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Cricket183 BSN, RN

Oncology (OCN)
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Cricket183 has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Oncology (OCN).

Cricket183's Latest Activity

  1. Cricket183

    COVID-19: Filed workers comp claim?

    My hospital’s private carrier (they are a non-subscriber) denied my WC claim. They stated I used the wrong date (2 KNOWN exposures and HR told me to use the date of my first symptoms) and I could have been exposed elsewhere. Hmmm...out of the 14 days prior to symptoms, I worked 10 days (one 6 hour shift and nine 12 hr shifts). I went hardly anywhere except work and home to sleep. It’s just me & my husband and he never tested positive or had symptoms. I did attend one church service and one praise team practice, a doctors appointment and ran by CVS to pick up medication. So maybe 3-4 hours total in “social situations” (ie more than me present). Wore a mask and socially distanced on all occasions. No one else at home or church was sick during this time. I have hired a lawyer and am appealing their decision but I know it will be a fight.
  2. Cricket183

    Nurse on COVID leave

    Unfortunately, this is not necessarily true. That’s what I thought as well. However, your employer cannot fire you because you have a WC claim, but make no mistake-your job is not guaranteed safe, especially in an “at will” state. So here’s my story. I got severe Covid pneumonia in July. I had two known exposures at work. One was a patient (from a local NH with a known Covid outbreak). He tested negative on admission. That particular day I was caring for non Covid patients (we’re a small community hospital with a 30 bed MS unit-3 pods of 10 beds each. So this patient was on the non Covid hall. As such I used only universal precautions-gloves and a surgical mask. This was when supplies were still limited so only nurses on the Covid halls were allotted N95s. They literally kept them put up and handed them out at shift change. Took care of the patient throughout my shift. That night he spiked a fever and was retested as positive. Second exposure, a few days later, I was on the Covid hall. Patient (from the same nursing home) known positive. I wore full PPE. He had dementia and would not keep his oxygen on. We were in and out of the room frequently putting his oxygen back on because he kept desatting. He got worse & worse as the day went on. He was in a negative pressure room and had a neb treatment ordered. I called RT. They refused to come up stating it was a nursing responsibility to administer nebs to Covid patients (only one RT on duty so they were worried about cross contamination to non Covid patients). I checked with my charge and she said because the patient was in a negative pressure room that it was OK to administer the neb. So I did. Again, like with the oxygen, the patient kept taking his mask off. (We had video surveillance set up for confused/high risk for fall patients). I ended up going in & out of the room multiple times and finally ended up just staying in the room holding the neb. until it finished. This was before prolonged exposure was a thing. But obviously even with full PPE this was a prolonged exposure to an aerosolizing procedure. A few days later, I had my first symptoms of Covid. By Day 5, I was admitted to the hospital with severe Covid pneumonia. Spent 13 days in the hospital, 5 in ICU in respiratory failure on 60 liters high flow oxygen. Was discharged on home oxygen (which I’m still on 24/7). I’ve developed interstitial lung disease and recently was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. Also now have secondary adrenal insufficiency and gastric ulcers due to being on steroids for the last 7+ months. I filed a WC claim. It was denied by the hospital’s insurance carrier (they are a non subscriber). I have an attorney and am appealing that decision but it’s going to be a battle. Anyway, right before Thanksgiving I received an email basically stating that I could access my pay statements, W-2s, etc via the FORMER employee portal. What??? So I call HR and am informed I’ve “been taken off the books” (I’m PRN, even though I have worked full time hours plus since starting there) because there is an upcoming JAHCO visit and they were taking all employees who hadn’t been working “off the books”. And even though the knew why I had not been working, it was necessary. They graciously (insert eye roll) said that once I was medically released by my doctor I could reapply and this would not negatively affect any references or referrals. Gee thanks! Obviously I called my lawyer. As long as there is a reduction in the work force (ie, I was not the only one “taken off the books”) they can do this and I have no recourse. Still we are considering a wrongful termination case in addition to the appeal.
  3. Cricket183

    Allergic to Benadryl?

    I’m not “allergic” to Benadryl per se but I definitely have a paradoxical reaction to it. It does not make me sleepy or drowsy as a side effect. It makes me bounce off the walls, like a combination of steroids and caffeine on speed! I become almost manic. I wouldn’t say it’s to the point of anticholenergic psychosis that someone else mentioned, but it’s close! Even a small dose will keep me up for days.
  4. Cricket183

    Nurse Refresher Simulation Lab

    I took a RN Refresher Course about 1 1/2 years ago. Like you, I had been out of nursing due to medical disability for over 10 years. I did the skills lab (simulation lab). It was very similar to skills lab in nursing school. While I can’t speak for how they will do it for your particular program, I can tell you how they conducted mine. They gave a talking demonstration of the procedure (IV start, NGT, teach care, etc.). Allowed us time to talk through it and practice the skills and then checked us off on a return demonstration. Don’t be too anxious about it. You’ll be amazed how quickly muscle memory comes back. I’ve been back working for 5 months and it feels like I never left.
  5. Cricket183

    What is your "thing" and how do you deal with it?

