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HazelLPN LPN

Adult ICU/PICU/NICU

Content by HazelLPN

  1. HazelLPN

    Med/Surg to ICU - Need Advice

    In my day, nearly everyone started on Med/surg before transferring to ICU. I myself started there right out of school because believe it or not...we didn't have ICUs when I graduated. Once it opened, I transferred to work down there within months. It is more common now to hire new grads in critical care, but I am still from the old school that if you can do med/surg...you can go anywhere. Why don' t you try and make some human connections? Maybe contact the nurse manager and see if it is possible for you could cross train in the ICU at the hospital where you work and pick up contingent hours. We had several floor nurses who floated down to us who eventually got cross trained so that they would be more comfortable working with vents. They generally didn't take patients who required critical care drugs ...if they had a drip that needed titrated one of us would handle it. However, it was great to have float nurses who could handle sicker patients and a few made the switch where they worked with us full time and moonlighted in med/surg. Best to you, Mrs H.
  2. HazelLPN

    Why are so many nurses against unions?

    Absolute nonsense.
  3. HazelLPN

    Preparing to be a NICU Nurse

    We need more men in nursing period! I have been retired from critical care nursing for ten years so I hope things are better now. My last job in the hospital was working contingent in the PICU and would float to NICU as needed. We had a 45 bed NICU (combined with step down) and a 30 bed PICU. There were no male nurses in the NICU and I think there were only 4 in the PICU. Back when I was an MICU nurse (this is now bordering on ancient history...1960s-early 2000s) most of the men I worked with put their time in and then went onto CRNA school. We had very few who stayed bedside nurses. Its been so long since I worked there that I don't think I know a single nurse I worked with to call to ask. Up until last year, I worked as a substitute assistant school nurse a few days a month. (still on the role but doubt if I'll go back for anything more than helping with screenings in the fall and then hang up the cap for good....the ole gray mare just aint' what she used to be...). We have only ONE male school RN...and I love working with him so much. He's an ex army nurse with a no nonsense attitude and a wicked since of humor who is so much fun to work with. My best friends at work were always the men.
  4. HazelLPN

    Ever forgotten to feed a baby?

    I once had a nightmare after working an evening shift where I had four feeder growers that I forgot to feed one the entire shift. It was so real and vivid that I actually called the unit in the middle of the night to make sure I didn't make any mistakes. I've been retired from critical care for nearly ten years now. When I dream of the hospital its usually a good dream. The rare bad dream I have is when I walk into the nurses station in the NICU and they say "four feeder growers and one chronic that never sleeps.....thanks for taking one for the team" and my nursing license vanishes before my eyes.....
  5. HazelLPN

    LPN/LVN salary vs Teachers salary

    I have a challenge with your statement that"everyone thinks (teachers) are poor but we (LPNs) make big bucks." Considering many people laugh that LPN stands for "Lesser Paid Nurse"...I think that your assessment that everyone thinks that LPNs make big bucks is mistaken. Many people don't even know what an LPN is. I personally believe that most fair minded people agree that teachers and nurses are hard working professionals who are underpaid. You can't compare a teacher to an LPN. It would be better to compare teachers to an RN as educational requirements are more similar. After I retired from critical care nursing, I came out of retirement to work as a substitute assistant school nurse in the public schools. As an LPN, I couldn't serve as the actual school nurse...they were BSN educated RNs who also held a state license from the department of education to work as a school RN. They were on the same pay scale as the teachers and had their own bargaining unit within the teachers union. School RNs work VERY hard and earn every penny. As an LPN assistant school nurse, my pay was so low that I considered myself to be a volunteer. However, I didn't do it for the money. I did it because I still loved nursing but was no longer physically able to work in critical care. If you want to make a lot of money as a nurse, then the first thing you need to do is to find a bridge program and get your RN. The highest paid nurses are APNs of course...with CRNAs probably making the most. Best to you, Mrs. H.
  6. HazelLPN

