23 January, 2014 § Leave a comment
Working a full-time nursing position, raising a family, and trying to regularly update a blog on nursing is not an easy task. As a writer I tend to want to write longer, more thoughtful post but as a nurse I understand that things can be simple and efficient as well as thoughtful and effective. While I am finding that my days do not have a lot of time for me to actually sit down at a computer, it seems I can find a few minutes to blog from my phone. Hopefully this means thay I will be able to post more things. Hey, I survived nursing school, I am fairly certain I can do this, right?
Alrighty, now to make sure this post is at least something nursing related: hydration.
I drink tons of water, both as a rule in general and while at work. I am always on a quest to find the perfect water bottle but sometimes I find funny ones. Here is a picture of a funny one and remember to leave comments below about what you use for water containment at work and at play.
28 July, 2013 § Leave a comment
One of the most important skills that a nurse can have is the ability to put together a quality cup of coffee. Okay, I know what you are thinking:
Anthony, this is a a very bad stereotype. People already believe that Nurses just get coffee for the Doctor!
Please people, I am not talking about getting coffee for a Doc, they can get their own coffee from one of those $0.50 machines where the coffee comes out tasting like cheese. Besides, I am not sure if they can handle my nurses brew.
I am talking about making a good cup or three of coffee to power us through our day. We can not afford to get that end of shift slump like our office faring brethren, no it is usually near the end of shift that we must be our most alert or Murphy’s law will ensure we are there long past our punch out time.
I have a Keurig for when I need that emergency cup STAT, but truthfully I love the coffee that comes out of my French Press. The Keurig is nice but it is almost blasphemous, but when coffee is needed immediately we must improvise. My press is nothing fancy. I picked it up from my local grocery store for about $20 and it works great; the end result really is all in the coffee and the water anyway.
So how do I make a kick ass cup of coffee for my first caffeine bolus? Well it is slightly labor intensive, but we are nurses, we are no stranger to putting in some work and we know that anything worth doing is worth doing right or we are just going to have to do it again.
I start with a darker roast coffee, usually French Roast (I swear there is no theme here between my French Roast coffee and my French press) and make a coarse grind. I have a grinder at home but it needs to be retired and produces grounds that clog the filter, so I buy whole beans at the store and then grind it there. Yes, you lose some flavor this way and that sucks but it is better than the stuff that has been ground already. Either put out the money to buy a really good grinder or, if you are like me and go through a pound pretty quickly, just grind it coarse at the store.
So I have my ground coffee, I heat 28 ounces of water on the stove (that is where the water meets top band) and bring it to a boil. Once it boils I remove it from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes to bring it to about 200 degrees. This is the temperature you want the water to be at, so if you have a way of bringing it to that and knowing the temperature, then go for it, I do not so I just give it a few minutes to cool down once it starts to boil.
Meanwhile, I add 2 scoops of grounds for every 6 ounces of water and I will usually add an extra scoop because I like my coffee strong. Add the hot water, stir with a wooden spoon or chopsticks, and put the lid on with the plunger up. Now walk away for 4 minutes and allow it to steep.
Tick tock tick tock.
After those 4 agonizing minutes, slowly depress the plunger and then poor that first delicious cup of coffee. I also add a bit of sweetened condensed milk because it makes coffee awesome. I learned this from some Vietnamese friends and the Vietnamese got it from when they were a French colony (okay fine, I see the French theme too).
The whole process takes about 10 minutes and the end result is a better cup of coffee than what you will get from your drip coffee maker and most certainly better than your Keurig.
Now all you have to do is pour it into your to-go cup or sit for a few minutes and enjoy the fruits of your labor. There is something about the process that is zen like and calms my mind to prepare for the day ahead. And then the resultant coffee amps my brain up. I am a nurse and zen gardens and sand rakes can only last so long before it is replaced by a brain that processes a metric ton of information and acts in seconds.
I promise that you will not regret making your coffee this way.
- Coffee drinking linked to 50% lower risk of suicide (io9.com)
- Can I Put Coffee through a Central line? (straightcathnochaser.wordpress.com)
24 July, 2013 § Leave a comment
No, no this blog has not died already. The thing about being a nurse and a blogger is that being a nurse does not always lend itself to blogging. Last pay period I worked 114 hours, the period before that 90 hours and the one before that, 99 hours. Yeah long hours are often a part of the life of a nurse and after 114 hours sleep comes easily while blogging does not.
Never fear. I have a few posts in the works and a few days off. Thanks for sticking around.
7 July, 2013 § Leave a comment
I have not fallen off of the face of the earth, although I have fallen off of the face of the earth’s of everyone I know. One thing that I love about nursing is that if you need extra dough you can always pick up an extra shift or two or three. That same perk is also the downside to nursing. Since healthcare facilities are open 24 hours and we need to ensure that those hours are staffed in order to provide care for the patients, sometimes it is also necessary that you pick up extra hours. These past few weeks, with nurses going on vacation, I have been picking up some extra shifts and going into overtime and so any free moment I have had I have used it to spend with my family and to sleep. The last pay period I worked 20 extra hours, which is not very hard considering I often schedule myself to work 2245-1200. This pay period I will have worked about one extra shift in overtime. Needless to say, blogging was not something I had the energy to do, let alone time to do it.
With working all of those hours, some of them the NOC shift, people have asked me “how in the world do you do that?”. I have never really thought about how I get through long shifts or how I deal with working long shifts and overtime because for as long as I can remember I have always been scheduled to do something and kept a tight schedule. When I received my first degree in Psychology at Marymount University in Arlington, I was always involved in the happenings of the campus, kept at least one part time job and held a course load of 15-18 credits. Many times my days started at 0700 and ended at 2200 and I enjoyed it that way because I like having something to do. During my nursing school at RACC I worked full-time during the day and took the evening/night program in order to get my ADN in Nursing to become an RN. Schedules like this are just something that I have always done.
With this type of grueling schedule, and I am not the only nurse that works long hours and for long stretches in a row, it is imperative that we find ways to decompress and not let the stress get to us so that we can avoid burnout. Going to the shooting range (when ammo prices are not so high), reading, sleeping…please allow me to say that again, sleeping is crucial to keeping me energized and avoiding burnout, watching a little TV, and spending time with my family are all things I do that help me to decompress and beat the stress. There are other things too that can be done; meditation, exercise, sports, and other hobbies outside of work all help. Humor plays a huge role in stress relief for me.
For more tips visit the following websites and then let me know in the comments section what you do to beat stress.
- Evidence-Based Staffing and Nursing Burnout (jeremyeaves.wordpress.com)
- How DO we do it? (optimusmurse.wordpress.com)
- Burnout, Recovery and Work-Life Balance for Nurses (digitaldoorway.blogspot.com)
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 (straightcathnochaser.wordpress.com)
- Film Features Real Nurses and Their Stories (nursetopia.net)
- A NICU Experience shows the Art and Heart of Nursing (straightcathnochaser.wordpress.com)
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”.
H/T to Nursetopia for posting the video
Seattle Children’s Hospital
The Nemours Foundation
9 June, 2013 § 1 Comment
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.