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CheesePotato BSN, RN

Sleep medicine,Floor nursing, OR, Trauma

Content by CheesePotato

  1. Good day-- This is what happens when I am trapped in the hospital on trauma call with no way to communicate to the outside world, bombarded with situations in the ED that would make even the most acrid person dab away a tear--or in this case, sip a Diet Sunkist and maul their keyboard. Allow me to start out by saying that, for the record, mothers are the original nurses. Mothers were doing nursing long before anyone had the idea that it was a separate job. Kissing it and making it better? Yeah, that right there is the original fentanyl, my friends. That kindly wrist placed to a sweat-dampened forehead in the deep of night? The best thermometer ever made. So these are my ramblings, by a nurse, for nurses/mothers everywhere. Because I can. I regret nothing. And as always, I thank you for listening. Regards, Your Friendly Neighborhood Sociopath I am not a mother. I have never held a hand to my womb, to the fluttering, turning, living being within and wondered, hoped, dreamed, planned. I have held a life in my hands, but never within my own body. I have never known the spike of euphoria at the whooshing whisper of an in utero heartbeat. I have never felt the clamber of emotions that comes with the knowledge of pregnancy and parenthood. I cannot imagine the feeling of hearing the first lusty, gurgling cry of an infant, knowing that it belongs to my son or daughter and knowing that nothing will ever be the same. I have never struggled to make changes and sacrifices and done so gladly all for the sake of a tiny, helpless person just starting out in life. I have never wanted to give someone the world. I have never been part of the eerie transformation that takes over all mothers: from gentle and caring to a possessive mama bear on the rampage all because "No one makes my baby cry!". I have never spent hours painstakingly deliberating over proper names, worried how each would shape the future of someone yet to draw his/her first breath. I have never struggled to contemplate the proper disciplinary structure or fretted over a child out past curfew. I have never cursed the day the word "No" was created. I have never thrilled and scrambled for a video camera or phone on that one magical afternoon or morning when the word, "mama" wasn't said by accident. I have never looked into a pair of eyes mirroring my own and known that this individual was going to drive me batty, off a cliff crazy and I was infinitely grateful to be part of the ride. I have never juggled a job, "Mom, look what I can do!", a spouse, "Mom!", cooking, laundry, "Mom!", cleaning, soccer practice, laundry, "Moooooooooooooom!", violin lessons, "Are we there yet?", more laundry, "Mom, are you looking? You're not looking!", dishes, a few precious seconds in the shower, still laundry, and tackling the gauntlet of bedtime, "But I'm not tired!". I have never known the desperate pain of having a wounded or ill child. I have never been part of the agony, despair and bargaining of choices and the knowledge that no parent, anywhere, ever should have to bury their child regardless of the child's age. I have stood close and watched mothers weep for the pain of their child and the cruelty of never having the answer to the eternal question of "why?". I remember my own mother's anguish at losing her son and knowing that, for her, she was burying a part of herself. I have been near in the presence of a woman's awesome strength and determination to stay alive, stay awake, stay here for just one more moment--just until the baby comes. I have watched mothers put themselves between a perceived threat and their children with understated courage and a matter of fact movement that hints at instincts older than time memorial; I have held, healed, and worked with mothers suffering from gunshot wounds, third-degree burns, and broken bones upheld by them as badges of honor, secure in the knowledge their children were safe. Though I have never experienced it, I have witnessed the awesome power and divine force that courses through women and even more so through every mother. Each and every time, I am awed. Each and every time, I come to the conclusion that heroes, as a matter of fact, do exist. So on this day, your day, I recognize you--each and every one of you as the incredible beings you are. I stand in amazement and offer gratitude on behalf of every child. Thank you. ~~Happy Mother's Day~~
  2. Every now and again there is a moment in our jobs which lingers in back of our minds, niggling at our focus, bobbing on the outskirts of all other important thoughts and well, just generally being a royal pain. I first wish to disclose that I do not oppose students of any variety. We all start somewhere. I just sometimes wish I understood them a little better. After all, the last thing I expected in answer to my standard, "So....any questions about what you saw today?" was....well.....the following: Today a nursing student decided that the only question worth asking me was, "Don't you think praying with your patients is unprofessional? I mean, it's kinda pointless." Really. I wish I could make this up, but I'm not that creative. Of all the things to talk to me regarding....that is what the student wanted to discuss. Mind you, she had just gotten done observing a trigger-finger release turned code, and that is what she had as a question. And I didn't have the time to answer. Something about transporting the patient to ICU and all that coming first. So I find myself turning here, as I did the last time something at work was nibbling on the edge of my brain and toying with my frayed sanity, to babble until the voices are pacified and leave me in peace. You see, apparently I will not be granted rest until the answer to the question is given. I only hope that, in some way, some part of this makes its way to her. Rambling. And I sincerely thank you for taking the time to listen. Dear Nursing Student, I do not believe it to be inappropriate or pointless to pray with patients, regardless of personal beliefs. I believe prayer can offer us, as caregivers, a rare snap shot of the patient's concerns, hopes and well being as it is voiced in their prayer. I agree that patients ought to be the ones to lead the prayer, unless they are too weak to do so. In those moments, I have offered to sit quietly with them, hold their hand, and allow them peace and silent reflection. I