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Lindsey McGraw

Lindsey McGraw

Med Sur, LTC
Member Member Nurse
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Lindsey McGraw has 34 years experience and specializes in Med Sur, LTC.

Spunky old nurse who loves to cook for friends.

Lindsey McGraw's Latest Activity

  1. Lindsey McGraw

    Retirement, "Easy Bet Me!"

    Reflecting back on younger days a young nurse, fresh, newly graduated LPN hoping deep down to be lucky enough to land a nursing position where the old nurse did not "eat their own." An expression that was not denied or confirmed before my realization it was possibly true - no longer was it amusing. Hospitals hired new grads back in 1976, but it was for the dreaded night shifts on units that were hard to fill positions and les than nil for getting the specialty desired within the limitations of an LPN. Offered a position at the Long Term nursing center on 3-11 shift was a better opportunity but leaving very little in the way of a great learning experience. Way before the time frame of skilled care with rehab it seems looking back like a warehouse for old folks. Posey vests, (restraints), high top chairs resembling baby high chairs, Decubitus care ex: heat lamps, Betadine/sugar, egg whites - that would make one shake your head today and diabetic symptom intervention done by the chart on the wall for both hyper/hypoglycemia, with the number of symptoms a resident presented. Over half of the listings were on both sides of the chart so divine intervention played a great part in the welfare of residents as well. This was years before accuracy of Glucometers used today. It was not uncommon to have a resident census of 30 on a unit with one nurse. Wages were ridiculous for an LPN or RN back in this time frame in a small town working for $3.10 and progressing to $4.60 when changing over to a hospital with my IV certification. Life goes on married to a service man we moved every few years with new nursing jobs and opportunities to expand my career. Most memorable was my psych position during the time frame President Reagan in his infinite wisdom opened up all the psych facilities so that "if you were not harmful to yourself or others" were allowed to leave. Some had been institutionalized for years. A minor factor in the homeless situation we have today. Sometimes life is not fair with giving us health challenges a Breast Cancer diagnosis right after graduating from RN school and getting my degree in Applied Science. I had been offered a surgical scrub position at a hospital in a program for new grads with six weeks of training. One week before I was to start a 2 second phone call shattered my life's dream. Dreaded words Breast Cancer - changed my whole perspective on life with a new goal to beat this monster growing in my body and survive. Fortunately I am blessed to still be alive 24 years later. Remaining in Long Term Care management for the next 24 years due to my ® sided weakness and mild disability this was my best option. Watching the changes through the years and being a part of improving the conditions, lives and overall quality of nursing care in nursing/rehab facilities was most rewarding. Days when quality nursing care mattered, state surveys were not a tug of war between inspectors and political in nature. One took pride in telling someone where they were a Director of Nursing and your waiting lists for someone's loved one was a page long. Volunteers were abundant and all holidays spectacular with more goodies for the staff than could be eaten in months. Times change as theories on paper from people in offices who are clueless to resident needs, big corporations with profit oriented facilities, staff cuts, rationing supplies and District Managers who could care less about the residents welfare receiving big bonuses for cost saving measures. This did not change our feelings of compassion, cherishing and loving our residents in our care for years almost like our own Grandma and Grandpa. After fighting the battle for an additional seven years I could no longer continue. Personal health issues of uncontrolled hypertension made retirement or a reduced work schedule apparent that this was my answer. Often I would say "I could drop dead in this facility and my position would be filled within hours after the ambulance took me away." Now the hardest thing for me was to come to grips after 40 years of nursing "What will I do with my life?' An identity that, unless lived, is hard to understand when it is no longer an option to get up go to work, give from your heart, meet challenges and make someone's day a little better. Miss those smiles, hugs, kind words and sometimes bad things Dementia will bring out in a resident. So...young nurse cherish your job, good bad or indifferent because someday you could be this "lost old nurse" who feels like a piece of her heart is missing. Friends say "volunteer" this is easier said than done when one has a deep love of animals and should not go to a shelter, without an adult companion, because she is unable to walk out not adopting something or in tears. Next I would be known as the crazy cat/dog lady with 37 pets. My husband calls me "Mrs. Noah" because if we had more than a 5 acre ranch I would have at least two of everything. Presently we have a horse, colt, four cats and a dog. My plan is maybe to bring in two goats naming the "Howdy and Dooty"(aged myself a little with this one if anyone remembers that show) as they are calming to horses. Absolutely no cows because they would be named Fossil and die of old age. Guess I have to be content with the Quail, bunnies and deer that are on the property. Now, though I have been told by a friend that "Getting old ain't for wimps," I have a nice ranch, a good marriage, a great support network and for the most part, my health. So, all in all, I am guessing that maybe with time this retirement gig won't be so bad after all.
  2. Lindsey McGraw

