Ruby Vee's Nursing Blog

By Ruby Vee

Joined Jun 28, '02. Posts: 8,161 (64% Liked) Likes: 28,028

The following are articles I have written and shared with the nursing community. If you enjoy an article please leave a comment and tell me what you think.

New Grad/Hate My Job/Life is Miserable!

The first year of nursing is miserable. Everyone is miserable during the first year of nursing. You go from being a college student to being responsible for a full load of patients, and you aren’t sure you’re up to it and you’re worried about what would happen if you made a mistake. Not IF you made a mistake, but when you make one because you just know that you can’t do this and you’re going to kill someone. You go home worried about whether you did enough, noticed any potential harbingers... Read More →

Domestic Violence: What Leaving Feels Like

Imagine you got up from your computer right this minute, and walked out of your house knowing you will never, ever come back. Maybe you had a chance to grab your purse on the way past the chair it's slung over, but more likely not. So you've walked out of your house with nothing but the clothes you have on your back -- not well chosen for whatever may come, but just something you threw on when you got up this morning. Old sweats, maybe, and flip-flops. Not even a pair of real shoes. Your car is... Read More →

Domestic Violence: Telling Her To Leave Is Not Enough

I know a little bit about domestic violence; I was once in an abusive relationship. Back then, healthcare workers didn't ask you, when you came to the hospital with injuries from "a fall" or "running into a door" for the third time this year, whether you might be in danger from an abusive spouse. If they had, perhaps I would have caught on sooner; but on the other hand perhaps not. Maybe I would have left him sooner, but on the other hand, perhaps not. When I did leave, I had just begun to... Read More →

The Worst Hospital Visitor I've Ever Seen

There are so many . . . . how to choose? There was the woman who'd had an aortic dissection repair, and things didn't go well. She had a perioperitive MI, a CVA and sepsis. All told, she was a patient in our ICU for six months. I didn't hear much about the patient’s life from HER; she was confused and mostly nonverbal. Her sister, however, sat at her bedside for hours and wanted to chat with the nurse. The sister, Katie, was a nice person and since I had just moved to the area, gave me... Read More →

Biting Your Tongue

Things I'd like to say to patients (or their families) and get away with: "I'm so sorry no one told you that drinking a liter of hard liquor a day could cause heart problems. This must be a complete shock to you, having alcohol-induced cardiomyopathy. But did you honestly think drinking that much daily would be GOOD for your health?" Clenched my teeth, bit my tongue and didn't say anything when the patient was going all "Woe is Me!" because of his cardiomyopathy and how unfair life is... Read More →

How To Be A Great ICU Colleague

Welcome to the ICU. We're happy to have you here, and we know you want to be a great ICU nurse. That's going to take a long time, but you can be a great colleague in the mean time. When you encounter someone new -- or anyone, really -- smile, say hello and introduce yourself. Do this as many times as it takes. Some of your new colleagues will remember you the first time. Others aren't so blessed with name/face memory. Some will remember your name or face but not what you’re doing... Read More →

Managing 24/7 Visitors

A brand new ICU patient, whether they are crashing with cardiogenic shock, fresh from the ER in septic shock or just back from the OR, is a busy patient. There are assessments to be done, labs to be drawn and body cavities to be accessed . . . IV, NG, Foley? Intraaortic balloon pump? Chest tubes? But often times family haven't seen the patient since they kissed them goodbye in the pre-op holding area or at the front door this morning. If possible, it's good to have the family back briefly to... Read More →

The Case For Job Hopping

Actual excuse for leaving her fourth job in 12 months -- and remarkably similar to her reasons for leaving the other three jobs. While I won't deny that bullies exist, there aren't any more bullies in nursing than there are in the general population. If you're having that much trouble with bullies, it's time to do some serious self examination. Chances are REAL good that it isn't THEM, it's YOU. If you're having problems getting along with others, and those problems follow you from job to... Read More →

Pink Tolerance

I've always hated pink. My color was RED, my sister's was pink. Then I had breast cancer. The fateful mammogram was two years ago, and I had my oncology visit at the Breast Center this afternoon. When I walked back into my house afterward, I realized that the pen sitting by the telephone is pink -- even has a pink ribbon on the clip. No one else brought that pen into the house -- it was me. The lock that I use when I go to the gym to introduce my titanium knees to the treadmill . . .... Read More →

Mistakes are Inevitable: No one is perfect.

A former colleague of mine, a lovely woman I'll call Lauren, made an enormous and fatal medication error on her first night shift off of orientation. She gave 5 mg. of digoxin IV push — not 0.5 mg. She drew up and injected 10 vials of digoxin. She recognized her mistake almost immediately afterward, but it was too late for her patient. After a prolonged code, he died. Lauren learned a hard lesson, and she learned it in public, but she handled it in the best way I've ever seen anyone handle such... Read More →

Humor: The Most Essential Quality

Someone asked me the other day what I thought was the most essential quality to being a good nurse. They then waited with bated breath, hoping for me to say something profound like "You have to have a calling" or "A sincere desire to better the human condition." I know they were hoping for me to say something like that, because they made no bones about their disappointment with my response. I have never been one of those who subscribe to the idea that a calling is necessary to being a... Read More →

Why Do I Care?

Why do I care that new nurses leave our unit after less than two years -- often after less than one year? Why do I care, when they're adults. They're going to have to live with the consequences of being out of work, or having a resume that reflects job hopping or never learning the basics of nursing because they never stay in one place long enough to be able to learn them. Why is it any of my business? When one new nurse makes an ill-considered decision with consequences that she... Read More →

About That Avatar...

It seems that every year, there's a new bunch of AN members who use their own photo as an avatar. It's a dangerous practice. The internet isn't really as anonymous as we all like to think it is, but if you're using your own picture as an avatar, you might as well use your own name as well. (And no, Ruby Vee is not my real, live legal name.) AN is a great place to come to have questions answered -- especially stupid questions that you don't want to run by the crusty old bats who work on... Read More →

Nursing: The Caring Profession

I’ve gone on record as vigorously opposing the idea that one must have a “calling” to become a nurse, or even to become a good nurse. Even someone who is just in it “for the money” can be a fabulous nurse, and someone who has a calling can be totally incompetent. To be a nurse, you need to be able to communicate well in English (both oral and written form), understand enough mathematics to calculate drug dosages, memorize that a PT goes in a blue tube and a Chem panel in a gold top (or... Read More →

The Calling: What Made Me Pursue a Nursing Career

“Become a nurse just for the money? How can you possibly be a good nurse if you’re doing it just for the money?” The implication seems to be that in order to be a good nurse, one has to have a “calling”. This is the idea put forth mostly be brand new nurses, student nurses, students in pre-nursing and “wannabe” nurses. In some cases, they really seem to believe that they have a calling -- they’re called to “help people” or to “make a difference”. In other cases, they seem to be... Read More →