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VivaLasViejas ASN, RN

LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych

Once a nurse, always a nurse!

Guide Guide Columnist Expert Nurse Retired
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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

I'm a retired RN and blogger who lives with my son, his husband, and four adorable little dogs. I have over 25 years total experience in health care and have done a little bit of everything. I especially enjoyed mother/baby care and assisted living. I retired early due to health reasons but kept my license active for several years beyond that. I love God, my family, my friends, NFL football, and good food enjoyed with loved ones!

Do, or do not. There is no try.--Yoda, Jedi Master

Sometimes God calms the storm. Sometimes He lets the storm rage, and calms His child.

VivaLasViejas's Latest Activity

  1. VivaLasViejas

    Anxiety, depression and job hopping

    You are definitely NOT alone in fighting mental illness. There are a number of nurses on this website who live with brain-based disorders (I have bipolar I and anxiety) and I hope they’ll weigh in here with their stories. Most are able to maintain careers and live rewarding lives. Some may struggle with working full-time; others have had to leave the profession and do something else, and a few, like me, are completely unable to work and had to go on disability. I hope you find this next job to be satisfying and not too stressful. And I wish you the very best in your career. Take care of yourself. Viva
  2. VivaLasViejas

    Is nursing right for me?

    Yes, there really is no way to get through nursing school and clinicals—to say nothing of your first job—without having to stand and walk throughout most, if not all, of your shift. There are jobs, like patient representative and unit secretary, that allow you to sit while working (although some hospitals require the unit secretary to be able to work the floor as a tech, and to be honest I’m not sure that there’s a large market for them since facilities are going lean and mean). These jobs don’t pay as much as nursing, but they’ll get you closer to health care. I wish you the very best. Viva
  3. VivaLasViejas

    Dealing with patient death

    I’ve seen a lot of people die, most of my career was in geriatrics and Med/Surg so death was just something I had to deal with. That said, some patient departures were harder than others and I grieved for them, although certainly not anywhere near as long nor as intensely as I would have for a family member (including my pets). I attended some of their wakes and funerals, then went back to work as always, knowing there would be other deaths at some point. You really never “get used to it”; you just learn to cope and remain professional throughout the experience. After all, it’s not *your* experience—it belongs to the loved ones of the patient who has passed away.
  4. VivaLasViejas


    I’m so sorry you’re feeling badly right now. I’ve fought depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder for most of my life, so I know how fast and how hard we can fall. I hope you have a good doctor and/or therapist and other support to help you get through these tough times. This is the perfect forum to start a thread about mood disorders as they affect us at work as well as in our personal lives. I hope you feel much better soon.
  5. VivaLasViejas

    What Was a Highlight of Your Career as a Nurse?

    I’ve never won any formal awards, but I have been the recipient of kudos from my patients and their families. For me, the reward was a hug, a card, a “thank you”. All I ever wanted to do was make a difference in people’s lives, and I’m proud to say that for some, I did.😊
  6. VivaLasViejas

    Is Politics a Religion of sort?

    I’m a conservative Catholic Republican who thinks you may be generalizing too much. However, I see the mockery that many Trump followers have made of Christianity, and it’s my humble opinion that Trump himself is no Christian, let alone a savior. I despise him and others of his ilk, whom I voted against in the 2020 elections. He and his cadre of white Evangelicals make all Republicans look bad, and I’m sick of it. I disagree with President Biden on a number of his views about abortion and illegal immigration, but I have to say I love waking up in the morning and Trump is no longer President.
  7. VivaLasViejas

    Are hospitals in NJ allowed to record patients in their room?

    I should hope not. Being in a psychiatric hospital is bad enough with the 15-minute checks and having your room tossed every day to look for contraband. There is no expectation of privacy, because the staff may have to accompany you to the bathroom and shower. But I’m afraid I’d balk at a camera in my room—way too intrusive—and I for one would not go to a facility that forced this on the patients. JMHO.
  8. I was a CNA when I was in nursing school. When I earned my RN license I kept my CNA certification active until it was time for renewal, then simply let it lapse. You don’t need dual licenses. And yes, you can work as an aide or an LPN, but you’ll be held to the standards of RN licensure. So working at a lower level doesn’t make much sense, either...unless your organization pays RN wages! That’s the only way I’d agree to take a CNA or LPN shift. I’m not above “grunt” work, but I want my regular wage because I’m going to be held responsible as an RN if something goes sideways and I don’t respond properly. Just my $0.02 worth.
  9. VivaLasViejas

    The Real Reason Republicans Want to Oust Liz Cheney

    I did that in 2016. I couldn’t abide Hillary, so I didn’t vote for President at all. I voted in all the down-ballot races, just not the top job. I hated doing that but there was literally NO ONE I could support. I hope that never happens again...this “lesser of two evils” thing needs to go away.
  10. VivaLasViejas

    The Real Reason Republicans Want to Oust Liz Cheney

    This describes me perfectly. I am a Republican and a conservative, but I can’t stand Trump and did not vote for him in 2016 OR 2020. In fact, I voted for Biden because he is a decent human being, even though I oppose his ideas about abortion and tax-and-spend proposals. I worry about his health, and I worry about Democrats pushing him too far left. But I enjoy waking up in the morning and Trump is no longer President.
  11. VivaLasViejas

    Should I give a two weeks' notice?