    Step away from the old nurse!

    Now reaching my 34th year in the nursing profession I am experiencing some humorous, interesting and distasteful situations where comments have been made that honestly offended me to the quick of my being. "Back in the day" as the older generation often refer to their era these situatons would never have occurred. There was a whole different level of respect for old nurses who were revered/feared at times by patients, doctors, and staff members alike. Reflecting back on my much younger years 1975 when first graduating as a fledgling nurse who came out of school well trained, required to wear our hair up off our collars (mine in a pony tail) so tight my eyes were slanted), tiny earrings (if any at all), nursing caps, and only clear nail polish on short cut fingernails. White uniforms, mostly dresses, with white support hose and white shoes. Finally someone came to the realization that maybe it was not a good idea for nurses to wear dresses possibly when they came across a rather large boned chunky nurse with a large buttocks bent over a hospital bed doing CPR with the tops of her panty hose, and print underwear showing, being all she could be. Maybe some scenario played out in the ER where they had to resume some kind of awkward positoin not suitable/remotely lady like position when one is wearing a dress.This time frame made me think of many older gray/white haired mentors-old nurses who wore their nursing caps iwth pride, on a good day did not "eat the young one's" as the expression goes, and taught us the right way to be a "real" nurse. Teaching/using the best techniques/policies (some long since outdated) of the time, so we would go on to be all we could be in our future careers in nursing. Many of the faces come to mind with names lost in my memory bank. Yes, some were scary in their demeanor, dingy (a few months short of retirement at the ripe age of 75) and some who had managed to maintain a sense of humor. Never was there any doubt who the professional in charge nurses were who did not have to demand respect it was given. Presently my looks consist of a pleasant round face, blessed wih good genes, with very few wrinkles, but my hair is a snow white in color. Once a red head, I have chemotherapy induced coloring, but not complaining because in this case bald was not beautiful, so glad to even have hair. Blessed to be a 20 year survior of breast cancer. Granted I do limp on occasion (from a totally different scenario involving an 1800 pound horse ) but do not deserve some of the blatant comments made to me recently about being an "old nurse" that I truly found offensive. My first example was one evening a very serious incident involving two residents that required me to call administration and 911 for police intervention is the most memorable one. First to arrive was a detective with a demeanor of total professionalism, matter of fact and who immediately began the intitial paper work necessary for a situation of this kind. A short time later a yery young looking (looked like he was 12) sheriff's deputy came in to assist. After introducing myself to him as the head nurse the first words to part his lips floored me. "Mam, aren't you to old to still be working as a nurse?" Totally stunned, it took me a minute to regroup but my quick wit soon surfaced with a trite reply "Young man, obviously your mother never taught you any manners!!" Turning to walk away I noticed a look of total disbelief on the face of the lead detective. Upon my return to the nurses station a short time later a demure, quiet deputy was sitting behind the desk with his head down not uttering a sound (maybe a slight whimper could be heard) diligently working on his paperwork. When my Director of Nurses arrived, who happened to be five years older than me, was given this little tidbit of information she was livid. Close to retirement age herself, but just the main fact their was such a total blatant disrespect of one of her nurses. My second example of someones mouth overriding their brain was a comment made by a family member one evening on a 3-11 shift. It had been a rough week, four days in a row of leaving late, returning home with "cankles" (your ankles/legs are all one) larger than usual for the simple fact a full moon phase brings out the best/worst in a long term care setting. A proven fact that the confusion level of some residents causes them to "fly" (fall) more and numerous 911 situations with medical emergencies seem more common. Hobbling up the hallway (my horse injured leg was screaming "elevate me NOW-no more walking!!" I was holding on to the hand rail for support. Even a little relief to take off some of the pressure even for a few seconds was much appreciated. Looking up I saw a male visitor whom in his moment of great wisdom, possibly trying to be funny, made this comment "Gee old nurse?-maybe you should just check in." At that very moment I am pulling from my inestinal fortitude because my brain is racing with bad words to spew-but thank heavens nothing parts my lips. A glance, my set jaw, and lack of response should have been a clue I was less than amused. Granted my sense of humor was a tad absent but come on I do work in LONG TERM CARE! A few days later revenge was mine, this same family member was wheeling his Dad down the hall, he made him stop when he saw me informing him "That is the best nurse here, I love her, she checks on me all the time!" Standing there red faced, stammering he managed to say "That is great Dad." NURSE ROCK!-Young and old we are health professionals who give care from our hearts. Most of us whould not give up our chosen career for anything. Well, maybe not today?????
  3. Lindsey McGraw