have never been declined. In the world of surgery, a patient's desire to pray is quite common, and each and every time I find myself feeling touched when I am included in their prayer--when my patients take the time to request that God, under whichever name, in whichever form they personally believe, aid me to find peace and focus and to guide my hand and that of their surgeon. Prayer is powerful for reasons beyond just basic spirituality. Prayer can soothe when nothing else seems to help. Prayer can offer a shred of familiarity and warmth in an otherwise alien and cold world. Prayer shows the power of hope and humility even in the face of something as bold and encompassing as death. I believe that prayer can ground, can aid in the process of grief, can open channels of communication among people, and can make even the battiest, crotchetiest patient seem that much more human. And thus I pray with my patients. Open heart surgery is not about a cure. It's not. It's about buying time. It's a gamble; a gambit; a spin of the roulette wheel with the stakes being at their absolute highest: life or death. After all, it is one of the very few surgeries where we, for all intensive purposes, kill you and then, through the wonders of chemistry, physics, modern medicine, 20 J or so of directly applied electricity and a little bit of Pixie dust, coax your body back to self-sufficient life. Let's just ignore the whole "there has been someone rooting around in your chest, rewiring your heart with various bits of vein and maybe even a mammary artery, with the same focused intensity as a bomb diffuser" factor. That just goes without saying. So when my heart patients want to pray....I pray. As with all things, there is always a story, isn't there? A moment, brought to the fore by a seemingly innocent interaction, which has become the representation of a personal, undeniable, defining truth. There is always a story. It was a standard pickup from pre-op: tearful family members doing their utmost to hide their trembling hands and force a brave, if not watery, smile all for the sake of the very calm....too calm....gently 67 year old woman on the bed. They bid their farewells--or as I call them "see you laters" as I don't believe goodbye is appropriate--each taking the time to cling to the woman and kiss her cheeks, forehead and even chin. She remains composed. Quiet. I remain baffled. You see, I'm used to the typical nervous babbling that eventually disintegrates into weeping or even sobbing. I'm used to the stony silences of people taking a moment to steel themselves against what is to come. But this is calm. And I am baffled. It's easy enough to shrug off in the routine of dialogue, preparation and eventual departure from the pre-op area. We head back to the OR suite in easy silence. She doesn't seem to be one who wishes to talk and I refuse to force the issue. I know that in my moments of silence or reflection, I hate to be disturbed. I tend to project myself onto others. Silence. The doors of the suite open and we are greeted with the usual hub-bub of too many people in the room doing too much all at the same time; perfusionists are talking with the surgeon who is simultaneously chatting on the phone; anesthesia is addressing the patient who is doing her absolute best to listen and follow his directions which are heard beneath the din of surgical pans being opened, a back table being prepped, scrubbers in conversation about instrumentation, the assisting PA speaking to me about a possible balloon pump and circulators chirping and cooing niceties and greetings to patient. Couple that with a chilly temperature and some brighter than bright lights and the environment is overwhelming, to say the least. She is situated on the bed, still keeping her peace, scarcely acknowledging the team with anything more than a nod or shake of her head. She remains stoic as she lies snuggled in warm blankets, almost reminding me of a toddler seeking refuge from the boogey man. As I take my post to begin to assist with prep for intubation, she speaks for the first time since answering my pre-op questions. "I wish to pray with you." It has been years. Years. And I can hear her still. Her voice wavered a little and was muted from the dryness of her mouth. Yet her voice and words stopped the world. At least, that's what it felt like. I have never seen so many people freeze so quickly. I have never seen my surgeon hang up in the middle of a conversation before that moment. Words died on lips, scrubbers abandoned their field to draw close as each member of the team, with exception of our sterile comrades, came up to her and placed a hand on her in a silent affirmation: We are here and we are listening. What she said in her prayer will not be repeated. Not because it is not important. Much to the contrary, I feel a need to protect her words--what may have been her last conscious conversation with God-- and honor them as the private moment they were and are. They are not my words to share. But from those words, I can tell you I gained an understanding of this woman that I otherwise would have been denied. I learned something of her and recognized in her, in that moment, a kindred individual. I understand in hindsight that somehow, in some small way, she knew. She knew and rather than fleeing from it; she embraced it. She died. We fought for her as we battle for each and every patient. I shall omit the details, suffice to say, her passing was not pretty--I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it seldom is in our world. I like to think that her moment of prayer in the arms of the surgical team gave her peace and resolve to face whatever afterlife she believed in. I like to think that her prayer lives and breathes in the memories of those that were present, even if they do not recognize it. I, myself, feel humbled and blessed to have born witness to a moment that united people from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, from all belief systems. No, I am not a religious individual. My beliefs are private as they are mine, and I guard what is mine with keen jealousy. But I do believe in the power of prayer. Forgive my half-baked rambling. Now that I have purged, I find myself tired and ready to attempt to sleep. Thank you, once again, for listening. Sincerely, Your Friendly Neighborhood Sociopath P.S. Any typos and errors are indisputably the result of my own ignorance. I do not deny it, but I am currently too exhausted to care.
  3. CheesePotato

