Hot Nurses……..

17 Jul 2006

I wonder how many hits this post is getting because of its title. Sorry, no porn here, just a discussion about hot weather and nursing uniforms. Look at these poor ladies. I can’t imagine what it was like being tied up in corset and wearing a long starched dress on a hot summer day. No wonder women were always getting “the vapors.” It got up to 98 degrees today, and there is no way I could wear one of those uniforms in this kind of heat. Good thing today’s uniforms are comfortable, and that nurses work in air conditioned facilities. If we didn’t, the nursing shortage would get a lot worse.

Lois Lane, Super Nurse

15 Jul 2006

Statistics show that an increasing number of individuals are leaving established careers to join the nursing profession. I thought this was a new trend, but after doing some research, I’ve learned some interesting facts. Some people change careers because they want a more challenging job, while others look for work that is more rewarding. However, there was one individual who changed careers because the Man of Steel couldn’t get his act together. That’s why Lois Lane, girl reporter, left journalism and became a nurse.

Lois tinkered around with the idea of becoming a nurse long before making her decision to leave journalism. She started working as a health care professional at Metropolis Hospital in 1963 when DC comics published, “Superman’s Girlfriend: Lois Lane, Volunteer Nurse.” Instead of sitting by the phone waiting for Superman’s call, Lois spent her time away from the Daily Planet working as a volunteer nurse. Lois’ duties as a nurse’s aide included reading to pediatric patients, serving meals, and hanging up an autographed Superman poster in the children’s ward. She also falls in love with a handsome patient and is kidnapped by criminals. And you thought your job was stressful. Of course, Superman comes to the rescue, saving Lois, and their relationship. But just a few issues later, Lois returns to Metropolis Hospital. Apparently during her brief absence from the hospital, she attended a fast-track nursing program and passed her state boards. When she returns to the hospital, she is seen passing medications and assisting surgeons in the O.R.

In 1968 Lois dumps Superman when he forgets to come to her birthday party. The super hero was out crushing cars in a junk yard, just for fun, and the party slipped his mind. Sometimes Superman could be very insensitive. After telling Superman he is a super-jerk and that their relationship is over, Lois changes her name to Lois Lorne, moves to Coral City, and starts looking for job as a nurse. When Lois arrives at Coral City Hospital to fill out an application, she is shocked to see hundreds of other nurses applying for the same job. What happened to the nursing shortage? Anyway, while waiting to fill out an application, Lois’ critical thinking skills come in handy when she helps a ten year old boy retrieve a toy that had fallen down a storm drain. The head doctor is so impressed with Lois’ commitment to customer service, he hires her on the spot. During her career at the hospital, Lois worked in many departments. She administered radiation treatments, and worked as an operating room nurse, a physical therapist, a floor nurse, and as a clinic nurse. Everyone at the hospital loved Lois. She was too good to be true.

Florence Nightingale would be proud of Lois Lane, and would welcome her into the profession with open arms. Lois dumped a man, became a super nurse, and lived happily ever after.

The Family Nurse

12 Jul 2006


When someone in my family has a question or problem, they call a relative for expert advice. I have siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles, who collectively, represent every profession known to mankind. And when someone in our family has a health care question, they call me. I’m the family nurse.

It’s odd how family members start coming out of the woodwork once you become a nurse. Relatives you only met once in your entire life, when you were two years old, start dropping by your house and calling you on the phone. During family reunions, my relatives have been known to stand in line for hours, just to tell me where it hurts. I’m sure this phenomenon happens to every nurse on earth. You listen quietly as relatives go into painstaking details about their aches and pains, not to mention their bowel habits, and when they are done, they sit silently, waiting for you to utter health care words of wisdom. My words are, “Call your doctor.”