    RN responsibility--how far do you go in being a first responder?

    Many years ago I was trained to always look around your environment, make sure it is secure, before responding to an emergency when alone. Let your inner nursing instincts guide you because there are situations where nurses have been set up in sinister ways as targets because of our known compassion. If in doubt observe, carefully check out your total surroundings, stay safe, call 911 to assist. This advice was given to me back in 1976 and again in 1990's at seminars given by the State Police. Life is different for me I live in a town that is very close to a big city. Just a thought!
  4. Lindsey McGraw

    My life is so hopeless right now!

    Please do not give up....life gives us challenges...but there is help and hope for you!!! If you are strong enough to be able to accomplish going to nursing school, pass the boards then trudge on!! Check out the Social Services in your county,(they can help at the time you apply almost immediately)...Social Security Benefits (these take time) and as someone mentioned benefits for aged people. There are housing programs also, which by the sounds of your article you would qualify for. Most importantly you must be strong for your Grandfather. Counseling for your self is probably a good option...there are people to talk with. Just my thoughts because even as an experienced nurse with a good job I am struggling like most Americans in today's economy. Wishing you the BEST!
  5. Lindsey McGraw

    Old Nurse-Bet Me!

    Thanks, glad I could bring a "moment" for you. Can hardly wait for my dream is close...on count down! Hopefully there will be more articles in the near future-parting of the cobwebs this morning-oh good coffee!
  6. Lindsey McGraw

    Should I Carry Nursing Malpractice (Liability) Insurance?

    Since I am older and wiser, absolutely do not work without malpractice insurance. Take a look through the recommendations of nurses on the blog.... NSO is a good choice and one I have used for many years. Presently working in a supervisory capacity would not even consider working without coverage. Carefully watch some of the lawyers ads on TV about medical negligence etc. that should make your decision an easy one. Best of Luck!!- in your new exciting nursing career.
  7. Lindsey McGraw

