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Retired critical care nurse

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  1. HazelLPN

    Never too 'old' to go back to school and advance your skills

    What Strayer University (which is a for profit institution) is really saying is that they want you money, no matter how old you are. For profit institutions often have very high tuition, low standards of admission, and have high turn over of staff. They exist to make money for their shareholders. Instead of flocking to an expensive for profit college like STRAYER University, seek out your local state school or community college. Much more affordable and you will most likely get a much better education.
  2. HazelLPN

    Do Bachelor's Degrees Save Lives? - The Facts about Earning a BSN

    What's one of the the biggest problem in research, even in the hard sciences? Bias. What bias could an institution that exists primarily to make money for its shareholders possibly have? Oftentimes, the researcher knows the conclusion before the study begins.
  3. HazelLPN

    Burn Nursing

    I did more than my fair share of burn nursing when I was a PICU nurse. I could hold my own with them, but I was always happy for the burn unit nurses to come down and help with my dressing changes...I learned something new every time. I always though that bad burns were some of the most challenging of all critical patients. For me, watching an experienced burn nurse doing a dressing change is truly like watching Martha Stewart cooking. No nonsense, no shortcuts, do it right or don't do it at all....and no matter what you do....it will never look as good as hers.
  4. HazelLPN

    Nurses Who Have Killed

    I remember watching a TV movie about Genene Jones back in the 80s or 90s. She had been a PICU nurse and she got a thrill when her patients coded so much that she began causing codes to happen. She got away with it for quite a while because she took care of very sick kids, but eventually people became suspicious when her patients seemed to be constantly coding. Instead of an investigation and an arrest, the hospital fired her and recommended her for a job in a pediatric clinic...and like a poster said earlier....she killed a child in for a routine check up!
  5. HazelLPN

    LPNs: Myths and Misconceptions (Part I)

    Excellent excellent excellent. There are so few well written and researched articles about LPNs because most LPNs are not researchers. They are bedside nurses. I learned enough about nursing research in class for my BSN (which I never completed, long story short, my husband got sick and life got in the way) to realize that not all research is solid and sometimes articles get published in scholarly journals based on biased and poorly designed research. I'm glad that you have chosen to be an informed and articulate mouthpiece for LPNs on these boards. I would love to see an article about veteran LPNs as an asset in healthcare because so many are being forced out of their jobs in acute care despite many years of practice and dedicated service to the hospital. I understand if a hospital wishes to phase out LPNs by attrition and hire BSNs only, but to force them out and use biased and poorly designed research to support their decisions to lay them off or worse...offer them positions far below their level of training and pay....and further suggest that they somehow provide unsafe care is criminal. Let these old gals (and some old guys) remain doing what they have been doing for years and continue to provide exceptional nursing care and retired with dignity. Formal education is important, but experience is the best teacher. Kuddos ten times to you, Commuter. Mrs H.
  6. Excellent article about LPNs. As we can see, there are many people who have misunderstandings about LPNs...from not understanding about the various ways to train to be an LPN to not realizing that each state is different and facility is different in LPN scope of practice. I get so tired of posting "LPN scope is different in each state" when posters say things like "LPNs can't assess, LPN's can't push meds, LPN's only take care of stable patients with predictable outcomes." I blame the universities that train RN studentsfor not giving these kids this understading. Experienced RNs who work alongside LPNs know that a veteran LPN is worth her/his weight in gold and are not mindless automatons.... which I know is taught by some nursing professors in academia who have long since traded their reality for ideality. Kudos on an excellent post Mrs H.
  7. HazelLPN

    Thanks to Medicare changes...My Job Was Just Eliminated

    I work as a substitute assistant school nurse about once every two weeks during the school year, and often I only do half days and I consider it volunteer work. I help out the regular school nurse sometimes, but most often I work with special needs students who require skilled nursing care. None of these kiddos are the least bit sick or unstable. I do a little nursing here and there, but most of what I do is just enjoy the young people. Its very little responsibility and a lot of fun. Not much different from the little old lady who volunteers at the hospital, really except I may give a med, a g tube feed, help change a few diapers, suction a trach and then call it a day and go home feeling good that I'm still helping people and I'm not ready to be put out to pasture just yet. To the original poster, you might want to consider training to be a school nurse. Its not physically demanding, the hours are great,some places the money isn't bad... but there is alot of work involved as you may be the only health care professional that some of the kids who live in poverty see on a regular basis. Look into it. Older people can reinvent themselves. An ex L&D RN would be perfect for an urban high school as you will do a lot of OB nursing.... Thank you for the compliment and best to you, Mrs H.
  8. HazelLPN

