June 15, 2011, 5:00 am

CEN – That’s Me!

Be careful what you wish for.

When I said I wished I could wear my nursing cap, this was not what I had in mind!

Behold the latest in Respiratory Isolation fashion – to be worn when your patient is undergoing an aerosolized treatment. First, you put on a cap to cover your hair. Then, you zip a disposable lining into the white hard hat. A motor blows cool filtered air in your face.

You can hear yourself breathe like Dave in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Nursing is not for the vain – you should have seen my hair when I took this contraption off. The N95 respirators take care of any make-up I might wear. So much for my cover model image : / Guess the folks at Glamour will have to wait.

Funny, I feel a strange connection to this fellow…..


Be sure to check out Dr. Val’s new radio show, Healthy Vision with Dr. Val Jones! It’s available on iTunes, and can also be heard on Better Health by clicking the widget to the far right on the sidebar. Listen in as she interviews experts on regular eye exams, contact lenses and UV protection for eyes (something I wasn’t aware of until recently!)


Well, I went and did it!

I took, and passed, the CEN exam!

Which is a little ironic, given how I was so sure that my career in emergency nursing was coming to a close last month.

And it might have, had “Thrive” Permanente seen any potential in an RN with 33 years of experience for their dermatology clinic.

(In addition, I was passed over for someone with, and I quote, “a higher level of experience” for their chronic disease clinic, too. Seriously. That nurse must have trained with Flo Nightingale, herself! Mind you, this was all via computer. No one ever talked to me. I’m starting to get a complex…)

And so I remain firmly ensconced in the ER milieu, surrounded by the infarcting, the exsanguinating, and the lacerated; the migraining, the febrile, and the vomiting; the sprained, the concussed and the drug seeking.

My people.


I’m proud of this CEN.

Didn’t change my work status. Didn’t change my paycheck.

But it does mean that I meet the core knowledge requirements for emergency nursing as established by the Emergency Nursing Association.

It feels good to have that verified.

I did get a new name tag with three new letters after my name.

I figure when the newness wears off, I’ll stop looking at it every ten minutes.

I did the same thing after my BSN.


I’d like to say I worked my butt off for the certification. And I did.

But I also walked my butt off for it, too!

The testing station was in San Francisco, about 1.5 miles from the BART station; I figured I would walk. Could have taken the MUNI, but the level of intimacy required due to the number of persons aboard was more than I was willing to share.

I started up Van Ness Avenue. Which is uphill. You don’t think it is, but it is. Trust me.

By the time I got to the location, I was sweating, out of breath and dying for water.

(Actually, I was dying for a margarita – I had passed two bars and a Chevy’s on the way…)

This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. When I sat down to take the test, I had zero anxiety. None. All that exercise must have cleared my head and left me with endorphins, because I hit the keyboard running and did 175 questions in a little over an hour (about 75 minutes).

Passed with a 90%. You find out immediately.


Decided on a Grande Caramel Frappucino with Extra Caramel and an Add-Shot from Starbucks on the way home instead of a margarita. Given that the temperature had dropped twenty degrees while I was taking the test I was sorry I had not gotten an extra-hot latte.

But San Francisco never looked as beautiful as it did on that walk back.

Guess I’ll be hanging out in the ER for awhile…


May 31, 2011, 9:44 am

Change of Shift – May, 2011

Welcome to the latest edition of Change of Shift, the nursing blog carnival!

Submissions to CoS are now accepted on a continuous basis, simply click the “Contact” button at the top of the page whenever you have a post you would like to submit.

I’m dropping the BlogCarnival submission route due the gargantuan amount of spam submissions it engenders. There may be a time and a place for the “Top Ten Uses for Tea Bags in Healthcare Reform”, but this isn’t it!

Let’s get started!


Sue Hassmiller is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Senior Advisor for Nursing. She is also a volunteer with the Red Cross. Abandonment Guilt, her final blog post from tornado-ravaged Alabama, can be found at AJN’s Off the Charts.

Best. Post. EVER! From BabyRNDeb at Life and Times of an L&D Nurse. What a difference One Year can make!

Over at oncRN, “the silence needs to be listened to and honored.”


Gina at Code Blog continues her interview series with Cardiac Cath Lab Nurse Amy Sellers (who happens to blog at Nursing Influence).

Just pulled my head out of the sand long enough to notice that Emily at crzegrl.net has morphed into Emily at FlightEMS.com! For those who did not read her story, here is After Seven And A Half Years, crzegrl.net Becomes FlightEMS.com. This gal has been blogging since 2003. Yes. You read that correctly!

Nurse Teeny has segued from hospital to the the community and finds the nurse/patient connection just as strong. So strong, in fact, she wonders Can You Care Too Much? Where do you draw the line? Posted at The Makings of a Nurse.