    Seasoned ICU Nurse Lacks Critical Thinking

    The great Bette Davis, one of my favorite actresses when I was a little girl, said once "Getting old ain't for sissies!" There's nothing good about getting old once you realize that you can't do what you used to do as well as you used to do it. You get to the point where you know that you can't do the job as well as you used to. I worked in the ICU for over 40 years before I bowed out. In my case, it was my knee that was the problem. I didn't move as fast as I used to. I began dreading when I had to travel off unit with a patient to CT or MRI with a bunch of pumps.... or even transferring them to the floor with very little. I am happy to say that my care never suffered, right up to the end but I knew that If I continued for much longer that my care would not be up to MY standards. Facing knee replacement surgery and a long recovery period...not to mention that I was 75 years old at the time...I knew I wouldn't be back after my surgery. They all said I would be back...I'm not sure if they really thought that or they wanted me to feel good about myself. When I went in for my last shift I said to myself "This is it....soon it will be finished." I feel for your coworker. However, I don't think it was that she lacked critical thinking. You don't work in ICU 30 years without being good at it. She has some kind of problem. Heath problem, family problem, burn out problem....we don't know. That's why she's leaving....not because she simply lacks "critical thinking." I'll be you anything she knew there was a problem long before anyone else did. That's how it usually happens. In time, she will learn that there is life after critical care nursing. After I retired, I immediately had my knee replaced. I still have to walk with a cane occasionally when I go up stairs or when I have to walk a long way...so I could never return to the hospital again. However, I am STILL active as an LPN. Not in the ICU or a hospital...but as a substitute assistant school nurse caring for special needs students. I love it. I work very little but am glad that I can still work at an age when some people can't even tie their own shoes. I hope she loves her job in the clinic and finds happiness in nursing again and whatever ails her will be taken away from her. Best to you both, Mrs H.
  7. HazelLPN

    Are some people just not cut out for ICU?

    Doesn't sound like she was cut out for med/surg either......or any kind of nursing that is.
  8. HazelLPN

    The Union Is Coming

    Do you like better staffing ratios and better pay for nurses?
  9. HazelLPN

    Scrubs or Clothes?

    Same thing I wore in the hospital. White uniform AND my cap....proudly.
  10. HazelLPN

    LPNs in regards to L&D

    Back in my day, an LPN could work anywhere in the hospital including L&D. Back in the 1980s where I worked, there was a push for the LPNs who were working in specialty units (ER, critical care, L&D) to go get their RN and the hospital offered tuition reimbursement. At the time, they were told they would no longer have jobs in these places and would be reassigned to a regular floor if they chose to remain LPNs. In the end, they were allowed to remain LPNs and nobody was forced out. However, they were replaced with an RN when they retired or quit. Many LPNs took advantage of this opportunity, some chose to remain LPNs. If I recall, at the hospital where I worked, L&D had an LPN back in the early 2000s and when she retired, she was replaced by an RN. This was in a hospital and state where LPNs were used to the fullest extent of their training. I would imagine that there are still LPNs out there in L&D but it is the exception to the rule. The LPNs who are still employed in L&D are probably veteran nurses who have been grandfathered in due to their experience and will be replaced by an RN when they retire. If you wish to work in L&D your best bet is to go get your RN. However, it doesn't hurt to call up the nurse manager of the L&D unit to show your interest in such a position. It may be possible that they use LPNs in some capacity. At the very least, it may give you an advantage when it comes to finding an RN position. Best to you, Mrs H.
  11. HazelLPN

    New to High school Nursing

    I did NICU myself before I retired and then spent my final years in nursing as a substitute assistant school nurse. Many school nurses in my district it seems are former critical care and ER nurses. Your NICU experience will be great for the amount of OB that you do. I had several kiddos that I took care of in the NICU as students that I took care of...one of which was one of the sickest babies I ever had....a meconium aspiration who ended up on ECMO and then a terrible surgical wound infection and probably spent 4 months in the hospital. 15 years later, she had asthma and anger management problems but did better than anyone thought she would. Best wishes to you on your new and rewarding career....you'll do great! Mrs. H.
  12. HazelLPN

    How did you spend your first nursing paycheck?

    My first paycheck was so long ago that I probably used it for something nice to decorate my log cabin.
  13. 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.
  14. HazelLPN

    Why do you wear a white coat? (if you indeed do)

    When I was still doing MICU in a large teaching hospital I did have a white coat...all medical a nursing staff had them. The med students had short coats, interns/residents/attending had full length. Nurses had long coats that came to our mid calf. I would wear it in the evenings when it was cold and drafty and it was quite nice actually. When I stopped taking care of adults, I left the white coat behind in my locker and never even thought anything of it. Back in the old days, I actually had my original nursing cape that you wore to the hospital but never when you took care of patients because you didn't clean it everyday like you did your caps and uniforms. It was wool and so warm and wonderful. My kids and grandkids destroyed it playing with it long ago long after I stopped wearing it. I wish I still had it. You can't get them anymore and my nursing school has been closed for years. However, whenever I do nursing, I still wear my white uniform AND my cap...proudly. In my day, the cap was something that we worked hard for and were proud of. I'm retired from critical care nursing and now work as a substitute assistant nursing taking care of special needs children in a large urban district. I get "Yes, ma'me, no ma'me" and have never been disrespected by even the most unruly student. Even today, my cap commands respect because I wear it with the same pride as the day I earned the right to do so.
  15. HazelLPN

    LPN in hospitals

    Yes. I don't wish to identify the hospital as I wish to remain anonymous ..but it's a Midwestern state that allows LPNs a very broad scope of practice. That's the best I shall do.
  16. HazelLPN

    LPN in hospitals

    The hospital from which I retired from is now hiring LPNs in the NICU of all places.
  17. HazelLPN

    eliminating the LPN role ?

