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Med-Surg/Neuro/Oncology floor nursing.

Content by Munch

  1. Being on both sides of the equation(I was never a patient but my beloved father was) I really appreciate this piece of writing. Everything you touched on is so true I can't even count how many times I've been on both the receiving side of nurse and cancer staff care and the giving side. When I was in my teens my beloved father was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. Any health care professional worth their salt knows that pancreatic cancer is pretty much an automatic death sentence(I don't care what the commercials for cancer treatment centers of America say). Anyway my father was on hospice care at home and I was in such denial I refused to acknowledge my father was dying. Looking back on it I really feel like he really was going to pull through. My dads nurse at home that administered his pain and nausea meds did the most compassionate and helpful thing anyone could have done for me. It was summer vacation from school so I was home a lot and interacted a lot with my dads nurses and caregivers. But she had the decency and kindness to sit me down and give it to me straight. I kept saying "he's going to live, he's an unsinkable ship, if anyone can pull through this its my dad..he's not leaving me." To which she sat down with me, took my hand and said "no honey..your dad is going to pass..its not a matter of if..its when, no one survives the type of cancer he has..no one and if they do they are in textbooks." She didn't do this to be cruel but she knew I was old enough and mature enough to handle it and she didn't want me to be caught off guard when he did die. I thank her everyday for that..her compassion and the greatest gift of all..I was able to tell my dad goodbye and how much I loved him and would miss him. My dad died about 10 days after we had that sit down. I handled myself pretty well all things considered. Now fast forward some 10 years and I am working my second nursing job in a cancer hospital. I worked the inpatient floor. I absolutely loved that job. It was such an honor to care for those genuinely ill patients. Most of them were post-op patients or admitted for complications from the cancer and the chemo/radition. A couple were admitted for the actual treatment itself(most of that was done outpatient in our clinic but some chemo drugs require continuous monitoring or medications when administered)...and some patients unfortunately were on the floor in the end stages actively dying. I loved to go sit with my couple of imsomniac patients that despite benadryl and or Ambien were always wide awake come 1am..many times you could find me drinking tea or eating an ice pop watching TV with these patients. I can't even tell you..we had a freezer filled to the brim with those generic ice pops that come in red, purple and orange. Those patients loved my company and they needed a lot more than medications to manage their side effects which don't get me wrong is very important too. So many times the sores from the mucositis were excruciating that even eating an ice pop without a shot of morphine was a feat. Patients families were also so grateful for the care I provided. Though to me it seemed like not a big deal I can't tell you how many times a relative or patient would make a special trip to see me to tell me thank you. Watching TV with someone like it was a Friday night movie night at home was something that was so not a big deal to me..but to the patient at that moment it was everything to them. I left that job after I had some health issues of my own(not cancer thankfully). Honestly it probably was a job that hit too close too home for me with my father and shortly after that my grandfather and uncle that all passed from cancer. But after I went back to work I got a better paying position somewhere else. But I will never forget my patients and how wonderful they all were in spite of such a bad diagnosis. I'm glad I got to touch their lives...even though I didn't get to do it for all that long.
  2. Munch

