I AM A Nurse

19 June, 2013 § Leave a comment

I do not think I could have said it any better.  It is often that I am short on time, short on sleep, and short on patience (and high on patients to care for) but I remember that I am there for the people I care for and they deserve the best that I have to offer, that the profession has to offer. I am not alone.  There are millions of you, my fellow colleagues, that also short on time, sleep, and patience but we are high in compassion and we stand together for our patients.


Pondering on Pediatrics

18 June, 2013 § 2 Comments

I remember being in nursing school and thinking to myself that I did not want to go into Peds because it was not “my thing”.  I also remember being in nursing school and thinking to myself that I would never work in geriatrics either.  Here I am a year later and I am working in geriatrics and have been considering the possibilities of going into pediatrics.  Nursing, and life, is funny like that sometimes.

I do not particularly like to see people suffer, and when it is children it is that much harder for me to endure, but their spirit is unbreakable and Padiatric patients are often some of the most amazing human beings you will ever meet.  I am amazed at their courage and their ability to smile in the face of darkness and odds that are typically not on their side.  Having a toddler of my own has changed my worldview and has expanded the way that I see Pediatrics.  When my little bugger was born it was feared that he had aspirated meconium

“The inhaled meconium can partially or completely block the baby’s airways. Although air can flow past the meconium trapped in the baby’s airways as the baby breathes in, the meconium becomes trapped in the airways when the baby breathes out. And so, the inhaled meconium irritates the baby’s airways and makes it difficult to breathe.

MAS can affect the baby’s breathing in a number of ways, including chemical irritation to the lung tissue, airway obstruction by a meconium plug, infection, and the inactivation of surfactant by the meconium (surfactant is a natural substance that helps the lungs expand properly).”

The NICU team was called and they worked quickly through some tense moments but our little one was fine after they skillfully inserted the tiniest suction catheter I have ever seen.  Later, he developed severe jaundice, causing him to be hospitalized again, and this time it was a great team of Pediatric nurses that cared for him while he was on their unit. Although just a few of the people involved in his care were told directly how much they meant to my wife and I, all of them played a role in the life of my family that I am forever grateful.

That sort of is what Pediatrics is about, doing amazing things with amazing people and leaving an impact on the lives that you touch.  Loving and caring for children and, in turn, loving and caring for the families of those children.

Maybe I should not write Pediatrics off as “not my thing”.

Anthony, RN


H/T to Nursetopia for posting the video

Seattle Children’s Hospital

The Nemours Foundation

Can I Put Coffee through a Central line?

9 June, 2013 § 1 Comment

Source: Scrubs Magazine

Source: Scrubs Magazine


For many nurses out there coffee, or any form of caffeine (hello Diet Coke!) is an absolute necessity.  Stethoscope, scissors, hemostats, pen light, pens, and caffeine.  In my world caffeine comes in many forms, the most common being coffee or  brewed iced tea but in dire situations, such as a split shift or 16 hour shift where my sleep has been minimal, I will resort to a 5-hour energy.  Caffeine helps nurses trick their brains into thinking that what nurses do is normal or, even worse, fun. The ungodly waking hours and working hours, those long shifts, the endless amounts of gross things we see and smell, and of course, the paperwork, is all made better by a steady dose of caffeine delivered throughout the day.  I have always wondered if I could just put coffee through a central line in order to get about 100ml/h for 10-12 hours a day.  Yes, life would be grand.

Reaching Utopia has an infographic entitled “Why Coffee and Tea is Amazing for You” which is packed with a lot of cool information.  Enjoy the infographic here on SCNC (that stands for Straight Cath No Chaser for those of you playing the home version) and then head on over to Reaching Utopia and enjoy the awesome website they have put together as well.


Source: Reaching Utopia



A NICU Experience shows the Art and Heart of Nursing

7 June, 2013 § 2 Comments


Source: Forrest General Hospital

A few days ago I talked about being a smarter nurse and the science of nursing.  Today, as I read a story originally found on The Spohrs Are Multiplying I am reminded of the art and heart (heart?) of nursing in which empathy and compassion are at the center.  Heather and Mike Spohr recount the experience they had in the NICU with their daughter Maddie and the post beautifully illustrates some of what it means to be a nurse.