    A Nurse's Choice

    Life is full of choices both large and small and some have long reaching, unforeseeable impact. Sixteen years ago, a young woman named Nancy decided that nursing was a career with the ability to provide for her growing family. Nine years ago, she chose to leave the bedside in order to have greater control of her hours. Seven years ago, she almost left because healthcare wasn't what it used to be. I remain grateful she decided to stay. The face of healthcare is changing. This is news to no one. Now granted, it's been changing ever since I joined the ranks back in none of your damn business, thank you very much. But now, more than ever, fueled by further healthcare reform and the introduction of "Obamacare", we are being urged to do more with less or, worse yet, leave out certain things altogether. But ultimately, when it comes right down to it, what is being whittled and the manner is which it is done is a choice. No one is forcing us to forgo hand holding or back rubs. We choose to in order to meet the more important and higher ranking, acute needs of our ever growing ranks of patients. I am not one to say whether or not this is right or wrong so much as to say that I see it happening and it is what it is. And as much as we feel this push from our managers, our companies, and our providers to develop and maintain a lean practice at the bedside and across the board, so too are providers feeling the pinch in the form of reimbursement. They, as we, are being told to redefine their practice standards and many are even opting to simply do less. But, as each of my rambling articles inevitably weave their way into, there is a story. I have been sick. Dun dun Duuuuuuuunnnnn!!!! Not like horribly sick....but sick in such in a way and for such a duration that it had become apparent my body needed a nudge to get with the bacteria kickin' and macrophagin'. So after much internal dialogue and a very convincing argument involving cookie dough ice cream as a reward, I crawled out of my toasty hibernation den, bundled up in my sleeping bag-like winter coat (which is lovely because, should I ever fall into a snow bank, I can just sleep where I topple. Very handy, that.) and oozed my way to my doctor's office. Turns out he wasn't available. Decided to go on a last minute cruise to Jamaica. Because you know....that's normal. Some people get up and make the choice to eat a poptart for breakfast and apparently others decide they will be in the tropics by lunch. Digress. But his lovely NP was in and just so happened to be able to see me. I admit I was a little gun shy and hesitant given that I have had bad experiences with NP's before. Something about a speculum and pinching something not meant to be pinched. Ugh! Digress again! So off into the office I go. Nancy (yes, the one from the intro) did her exam and talked to me a bit before, with angels sounding in the background, she handed me a script for something sure to beat the tar out of the devil residing in my sinuses. All is right in the world until, with a narrowed eye and a lightly cocked head, she retracted the script and placed it on the desk. I'm bewildered even as she asked if I "do that often". And by that, she meant clearing my throat. I answered that it was a recent thing but I passed it off as being part of the cold or flu or Ebola that I was suffering with. With a gentle shake of her perfectly coifed head, she asked if I would mind if she examined my neck. If I would mind. The answer was very much no, of course. And this, my friends, is where a series of choices were made with an impact which, to me, will remain absolutely immeasurable. She chose to perform a neck exam when my immediate need and reason for the visit had been resolved. She chose to take the time to perform the exam properly and thoroughly and with hands which were skilled yet careful. She allowed for the words, "I think I feel a mass" to settle and when my hands darted to my own neck, trembling, fretting, wrought with worry and the need to feel, to find, to poke, prod, dig, she chose to guide my fingers to where the small protrusion lie before softly bringing my hand away and back to my lap. She took the time to talk, to answer questions way too advanced for the what the situation merited, before sending me over to diagnostics for an ultrasound. No, it is nothing serious. Yes, it will be watched. In an era when each patient is truly only allotted a set amount of face time with a provider, when more with less is the name of the game, it then falls to each of us to make choices on what is truly important. It gives me hope for the future of healthcare whenever I encounter individuals willing to take back control of their own practice. We, as nurses, of all shapes, sizes, degrees, backgrounds and specialties, remain a powerful force in healthcare. We ought to remain mindful of our influences not only over developing better ways to provide care, but in our impact with each patient we encounter. Yes, times are changing and we are going to be forced to once again adapt. In essence that is what has driven medicine and nursing --adaptation and continued survival-- and often brought into being heralded by one voice. We must be careful not to minimize our own impact --heaven knows its easy to get beat down by the system. One may be the loneliest number, but it remains a force to be reckoned with. Because of Nancy and those like her, I am well on my way to healing. In case you were worried, the kraken residing in my sinuses is withering and my ears have popped--finally!--after three weeks of coping with fish bowl audio effects and the overwhelming, thunderous sound of my own gum chewing. And now that I am hearing the world in ultra high definition, I wish the record to reflect that I had no idea my television was so damn loud as to be heard in the back yard. With the door closed. And because a nurse made a choice to flex her practice outside the confines of an ever tightening system and deliver truly excellent care, I am able to sleep easy. And not watch TV with earth shattering volume at 2 am. And for that, my neighbors thank you, Nancy. ~~CheesePotato~~
  4. Can we please call for a ceasefire on the "real" nursing bull crap? May we all come to an agreement that all nurses are "real" nurses? I just talked to an office nurse about a diagnostic exam result and she seemed pretty damn real to me. (Couldn't have been Siri. She has a restraining order against me.) The LPN that helped me resuscitate that patient in the ED this early morning also seemed pretty real--though I will admit I was tired. Perhaps a figment of my imagination? Can we please, for one moment, acknowledge that each specialty has its unique subset of skills and that it takes nursing knowledge and competency to execute them? That it is all integral and we influence and function as a whole in some way or another? Can we incorporate language such as "acute care", "hospital based", etc into our day to day as opposed to "real"? And for the record, I have yet to encounter a nurse anywhere who "only charts". For once, can we lay to rest the inane phrase, "I could nurse circles around you?' and acknowledge it as the idiocy it is? What, is there Nursing Olympics that I'm not aware of? Are there time trials on setting up and zeroing ART lines or balancing an EVD? From what running start can you start an IV? Instead of curling is there vomit mopping? The C-dif long jump? The rectal thermometer relay? I am calling for an end to the hair pulling, the sand kicking, and downplaying of nursing roles no matter what they may be. I say the only high-velocity urination contest in nursing should involve a cystoscopy or two inebriated male nurses outside a bar writing their names in the snow. Rawr. ~~CP~~ P.S. Forgive my rant, but some days some of the things I stumble across on this site make me want to punch a sea cucumber and its hideous mama right in their smug squelchy faces.
  5. CheesePotato

