The Best Is Yet To Be - page 5

By VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN Guide

Joined Sep 6, '02 - from 'The Great Northwest'. VivaLasViejas is a RN and blogger extraordinaire. She has '17' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'LTC, assisted living, geriatrics, psych'. Posts: 25,402 (37% Liked) Likes: 37,420

Some Days, You're The Pigeon...(Part I)

After seventeen years in health care, I've come to the conclusion that nurses are the baggage handlers of the industry: we move folks here and there, we make sure the manifest is correct and the right passengers' suitcases are on the right airplane, we try NOT to be too rough lest we damage something.....and as comedian Bill Engvall puts it, we catch crap all day just for doing our jobs. I'm no statistician, but I estimate that we spend perhaps 20% of the time using actual nursing skills,... Read More →

Sometimes, You've Just Gotta Punt: More Nuggets of Nursing Wisdom

As a San Diego Chargers fan of some 40+ years' vintage, I often find myself using football metaphors in discussing everyday situations. At home, it's "Okay, team, let's tackle this month's budget"; in meetings, I'll say things like "It's gonna take a Hail Mary pass to push this through Corporate". Naturally, this habit frequently spills over into my job as Director of Health Services in assisted living. At first, people tend to be surprised when all these sports cliches come out of the... Read More →

Never Argue With Dementia (and Other Nuggets of Nursing Wisdom)

It never're walking down the hall to check on your new patient when you hear an aide loudly attempting to persuade sweet, confused, deaf-as-a-post Ethel to get into bed "BECAUSE IT'S NIGHTTIME AND EVERYONE IS GOING TO SLEEP!" Ethel, for her part, is equally determined that she's going outside to wait for her husband on the front porch: "My Robert is going to be home any minute. He'll be so upset if I'm not there to meet him." Insistently, she strips off her hospital gown, spies... Read More →

Who the Heck Am I Now??

Imagine being seated on a comfortable sofa in a warm, well-appointed office designed to make you feel at home, fidgeting nervously and struggling to find a neutral position as the man across the table from you delivers his findings in a kind, but regretful tone. "I'm diagnosing you with (fancy medical term) disorder," he says, shattering your world into a billion pieces even as he clearly wishes he didn't have to. "We need to talk about starting you on some meds." You've suspected this was... Read More →

The Five Patients You Meet In Heaven

Imagine, if you will, emerging from the best sleep of your life and finding yourself in a strange land, surrounded by light and peace. Realizing that you have arrived at the gates of Heaven, you look around and note that there are other people here with you.......hmm, must've been a bad day on Earth for so many folks to be moving in at the same time. But there is also overwhelming relief in knowing that you've worked your last double, and you wait patiently at St. Peter's desk while he searches... Read More →

The Stranger Within: Living With Mental Illness

The alarm jolts you awake as it does every morning after yet another restless, short night's sleep, throwing your systems into fight-or-flight mode as you groan inwardly: "Oh, lord....not again". Your mind fills with dread in anticipation of yet another workday; thoughts swirl and tumble, like squirrels in a cage, as you shower and dress for the day in dark and nondescript clothing. On a relatively good day, you might put on some makeup and a hint of perfume, while on others all you want is to... Read More →

Epic (Nursing) FAILS!

I once destroyed a patient room within five minutes of starting my shift. It was fortunate that the two ladies who occupied the semi-private room were AA & O and had a sense of humor. You have to know your shift is going to be a bad one when you walk into a room and trip over someone's catheter, then dump a custard in the other patient's lap. As an encore, you then open a cabinet, and 500 little paper cups fall onto your head. Then, after you've retrieved them all and stand up, you forget... Read More →

While My Little One Sleeps

She lies in her narrow nursing-home bed with eyes closed and feet elevated on pillows, looking much like the little girl in the faded black-and-white photographs she showed me that first day in her new apartment. In her pink fleecy oversized pajamas with the white polka dots, she appears even more frail and childlike; and as I watch her sleep, I wish again with all my might that we had met sooner.......I'd been so close to solving the mystery that brought us together. As a DON in assisted... Read More →

New Year's Resolutions For Nurses

Never tell anyone outside my circle of influence that I'm a nurse. For anyone who's been a nurse as long as I have, this should be a no-brainer, but this is ME we're talking about here. I'm a sucker for a hard-luck story ("My grandmother hasn't had a BM in nine days!!") and I have this weird need to play CSI and investigate the source of a problem. Naturally, this leads to some interesting encounters with folks I'd usually interact with on only a casual basis. Once I made the mistake of... Read More →

10 Things Nurses Can Be Thankful For

I've never made a secret of the fact that I'm a sentimental sort, and never more than at this time of the year. So now that I've been doing this blog thing for awhile and my readers are probably expecting the annual essay on gratitude, far be it from me to disappoint.....even as I give you something a little new and different. Here, for your perusal, are ten things nurses can be thankful for: 1) Having an indoor job. I don't care if it's 300 degrees in the building all year 'round; I... Read More →

"Stop Trying to Help Him---He's Not Worth It"

We should never have gotten involved with this guy. First of all, Donald Lee* (name changed to protect privacy) was, in my humble opinion, much too young for assisted living. A short, compact man with salt-and-pepper hair, he was barely three years older than I, and experience had taught me that Baby Boomers thrown into a communal living situation with seniors old enough to be their parents generally don't do well. Then there was the pesky fact that he was a formerly homeless, family-less,... Read More →

The Pride of a Nurse

The pale, haggard face and the expression of fear in the elderly gentleman's eyes are still fresh in my mind as I try once again to focus on getting myself safely home through the crush of Friday night freeway traffic. Gone is my customary resentment of "why-does-EVERYTHING-happen-at-five o'clock-on-Fridays?"; all I can think of is how trapped the poor man looked as he wheezed and coughed up frothy, pinkish-tinged bubbles with his middle-aged daughter seated on the bed beside him. I'd been... Read More →

Nursing and The Art of Arboricide

Yes, that really is a word. I know because I was looking for a term to describe the mass murder of trees, which supply healthcare providers with the gazillion reams of paper we handle every day in order to prove that we've documented the proof that we've provided documented care to our patients. If that sentence is a trifle confusing, read'll know exactly what I mean before long. And to think I used to complain about the charting I had to do as a floor nurse. "I went to... Read More →

Out, Out, Damned Spot!

Although I came into this profession relatively late in life, I have been around healthcare long enough now to yearn for the "good old days", when nursing homes looked like hospitals and hospitals (and other care facilities) had squeaky-clean, shiny floors. I used to love walking down a hall where the tiles gleamed like pearls and no ugly stains could be seen to remind one of what sort of substances hit the deck on a regular basis. I miss the crisp, efficient sounds of rubber-soled shoes on... Read More →

Ten Ways To Know You're Burning Out

Here's something a little different from the writer who usually brings you the funny top-10 lists. Recently, a good friend of mine I'll call "Viv"---an LPN who's worked at the same LTC for eight-and-a-half years---suddenly up and quit her job. Without notice. Just went to work one morning, told the DNS, "I'm done", handed in a hastily scribbled resignation letter, and shook the dust of the place from her feet. Not surprisingly, Viv is having trouble finding a new job, even though she's... Read More →

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