    My trip to the ER

    I take care of the stray kitties in my neighborhood too as I am a huge cat lover. Actually a stray kitten showed up about 2 months ago and was the cutest, tiniest thing(looked like it had some Maine coon in it with a huge fluffy, wide tail, Maine and fuzzy ears) I fostered it and just found it a forever home..I have 3 adult cats of my own and believe me my big boy was NOT having it at all. Since it was a kitten and just so cute I wasn't giving up until it had a home..luckily my persistence paid off. Anyway I digress about my love of cats.. I never got big by a stray I did however get bit by my own a number of years ago. My cat liked to play Houdini and escape out the front door any chance he got. So one day he slipped outside with a friend of mine that just left. So I go outside to grab him and for a split second it was like he was a feral cat. He must have smelled another cat in the area..something that made him feel threatened. He layed into my hand really hard. My goodness the pain was horrendous it felt like it went deep into the bone...it really felt like my hand was fractured that's how badly it hurt. I had two puncture marks on my hand. So I did some self care..I will use my medical knowledge on myself! No need to seek medical attention! Well I was completely wrong. Even after cleaning it with some betadine 2 days later my hand was double its size, red like a fire engine and I was unable to move my pointer finger. I was off that week from work as my sister had just got married in Chicago otherwise I probably would have had one of the docs at work look at it in passing. So I had to trek to my local ED(I work in an innercity hospital but live in the suburbs so going to my job would have been a nice commute and since I wasn't getting paid to go I decided to stay local). They wound up admitting me for 4 days for IV abx that's how bad it was. I was on oral abx after being discharged. All that from a cat bite! Lesson learned..cat bites are no joke..had I gotten medical attention right away some oral abx and I could have avoided the whole admission. But nope just like the OP I did not want to clog up the ED with such a frivolous complaint(frivolous in my eyes).
  3. Munch

    Please don't judge me and my daughter

    I don't understand why so many people are taking it personally that the OP had nothing nice to say about the nurse. Sometimes people are just miserable human beings, no excuses to be made they just are. I didn't take away from the OP that all ER nurses are cold and uncaring. Just the OPs nurse. When I had surgery and I was in the PACU waiting for a Neuro ICU bed to open up I asked my nurse for a particular medication I was due for. She gave me an attitude like I was a burden and creating a chore for her. And this nurse knew I worked in that hospital(I didn't know her personally but from passing in the hallways and giving/taking report on patients on the phone). This nurse was just a miserable person and unfortunaltey she let it show through her work. My aunt and mom were at the bedside and all my aunt could say was "wow she really must not like her job much." Believe me I understand we all have bad days and have the potential to see horrible, unjust things(the stillborn baby, the 3 year old in a coma due to the actions of his father, the 30 year old mother of three DOA due to cardiac arrest and so on) but that is no excuse to give anyone let alone a patient attitude. Cursing under your breath at the TV is just unprofessional. Even if you are having a bad day and would rather be anywhere but work, at least pretend you want to be there in front of the patients. At the very least if the ops nurse was just having a bad day she acted in a very unprofessional manner by taking her bad day out on her patient(s). Luckily the hospital I work in is a huge city teaching hospital with over 1,000 beds and we have a CPEP(for those that dont know that stands for comprehensive psychiatric emergency program..layman's terms its a psych ER) so people in psychiatric emergencies don't have to go to the regular ER that is unequipped to deal with psych patients. Also if someone comes in saying they are suicidal they are a slam dunk admit..they will 939 admit them if they don't want to be admitted. Anyway in my hospital you have to be medically cleared to go to the inpatient wards(every admission needs to have a chest film and a blood draw). If they have something else going on medically or if for example they attempted suicide and survived but sustained injuries they go to the medical floors for tx before they are sent to the psych unit. I have seen many nurses I work with on the med floors treat these patients with disdain. Its a shame. Now of course most treat these patients with compassion and care but stigma about mental illness is something that needs to be eliminated entirely or else these people is psychic pain won't seek help when they need it the most. Some people are just uncomfortable around the mentally ill..plain and simple. Anyway OP I hope you and your daughter are doing brtter...im not a parent myself but I imagine seeing your daughter in pain is a nightmare you never want to experience again. It says a lot about you that your daughter is comfortable to approach you with her problems.
  4. Munch

    I Am Being Disciplined: What Now?