Surprisingly, Lystra Gretter, the author of the Florence Nightingale Pledge, didn’t include a clause about dealing with family members when she was writing the pledge. I’m sure that Lystra, who lived in the 1800s, fielded plenty of questions from her family about consumption, rheumatism, and the vapors. I’ve often wondered if Florence, herself, felt overwhelmed by family questions. Did she head off to the Crimean War just to get away from her kinfolk? That’s something we may never know.

I predict that as access to health care continues to diminish thanks to greedy HMOs, the family nurse will continue to reign supreme in the family tree.

My Expanding Vocabulary

10 Jul 2006


Today’s word is “Mouse Potato”

I sit at my computer every morning, eating breakfast, and catching up with what’s happening in the world. Starting at a leisurely pace, I check out Google News and then cruise over to the Drudge Report. Then I check out my daughter’s blog—the one I’m never suppose to look at—to see what my little darlings have been up to with her friends. Yes, I spy on my kids. It’s my job because I’m their mother. Then after walking the dogs quickly around the block, I return to my computer and read my e-mail. I look at the clock and notice it’s getting late, but before signing off, I’m compelled to visit Ebay, Yahoo, and about a bizillion other websites too numerous to mention. I finish off my routine with 600 mg of Motrin because my carpel tunnel is flaring up, and before I know it, my day is shot. Time just seems to fly by. Could I possibly be a mouse potato?

According to the 2006 Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, a mouse potato is someone who spends as much time on the computer as his/her 1990s counterpart did on the couch. As a side note, Whatis?.com adds that, just like couch potatoes, mouse potatoes eat tons of junk food. They said that a recent survey by the American Snack Food Association found that 85 percent of Web surfers snack while at the computer. There goes my voluptuous figure.

I think nurses, by our nature, excel at whatever we do, including surfing the web. Nurses obsessively perform tasks in an organized, efficient manner, and we never quit until the job is done. That is why we are able to do the work of ten people while performing our nursing duties. Surfing the web is a task, and like our duties at work, we will not stop until we visit every website we’ve bookmarked, even if it takes all day. Are you an over achieving mouse potato? Find out by answering the following questions:

Answer true or false

1) I’d rather hold a computer mouse than my spouse’s/significant other’s hand.
2) I can name ten websites faster than I can remember my cell phone number or the names and ages of my children.
3) I go through clinical withdrawal (sweaty palms, nausea, vomiting, the urge to kill) when I’m away from my computer for more than eight hours.
4) My pulse starts racing whenever I see a Mac commercial on TV.
5) My Christmas wish list looks like an invoice sheet from Best Buy’s computer department

If you answered true to any of these questions, you might be a mouse potato. If you are at risk for developing these symptoms, consult a computer specialist at Geeks are Us, or at www.apple.com.

The Workplace Romance

8 Jul 2006


(Warning: This post contains highly opinionated material. My husband is in hiding, so I must be cranky today).

Their eyes met across a crowded room. They knew in an instant they were kindred spirits. The problem? The crowded room is the nurses’ station, and the kindred spirits are coworkers.

I’ve never understood why anyone would consider dating someone from work.
Personally, I’ve never dated a coworker. It just struck me as being kind of incestuous. I always thought dating someone I worked closely with would be like dating my brother. Eeewww!

It embarrasses me to watch coworkers make goo-goo eyes at each other. I feel like an intruder when I walk into the nurses’ station and overhear the happy couple chatting away, engaging in pillow talk at the desk. The rumormongers are in their glory as stories about the couple start circulating throughout the hospital. No one gets any work done.

And then there is the issue of breaking up. That’s always complicated no matter whom you are dating, but it’s especially awkward when you’re breaking up with someone you have to see everyday at work.

He said, “Excuse me, please pass the scalpel.”
She said, “My pleasure. Where would you like it? In your back, or through your heart,”

Yeah, things can get messy.

