rn/writer's Nursing Blog

rn/writer's Nursing Blog

rn/writer (22,143 Views)

Joined Dec 21, '04 - from 'In the heart of the heartland'. rn/writer is a Post-partum unit of busy Birth Center. Posts: 11,705 (37% Liked) Likes: 14,794

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Psych Patients

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Psych Patient? Whenever I tell people I use to be a psych nurse, I usually get one of two reactions. "That's so interesting--tell me more." Or, far more often--"Yikes! Psych freaks me out. I could never do that." It's no wonder. Very few of us had more than a brief flirtation with psych during nursing school. In class, we were introduced to Freud and Jung, Maslow and Erickson. We learned about normal brain function and the myriad ways it can falter. ... Read More →

I'm Freaking Out and Frantic! Please, Help Me!

"I gave the wrong med, and I'm just sick about it." "Today at work I dropped a full specimen container. My co-workers think I'm a total idiot." "I make all kinds of little mistakes. Now I feel so guilty I can't even sleep." "I feel sick to my stomach before every shift." "The only thing I've ever wanted to be is a nurse, but I wonder if I should just quit." Read More →

Show Up On Your Own Radar

One of the many misconceptions about nurses is that we are selfless, half-angelic creatures who live to meet the needs of others at our own expense. We can juggle twelve acute care patients, answer phones, monitor scary post-ops, give back rubs, hang IVs, order missing tray items, track down lab techs, provide coffee for all the visitors, clean up the messes that housekeeping refuses to deal with, call in prescriptions, transfuse blood products, and dance a jig in the hallway, all without... Read More →

The Amazing Explosion of "Excellence"

Some of you probably remember the old Ken-L-Ration commercial that had a kid singing, "My dog is better than your dog!" That's a popular refrain these days, only instead of pups and their chow, we're talking about whose hospital is better and whose staff is more excellent. There's nothing wrong with excellence, per se. It's, pardon the expression, an excellent quality to strive for. But corporate lust for patient census combined with PR pandering has flogged that formerly good word... Read More →

But I Feel So Doggone Guilty

If possession of a Y chromosome leads to scratching and spitting and an inability to find things in the fridge, then a pair of X chromosomes must lend itself to remembering birthdays, matching socks and feeling guilty. I generalize, but the guilt thing really does seem to hit women harder and more persistently than men. Maybe this is because men, as a rule, establish better boundaries than women do? After all, how easy can it be to set up a perimeter once you’ve carried another human... Read More →

How Do I Toughen Up At Work? Part 2

People who don't have a strong sense of themselves tend to let others march all over them. They're afraid they aren't as good as their peers and having to stand up for themselves will reveal just how inadequate they really are. In reality, a good set-to in the break room could be just what the doctor ordered. Conflict has gotten a bad name because it tends to ruffle feathers and make messes. But a good debate can clear the air and bring about better solutions than either faction proposed... Read More →

How Do I Toughen Up At Work? Part 1

How do I grow a thicker skin? How do I toughen up at work? How do I keep from crying when someone says mean things to me? These are questions that new--and sometimes not-so-new--nurses ask when they feel overwhelmed and vulnerable. What are the common denominators in these situations? Hurt, anger, and insecurity. Co-workers can smell emotional weakness a block away. That's just a fact of life. The good news is that you can adapt, the waterworks can dry up, and you can go to... Read More →

Something Smells (And It's Not the Roses)

In my job as a postpartum nurse, I take care of moms and newborns. This is a happy place to work. The rooms are filled with proud parents, beautiful infants, and picture-snapping relatives. Cute Onesies lie on the table, and helium balloons decorated with bears and baby footprints hover near the ceiling. Then there are the flowers. Carnations. Miniature mums. But mostly roses. Lots and lots of roses. Over the years, I've noticed a change in those roses. That luscious crushed... Read More →

Those Darn Diabetics

Those Darn Diabetics! Do you ever wish difficult type 2 diabetics weren't your headache? Your wish has been granted. They aren't your problem anymore. You read that right. They are not your problem. They are your patients who have a particular problem. Such a distinction may seem fussy, but it actually represents a pivot point for changing old attitudes and responses toward people who are used to feeling like perennial problem children. Under the established... Read More →

The Dirtiest Word in Chronic Health Care

The Dirtiest Word in Chronic Health Care Our treatment of patients with chronic health conditions often looks more like a wrestling match than a collaboration. But what are we supposed to do with cardiac and renal patients who don't follow their fluid restrictions. Hypertensive folks who won't lay off the salt. The obese whose greatest exercise is a hike to the refrigerator. And patients who "forget" to take their meds, cancel appointments, or refuse to follow our instructions. These... Read More →

How To Spot a Workplace Bully, Part Three

Dealing with a bully is a challenge for members of both sexes, but women are especially bad at it. In an article in the New York Times, Mickey Meece says male bullies outnumber females sixty percent to forty percent. But when it comes to their victims the bullying women "prefer their own kind, choosing other women as targets more than seventy percent of the time." The reasons for this are both logistical (women have more female co-workers and subordinates) and gender-related (women... Read More →

How To Spot a Workplace Bully, Part Two

The protracted tension a bully creates takes a physical toll. Adrenalin ramps up. Muscles tighten. The mind races long after the shift ends. The longer a targeted employee is exposed to abuse, the more likely they are to suffer at least one disorder from a laundry list of medical maladies--digestive tract ailments; sleep disturbances; neck, shoulder and back strains; cardiac complaints; memory problems; migraines. The illnesses are genuine, but the usual treatments may give only temporary... Read More →

How To Spot a Workplace Bully, Part One

You go to the ED with chest pain. The medical team puts you on oxygen, draws blood for labs and gives you aspirin, Plavix and morphine. And then you get a battery of tests ranging from an EKG to a trip to the cath lab. Why? Because it's crucial to determine exactly what kind of “chest pain” has brought you in. Are you having an MI or non-life threatening angina? Is pain referring from your hot gall bladder? Or are your coronary arteries so blocked that you need immediate bypass surgery? ... Read More →

Bullying--The Other "B" Word

Not long ago if another nurse rolled her eyes when you gave report, cut you off while you were asking a question, or ignored you when said you needed help wasting a narcotic, she would have been called the "b" word that rhymes with "itch," (hereafter referred to as "witch" in deference to the Terms of Service.) Today she's more likely to be called another "b" word--"bully." Some propose that a bully is nothing more than a witch writ large, that the roles differ primarily by degree. ... Read More →

Am I Nursey Enough For You?

In the US, the definition of a nurse is a simple one. A registered nurse is a person who has passed the appropriate NCLEX exam and who holds a valid license in his or her state. The same is true for a licensed practical nurse. That's pretty straight forward, isn't it? As it turns out, the definitions are a bit too straight forward for some, meaning they don't allow the lay public to discern exactly how nursey a particular practitioner might be. This deficiency has inspired some nurses to... Read More →