Looking for a Few Good Men

20 Sep 2006

Nursing: It’s A Guy Thing

Nursing isn’t looking for just a few good men, our profession is looking for a lot of good men. Being a nurse doesn’t make a guy a “sissy,” it’s for anyone with intelligences and integrity that’s willing to work hard to care for others. Look at this group of guys. Do they look like girly-men to you? This poster is a favorite of mine and was published by the Oregon Center for Nursing.

Descriptions of the above guys, from left to right:

Sang Kim RN
Cardiac Telemetry Nurse
Snowboarder

Terry Misener RN, PhD
Dean, School of Nursing
Retired Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army

Yuri Chavez RN, CRNA
Nurse Anesthetist
2:54 LA Marathon

Roland Jomerson RN
Post Anesthesia Recovery Nurse
Decorated Vietnam Combat Medic and Retired Major, U.S. Army

Don Mucciprosso RN
Poison Specialist Nurse
Harley Rider

Walter Moore, Jr. RN
Intensive Care Unit Nurse
U.S. Navy Seal Team One

Bill Maddalena SN
Student Nurse
3rd Degree Black Belt Kenpo

L. Rey Ariola RN
Cardiology Nurse
Rugby Right Prop

Jason Scott Carrick SN
Student Nurse
Basketball Power Forward

Since this post is about men in nursing, I wanted to show you that not all trashy nurse romance novels are about loose women who want to marry doctors. Meet Nurse Gigolo. He’s not only the man of the month, he’s the man of my dreams. He sure is cute, but I wonder what his nursing skills are like. Silly me, I’m sure his “other skills” make up for whatever he lacks in the nursing department. (*Blush*).

A Note to Nurse Recruiters

Move over GI Joe and classic Cylon Minimates, there’s a new action figure in town, and he’s rough, tough, and ready for action. He can do things no other action figure can do; he can work double shifts and save lives without breaking a sweat. And while he doesn’t kill bad guys to make the world a safer place, he’s everyone’s hero….he’s a nurse. If nurse recruiters start passing these out at daycare centers, we will get more men into the nursing profession within the next fifteen to twenty years.

I think the makers of the action figure used this nurse as their model. What do you think?

The Healer

18 Sep 2006

Permabook edition published June, 1956. Cover painting by Tom Dunn

This is a book I recently added to my book collection that was written by one of my favorite cheesy-trash authors, Frank G. Slaughter. A best selling novelist and physician, whose books sold more than 60 million copies, Slaughter said he drew on his experiences as a physician when writing his books. Good grief, if I didn’t know what really went on in a hospital, I’d be afraid to let a doctor touch me after reading one of Slaughter’s books. I’ve never been able to figure out why a guy that studied at Duke University, and received his medical degree from John Hopkins Medical School, Baltimore, would write this stuff, but I’m sure the money was good, or else he would have gone back to practicing medicine.

Today’s selection is about a doctor that had to choose between saving his patient, a sexy surgical nurse, and going to jail. The caption reads, “If Dr. Carter saved this woman’s life, her testimony might ruin him.” My, my, the decisions some doctors have to make. It sounds so stressful.

Here’s our hero, Doctor Don Carter, fresh from the OR, wearing gross red surgical gloves, and looking dazed and confused. The book is about the “special” relationship Dr. Carter had with his surgical nurse, Laura Jordan. She’s the hot blond sitting in the witness chair. She looks appalled that her coworkers let Dr. Carter leave the hospital while he was still wearing his surgical gown and gloves. Didn’t they know he was coming to court? The book describes Jordon as “a grimly efficient surgical nurse,” but a nurse that was “all woman” outside of the hospital.

Here’s the plot:

“Dr. Don Carter opened his gloved palm to receive the scalpel. The steel was cold to his touch. For a moment the knife was poised above Laura Jordan’s skull….

