule is still in progress, and I can guarantee that you will come away with enough information to produce material for a year.

And that’s just from one session. Hopefully mine, I’m a presenter! A co-presenter, I should say, I’ll be presenting with Jamie Davis, the Podmedic (and host who puts up with me on Insights in Nursing.)


And now for the other best part!

I have discount codes!

These codes are good for substantial savings for the Social Health track itself, and savings for the BlogWorld conference, too!

I only have a limited number for Emergiblog readers, so I’ll be handing them out on a first come, first served basis.

Please email me by using the “Contact” button at the top of this page.

If you’ve been to BlogWorld and the Social Health track before, you know how fun it is.

If you haven’t been yet, take my word for it and make this the year you take the plunge and join us.

You can thank me in person!

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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