And when things get too dysfunctional on the unit, the boss has to fire someone. Who gets canned depends on the situation. If it’s a doctor-nurse relationship, guess what, the nurse gets fired. Rank has its privileges and nurses are more expendable. If a nurse is seeing another nurse, it’s a tossup. Sometime they both get a pink slip. In the end, someone has to start looking for work somewhere else.

If you’re looking for Mr. or Ms Right, I suggest trying Internet dating services, and pickup joints, such as bars, health clubs, and Starbucks. Life is a party, just don’t bring it to work.

I’ve been tagged.

7 Jul 2006


I’ve been asked to answer the following questions:

Four jobs I have had:
1) Gofer in a Congressman’s office when I was 14 years old
2) Sales girl in an upscale clothing store.
3) Psych nurse in an inner city hospital
4) Freelance writer for a national trade magazine

Four movies I would watch over and over:
1) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
2) In and Out
3) Fried Green Tomatoes
4) Steel Magnolias (The ultimate chick-flick)

Four places I have lived:
1) The hog hollers of Iowa
2) Champaign-Urbana, Illinois (The home of the University of Illinois)
3) Oak Park, Illinois
4) Maryland

Four TV Shows I love to watch:
1) Will and Grace
2) My Name is Earl
3) 60 Minutes
4) Boston Legal

Four places I have been on vacation:
1) Washington, D.C.
2) St. Louis
3) Morning Sun, Iowa (I told you I lived in the hog hollers of Iowa)
4) New York City

Four sites I visit daily:
1) The Drudge Report
2) The Washington Post
3) E-bay
4) Blogs, blogs, and more blogs.

The Devil Doesn’t Always Wear Prada

5 Jul 2006

The movie marquee announced, “The Devil Wears Prada.” My patient would disagree. He thinks the devil wears a hospital ID badge and works on a psych unit.

Alan glared at me from across the desk. “Oh wonderful,” I thought. “Another outstanding holiday weekend. ” The police brought Alan to our emergency room in handcuffs. His girlfriend had called the authorities after finding a stash of weapons under their bed. Alan told her he wanted to kill his parents because he wanted to rid the world of evil. It was Alan’s first psychotic break. I hoped Alan would stay calm during the admission process. As with every holiday, we were working short on the unit.

“You bitch,” Alan screamed. “You can’t keep me here against my will.” So much for staying calm,” I thought. I had asked Alan to sign his admission paperwork. “Alan, I’m your nurse and you are at the hospital. You are in a safe place,” I said. He balled up his fist and shook it in my face yelling, “Liar! I know who you really are.” I leaned back in my chair and pushed the panic button under the desk to summon security. I responded “Alan, if I’m not your nurse, who am I?” He scowled and said, “You are the devil and you are going to hell!”

People ask me what it’s like to work on a psychiatric unit. As the weekend charge nurse, I’m responsible for making sure that things run smoothly on my unit. While the Monday through Friday crew is out enjoying the weekend, I’m stuck working with a skeleton crew. And because I have little backup in case of an emergency, I keep a tight rein on the unit. If a drug addict starts threatening staff or the other patients because it’s not time for a dose of Methadone, I put them in the quiet room. If they become violent, I put them in restraints. No questions asked. If a patient’s visitor becomes disruptive and threatening, I have security escort them off the unit. And if all hell breaks loose, I’ve been known to call the police. My entire focus is on patient and unit safety.

I can’t remember all the names patients have called me throughout my long nursing career. Nurses take a lot of abuse. However, being called a devil is pretty common when you’re dealing with a paranoid patient with religious ideations. I felt sorry for Alan. He wasn’t a bad guy. He was a decent person living with a very bad disease. I knew that unless Alan stayed on medications, he would never get his life back. I was relieved when two security officers arrived to help me escort Alan to his room.

As Alan repeatedly screamed I was going to go to hell, I prepared to give him an injection of Haldol and Ativan. As I leaned over him with the filled syringe, I thought, “No Alan, no one is going to hell today. I can’t leave the unit because we don’t have enough staff.”