    Wow I would say that is a bit harsh. License revoked for life? Maybe if they were stealing from the Pyxis and diverting it on the street...possession with intent is a pretty serious crime.
  5. Munch

    Nursing Hostility and Other Nonsense

    I absolutely agree with you! Like I said in my first post...we women tend to fight over the smallest/pettiest things(I am generalizing as well). At my first nursing job these nurses(females) would ALWAYS fight over who was going to take their lunch break first. They both worked the 7am-7:30pm shift and they both wanted the 1:30-2pm lunch break slot. NEITHER would budge and take the 1-1:30p slot or the 2-2:30p slot. So the charge nurse literally had them rotate...one day one would go at 1:30, the next day the other would go at 1:30. Pretty pathetic that such a rotation had to be implemented huh? Another fond memory was someone nearly clawed my eyes out because I walked away with their Cross name brand pen. For those who don't know, Cross manufactures high end pens and pencils...I think a "cheap" cross pen goes for $47.00. Anyway I borrowed it for a second and accidentally walked away with it. It was a pure accident and I got accused of stealing my co-workers beloved $80.00 PEN! I asked her why bring such an expensive pen into a 1,200 bed teaching hospital? I then proceeded to tell her that she was lucky it was just me that borrowed her pen and was able to walk two feet to find me...because next time a resident from ortho or urology comes to consult with one of our patients and borrows her beloved pen for just a second, she will blink and they will be gone, and her pen will be lost among a sea of residents. Of course I was in the wrong. I of course gave it back and apologized profusely. Had I intended to steal it I would have told her I gave it back to her already. Anyway...if I had a dollar for every time someone "stole" one of my paper mate pens, my bank account would contain an 9 figures...this is why I bring paper mate pens and not Cross pens...not to mention if I got angry every time someone "stole" one of my pens, every vein in my head and neck would be busted. See what I mean? Petty things really ruffle feathers..at least around my workplace they do.
  6. Munch

    Nursing Hostility and Other Nonsense

    I am sorry you were made to feel that way. Like I said about the person my co-workers(my nurses at the time) were talking about...of course she was going to be slow! You don't just enter a new place and know where everything is right away! And IF you want to gossip about a co-worker...do it in the linen closet...not in front of patients! It was inappropriate. But when I came back from my medical leave this nurse that was SO "inept" didn't seem like it to me. In fact she got a lot of compliments from patients and their family members. I guess some people just forget how hard it is being new..obviously these gossiping nurses weren't planted in the hospital..they were new once too. Anonymous865..I stated it happens in all professions..I stand corrected...it happens in A LOT if not MOST professions. My father was an aviation mechanic, worked with mostly middle aged men and it happened where he worked. My dad HATED drama of all kind and was a VERY likable guy. He used to come home and discuss the same things we are on here. People ratting other people out over the pettiest things(like how someone put the wrench in the toolbox before the hammer) or how someone took an extra 3 minutes on their lunch break, thus making them a slacker. People stepping over other people to climb the corporate latter etc. No wonder why my dad used to come home from work in a bad mood...I always thought it was because of sitting in traffic in his 1.5 hour commute home!
  7. Munch

    Nursing Hostility and Other Nonsense

    You know when I was a patient recovering from my surgery(in the very hospital I work at on the VERY unit I work at) one of my co-workers came to refill my PCA bag and change the line(the line I had was for an epidural, not a regular IV line..though it really made no difference to me and how I received my pain meds, they came and switched it out). Obviously this was a job that was going to take a couple of minutes. Just so happen my roommate needed something(we had different nurses) and her nurse(my co-worker as well) came in and the two of them just started ranting and raving immediately to each other about a new nurse to our unit(she wasn't new as a nurse, she was just new to our hospital)..they were saying things like how slow she was, how unfriendly she was, didn't know where anything was...just a whole laundry list of things. Of course she didn't know where anything was/was going to be slow..she was brand new to our hospital..she needed time to get acquainted with everyone as well as acquainted with the floor plan, where things are stored, policy...etc..but man they were really slamming her. I think they forgot for a second that I not only worked at the hospital but I worked WITH THEM. I first of all thought it was very inappropriate slamming a fellow nurse in front of patients and second of all it made me think of what they say about me behind my back. I really don't give a darn what people think about me...but working with some sharks isn't exactly pleasant either. Good thing I didn't go into this profession to make friends. In addition to the gossiping and backstabing, we have a few nurse Ratched types who are very passive-aggressive, like to play games and enjoy manipulating other staff members to do their dirty work for them. I can't stand that! Most of all I try not to stir the pot and I don't like getting involved in other people's spats. I come to work..do my job and go home. That being said, I am nice to everyone..just because I didn't go into this profession to make friends, doesn't mean I go out of my way to make enemies either. I find that the female nurses are more dramatic and girls can fight over the smallest things. I know I have gotten my fair share of being ripped a new one..I just let it go. On the other hand, I have no problem standing up for myself either. I have seen too many doormats burn out and quit just because they get offended and ticked off at every little thing like the way someone said something or they gave them a crooked look...taking things too personally can really lead to ones downfall...that being said..most of the people I work with are wonderful people..we just have a few bad apples..as every profession does.
  8. Munch