    How to be excused from clinicals

    Sick of clinicals? Traveling all over from hospital to hospital in hopes of gleaning knowledge from experienced nurses got you down? Are you tired of all the observing of boring surgeries, pointless procedures, and assessment after assessment? Well, in three simple steps you too can be dismissed from this hassle forever. Step one: Be in a room full of people and ignore the fact that each and every one are trained in medicine in some form--especially pay no attention to the gentleman maintaining the airway or the second gent at the microscope working away in someone's spine. Step two: Pretend to faint. Be sure to gently lower yourself to the ground (wouldn't want to get hurt now, would we?) and a small dramatic limb flap is encouraged. When the nurse performs a quick assessment including holding your "limp" arm over your face and letting go, whatever you do, don't let it hit you in forehead. Only truly unconscious people are that boneless. Be sure not to move even after anesthesia taps you on forehead and tells you to get up. Step three: Cry and lie about it. Repeatedly. Make multiple and various excuses for disturbing surgery and taking eyes and ears, no matter how momentarily, from the patient. When that fails, by all means, resort to anger and indignation. Be sure to really lean into the swears when you utter them. Success! You have been dismissed from the OR observation and clinicals in general! As an aside, I guess this individual was a multi-offender when it came to various antics in the clinical setting. It's a real shame. Personally, I was bewildered by the whole situation. This was hands down one of the strangest and most ridiculous things I have heard of. Students, make wise choices when you are in clinicals in regards to professionalism, behavior, etc. Think of each clinical as your standing resume as the nurses you encounter may be the same nurses on an interview panel when you come back looking for a job. And yes, fainting in the OR does happen on occasion and for various reasons. Should you be observing and feel ill or faint, follow three little cardinal rules to keep everyone, mostly yourself, safe: 1) Step away from the sterile field or down from the lift/step you are on. If you need help, say so. No one will ignore you. (At least not the folks I work with). 2) Tell someone you don't feel well so we can help you. 3) Sit down right where you are if you cannot reach a chair. It's okay. I would rather have a student sitting in my path rather than cracking their skull on the floor. And as Forrest Gump said: That's all I have to say about that. ~~CP~~ P.S. For those of you who chimed in on my most recent thread the top vote was for Snickers Pie--a fine and delicious choice. Join me in celebrating the wonderful world of YUM by finding the recipe here.
  6. CheesePotato

    How to be excused from clinicals

    I do declare ya'll are killing me! I just legit laughed out loud and seal clapped flour all over my keyboard! Let's just say the fainting style of the individual in question was a mix of: and Seriously. ~~CP~~
  7. CheesePotato

    Left Speechless

    It is often spoken how nursing impacts individual lives--but in truth, it is a two way mirror. Thank you for eloquently capturing and presenting his reflection. Under your gentle care you gave him the gift of understanding, advocacy, and relief and now through your words you allow for this young man to empower and live on in hundreds if not thousands of readers. Thank you. Sincerest regards, ~~CheesePotato~~
  8. Thank you to all who took the time to read, comment, and/or like. I'm always tickled beyond reason whenever something I've posted gathers even a glimmer of attention. The answer to the real question: the winner of the poll was Snickers Pie and so Snickers Pie was made and consumed. And it was !@#% magic. Should you wish to bask in this delicious delight in your own home, please click to find the recipe and my own rambling additions. ~~CP~~
  9. CheesePotato

    A Nurse's Choice

    Thank you all for your very kind well wishes and for taking the time to read and comment. Yes, my neck nugget will be watched very closely. Vianne, Welcome to all Allnurses! I am touched and honored you chose to post on my article as one of your first comments. T.H.R.N, you got me a little misty eyed at your enthusiasm and warm welcome on this and Ruby Vee's thread. Seriously. I cannot thank you all enough for your kindness. ​ Sincerest regards, ~~CP~~
  10. CheesePotato

    ER: A Family's Emotional Well Being

    Oh good lord, my heart! This is what it's all about: Competency, problem solving, and heart. Somewhere in this world there needs to be a poster of you with the slogan beneath it: Nursing--you're doing it right. Just....damn, my friend, yes to everything you do. ~~CP~~
  11. CheesePotato

    Stupid Nurse Tricks (Or How To Look Incredibly Stupid)

