Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Fresh Start

Here we are on the brink of another year. I wonder how many of you are like me and choose to stay home to ring in the New Year? I think that I have gone out MAYBE twice during my adult years. I don't imbibe, so I fully trust myself. It's the other guy I don't trust. I know ... I'm boring. But I'll tell you what ... I'm alive and in one piece to see in the New Year. I also don't have a hangover from Hell. I usually spend the day cleaning my house like a maniac because I like to open the New Year with a really clean home. I didn't do that this time, because I hired domestic help and it's already done. But wait!! I DID have my vehicle washed today. I had started feeling like a slacker for having such a dirty ... no ... FILTHY ride. Hmm ... what to do now? I know ... I'll work on my scrapbook! It's the PERFECT hobby for someone with OCD! I'm about 2/3 finished with my Europe trip book. OK, so the trip was in March '06. So, sue me! I was busy this year.

What happened to 2006?
Let's see ... I FINALLY graduated with the BSN portion of my RN to MSN program after 15 years as an ADN. Not only that, I did it summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA. (*Pats self on the back for that accomplishment*) Oh, yeah ... I also worked full time during school. Talk about exhausting! I think that the school/work combo caught me up in a time warp of sorts. As if the BSN wasn't enough, I went directly to graduate school, and yes, I still work full time. The year has flown by and is a mere blur. Someone PLEASE slap me and help me come to my senses!
I wonder what's in store for this coming new year?

It looks like it will likely be more of the same, but a little different. I have decided that since I'm no spring chicken anymore, I can move school to a part time endeavor. Work has to remain full time because someone has to pay the bills! Any volunteers? Fortunately, Work has a very generous tuition reimbursement program. Between scholarships and reimbursement, I actually ended up getting paid to obtain my BSN! Can't beat that!

Besides school and work, it also looks like the usual assortment of resolutions, which I will report on tomorrow. I'm sure many of you have alot of the same resolutions!

At any rate ...
Here's wishing you all happiness, health, and prosperity for 2007.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Nurses' Christmas Poem

Let me start off by saying that I have NO idea who wrote this and deserves the credit, but it bears sharing with my online cohorts. I found it lying on the desk at Work.

T'was the week before Christmas, and all through the floor,
The lasix was filling the Foleys galore.
Stockings were worn to prevent emboli.
They came in two styles: knee- and thigh-high.

The patients were nestled half-assed in their beds,
While visions of stool softeners danced in their heads.
We in our scrubs, and they in their gowns -
Fashions created to hide extra pounds.

When down in the E.R. it became such a zoo.
They called for admissions for me and for you.
They're coming, they're going, they're looking the same.
My patience for patients is starting to wane.

Now call lights are ringing, the patient expounds
"I have not had my peri-care, please send someone down."
So now delegation seems like a good plan.
We pass on to others the needs of this man.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear
But Santa himself and 8 tiny reindeer.
He states that he came in from Central Supply
To bring us LR, NS, and D5.

The doctors then scribbled what no one could read.
Orders for patients, to measure their pee.
We try to decipher illegible words.
Orders for patients, to guiac their turds.

The new shift arriving, our day is now through.
How'd the stool and the emesis get in my shoe?
We give them report and pass on the facts,
And tell them of Duoderm lining the cracks.

And the Nurses exclaimed as they drove out of sight,
"Ambien to all! And to all a good night!"

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

It's very early the morning of Christmas Eve, and it's pouring rain! I love the sound of the rain ... except when I need to be out and about ... like today. Yes, the stores are already open, and I need to be in them.
I'm the master procrastinator, and I always wait till Christmas Eve to do my gift shopping. Why do I wait? Because the two (yes, TWO) years that I decided to shop ahead of time, I waaaayyyyy overspent. How did that happen? I'll tell you! Early on, I purchased what I thought my gift recipients would like. As the weeks passed, I saw more and more items that I thought my recipients would like more. Did I take back the original stuff? Hell no! So everyone raked it in those two years, and my wallet suffered. That's not happening again, besides ... I work well under pressure! Everyone shakes their heads at me for my shopping behavior, but hey! It's all part of my charm!
Wish me luck and lots of patience!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Magnet? Or Repellent?

Does your facility "enjoy" magnet status? Mine would like to think that we someday can. My opinion on that is "Uh huh ... and people in Hell would like ice water, too!". What is it, and why do I not think we'll ever achieve it?

