The Best Is Yet To Be | Nursing Blog

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: 25,273 (37% Liked) Likes: 36,816

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.

The Devil and Delta Webster

I could hear the complaining all the way down the hall as I clocked in for my shift. "Will somebody tell me again why we don't have air conditioning!?" "Because the owner's too cheap to put it in." "This is supposed to be the hottest day of the year. How're we supposed to get through it?" "Ask Viva. She's weird. She actually LIKES the heat." Yes, I'm known for being relatively heat-tolerant, but on that particular afternoon it was expected to reach well over 100 degrees in a locale where... Read More →

LTC 101: What To Expect

Not every long-term care nurse chooses LTC as a profession. Sometimes, it chooses us. But no matter how you've arrived at your first job in a nursing facility, there are challenges awaiting you that you didn't anticipate, especially if you're coming from acute care or another environment where even chaotic conditions have some form of logic to them. Here are a few things you should expect as a new long-term care nurse: Expect to chase after supplies. I have never worked in a nursing... Read More →

The Stranger Within: It Does Get Better

On my computer desk stands a brightly painted wooden figurine of a toucan, a souvenir of a part of Mexico I've never visited and probably never will. His garish red, green, and pink feathers are reminiscent of a certain tank top I bought a couple of summers ago that I would have laughed at had I been in my right mind at the time. (I don't know where the garment is now; I'm afraid it'll leap out of the closet one night and try to strangle me.) Yes, it really happened: my psychiatrist gave... Read More →

"State's Here!": Demystifying the Long-Term Care Survey

It's the same every year: a contingent from "The State" invades your facility and commences with scrutinizing your work, poring over your records, nosing around the kitchen and dining areas, and asking endless questions. Managers who are rarely seen outside their offices suddenly become helpful, wiping down dining tables and pushing wheelchairs, while everyone from charge nurses to housekeepers strive not to show their nervousness as surveyors watch them perform their duties. I know it... Read More →

Surveyor: The First Week

I really had no idea what I was getting into. I thought I knew pretty well what state surveyors did from being on the receiving end of entrance conferences, interrogations, citations, and exit interviews. They always had an air of mystery about them; they were also knowledgeable, inquisitive, and terribly intimidating. I used to sneak peeks at them as they sat in the private conference room, writing busily and talking about what I presumed was the 50 F-tags they were going to give us. ... Read More →

The Top 10 Things I Loved About Nursing

As a nurse who has left the clinical side of the profession, I've had a little time recently to ponder both the good and bad aspects of the vocation I chose long ago. And although it got to be too much for me in the end, there was far more positive than negative. Here are the things I used to love about nursing: 10) I very much enjoyed working in the most comfortable clothing on the planet. What other field lets you work in what are basically pajamas with lots of pockets? And sneakers?... Read More →

Hanging It Up

It seems almost unreal: in six days, I will don my scrubs, put my name badge on, and go to work at the nursing home like I have almost every weekend since last July. I will pass meds, listen to hearts and lungs, change a dressing or two, greet visitors, answer questions, and do admission assessments in much the same manner as I have for the past sixteen-and-a-half years. Only this time, it will be for the last time. After many months of having one foot firmly planted in nursing and the... Read More →

The Hunger Games

`urp` groannnnnnn…… How in the name of all that is reasonable is it possible to eat this much and not blow up??! I just polished off a two-enchilada dinner, complete with salsa and chips plus a slice of flan to top it all off, and even though I feel like a beached whale I know darned well I’m going to be hungry again before bedtime. Why? Because I'm taking a medication whose major side effects are increased appetite and weight gain. Actually, "increased" doesn't even begin to cover it:... Read More →

Just Another Day in Paradise

It's Saturday morning at Paradise Nursing and Rehabilitation Center*, and I've just arrived on the floor to pass the 0900 meds. Spying my cart, I can see that Mac has already been there, for once again there is a carefully arranged "house of cards" made of med cups, spoons, and straws on top of it. It's the CNA's way of greeting me in the morning. Pretty soon, Mac himself shows up and gives me a great big hug right in the middle of the hallway, and my day begins. Candie, the treatment nurse,... Read More →

Calling In Sick: Dealing With Mental Illness At Work, Part 4

If you are a nurse diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or any other psychiatric illness, you are probably doing all you can to maintain your mental health: you're taking your medications as ordered, keeping your therapy appointments, seeing your psychiatrist and/or PCP on a regular basis, plus taking appropriate self-care measures to keep your body as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, almost everyone with these conditions will experience a relapse at one point or another; it's the nature... Read More →

Calling In Sick: Dealing With Mental Illness At Work, Part 3

Among the challenges of being a healthcare professional with a mental disorder, perhaps none is so difficult as maintaining one's composure during an exacerbation of illness. Not only is it undignified to be so out of control that you disrupt a staff meeting or hear voices coming from the desk fan at the nurse's station, it's potentially disastrous to your career. Obviously, you want to avoid manifesting signs of your illness at work (and it would be nice if you can keep your cool at home,... Read More →

Calling In Sick: Dealing With Mental Illness At Work, Part 2

If you are a nurse who suffers from a serious mental illness such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, you probably have had difficulties in obtaining, and then keeping a job. Many of us have spotty work histories filled with multiple jobs where we stayed only a brief time (AKA job-hopping) and jobs we've lost because of inconsistent performance or poor attendance. Others have spent time on disability due to severe MI that kept them from working for months or even years; once stabilized, they... Read More →

Calling In Sick: Dealing With Mental Illness At Work, Part 1

The alarm clock jolts you awake as it does every morning at 0500, alerting you to the fact that today is yet another work day. You groan and pull the covers over your head momentarily, wishing for nothing more than to crawl into a warm cave like a hibernating bear until you feel human again......if you ever do, that is. And you're beginning to doubt that more with each passing day. The prospect of another shift filled with unceasing demands and busy-work tasks threatens to overwhelm you as... Read More →

Hearts and Entertainment

It all started with the guy in room 156, who pulled the oldest trick in the book and still got a newish nurse to buy it. We've had an epidemic of respiratory infections in the building lately, so everyone who's got issues has to wear a mask outside their room; or in the case of staff, they have to wear a mask period. So when "Mickey" got back from dialysis, he was still wearing his, and as the aides were helping him into bed he asked to see the nurse. I heard the story this way: Sherry,... Read More →

Nurses With POSSIBILITIES: Changing Our Perspective on Disability

The light from the front porch lamp filtered through the sheer drapes as I sat in the dark dining room, chatting on the phone with an old friend I hadn't seen in years. "Shawn" was in the hospital with a life-threatening heart condition, scared to death, and he'd called me out of the blue because I was the only person he knew who would understand. As we were catching up with one another, he mentioned his work as a live-in life coach for a man with multiple medical, psychological, and... Read More →

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