    Back in the 1990s, the United Kingdom eliminated the training of State Enrolled Nurses (SENs), which were nurses similar to the LPNs/LVN in the USA. Now, over 20 years later, many are lamenting this decision and some of the powers that be are considering training SENs again.
  18. HazelLPN

    Dr Office vs Med-Surg

    When my husband finished his residency, I was his office nurse in his peds private practice after I had been working in med/surg for a few years. That kind of nursing simply wasn't for me. I think I lasted about three months before I went back to the hospital and if I would have stayed any longer, we would have gotten divorced because it wasn't good for our marriage either. I ended up getting a job in a teaching hospital and transferred to the ICU shortly after it opened and had a wonderful career in critical care nursing. If you love the technical aspect of nursing...as your post hints at....you won't be happy in an ambulatory setting. I also understand the corporate greed model of health care and am glad that I retired before it came into full swing. It might be a drive for you, but is there a university/teaching hospital in the area that might hire an LPN? Even if you might have to drive, you'd be able to do the kind of nursing you like to do with less emphasis (though still too much!) on making the CEO richer. I worked with an RN once who lived about an hour away from the university and would stay in town the weekends she worked and then go home during the week...these were the days of weekend option. One way to make the CEO richer is to get rid of LPNs and replace them with UAPs and give the additional work of the LPN to the already overworked RN. I've seen it happen time and time again. Hopefully this isn't in the works. Best to you, Mrs H.
  19. HazelLPN

    working in acute hospital

    Where there is a will there is a way. Back in the 1990s, LPNs were being phased out of the critical care areas in the hospital I was working. It was done ethically as the LPN was simply phased out by attrition instead of handed a pink slip. Our unit clerk on the weekends was in LPN school during the week and she was an amazing clerk...the kind that ran the unit and knew what was needed before you even asked for it. She was hired as a new grad in the PICU simply because she proved herself as the clerk and its truly who you know. She is still working there as an LPN, one of the few left and the only one under 40....maybe under 50 actually.... Some hospitals will hire an LPN if that LPN in enrolled in school for her/his RN. Its difficult, but it can happen. Of course, its easier in states and facilities where LPNs have a full scope of practice as this can put an extra burden on the covering RN. Where I worked, this wasn't a problem as LPNs were utilized to the fullest extent of their training. The best way to work in acute care is to go get your RN...BSN if possible as it will give you the most options in your career. Best to you, Mrs H.
  20. HazelLPN

    Should I give up scrubs?

    School nurses who are unionized have that too.
  21. HazelLPN

    Should I give up scrubs?

    I am in the minority, as I still wear a white uniform, my pin, AND my cap.....proudly. Wear what makes YOU feel right...and to the uninformed who want to say the cap is sexist or sexy or collects "germs" more than any other part of the uniform that is washable.....I'm a primary source...and it is none of the above. Its a symbol of how hard we had to work in the old diploma schools to earn the right to wear it.
  22. HazelLPN

    School Nurse: Can you become one without "hospital" experience

    I am old fashioned, but I believe that school nurses should have acute care experience. The reason is that there is a great deal of autonomy in school nursing, and we have more medically fragile students now than ever. The school nurse must have excellent assessment skills. Nearly all of the school nurses in my district spent time in the hospital setting before changing direction and becoming school nurses. There is actually a high percentage who are former critical care and ER nurses and one of our nurses was a flight nurse in the military. I routinely take care of kids on vents, with G tubes, and have complex medical issues. As a retired PICU nurse, this is not a challenge for me. The state where I work requires school RNs to have their BSN and a license from the state department of education to practice as a school RN. They are on the same pay scale and have the same benefits as the teachers and have their own bargaining unit within the teachers union. I am a substitute assistant school nurse, mainly working with special needs, multiple handicapped, and medically fragile students that the regular school RN simply wouldn't have time to care for. I'm an LPN, and the pay is so low that I consider myself to be a volunteer, but I don't do the job for the money. I do it because I wanted to come out of retirement and this was the perfect vehicle to do it as its not nearly as physically demanding as working in the hospital, yet I'm still able to help young people and remain in nursing at an age where many people have stopped living altogether. Peds would be an ideal preparation for school nursing. Come to think about it, with all of the issues that our school RNs deal with, psych and OB nursing would be good too! Best to you, Mrs H.
  23. HazelLPN