    Sorry I worded it wrong. Of course I understand the medications I administer. What I don't understand is why in the same hospital in the ED they use one medication as a gold standard for pain and on the floors(in the same hospital) another medication is used as a gold standard for pain. As in the ED they only give out morphine for pain(unless of course the patient has an allergy, or a chronic pain patient ends up in the ED(like I did and the doctor asked me what works best and I said Dilaudid)...and on the floors they only use Dilaudid(sorry I re-red my post and said on the floors they only get morphine, my mistake they only use Dilaudid on the floors..unless of course the patient has an allergy or a chronic pain patient states something else works better for them). That's what I didn't understand...why they just don't use morphine and dilaudid in the ED or the floors. Sorry for the confusion.
  9. Munch


    Fibromyalgia is a condition where some people believe it is real and some people don't. My apologies that I haven't read through all the posts before so if this has been said before...sorry. But for a condition that isn't real, why in the world did the FDA approve three medications to treat it? Lyrica(the gold standard for fibro and it seems to work really well), Savella(a SNRI) and Cymbalta(Also a SNRI). I am a 28 year old nurse diagnosed with fibromyalgia or "fibromyalgia" as some say and I still go to work every day thanks to Lyrica. Fibro is usually diagnosed after an emotional or physical trauma(for me it was a bad car accident on Christmas eve, someone hit me head on). Not only do I get muscle pain, I also get muscle spasms, stiffness, IBS, tension headaches and nerve pain. I don't suffer from depression, but some patients do(Like some said wouldn't you be depressed if you had all these symptoms and people telling you, that you are crazy to boot)? To say that Fibro isn't real is insulting. It's still a condition that is a mystery. Luckily my amazing PCP ran every test in the book to make sure it wasn't something else(like Lupis, RA or Lyme disease that have similar symptoms) sent me to a pain management doctor that not only believes in it, but specializes in it(how can you specialize in something that isn't real)? The first meeting with my pain management doctor, all he did was tap a spot on my elbow and I nearly jumped off the table. Lyrica really is the medication that gave me my life back as well as celebrex, and zanaflex. If I have a flare up my doctor prescribes me vicodin just to get me through, but that doesn't happen often. Heating pads, acupuncture, a gluten free diet, frequent massages and exercise help a lot too. A lot of non-medicinal ways really do help with the symptoms. Fibro is real and believe me I have had my share of doctors(even doctors I work with) tell me it's all in my head. It doesn't really matter to me anymore, think what you want to think, before I got treated I was rolled up on a ball on my couch unable to move, I had to take a leave from work, it was just terrible. Many books are written on the subject, maybe the non-believers should pick one up and read about it. Oh and if I have to go to the ER(I had a car accident recently, and I had a kidney infection a year ago), I go to the hospital where my PMD works(he's an anesthesiologist there) and he comes down and takes care of me no questions asked. It makes me so angry that a lot of people ruin it for the patients who REALLY suffer from it.