Happy 4th of July……………

2 Jul 2006


I’m young, energetic, and I look just like this nurse.
Hey! Rule number one, when dealing with delusional individuals, don’t challenge them unless you can replace their delusions with something else.

I’m working a lot this week, and will be away from my computer for the next few days. I wish you all a safe and happy 4th of July.

Mother Jones, RN

Love Nurse

30 Jun 2006

“Love Nurse” Painting by Jena Cardwell

Josephine had it all. She was young and beautiful, and all the men wanted to be with her. So, she put her attributes to good use. Josephine worked her way through nursing school as a call girl.

I heard about Jo’s checkered past my first day on the unit. The other nurses said she was a tramp, but Jo didn’t see it that way. She viewed herself as a venture capitalist. During our dinner break together, Jo wasn’t shy about setting the record straight. She said she wasn’t a whore. She was a class act. No pimp for her, she had worked for a madam. Her past clients included physicians, judges, and politicians. There were rumors around the hospital about some of the famous men she had been with. Someone said one of her clients had been a U.S. senator. She never divulged her client list, but said I would recognize many names. I surmised she had been good at her trade. She graduated from an elite university, and bought a townhouse in an exclusive neighborhood.

During shifts from hell, I’d wonder why Jo left “the life” to become a nurse. After listening to Jo’s stories, I thought call girls lead glamorous lives. She traveled to exotic place and was lavished with expensive gifts. She ate in fine restaurants and drove an expensive car given to her by a client. Finally, one night after a paranoid patient attacked us leaving us battered and bruised, I asked her why she chose to work as a nurse.

Jo laughed and said there is a downside to every job. She asked, “Do you know why I was called a call girl? It’s because I was on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. At least as a nurse I can ask for a set schedule and a few holidays off.” As her laughter subsided, she reminded me that beauty fades. Jo said she gave up the life because she was tired of men thinking she was a possession. After paying for her time, many thought they owned her mind, body, and soul. She wanted to get married. “A man is proud to introduce a nurse to his family,” she said. “When I worked as a call girl, no one took me home to meet Mother.”

A few years later, Jo met a nice young man. He didn’t care about her past, just about their future together. She had it all. She finally got to meet someone’s mother.

The Age of Aquarius

28 Jun 2006


Democratic Party Leader, Howard Dean, told a meeting of religious leaders last night “we’re about to enter the ‘60s again.”

Welcome to my world. I’ve never left the ’60s. That was the decade of free love, Peter Max, Woodstock, Haight-Ashbury, and the rise of the Volkswagen Beetle. I loved my miniskirts and tight hip hugger bellbottoms. In the ‘60s, I had a great body too, and I looked hot in those miniskirts and hip huggers. I drove my parents crazy. I played antiwar songs by Country Joe and the Fish on my 8 track tape player, and my parents never understood Bob Dylan’s song about changing times. My father said, “Times are changing? To what? All that boy needs is a job and a haircut!”

I embarrass my kids. “Oh my God, Mother. Must you play your Mamas and Papas CD every time we’re in the car with our friends?” They really hate the green paisleys jeans I wear every time we’re out running errands. No, they aren’t hip huggers. I gave those up after childbirth. The only time my children acknowledged me in public is when they want money to go to the mall.

I wonder what it was like being a nurse in the ‘60s. Check out the tight white nursing uniforms. There was hardly enough wiggle room in them to bend over while making a bed. I remember hearing stories about nurses following doctors as they made rounds. A nurse carried a stack of heavy charts as she scampered behind the doctor. And to add insult to injury, nurses were expected to surrender their seat at the nurses station when a doctor entered the room. I would have been fired on the spot. “Hey, my feet hurt after running behind you all day. Get your own damn chair! And while you’re at it, make your own coffee.”

Governor Dean, I await your reentry into the ‘60s. Just don’t ask me to work at a hospital.

Groovy!

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