    LPN new grad as a classroom nurse

    This is kind of what I do, although the title is an "assistant school nurse" and I'm only a substitute. I took the job about a year after I retired from a long career in critical care nursing as I didn't really want to retire completely from nursing, but knew that physically I simply couldn't work in the ICU as well as I once did. I work at all of the high schools that have special needs units and we have a handicapped school that is K-12 that serves medically fragile children where I also often am assigned. I don't have any teaching responsibilities, but there are some days where I do very little nursing and I'll help the teachers with one on one help.....it's either that or I sit around like a bump on a log and I'd rather help the kids. There are also days when I work at the handicapped school and I have little downtime. I have kiddos on vents, on TPN, who need cathed, are on meds, who get tube feeds, etc. There is a population that lives in a LTC facility, yet they are still able to come to school and learn with an adapted curriculum. If they are the least bit sick, they generally do not come to school, but I've had some who crumped on me and had to go back to the facility, home or even taken to the hospital by EMS. In peds, conditions can change very rapidly compared to adults and you have to pay attention. You can't simply give the care and then read a magazine when you are done. You have to continually assess these kids and treat them as if they are potentially unstable because sometimes they do get sick at school. 98% of the time they are fine, but a few times a year, especially in the winter, things happen. There is always an RN in the building who is available but she usually does very little with the special needs students as she has her hands full with her other responsibilities. Of course, if one of the kiddos is getting sick, I let the school RN know and she'll come up and contact the parents and pediatrician or LTC facility. The RN makes the decision to send them home and at that point you are a support person although all of my RNs know and respect my PICU experience and listen to my advice. IMHO, school nursing isn't for new graduates...be it LPNs or RNs. Most of our assistant school nurses have experience in skilled nursing facilities or acute care...and all of our school RNs have worked in acute care....many are former critical care or ER nurses...one was even a flight nurse for the US military. Some of them maintain prn jobs at the local childrens hospital where I used to work for extra money in the summers and to keep their skills up. As you work with a lot of autonomy, you really need to have excellent assessment skills as there is no house officer to page, no house supervisor, no charge nurse, no nurse in the next room who can look at something for you. My advice is to try to get some acute care experience before taking on any kind of school nursing. In the case that LPNs are no longer used in acute care in your area, try to get some experience on a pediatric skilled nursing unit in long term care where you can sharpen your skills before taking on such a position. Experience is truly the best teacher. Best to you, Mrs H.
  24. HazelLPN

    Obtaining Critical Care Experience

    I am a retired LPN and worked most of my hospital years in critical care. I would actually call and talk to the nurse manager of the MICU and explain that you are an LVN and are currently working on your RN and wish to work in critical care. It is possible that they just might be able to think outside of the box and allow you to work in the MICU as an LVN vs an unlicensed tech. Even if they don't, you have put your name out there and have established a human connection which are very important when it comes to finding jobs. Every job that I ever had...including the volunteer job I have now...have been through human connections. If they give you the position in the MICU as an LVN, then jump on it. The hospital that I retired from does not hire LPNs in critical care units anymore except for the LPNs who are in school for their RN...and even then it's on a case by case basis. Once they become RNs on the unit, they require a much shorter orientation and have already established themselves. If they are unable to think outside the box, I would simply ask for advise which shows that you are interested. Maybe an LVN can't work in the unit, but maybe another nurse manager in step down or on one of the more acute floors might consider an LVN who is in school for her RN. From my experience, infectious disease tends to get some pretty sick patients that sometimes could easily be in the MICU, depending on what the resident decided or the staffing levels...and those nurses seemed to have an easier time floating to the units as they had their share of meds and vents....at one time they even took intubated patients and A lines back in the dark ages (1980s!). If that does not pan out, if it were me I would even contact other hospitals to get your name out there, and then take a job as a nurse as a last resort on a skilled nursing unit. I would, under no circumstances, take a job as an unlicensed tech when you have a license to practice nursing as you will be held to that standard while not allowed to practice the skills or to be compensated financially for it. Remember to make those connections...so important! Best to you, Mrs H.
  25. HazelLPN

    LPN bridge to BSN

    If you are talking about the for profit University of Phoenix, I would advise you against that. First, its extremely expensive. Second, it has a very bad graduation rate. Third, there are hospitals (like the once I used to work for ) that would not accept online BSNs for positions that required it. Your best bet is to enter a non profit college or university as a non traditional student (this is the route I went) or find an LPN -RN bridge program and then complete your BSN later.
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