    Oh my god, yes please to this thread. Yes. May I? ~~ Call a code and begin CPR on a sleeping patient. Continue with CPR (I'm talking compressions and everything, people) after code team arrives to find you with a very much alive, flailing, swearing patient. Get defensive and state you "thought the patient was seizing" as the reason you didn't stop. Get even more defensive when the code team laughs as the patient explains "That lil' thing just came out of no where and wrestled all up on me." ~~ Offer to draw up a med for an MD waiting to do a local procedure. Violently inject 5ml of air into a 1ml ampule and not understand why the med keeps bubbling out. Lather, rinse, repeat 4x before he tells you to "just stop what you're doing. Bring it here." ~~ Give the grand tour of the OR to a group of newbies. Walk face first slap bang into what is normally a motion triggered door because you were too busy running your mouth to see the two 8 1/2 by 11 bright, flourescent-ass, blazing pink "Out of Order" signs hanging on and near the motion device. End up with a black eye and a bunch of chuckling doctors thinking they're clever by constantly pointing out any and all "Out of Order" signage to you until the day you either die or quit. I can neither confirm nor deny this was me. ~~ When beckoned, draw close to the surgical field to watch a fascinating procedure. When the surgeon points out what he is looking at, casually reach over the sterile field with an un-sterile gloved hand and prod the item of interest while asking, "You mean that right there?" (Not me!) ~~ When your surgeon starts whinging about a boom-light being too far out of his reach, swing/karate chop the stubborn boom joint so the light wildly whips right into the side of his head. Casually ask if he "can reach it now?". (Ugh...me.) ~~ Come sprinting into a bloody level one with a 35ml syringe held aloft over your head like the damn olympic torch as if this, not the many blood products or the pending surgery to repair the bullet damage....no, this one syringe will be what spells the difference between survival and demise for this patient. Slip on blood clot, pitch croc in the process into a bottle of albumin which then explodes on contact with the floor, fall, crack head on base of an IV pole and become unresponsive. Now we have two patients and a hell of a mess to clean up. Thanks for that. This is why we don't run, kiddies. Oh yeah. That felt good. Thanks for another great thread, Ruby Vee. My hero. ~~CheesePotato~~
  12. CheesePotato

    A Letter to Myself - My First Day on an Oncology Floor

    The moment when the fog of task management breaks and you are able to see the person behind the diagnosis is a potent and powerful experience. I am glad to see you recognized this moment and wished to commemorate it to yourself. Through the years and as your practice grows, it is normal to slip and merely see the multi-trauma, the AAA, etc, as this is a normal sort of defense mechanism which allows you to suspend emotion in the face of much needed clear thinking. It never means you don't care, it just means that on Maslow's hierachry....well, let's just say stopping the bleeding outranks my feelings of empathy to the situation. And how do you come back each day? Because sometimes that is what the job is--providing healing, advocacy, and support one day, one moment at a time. And just as you, in your seven or so hours, can never hope to grasp the broad spectrum of each patient's circumstances and influence, so you can you never grasp how your presence in those seven short hours influenced and impacted the patient. May your faith provide comfort in your tough times throughout your journey. May it give voice to joy and praise in the good. ~~CP~~
  13. CheesePotato

    If Hospitals Were Run Like Denny's...

    Honestly, if you think about it, the Denny's model of healthcare could make life so much easier. Seriously. I could stand there with one hand haughtily placed on my cocked hip, smacking my gum behind fuchsia lips while I struggle to see through caked mascara spidered eyelashes sprinkled with powder blue eyeshadow. "What'll it be, hon?" And the wonderful thing? My surgeon could answer me in a series of grunts, points, and hand gestures all aided by pointedly tapping the choices on heavily laminated, picture laden card-stock while making prolonged eye contact. You know....something like this: Which would loosely translate to: My what a splendid evening it is, CheesePotato. This fine young gent has broken his femur and such news is both distressing and makes me get in touch with my inner feelings of sadness, because I am delicate and sensitive like a flower. That being said, I wish to place either a traction pin or external fixator in an effort to provide stabilization and I have taken the liberty of pulling those tray options myself. I do hope you do not mind. What is that? Yes, clever spud, I would absolutely need a c-arm. Oh, and be a lamb and open some dressings for when I'm done. Most good. Most good. Wait.....what the-- Another page?! ::displays a calm and nearly flat affect. Smiles and peacefully heads back to the ED to handle said trauma/crisis:: Order up! ~~CP~~
  14. CheesePotato

    Where Do I Go From Here?

    I attended a lecture a few years ago who touched on the interesting fact that when we ask people who they are, something like 98% of them will answer with their names and their occupation in the same breath. Long and short of it: people introduce themselves based upon what they call their "active role". So it is not unheard of or strange for your identity to be associated with your job. And as one who, due to a physical malady, has had to bow out of a role that was not only something I loved dearly, but was how I identified myself, I can appreciate where you are in your grief and anger. Because remember, that is all part of this process of changing and assimilating identities, limitations, and goals. Before one can move on, one must first grieve. So take your moment and make your peace all in due time. As far as fulfillment and job ideas, I know that many here have had suggestions. You could always check into doing pre-admissions screening for a hospital OR or perhaps work in a central scheduling office. As far as fulfillment goes: Volunteering works wonders on the soul for that one. There are so many places where you can go, from nursing homes to hospitals to veteran's centers, and truly make an impact. This, Marla. This. In spite of everything that is going on, I really wish that this one little fact would eclipse all others. Perhaps it is time to rest the mantle of asskickin' nurse and instead become immersed in the life that exists outside the doors of the hospital. It is time to rewrite your active role. I don't have to ramble to you about the frailty of life or the downright insanely amazing news that you have been given in regards to your husband's condition. I know you know. Rather than wondering where you go from where you are now, I think the more fitting question is the following: You, yourself, stated that you have just been given a new lease on life (such a rare and precious opportunity)-- How do you plan to make the most of it? With kindest regards and sincerest belief you will find your way, ~~CP~~
  15. CheesePotato