‘If I save her, she may ruin me,’ Don thought. ‘If I don’t, I can never face myself again.’ Suddenly the knife inscribed a long-practiced incision. The operation had begun.

Ever since one of his patients had died, Dr. Don Carter had been tormented by the fear that he might have been careless. Only Laura, his operating-room nurse, could tell him the truth.

Then she lost her memory in an accident. Don Carter faced this terrifying dilemma: could he bring back Laura’s memory and with it perhaps the one fact that could expel him from the medical world forever?”

Like in all of Slaughter’s books, everyone lives happily ever after. Carter learns that he didn’t injure his patient in the OR and the court case against him is dropped, and Jordan gets her memory back and dumps Carter for another man. Now that’s what I call gratitude, but don’t feel bad for Carter, he dumps his bitchy, domineering wife for a beautiful, rich socialite. And so goes the life of a healer.

What I Learned in Nursing Boot Camp

15 Sep 2006

Nursing school was boot camp. My classmates and I worked long, hard hours, learning how to take care of our patients. Another thing my classmates and I learned was the secret to nursing longevity. Our teachers said that if we followed three rules, we would stay in the nursing profession forever: Wear comfortable nursing shoes when reporting for duty, work together as a team when giving patient care, and live life to the fullest. Even Florence Nightingale knew how to have fun, and we all know what great things she did as a nurse. Here are some tried and true tips on preventing burnout, while enjoying your nursing career.

Does this look familiar to you? Look at these nurses putting out a fire. They are working as a team.

I worked yesterday evening and I all I did for eight hours was run around in circles, trying to keep the unit from falling apart. Everyone needed PRN medications, the phone wouldn’t stop ringing, two psychotic patients tried running off the unit, and one staff member, a tech, went home without telling anyone he was leaving. We didn’t know he had gone home until a patient told us he saw the staff member leave the unit, carrying his backpack and coat. For the rest of the night I looked at the charge nurse and said,“I go home now, OK?” She bristled and then thanked me for at least asking before I eloped from the unit. We made it through the rest of the shift because we could laugh about what was happening, and we worked together as a team.

Life is a balancing act. I’ve learned to take time for myself during the day as a way of preparing for work. Do you remember that yoga class I told you about? I really love it. Yoga makes me feel twenty years younger and gives me more energy. If you want to get through your shifts without pulling your hair out, find the time to do things that make you happy.

Look, it’s nurses gone wild! Ok, so maybe they aren’t going wild, but they look like they’re having a good time. Laugh with your friends and don’t be so serious. So what if people think you’re a little crazy. Do what these nursing are doing, take a walk, climb a tree, and have some fun. Remember, life is too short to be normal.

Uniforms on Parade

15 Sep 2006


Anchors away! Our first group of nurses are wearing stylish government issue nursing uniforms from the turn-of-the-century, complete with corsets, high necklines, and white puffy skirts. Since these gals are the first twenty nurses appointed to the US Navy in 1908, it’s only appropriate that their nursing caps resemble little white sail boats perched on their heads. I bet these uniforms were a real treat to wear during hot weather and high tide.

Excuse me nurse, but are those swastikas on your scarf? This Latvian nurse is modeling a rare type of uniform, which was worn only by Liepaja Brigade of Nurses. Good grief, didn’t she know that dressing up like a Nazi nurse is definitely a fashion don’t. Apparently, they didn’t have fashion consultants back then. This photo is from 1928.


This young woman is modeling the popular “Angel of Mercy” look, accessorized with a red cross on her apron, and real angels flying overhead. This uniform is a tribute to French fashion sense.


Our next model looks like a contestant from the old TV show, “Queen for a Day.” She is sitting on her thrown, wearing her cape and white cap that is perched on her head like a crown. There was a time when nurses were treated like royalty. Now nurses are treated like assembly line workers. And people wonder why there is a nursing shortage.