Well .... a "magnet" facility is one that purportedly provides the "best of the best" care, and any nurse in his or her right mind would kill to work there. These facillities employ shared governance, wherein every employee has a stake in the daily operations of said facility. These are nationally-recognized hospitals that supposedly draw the cream of the crop in medical personnel, and since the care is so superb, they are then sought out by the public as hospitals of choice should a person become ill. Mmm hmm. Yeah.

Why don't I think my employer can achieve this?

Anyone hear of the "critical nursing shortage"? Anyone else work a place that's supposedly not-for-profit, yet the bottom line is all they really care about? Anyone besides me work somewhere that the facility CEO tells every new employee on the FIRST DAY orientation that "our main goal is to make the doctors happy and give them what they want, because they are our bread and butter"? Anyone else work somewhere that every unit is staffed in such a bare-boned fashion that they are BARELY able to provide even the most basic care for their patients? Anyone as stupid as me for working at such a place for 15 years?

I was part of middle management at Work for 8 years, but could no longer take the two-faced bullshit they tried to feed the staff. I finally vacated that post and became a staff nurse once again, and I have greater peace of mind for having done so. I suppose that the philosophy or environment at Work is not really much different than at a majority of other places. Those in the proverbial ivory towers of Administration and Corporate offices (yes ... Work is but one facility in a system of many facilities - 12 in my city alone, with two new ones opening in the near future) have NO earthly idea of what actually goes on at the grass roots level. In fact, I'd wager to say that not one executive has donned a set of scrubs and joined us peons for any more than an hour at a time since maybe the 1980's.

Am I bitter? Hell yes, I am! I got into nursing to take care of patients, and I do a damn fine job of it when I'm not doing double or triple charting, or cleaning the patient rooms myself. Everyone knows that nurses are the backbone of healthcare. Why, then, are we treated like the dregs at Work? We are highly trained professionals who have saved many a patient's life and many a doctors' ass on many occasions. All we want is the time and supplies necessary to properly care for our patients. We spend 8, 12, or 16 hours at a time with our patients as opposed to the mere 10 minutes (if that) that the docs spend. But ... we are to cow tow to them, give them what they want when they want it. Work has a huge "good old boy" network, and the powers that be perpetuate and encourage it. He who screams the loudest gets what he wants the quickest.

I think that a HUGE factor is the Chief Nursing Officer. The "Chief" at Work is a BSN who went on for an MBA. Therein lies the problem. The bean counting mindset of the MBA made her forget that she is actually a nurse. And we come back full circle to the bottom line. Not so surprising now, is it? The question now becomes "How are we going to get ourselves out of this nightmare?" Hell if I know.

I love my life's work, but the state of things makes me sad. Sad that I don't have time to REALLY talk to a family member who is scared to death (and rightfully so) that their loved one will not survive their head injury. Sad that I don't have the time to sit and hold the hand of a patient who has just been told that the headaches are from an inoperable tumor. Sad that I have to ignore some patients because I have to transport other patients to tests out of the department, answer the phones, enter orders into the computer, or file lab results because the powers that be have abolished entire departments and in the name of cost effectiveness have assigned these tasks to the nurses.

So ... back to the original question. Magnet? Or repellent? Given all of this nonsense and bullshit, I'd hafta go with "repellent". I wonder ... how much longer till I'm totally repelled?


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Now I've gone and done it!

Well, here begins my attempt to get a blog off of the ground. I mean, really .... as if I have the spare time to work full time, go to school full time AND blog on a regular basis! All I can say at this point is that I'll do my best to live up to my expectations for myself, and that I ask those of you who are seasoned bloggers and blog frequenters to be patient with me as I learn this whole process.

I am inspired by all of the medical bloggers out there ... Fat Doctor, Mother Jones (aka "Nurse Ratched"), Scalpel or Sword, Rosebuttons (aka "Knitting in the Dark") to name but a few of the thousands out there. I understand that this can be a very cathartic experience, and who doesn't need some good catharsis on occasion?

Well ... I have to go start getting ready to run with scissors in the Neuro ICU (aka "Work") ... I'm doing the night shift tonight. I'll be sure to sharpen my scissors before I start running with them tonight - one never knows when a good point will come in handy!