    Thanks to Medicare changes...My Job Was Just Eliminated

    I know it seems awful now, but I think this will be an opportunity to re-invent yourself. From one old nurse to another....what helped tremendosely with my old broken down body was water aerobics! Even though I still have arthritis and I have a bad knee (even after knee replacement surgery it isnt' great), water aerobics made me stronger, helped me lose weight and gave me a lot more energry. I go to my local YMCA every thursday and never miss it because it helps so much. At age 78 I look and feel better than I did at 68. Hang in there. I transitioned into PICU and NICU after adult ICU got to be too much of a physical challenge for me. Don't rule out NICU if you have L&D experience. Its extremely specialzied, but probably easier on the body than any other type of nursing that I did...including my current job as a substitute assistant school nurse where I have had to change adult diapers on special needs students. NICU babies can be turned with a spatula (although I never tried it and don't recommend it). Old dogs CAN learn new tricks. Glad you changed the title. The current president isn't perfect, and I personally didn't vote for him, but I don't believe he is out to only help the rich get richer on the backs for the poor and middle class. This should be a nation where everyone, not just the wealthy, should be given a chance to fluorish and have access to healthcare. Best to you, Mrs.
  9. HazelLPN

    Thanks to Medicare changes...My Job Was Just Eliminated

    I find the title of this post to be rather Fox News-ish. Losing your position had nothing to do with the President...it had everything to do with corporate greed. I'm guessing you don't belong to a union or a good union, for if you did, you would be given another position in the hospital. Best wishes to you on finding a position. I know you are pushing 60s, but I reinvented myself when I was pushing 60s when my body could no longer keep up with the kind of nursing I had been doing for years....if I can do it...so you can you! Best to you, Mrs H.
  10. HazelLPN

    Hospital Ditches "Team Nursing" and LVNs

    I understand the need for formal education. I can be quoted all over these boards that I strongly recommend that all young people get their BSN right out of high school because it will give them the most career options. I hear a lot of "heathcare has changed" and "patients are sicker" and how LPNs are not useful in acute care from kids fresh out of college who are repeating what their instructors are telling them. Perhaps in states where LPN scope is limited that is true, but there are states where experienced LPNs are still useful in acute care. I speak as a recently retired LPN of 54 years experience who worked most of my time in various ICUs. In fact, I was doing critical care nursing before we had an ICU and very sick patients were called "constant cares" where you didn't leave the bedside unattended...and the doctor was right beside you. I had a full scope of practice. I pushed my own meds, titrated my pressors, took care of vents, HFOs, had Swans, IABPs, on Prima, ECMO (though LPNs did not train to be ECMO techs). My RN charge nurse took no assignment and covered what was not in my scope of practice. The charge nurse would have to check blood with me before I gave it and there were several IVP meds that she would also have to check with me. All of these meds and Blood products required two RNs to sign off. The biggest restriction to my scope was no initial assessment on admission and the initiation of the care plan and problem list and that I didn't serve as the patients primary nurse. Therefore, LPNs simply didn't take admissions. There were never more than 2 LPNs per shift, and that was rare to have two. All but one of the LPNs in my unit were veteran nurses over 50. With a full scope of practice,we did very well in critical care. The hospital I retired from no longer hires LPNs (unless in school for their RN or has some kind of "in") in the ICU and replaces retiring LPNs with RNs. The ones remaining are all exceptional nurses. I realize that the day of the LPN has come and gone. BSN educated RNs are good for the profession. Higher formal education is higher pay and more respect. That said, I returned to school for my BSN when I was pushing 60 (oh to be 60 again!). I worked two twelves on the weekends and one eight hour shift during the week and went to school full time. I loved the sciences and math courses so much that I went on to take the pre medical level chemistry, physics and calculus classes....and I got Bs! I also enjoyed the general ed classes. The nursing classes were another story in that I didn't learn much that was applicable to what I did. In the end, I never finished my BSN. In the second to my last semester, my husband got sick and I stopped going to school to deal with his illness. Long story short-life got in the way. Did the BSN training have an effect on what I did as a critical care nurse? I know my pharmacokinetics better, but that was from the pre medical level chemistry classes and the calculus more than the nursing pharm which didn't teach me anything new. I learned about research, but that helped me more away from the bedside than at the bedside. 99% of what I know about critical care nursing wasn't from my LPN program in the 1950s nor returing to school in the mid 1980s. It was what I learned on the job as an LPN, reading on my own, and countless conversations with the exceptional people that I had the good fortune of working with. You say that LPN programs do not prepare nurses for critical care. I agree. I would also add that BSN programs dont' prepare nurses for critical care either. That preparation only comes with a lot of on the job training under the guidance of experiences nurses, three to five years experience, and a natural intelligence and inborn talent that no nursing school can give you. Its the kind of person vs type of formal education who is going to make it in critical care. I shall depart on one last plug for the need for formal education. Nursing education has improved in many ways, but the quality of students has declined. In my day, women had fewer career options then they do now. Many very bright women of my generation became nurses. Now, sadly, we are seeing less and less of these very intelligent young women choosing nursing, and the quality of new grads isn't what it used to be. Perhaps with higher educational levels and saleries...we can attract better people into the field like we used to get in the days when our options were nurse, elementary teacher or secretary. Best to you, Mrs H.
  11. HazelLPN