Sometimes throughout our shifts as nurses it is very easy to slip into sterile, clinical mode.  We speak in a coded language designed to allow us to give reports quickly and efficiently in order to maximize our time and all of this leads to that sterile, clinical nurse that we have all become at some point.  It is easy to do; we get busy, we have medications to give, treatments to administer, doctors to follow-up with, charting to do, and on the most hectic of days we believe that we barely have the time to stop for a few minutes to offer warmth to our patients to let them know that we care.  In my short time as a nurse I have learned how to incorporate and convey that compassion even amid the chaos and have been validated by the kind words of patients and their families.  It is not a big deal to us, it is simply what a nurse does, but those small gestures can be huge gestures to patients and their family members especially when they are scared and hurting.

Mike Spohr discovered just that during the five years that his daughter was in and out of the intensive care unit.  He says

It was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that I first saw how amazing nurses can be…Each morning I called the NICU at seven a.m. to get an update from Maddie’s night nurse about how she had done through the night, and the moments waiting for her to pick up the phone were horrible…she would always tell us about Maddie’s night in great detail despite having just finished a long, exhausting shift.

The simple gesture of taking the time to tell Mike about his daughter in great detail, at the very end of the shift, when there was still, no doubt, much to be done, put Mike at ease.  There are not very many professions where you will find people ready and willing to give you as much time as you need when they themselves have absolutely no time to spare.  I admit, sometimes talking to a family is the last thing that I want to do when there is so much more to be done, but it is something I do with great care because they often have no idea what happened the prior day with their loved one.  Family members can not be there all day, everyday, but we are there so I always make sure that I am careful to give families the time they need to know their loved one is being cared for.  For a family to know that their loved one is being loved in return is a monumental thing.

Mike goes on to discuss the love and humanity conveyed by these nurses

Like the NICU nurses, these nurses showed Maddie so much love, mooning over how cute she was and making faces at her to keep her entertained.

There, sitting on a chair with a single tear rolling down her cheek, was my nurse. Her tear told me that she cared.

His final thoughts in closing

To Nurses everywhere… You should know that you have made a difference to so many people in this world, my family included, and I cannot thank you enough.

Nurses do not get the opportunity to hear this very often.  Our patients come and go and we are not their first, or not even their last provider.  We are intermediaries, helping our patients find better health and comfort and once those goals are achieved they move on and we often move on as well, going to the next patient to provide the same care, compassion, empathy and love.  As a nurse I do not expect a “thank you” or get upset if someone does not say it, I do not even think about it because this is simply what I do, no thanks required.

I have said before, we typically offer something that no other member of the healthcare team offers.  We are with our patients for 8,12, or 16 hours a day so we owe it to ourselves and to our patients to practice not only with the science of nursing but with the heart of nursing as well.

Head over to The Spohrs Are Multiplying and read On the Wings of a Nightingale, you will be grateful that you did but be forewarned, it left a lump in my throat.


Elevating the Nursing Profession: Being a Smarter Nurse

6 June, 2013 § 3 Comments

Source: Penn Nursing

Source: Penn Nursing

Nursing, as a profession, has come a long way in our practice, knowledge, and skills.  Long gone are the days of nurses assisting in procedures such as  blood letting, instead Nurse Researchers have fashioned and implemented the science of nursing based on.  No longer do nurses take a subservient role in patient care, instead we advocate for our patients, double check the orders and procedures to ensure they are safe for the patient and protect the patient as the first line caregivers.  We are no longer the lowest on the totem pole, but instead we are equal members of the healthcare team giving input based on our own evidence based practices to influence the best possible outcome.  Today Nurses and the Nursing profession is smarter, and more autonomous overall, with advanced nurse practitioners, doctors of nursing,  and specialty certifications.  It is not uncommon for people to have a Nurse Practitioner as their Primary Care Provider nor is it uncommon for Nurse Practitioners to have their name next to the Medical Doctor in a practice, sharing in the ownership.  Nurses come out of school having learned the newest theories and practice guidelines based on, you guessed it, scientific research done by nurses.  Throughout our careers we continue to learn, adapt, and implement the practices that will best achieve the goals that the healthcare team and our patients have set.

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