    Big Beautiful Brown Eyes

    As each year passes quickly, March arrives with the familiar TV ads for breast cancer campaign walkathons featuring the "pink warriors" and "pink ribbon" logos. Finally, years later, I find myself able to watch these commercials without being brought to tears by the sight of bald women, hugs from supportive family members and individual stories about why each person has chosen to walk in this event. Reflecting on why this seems to make me so sad, once again I am reminded of an event in 1994...two years after experiencing chemotherapy, and a modified radical mastectomy. A large gaping hole resembling the size of an ice cream scoop, was left under my right arm as a constant reminder that lymph nodes had been removed. Even with physical therapy I remained visibly handicapped with an inverted shoulder, right hand/arm weakness and carried myself always with caution for fear of falling. As I was reporting for my eight hour shift at my long term care facility and getting the nursing change of shift report, I was told there was a new patient that had been admitted that morning. Most of us have a little twinge in our heart when told that it is a young one. This particular patient hit me close to home because she was 32 years old with a diagnosis of breast cancer, mets, involving the pericardium with a very short life expectancy. Hospice care, pain management regime was in place and private sitters to insure all needs were anticipated for ultimate comfort in her last little bit of time remaining. Making my usual walking round to check on all my patients, I arrived at the private room where she was located. Standing with my hand raised, ready to knock on the door, I took a deep breath and pulling from my intestinal fortitude I knocked gently. Responding to "come in" I entered and saw a young, angelic, frail looking woman in the middle of a big hospital bed.The first thing that struck me were her big, beautiful brown eyes. Walking over to introduce myself and softly touching her arm, she scans my face and looks me up and down. Absolutely nothing could have prepared me for what words parted her lips. Gazing at me she said "You have felt my pain, know my struggle and will not let me suffer." As she squeezed my hand, it kept me from bolting out the door. I remember smiling through my tear filled eyes and a pack was made at that moment. "Yes, I do understand. You will never suffer on my watch." Quietly exiting the room, my heart felt like it would burst before getting to the solitude of the parking lot where I turned into a shaking, sobbing, pitiful mess. Even as experienced as I am, nothing could have prepared me for an encounter of this kind. I was shattered to the quick of my soul by a total stranger in need of my kindness and nursing skills. In my mind when I think of her, I visualize a special angel with big, beautiful brown eyes, in heaven greeting our fallen sisters, mothers, aunts, and grandmothers who have passed away from this dreadful disease. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, which are really scary statistics. What will we do to make a difference? A powerful slogan comes to mind. "DON'T LET HER WALK ALONE!"
  8. Lindsey McGraw

    Old Nurse-Bet Me!

    Wow, will have to definitely expand that porch with multiple views to accommodate all those rocking chairs. Remind me to post the address once the dream comes true. Old nurses are the best, and think of the tales we could "spin"...?
  9. Lindsey McGraw

    Old Nurse-Bet Me!

    Presently I am blessed to work in a multi-cultural environment with CNA's and nurses from a variety of countries. We have great holiday parties, tons of food, only problem my African children almost kill me with their red pepper. Smiles are great therapy for everyone, and can brighten even the worst day/shift.
  10. Lindsey McGraw

    Old Nurse-Bet Me!

    Please, you are most welcome. Always remember that you have helped, cared for and brought smiles to many a patient through your career..not to mention relieved their pain, gave comfort etc. all the things nurses do. I cope by coming to work remembering my "special friends" who brighten my day-usually demented (today I am Mary Ellen)-or in the case of my article "Beware A Patient May Steal Your Heart" written some time ago. Mikey makes me realize what is important in life. Old or otherwise we are experienced, valuable, smart women who have something to share...maybe mentor students? Just a thought? Have to share there are days when I have to take a ride, go sit in my truck, or maybe get fast food...because an attitude makes me want to be unprofessional to a clueless co-worker.
  11. Lindsey McGraw

    Old Nurse-Bet Me!

    Wow, I am high desert bound...miss my horse. Need to put these tired old legs up/relax, not just stop and smell the coffee - actually enjoy it!
  12. Lindsey McGraw

    Old Nurse-Bet Me!

    Well, it is so far a dream/soon to be reality probably in Oregon. You are most welcome because the plan is to have a big wrap around porch for lot's of rocking chairs to watch the sunsets and horses run. Choice of beverage will be optional, view is free.
  13. Lindsey McGraw

    Should I Carry Nursing Malpractice (Liability) Insurance?

    Definitely, from my perspective. Over the years fortunately I only had one concern where I called the 800 number for my Malpractice insurance with a valid question/concern. All turned out well, but it was enough to make me realize there are patients, families etc. out there with unrealistic expectations sometimes. Also, as the saying goes "To error is to be human" and an informed society now knows they can sue a nurse. Presently I am studying for CLNC certification which has opened my eyes wide into these possibilities because the corporation/hospital/nursing home etc. one works for does not protect/nor will they be standing next you in case of a lawsuit. Just a thought?
  14. Lindsey McGraw

    Old Nurse-Bet Me!