    Nursing shortage far from over

    Hense why I still wear my nursing cap.......
  12. HazelLPN

    Hospital Ditches "Team Nursing" and LVNs

    This hospital is phasing out the LVN role through attrition, meaning that LVNs will not be given their walking papers and thrown out like yesterday's garbage as many acute care facilities are doing. I understand the need for formal education and I tell all young people to get their BSN if possible vs paths into nursing that require less formal education. Phase out LPNs? Fine. But do it like this facility is, through attrition instead of kicking them to the curb after many years of providing exceptional nursing care and service to the hospital. Most LPNs/LVNs in acute care have been there for years and years and know the job very well. Hire no more, but let them remain.
  13. HazelLPN

    LPNs Fight Efforts To Phase Them Out

  14. HazelLPN

    Is being an LPN REALLY that bad?

    I am a retired LPN, having spent the majority of my time in critical care. In my day, an LPN could work anywhere. The difference between RN and LPN was mainly administrative. RNs trained to be charge nurses, nursing supervisors, head nurses. Clinically, there was no difference (at my school) what the PN and RN students learned. We trained for the first two years together, and the RN students trained one additional year to learn the administrative roles. That was back in the 1950s, and nurses in general didn't do nearly as much as we do now. For me, being an LPN was a good career choice because I never cared about the administrative roles. I wanted to be a nurse who took care of the patients. Period. Plus, I married well and didn't need the extra money. If I was starting my career today, however, I would get my BSN and skip the LPN. In many areas, LPNs have fewer career options than RNs do. Even where I worked, all but one of the LPNs in the critical care unit were verteran nurses, and they generally did not hire new grad LPNs except if that person had some sort of "in" (they hired their unit clerk) or was in school to get their RN. If you are happy working in areas like primary care or LTC, I suppose getting your LPN is fine. That would never be fine with me. I loved my job in the ICUs, and these days, 99% of the time, these jobs now require you to have your RN. I was able to remain because my nurse manager was supportive of her veteran LPNs and our scope in my state and hospital was very similar to that of an RN. This is not the case in many places, as many veteran LPNs in acute care are losing their jobs to help greedy big business save a buck. Don't believe the crap of "people are sicker and need an RN", its rhetoric based on poorly designed and biased research. Its a matter of cash , pure and simple. Best to you, Mrs. H Best to you, Mrs H.
  15. HazelLPN

    LPNs Fight Efforts To Phase Them Out

    I was lucky that my nurse manager and head intensivist were very supportive of the veteran LPNs who remained in the unit and who knew that our experience and informal education could not easily be replaced by some 22 year old fresh out of college. Human relationships saved my career as a critical care nurse (as well as my home cooked meals and even better cocktail parties...and my sence of humor and competance as an LPN). It was an honor to be an LPN in the unit, as you really had to prove yourself. I get it about formal education, really I do. Back in the day, elementary school teachers didn't have BA degrees, they instead went to teacher training school for about 12 to 18 months or so. Of course, to get higher pay and more respect, these training programs were phased out in favor of the four year degree. However, the old school marms were not given the boot. They were allowed to retire and finish their career. Now they are pushing MEd degrees for teachers as a starting point, perhaps nursing will follow suit in a few years. I say do the same with the LPNs. Close the LPN programs, provide assistance for the LPNs to return to school, allow a broad scope of practice for the remaining LPNs and let them finish their careers. But don't pretend that somehow veteran LPNs are a hazzard to patient care because of the "patients are sicker these days" crap while providing biased and poorly designed research and say LPNs somehow are not able to keep up with the changes and do professional development. When I started in nursing, I took care of patients in iron lungs. Then we got pressure vents and volume vents and HFO and ECMO...and who knows what will be next. Somehow I managed to keep up with the changes and adapt. If my knee would allow me, I'd go back to work tomorrow...I loved it..and nobody can ever tell me I didn't belong in the unit because I was an LPN. If this was the case, my old nurse manager wouldn't still ask me if I would come in once a week to do contingent work (she says this after she's had a few cocktails at my still legendary cocktail parties) despite that I'm now 77 years old and still occasionally have to use a cane after knee replacement surgery. Either I was that good...or my cocktails are....you be the judge......