    Cruel Summer

    Oh dear heaven, my friend. My heart absolutely breaks and bleeds for your suffering and devastation. How I wish there was something other than my words, thoughts and prayers that I could offer you. Though your journey has lead you here where sadness and even despair linger, know you are not alone. Never alone. Embrace this time with your husband as a time of bonding, of loving, peace, and relearning the gentle, loving man who's essence will forever be tattooed on your heart and cradled in your soul. Remember to take care of yourself--to treat yourself with compassion and forgiveness. If these stumpy arms could reach, oh how I would hug you, ~~CheesePotato~~
  16. CheesePotato

    And then some days it's more like this:

    Too long on call. Short staffed. Even shorter tempered. Nothing has gone right. Not one thing. Wondering why in the @#$% you do this for a living. ED is swamped with a capital S. On the cart is a patient who, thanks to some bad life choices, has veins that love to play a dodgy game of peek-a-boo. The only thing standing between the patient and...well...an assortment of tests and treatments (read: surgery) is the need for decent IV access. The Access Team is indisposed. Anesthesia is busy in a code. So you do your thing. One carefully and diligently secured 18G later, you leave the ED bay and it's all like: .....That's right. Slow motion walk and theme music. Because we can. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go play sand volley ball in my acid wash jeans and check the time by obscenely flexing my bicep. Because of reasons. mmhm. And suddenly, it's all going to be just fine.
  17. CheesePotato

    I need help, advice, support, anything you can give

    Warning: Long !@#% post ahead. Skip if it bugs you. I regret nothing. I am glad to hear you are not contemplating suicide as an answer to your current situation. I may not have much more than a listening ear and a reading eye, but I am here to chat if you wish. If there was one thing I wish that could be sold in the grocer's freezer section, it would be Confidence from Concentrate. As you state at the end of your post, you know this will pass and for all things wonderful and tasty in this world, I wish I had something better to tell you other than the following: What you are feeling is normal. Totally, perfectly, one hundred percent normal. And as much as it can be counterproductive, I believe whole heartedly that our subconscious tries to protect us from mistakes and blunders fueled by overconfidence and ego by delivering a healthy dose of "What in the hell am I doing/thinking!?" whenever we learn something new. As far as your fire situation, a lot of that is organization and prioritization, two little skills that make a world of difference. I'll come back to that a bit more later. Yeah....school is rough. And although it is miserable to see others failing, I want you to pause for a moment and remember to focus on you. School is your time and it is about your success. Now, let's talk a bit about the ugliness of a botched skill demonstration and more importantly, how to survive it: Just breathe. No really. Mourn, breathe, move on. In that order. So what does that mean? It means go ahead and have your moment of angst and doubt. It wounds the ego something fierce to stumble along the path of a goal. But remember, the only time a stumble becomes an end game is when you refuse to get up. So go ahead--kick and flail in the mud. Yell every curse you know in every language you know it in. Binge eat Nutella and sing Sinead O'Connor in the dark. Embrace it for a little while. You'll feel better and more focused when it's time to get your head back in the game. Breathe. Seriously. Literally. Find yourself a place where you can refocus on you and what is going on in the world of your goals. And this goes for more than just school. To be continued.... But on the topic of school, take the time to go back through the demonstration experience and recall at what point things got a bit bumpy. I'm sure your instructor provided an idea on where and why you didn't pass. Jot it down in a notebook or on you demonstration practice sheet so you don't forget. Now all you need do is take the time to practice, practice, practice before rocking the hell out of your repeat demo. If you have a study group, ask them for help. Having a partner watch you as you practice you demonstration gives you another pair of eyes as well as the companionship that can make nursing school feel less desolate. As far as instructor feedback, take it in stride. It's kinda nasty that this is a suddenly an issue when it seems like it hasn't been one. Do your best to graciously correct whatever was discussed and then just let it be. Keep in mind that there are personalities that will just never mesh. The goal is to be professional and deliver best care, not be the most popular. The nerves will ease as time moves along. And for the record, I still don't feel like a real nurse some days and I've been at this for....let's just say awhile. Mmmm...LTC. I'm hoping that Viva comes along to chime in or one of our other fantastic LTC sisters/brothers in arms. What I can tell you without ever having done LTC is merely this: Minimize the amount of extra baggage you attempt to carry. Keep yourself out of politics. Entirely. No matter how tempting or what is being said, minimize your mental clutter by keeping yourself focused on doing your job well and then going home. Leave work at work. (Repeat three times and click heels together. Ruby slippers optional). Time out! You seem like a caring, giving, giving, giving individual who would do anything to help the ones they love. But your mother is an educated individual, is she not? Helping her by looking over her resume and cover letter is one thing....writing them is another entirely. Step back and objectively look at what you wrote. Does this seem like a fair expectation to be placed on your shoulders? Without further details, I would tend to say no. Not even a little bit. And right here, my friend, is where we really get down to the nitty gritty of the situation: Self-neglect. Plain and simple and one of the biggest culprits amongst those in our line of work. It seems to me in reading your post that you have been neglecting yourself, my friend, and that in and of itself can not only become a catalyst to a lot of the overwhelmed feelings you are experiencing but it is also worrisome. I know that it is hard to work and go to school. Believe me, I know (Worked full time/attended school full time). And I reached the point you are at where heaven help me, it didn't matter how clear the sky, I still couldn't see the sun. I want you to remember that in order for us to care for others, we must care for ourselves. I want you to promise to work on a few things, okay? 1) Be kind to yourself. Stop beating yourself up for feeling nervous or anxious. Those are healthy feelings and responses to high pressure situations. Often times once we forgive ourselves for feeling something, it tends to be a bit less overwhelming. I want you to be sure you are eating properly, treating yourself because chocolate is YUMMY and yay for Serotonin!, and getting adequate sleep. 2) Take/Make time for you. Literally what it says on the tin. And when I say make time for you, I don't mean make time for you to clean your house/wash dishes/etc. I mean make time for you to be quiet with yourself. Engage in a hobby that you enjoy, learn meditation, journal. Remember who you are and rediscover all the ways you have grown. It will give you a new focus and appreciation for yourself. 3) Nurture your relationships but in a practical sense. Yes, it is hard to have a significant other while juggling the world. But it can be done. Just be reasonable about it. Again, set aside time and set limits on expectations for now. Taking care of yourself will give you the added boost of empowerment and focus to make you feel a bit less frayed. Now, about that time issue: Keep a day planner/calendar. It will help keep you on target and remind you of deadlines. Take large projects in small bites. And when it comes to time and prioritizing at work, if possible, watch how others with experience around you seem to handle their workload. Find a mentor to ask for pointers whether at work or here on the forums. It takes time and experience to build those two skills to a point where it no longer feels as if all you do is put out fires all day every day. And Allnurses has a wealth of individuals with boatloads of ideas and experience. Don't be afraid to reach out. The worst thing they can tell you is "no". I know this was crazy long, and I'm sorry to take up so much of your time but I wanted to talk to you a bit about what's going on. You are a brilliant individual and I wish you nothing but the finest. Kindest regards, ~~CheesePotato~~ P.S. Yes, there are typos. They happen. I can barely feel my eyes right now. Too much coffee.
  18. CheesePotato