    As I prepare for another eight hour shift with the "old folks," I look in the mirror and ponder..."Oh my, it is a good day...no more wrinkles have formed and nothing new is sagging. At least nothing that is within my visual range." For that reason, you will not find any full length mirrors in my home! Reflecting back to a conversation I had yesterday about age with one of my young C.N.A's who is from an African country, it makes me smile. It is an endearing and respectful thing to be called "MaMa" and this is a usual greeting from some of my favorites. She told me that at my age if I was in her country, I would not have to work anymore and would be taken care of. Well, do not underestimate my 34 years of nursing experience. This white haired old nurse limps on occasion, after an accident where and l,800 pound horse knocked me down and ran over the top of my right leg. I can still see the perfect souvenir hoof print. Granted, I cannot run to an emergency unless they want me to arrive red faced, out of breathe and speechless. My gait is brisk, but upon my arrival, my sharp mind guides the nurses through emergency measures so that when 911 Emergency arrives, the EMT's are not trite and there is no doubt about our true emergency situation. As they scoop and run, taking the resident to the ER, compliments are spoken "Good job" to my staff. Time has marched on leaving my fingertips numb with neuropathy, causing limitations for my IV skills. I look for the perfect vein, anything bigger than a toothpick, for my young nurse to insert a line with my guidance, and profound instructions. Yes... positive results with a resident being happy, infusion started, and first time good luck. My eyesight is enhanced by my blue reading glasses that are always ready, as they hang around my neck on a chain. Now, I have to ask the pharmacy manufacturers why they make the print on medication vials so small? This causes a ritual where one has to outstretch your arms to the proper distance, and squint one eye to assist in being able to read the directions. For safety sakes I go find a young nurse who has good eyesight for clarification. Most of the time they just smile and humor me by reading the directions, because they realize some day they may be in the same situation. Working for the last 17 years in a supervisory capacity, one of my favorite sayings when a page comes overhead on the intercom for assistance, and of course I am on the opposite unit three hallways away, is "Patience is a Virtue." Often a "new nurse" has a question or concern, sometimes legitimate and other times mundane. Keeping my caring mentor nurse voice, I always try to "reply/teach" keeping in mind they may be taking care of me some day. As I walk away after the problem is resolved, I reinforce my other old saying "There is no such thing as a dumb question!" One aggravation that is intolerable to me is a nurse with a cocky, "know-it-all" attitude. As experienced as I am, many a time there has been a situation where a group decision has been made because my memory bank fails me and a young mind right out of school is badly needed. Anyone who does not listen to solid advice from their peers, or a nurse who is older than dirt-gets my comment "Go ahead-be all you can be-but I made it 34 years without ending up in a court of law with my right hand in the air stating "Yes, I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth!" Amazing what kind of attitude adjustment this comment will bring on occasion. Yes, I am an old white haired nurse and on occasion can be overheard stating that "When I am ready to retire I can just change roles from being head nurse and check into this nursing home." Joking of course...my retirement plan is to move back out west, buy a small ranch, have friends, horses and a variety of pets to fill my idle hours with pleasure. Aptly, it will be be named the "OBR" which stands for (Old Broad Ranch.)
  15. Lindsey McGraw

    What would you do?

    Whoops!, think I am developing a form of half timers real bad. Did not remember posting on this article in the past...DA..should have read all the comments before? :)
  16. Lindsey McGraw

    What would you do?

    Since demented residents present with symptoms often masked - my judgment call would have been send to the ER for a CT-scan. At our facility we error on the the side of caution mainly because a "cement floor" is most unforgiving. A slow subdural bleed takes time to manifest and then it might be to late. Often I am surprised (upon transfer not presenting with any specific/life threatening signs/symptoms) when the resident does not return but is admitted with a definite problem requiring a varying hospital stay. As far as calling 911 I am specific what my problem is because it makes a difference if they send two ambulances/teams or a transport team (all EMT's). When talking to dispatch always state "fall, alert, no loss of consciousness)" or whatever but reason you are sending them for evalution ie: "fell from a wheelchair etc." They are appreciative because does not tie up ambulances that may be needed for other calls since this is a big city. We have a lot of volunteer crews so sometimes they are dispatched.