Psychologist Romeo Vitelli has written a wonderful two-part history of the life of Florence Nightingale. There are details here I had not known before! The Bedridden Activist (Part 1) is posted at Providentia. Part 2 can be found at the link at the bottom of Part 1.

Running Wildly likens members of her code team to the pieces of a Jigsaw Puzzle in a poignant post at Running Wildly, and muses on varied chief complaints of the ER population in Save the World.

From back in January, Shrtstormtrooper (a) invents a cuss word and (b) eats a foreign object, but it’s The Cost of Night Shift, at New Nurse Insanity: Fundus Chop. Been there, done that!


We all take BCLS/ACLS. We are required to do so. But IsntSheLovlei asks, Are You Ready to Save a Life? Really ready? Posted at The Dog Ate My Care Plan….

Over at The Nurse Practioner’s Place, some advice for the Frustrations of a Nurse Practitioner Student. Can’t agree with the commenter that all students cheat, though.

Okay, this is hilarious. In the “old days” there was the CCU and the ICU. The CCU nurses thought the ICU was all dirty and septic and (ewww) GI and the ICU thought the CCU was all high-brow, didn’t want to get their hands dirty and spent all their time hovering over monitor strips. Check out the Caffeine and Xanax post Scared of the SICU. Some things never change!


At Your Cervix writes I Know I’m at Work Too Much When… And I thought I had crazy dreams!

Wanderer can’t believe It’s Been 5 Years? of nursing at Lost on the Floor.

Mrs. Nurse notes that An Eventful Day is Usually Not a Good Day at Tales of a School Zoned Nurse.

Elle Bieling pens an thoughtful essay on pain and emotions in The Mystery of Phantom Pain posted at The Body Window.


So, my plan for Change of Shift is to put up an edition at least once a month, towards the end of the month. Submissions received during the month will all be posted in that edition.

I’ll also be perusing the nursing blogosphere and “collecting” posts to feature in the carnival throughout the month, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself not remembering that you submitted! : )

Thanks for reading, and keep blogging!

May 10, 2011, 3:05 pm

National Nurses Week: May 6-12 Goodies and Giveaways!

Get your AJN Subscription from MagsDirect.com

Happy National Nurses Week to all my nursing colleagues! And a very Happy Birthday to Florence Nightingale, born 191 years ago; May 12, 1820! She was 40 years old when she opened the nursing school at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. It still exists.

Here is a recording Florence Nightingale made in 1890. Per Wikipedia, she says:

“When I am no longer even a memory, just a name, I hope my voice may perpetuate the great work of my life. God bless my dear old comrades of Balaclava and bring them safe to shore.”

I like to think she knows just how well the great work of her life is being perpetuated every minute of every day by dedicated, hard-working nurses all over the world.

What a legacy!


Now let’s par-tay!

The folks at The Campaign for Nursing’s Future at Johnson & Johnson have a bunch of cool stuff for this week.

First of all, forget Angry Birds – I’m freaking addicted to “Happy Nurse”.

(No, it does not involve sling shots and emesis basins pointed at physicians hiding under gurneys; who would even imagine such a thing???)

It’s simple. You have a little over a minute to get to your assignment, so you run as fast as you can, but you have to jump over obstacles in your way.

Easy, you say? Pshaw!, you say? Okay, go try it! Let’s see you jump over crash carts and Dynamaps and medcarts! Ha! I’m sore and it was only my avatar that was running! And falling…

It will soon be available on iTunes, btw, but you can play it on the website now.

Oh, don’t forget to hit the hand sanitizer at the end of the run or you lose. Srsly.


You can post a thank you note to a nurse on the Johnson & Johnson Nursing Notes Facebook page, and while you are there, you can pick up a “Thank a Nurse” digital badge and use it on your social networking sites.

Then, head over to Nurse.com for a free CE module: From ‘Distress’ to ‘De-Stress’ with Stress Management.


The folks over at GIANTmicrobes are offering a free 5-7 inch plush GIANTmicrobe of choice to an Emergiblog reader in honor of National Nurses Week!

If you would like to be considered for the drawing, click the “Contact” button at the top of this page, and email me your name and snail-mail address. BE SURE TO PUT “GIANTMICROBE” IN THE SUBJECT LINE so that I will see it.

I’ll put all the names in my nursing cap (really!) and choose the winner by drawing. GIANTmicrobes will mail the little varmint directly to your house.

You have until May 17th to submit your name.

While you are waiting, go check out the GIANTmicrobe Facebook page!


And finally, one of the new commercials from the Campaign for Nursing’s Future – a real ER nurse, working her real job. Have a Happy Nurses Week!

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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