According to the back of this picture, Claudette is wearing a Christian Dior culotte “everall,” in white drill (whatever that is) with a long zipper. Designed by Jorn Lanberg, this outfit was not worn with white nursing shoes—everyone knows you never wear white shoes after Labor Day—or a real nurses cap. The reason this uniform never caught had to do with its price tag. If your patients were throwing up on you, would you wear something expensive? The photo is dated October 17, 1971.

It’s back to the future in this electric dress designed by avant-garde artist, Atsuko Tanakas. The first electric dress was made in 1956, and was a combination of the tradition Japanese kimono and modern industrial technology. The first dress was made entirely of wires and more than one hundred colored light bulbs and neon light tubes that flashed every two and a half minutes. Today’s electric dress would make a great nursing uniform of tomorrow. Nurses could check IV at night without turning on lights and waking their patients.

Don’t Mess with Emergency Room Nurses

11 Sep 2006

I think this book was written about the nurse in this news story:

Nurse Strangles Intruder With Bare Hands By Associated Press Fri Sep 8, 3:27 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. – A nurse returning from work discovered an intruder armed with a hammer in her home and strangled him with her bare hands, police said.

Susan Kuhnhausen, 51, ran to a neighbor’s house after the confrontation Wednesday night. Police found the body of Edward Dalton Haffey, 59, a convicted felon with a long police record.

Officer Katherine Kent said homicide detectives have determined that Kuhnhausen killed Haffey in self-defense. She said a prosecutor is investigating but that the case is not expected to go to a grand jury.

Police said there was no obvious sign of forced entry at the house when Kuhnhausen, an emergency room nurse at Providence Portland Medical Center, got home from work shortly after 6 p.m.

Under Oregon law people can use reasonable deadly force when defending themselves against an intruder or burglar in their homes. Kuhnhausen was treated and released for minor injuries at Providence.

Haffey, about 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, had convictions including conspiracy to commit aggravated murder, robbery, drug charges and possession of burglary tools. Neighbors said Kuhnhausen’s size _ 5-foot-7 and 260 pounds _ may have given her an advantage.

“Everyone that I’ve talked to says ‘Hurray for Susan,’ said neighbor Annie Warnock, who called 911. “You didn’t need to calm her. She’s an emergency room nurse. She’s used to dealing with crisis.”

After reading the story my first thought was, “She sure was loaded with adrenaline. I bet she had a bad night at work.” Afterall, there are days when I feel like killing something after I’ve had a stressful shift. Then I did a Google search and found that this is not the first time Kuhnhausen has been in the news. The Portland Business Journal published a story in 2005 about Kuhnhausen and an Oregon bill she tried to get passed that would have protected nurses from violence in the workplace. Kuhnhausen stated in the article that while working at Providence Portland emergency department, she had been punched in the face and bitten by patients, and once watched an enraged motorist drive his car though the wall of the hospital into the emergency department after his girlfriend opted not to leave the hospital with him.

Maybe that explains why she killed the guy. She was determined she wasn’t going to be a victim of violence in her own home, and prehaps pent up rage gave her the strength to defend herself. Thank God she wasn’t the one the police carried out in the body bag.

How to Solve the Nursing Shortage

9 Sep 2006

Everyone we met on Capitol Hill is concerned about the nursing shortage. There’s a crisis looming, so I’ve been giving a lot of thought to ways of dealing with the shortage. The best way to solve the nursing shortage is to pass the National Nurse Act, but until then I’ve come up with some inventive ways of dealing with the nursing shortage.

Fast Tract Nursing Programs:

One solution to the nursing shortage is to produce nurses more quickly. I suggest getting rid of all nursing programs, and replacing them with a condensed ten-week course. We can start by placing this ad in Nursing Spectrum Magazine, Nurse Week, and Advance Magazine for Nurses. Then I think we should follow up by getting a study published in one of the nursing journals touting the advantages of Fast Track nursing programs.