    You definitely don’t want to burn bridges. You just never know when or where you may meet those people again. Like others have said, nursing is a small world, and we tend to circulate around healthcare facilities and bump into old friends...and enemies. Put in your two weeks and work every single minute of them as if you actually enjoyed the job and were going to be there forever. (Sometimes an employer will let you go rather than work out the notice, so be prepared.) That way you’ll look professional and reliable, and you can feel good about yourself. Good luck to you. Looks like you’re getting out of a hellhole.
  12. VivaLasViejas

    Should I become a nurse if I don't like bedside care?

    If the idea of bedside nursing is repulsive to you, you might want to consider a different career in health care. “Wiping butts” is part and parcel of the job, you can’t always rely on CNAs or techs to do the dirty work. I can understand if you don’t want to deal with the icky aspects of the job, but bedside is way more than that—there’s critical thinking and “people smarts” which are necessary to be a good nurse. Not to say you couldn’t develop those abilities, of course, but you would be better off in an ancillary role such as a unit secretary (although they sometimes have to work the floor as a nurse’s aide) or medical assistant. I wish you the very best in whatever you decide to do. Viva.
  13. VivaLasViejas

    Considering going back to bedside...bad idea?

    I went from bedside to management and back again several times during my career. It wasn’t as hard then to move around between specialties, and I always seemed to get bored and restless around the two-year mark at any job I held. I started out in LTC, moved to acute care, changed to assisted living, went back to the hospital, then started AL again and figured I’d be there till retirement. Alas, it was not to be, and I returned to LTC. My last hurrah was as a state surveyor, and I flamed out spectacularly within four months of starting. That was my last job. But I had a hell of a great ride, and I don’t regret a minute of my career.
  14. VivaLasViejas

    Taking a break? How long until you came back?

    I’ve been here at AN for almost two decades. The only times I’ve taken breaks were when I got too involved in contentious discussions and overheated. This was back when I was wrestling with an as-yet-undiagnosed mental illness, and I even drew warning points for one particularly nasty post in which I invited a fellow member to perform a cranio-rectal inversion. This was conduct unbecoming of a Guide and I got an earful from the admins. But in a way it was the best thing that could have happened, because it made me realize I needed help badly, and I got it. Now I mostly avoid political posts because they are somewhat triggering, and I’ve learned to just scroll past threads I find annoying. I don’t post as much anymore because I’ve been out of nursing for over seven years, and the way things change so quickly my knowledge base has become obsolete. But I spend a lot of time learning about what nursing is like now, and enjoying the articles and case studies. 😊
  15. VivaLasViejas

    Which patients are you most scared to take care of?

    Detox patients. They’re entirely unpredictable and you can’t trust them as far as you can throw them. We used to detox them on the M/S floor, which was horrible because when the DTs hit, they got very scary. I got bitten by an HIV+ patient in the throes of alcohol withdrawals; another guy marched a fully equipped, locked hospital bed across a room while in four-point leathers. They really should’ve been in a specialized care unit with 1:1 or 1:2 supervision and good sedation. Dealing with a patient on the CIWA protocol and trying to manage a team of 5-6 other patients is a special kind of hell that I’m glad I’ll never have to visit again.
  16. VivaLasViejas

    Why am I asked to fix things that are NOT my job?

    In LTC I had to plunge toilets, fix electric bed problems and exterminate ants. There was no such thing as maintenance or housekeeping after 1700 or on weekends. No, it wasn’t my job to fetch napkins or watch residents’ great-grandchildren as they ran up and down the halls or cater parties, but I did it and more. I do agree that non-nursing tasks need to be done by the departments responsible for them, but I think we all know it’s not gonna happen because administrators and CEOs have figured out how to accomplish more with fewer staff and resources. And it’s so much worse than it used to be. I’m on here every day and I see what y’all are going through, and I can’t even imagine how you’re doing it without losing your minds. I’ve been out of nursing for seven years and I salute every single one of you for hanging in there. It’s not a career for the faint of heart, that’s for sure!