    Pregnant! When to tell supervisor?

    First and most importantly: CoNgRaTuLaTiOnS and best wishes to you and your lil' brineshrimp. Secondly: As an OR nurse to an OR nurse, it is imperative that you inform your charge/manager as soon as possible so that assignments and accommodations can be made to remove you from all possible risky cases: cement, prolonged X-ray exposure, etc and so proper protective equipment can be provided--> Going forward, if you do not already, it is of utmost importance you wear both a skirt and vest with appropriate overlap of the abdomen so as to prevent X-ray exposure to Niblet. A lead gown/smock is not acceptable. Furthermore, should you need an altered schedule for pre-natal care or because your mornings suddenly involve a little less running on time and little more heaving your ever loving guts out, they can work with with you instead of against you. Although you are telling your manager and charge, you are well within your rights to request that this news, although fantastic, be kept on the down low and left to your discretion as to when and if anyone is told. Kindest regards and best wishes, ~~CP~~
  19. CheesePotato

    That awkward moment when....

    It's a stormy night and you are quietly looking over orders in the ED, minding your own business, and suddenly from bay 4 you hear a little girl sing-song: It's raining, It's pouring, The old man is snoring-- He bumped his head, Went to bed, And couldn't get up in the morning. Which your sleep deprived/call-riddled brain helpfully hears as: Cat 1, 83yo. M, GCS 7, traumatic head injury, depressed respiratory status, found unresponsive at home in AM, IW ETA 45 ground, Trauma Doc to see. And just like that, you just medically analyzed a piece of your childhood to death.
  20. CheesePotato

    That awkward moment when....

    .....why does my brain immediately supply thoughts of you following these gents through a parking lot in something like this: All while crooning out the window that you won't hurt them. You just want to start an IV. Honest. Dear heaven. I'm so sorry. What is sleep?
  21. CheesePotato

    Good News!

    Booyah! Knew there was something out there for you, you wonderful being you. Blah blah closing doors, opening windows, blah blah. And now..... Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance!
  22. CheesePotato

    Am I a failure

    Take a breath, my friend, you did just fine. I'm going to be really honest with you, this horse was well out of the barn at word go. Really. Look, a rapid response is going to get more eyes on the situation, but unless you have orders and something that is actually correctable by external intervention, like labs, tube placement, etc, you would still be in the same situation. At least in my facility, an RR call does not = a surgeon at the bedside. Just sayin'. And for pity's sake, you were in constant contact with the doc and followed his orders. So long as you documented same, you are all good. From the surgical standpoint, often times in some of these belly cases, when we open, we find that there has been something a brewin' for some time. Ceacal Volvulus and many things bowel can be one of them. But like so many things (::cough:: sepsis ::cough:: , it can take a bit to marinate, if you will, but when it goes bad, it goes ugly. Sometimes !@#% happens. In great quantity. All over our shoes. And try as we might, we can't fix everyone but we can sure as shoot give it our best shot. Sounds to me like you gave it your all. Make peace with that. Get a sandwich (May I recommend turkey on rye with bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion? Perhaps some dijon mayo?), snuggle your favorite critter (whether four or two legged), and keep on keepin' on. Cheers, ~~CP~~
  23. CheesePotato

    My heartache and hiatus...