Cloning:

If mankind can clone sheep, why not clone nurses? This scientific break through would allow hospitals to get the nursing staff they need while saving money. Nurse recruiters would be obsolete, and hospitals would no longer have to offer competitive salaries to attract qualified nurses to their facilities. Need a nurse? Just add water to a prepared petre dish, stir gently, and incubate!


Recycling Retired Nurses:

It’s a fact, if everyone with a nursing background got back into the profession, the nursing shortage would be over. I think the first step we should take is to draft retired nurses and put them back to work. Look at this nursing home administrator. She’s telling a retired nurse living at her facility that she is passing meds today. Doesn’t our little old nurse look surprised? The administrator better look out. That nurse looks feisty.

Back From Washington, DC

8 Sep 2006

I just got back from Washington, DC, and I’m happy to report that our elected officials love nurses. I think everyone we spoke to told us a personal story about how a nurse helped them or a member of their family. Things are looking up, and we will continue to work to get this bill passed. I’ll write more later, but now I have to go to bed. Tomorrow I’m working my 16 hour shift.

Kim, we missed you!

Mother Jones RN Goes to Washington

5 Sep 2006

Just like Mr. Smith, nurses are going to Washington, DC, to advocate for their patients.

I believe that every citizen has an obligation to get involved in solving our nation’s problems, and as a nurse, I’m focused on improving the lives of my patients. That’s why I’m joining my nursing colleagues this week in Washington, DC, to lobby for the passage of H.R. 4903: The National Nurse Act of 2006. Most members of Congress don’t have a health care background, and they are interested in hearing from nurses.

I will be away from my computer for the next few days, but when I get back, I’ll tell you how things went. To learn more about the bill, visit the National Nurse website at

  • www.nationalnurse.org
  • Falling in Love with Patients

    4 Sep 2006

    I guess it’s an occupational hazard. Throughout my years as a nurse, I’ve known several nurses who have fallen in love with a patient. One nurse I recall fell for a young, handsome man that had come to the hospital to have surgery on a knee that he had injured while playing touch football with his buddies. This happened before there was same day surgery, and during a time when patients spent WEEKS in the hospital recovering from surgery. I remember him well, and yes, he was a hunk. They married about a year later, and lived happily ever after. I wonder if they would have hooked up if HMOs had been around back then. I guess if a nurse is going to fall for a patient these days, it has to be love at first sight.

    And of course they are tons of cheesy romance novels about doctors falling in love with their patients.

    Daybreak by Frank G. Slaughter is a great example. The book was published in 1959 is about a super doc that finds a cure for Schizophrenia in six weeks, while saving a woman he falls in love with from a court ordered frontal lobotomy.

    “The operation is simple: It’s called a frontal lobotomy, and it’s purpose is to pacify the violently insane. But by no means can it be called a sure cure. It may merely reduce the patient to a willing, thoughtless robot who will do anything he is told.

    As a state-employed doctor, young Jim Corwin was forced to use this technique. But he drew the line with Lynn. She was young and beautiful, and she was a born artist. He would resign as a doctor before he took her wonderful talents away from her with a scalpel.

    But he only had six weeks to find another way to save her. And despite the scoffing of his fellow doctors, those six weeks of continual unrelenting effort to reach an abandoned soul paid Jim Corwin back a millionfold.”

    I told you he was a super doc! And look at Lynn, she beautiful and she doesn’t look hopelessly insane to me. No wonder he wanted to find a cure for Schizophrenia.

    Have you known anyone to fall in love with a patient?

    Raise a Toast

    3 Sep 2006

    Three cheers, I survived another 16 hour, weekend shift. Come join me in a toast before I drift off to sleep.

    Salute!

    Nurse Ratched

    There has been a lot of chatter in the blogosphere about medical bloggers and HIPAA regulations so let me make this very clear: I write composite stories about many different people that I've cared for over the years.

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    Amanda Trujillo, MSN, RN, DNSc-NP(s) Media & Blogger Coverage