    Good morning-- There are those that are aware of what has transgressed with my family by following my articles and threads. It is my sorrow to say that my dad left us earlier this week. I would love to write, to document this event, but for now, I am too raw. To those that offered me words of support, kindness, advice on hospice care, I cannot thank you enough and normally I would take the time to just PM each of you....but forgive me, I haven't the stamina. As I said to him, "This is not goodbye, but see you later." ~~CheesePotato~~
  24. CheesePotato

    I Ask For "Nothing".

    When it comes to nursing, I respect the profession for what it is, what it has been, and where it is headed. Am I proud to be part of the profession? Sure, in a subtle, I'm proud my hair is long kind of way. I own no nursing paraphernalia. I do not announce what I do readily at meet n' greets or reunions. I prefer to refer to myself as a Frustrated Carpenter or a Confused Ninja. Ever since stepping foot into the profession, Nurse's Week has always been a tough pill for me to swallow. You see, I'm used to flying under the radar. I do what I do because it needs to be done. And that's the truth. I am here because I choose to be. I could be pastry chef or a crotchety stay at home couch warmer content to spend her days writing scathing letters to the editor while snorting Cheeto powder. But no. In my professional life, I'm a nurse. And for the record, I'm not a hero. Never have been one, never will be one, don't want to be one. That is way too much pressure. I look at what I do as getting paid to do the right thing. Hey look, you're not breathing. How 'bout some oxygen? It's nothing special. It's just the right thing to do. My patients know I exist because when they wake up, their IV sites have mysteriously migrated, the gaping holes in the abdomen are miraculously closed, and, if you are a peds patient, you may have a new stuffed bear friend dressed in scrubs to keep you company. It took me a while to get used to the idea of never being seen let alone remembered. And now, my thanks comes daily in the form of self satisfaction and appreciation for the little things. When a tubed trauma patient gives me a thumbs up before going to surgery and a middle finger when I assess his pain as he wakes, I'm doing something right. When a surgeon saves an especially naughty joke just for me and tells it with an excited gleam to his eye like a kid on Christmas morning confronted with a gaggle of puppies, I know that my work has been noticed. And when my coworkers creep up to me mid case to bump shoulders, stand close and communicate with sidelong glances and hidden smirks, I know it's all fine. And those are the things that keep me going. Not the brunches offered by guilt obligated physicians or luke-warm lunches served by begrudging Nurse Managers. I don't need their approval. I don't need their recognition. And when the nation decides to herald nurses in random clips on the news, it causes a bitterness to surge unbidden to the fore. You want to thank me? You want to honor nursing? To management/corporate leaders: Then lower nurse to patient ratios so I and my brothers and sisters in healthcare can truly do the job to best of our abilities. To the Government: Offer clinics that can be accessed by all people in a way that makes sense and for once removes the terrible choice of food or healthcare. We send so many resources overseas, which is all fine, but what of our folks here at home? Research more than the Cancer "flavor of the day". For the love of all thing sacred, stop denying reimbursement funding based up on greater, more ridiculous parameters. To patients/families: Remember that time you called the Nursing Supervisor to complain because I sheered the britches off your child's shattered femur and then had the audacity not to escort you to the coffee shop before taking said kidlet to surgery? Yeah...not cool. Kindly learn what to truly complain about. Better yet, respect the fact I helped save his leg or something. To the fellow healthcare workers: Treat each other with dignity and respect. Thank each other. Recognize each other. Why do we need a week or a day at all? My feeling: if you truly need a day to give you a reason or remind you to show someone appreciation, be it your mother, your spouse, etc, then something is amiss, don't you think? I had a doc try to worm a thank you out of me for a lunch his group provided. My answer was simple, "One sandwich does not make up for a bunch of distressing conversations. You made my orientee cry last week, in case you forgot. Perhaps in the future you can treat us all decently as people and I will thank you. But for now yes, the sandwich was tasty. I appreciate the effort." He seemed affronted. Surprise. I let him mull it over as I waddled off, diet soda in hand, to go settle before having to scamper off to another case. Perhaps my refusal to kowtow and play nice in the sandbox makes me a bad person. I don't know. But I think I'm alright with that. But I suppose it's time to get to the point, isn't it? Tick-tock, CheesePotato, we don't have all night. In summation: Thank me as one person to another, for what I have done and not because of the letters at the end of my name. Thank me genuinely and at the moment it happens. And I shall be sure to return the favor. ~~CP~~
  25. CheesePotato

    I Ask For "Nothing".

    To those that took the time to read and comment, I thank you, truly. Dear Nascar Nurse-- First of all, I think I may have blushed myself stupid with your compliment. It is too kind. Secondly, may I just say you sound like a conscientious manager, one who genuinely makes effort to relate, to empathize and to support your staff. That is a gift. A rare trait not commonly found in managers. And heavens yes, you are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to dealing with upper management who does have control over ratios, expectations, and budget, and the staff that feel the weight of those decisions and blame you for upper level choices. After all, anyone can follow, but not anyone can lead. I don't envy you. Not in the least. But is it fair to say that I may envy your staff just a little? ~~CP~~ P.S. I know there are spelling errors, but I'm typing one handed as Kid is being a wild child and demanding that mommy throw the ball right now Now NOW!! So yeah. Good dog.
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