    I’m right there with you Pepper The Cat. I can handle vomit, feces, colostomies, wounds, trachs, sputum, etc but have me drop a NG tube and the patient starts gagging, so will I! And taking one out with the slime and snot on the tube...UGH! I also struggle with eyeballs and mouths (injuries in particular) but I can usually manage a brave face.
  6. Cricket183

    Is my career over already???

    I disagree with the previous poster who suggested a refresher course “might not do it” especially if the refresher course has a clinical portion with it. I was out of nursing for just over 10 years due to medical disability. In order to practice again my state required a refresher course with a didactic and clinical component. This gave me contacts & references in the nursing community-not only my professors but I was able to do my clinical hours at the hospital I hoped to work at so I also had references and contacts with other staff nurses and management. I’m now employed by that hospital!
  7. Cricket183

    What was your favorite nursing job and why?

    My favorite position was as charge nurse for an inpatient oncology unit. We had a mixture of patients receiving inpatient chemo, on reverse isolation (neutropenic), and inpatient oncology patients with a variety of medical/surgical issues. I loved the variety but especially enjoyed working with the leukemia patients who were often with us for at least 6-8 weeks at a time. We did a lot of blood products. I learned a lot during that time and we had a great team of oncologists, nurses, etc. Very rewarding. I’m also enjoying where I’m at now. I live in a very small, rural town and we have a small community owned hospital. I’m hired for the med-surg unit. Our census can range anywhere from 1 (yes, at one point last week we had one patient for a few hours) to 18. Usual ratio is 5-6:1. We also have a 4 bed Special Care Unit for higher acuity patients that for whatever reason can’t be or refuse to be transferred out (on cardiac drips, unstable, etc). Usual ratio is 2:1 and because I’m one of the few RNs, I get transferred there as needed. We also have a small OB/PP unit (5 total beds) so the med/surg floor gets the overflow of PP mother/baby couplets when we have an abundance of laboring moms. A few weeks ago we had 12 deliveries in a 24 hour period! I like it because my day is never the same! In the past week, I had a crazy day with two critical patients in SCU, a very slow day with 3 med/surg patients, two who were discharged before noon (and then I got one from surgery and another from ER), and a day with 2 PP couplets and another medical patient. It has stretched me and my skills, but I like that. I enjoy the challenge.
  8. Cricket183

    New RN, how to save face

    I have found that most of the time, we (the person who says something inappropriate) usually thinks about it far more than anyone else. I’m a classic over-thinker! I can obsess over something stupid I’ve said for days! And at times, I’ve even gone to someone to apologize and had them look at me like “what are you talking about?”. Of course then I obsess about that, lol! I usually find a good dose of humor and the ability to laugh at myself helps the situation. (And I’ve become accustomed to the taste of my own foot!). I’ll never forget one time making the off-hand comment to a patient, “We’ll have you back up on your feet in no time.” He was in for a BKA. As soon as I said it I was mortified and I couldn’t hide it. He said, “Not likely!” And started laughing! Luckily he had a sense of humor because I wanted the earth to swallow me up. I apologized profusely and he just laughed at the look on my face. I’ve never made that comment again, but I’ve made my share of others. I usually find being able to laugh about it helps, especially with colleagues. (Unless you’ve actually inadvertently insulted someone, then obviously it’s not appropriate.)
  9. Cricket183

    Help with behavior-based interview questions!!!!!!!!!

    I just went through an interview (first time since graduating nursing school 16 years ago) with a lot of behavior questions. I found it helpful to be prepared beforehand with an idea of how I might answer the most common ones-tell me about a time you handled conflict, tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult patient/family member, etc. Also, don’t be afraid to take a minute to think if they ask you to describe a situation that catches you off guard. A thoughtful answer is better than a rushed, hurried response. If all else fails and you cannot think of a specific scenario say so but then describe how you would normally handle that or a similar situation. I had this happen during my interview. I was asked to recall a particularly difficult shift and how I handled it. I’ve been out of nursing for over 10 years. I’ve had difficult shifts to be sure but recalling the specifics at this point and exactly what I did is a distant memory so I just admitted so and talked about things like teamwork, prioritization, knowing available resources, importance of working with other departments, keeping calm and threw in an example or two where I could. Wishing you the best of luck!
  10. I’m looking to invest in a new stethoscope and would like some opinions. My current one is a Littman (don’t really remember which series but it was a middle-of-the-line). I got it when I was in nursing school, so some almost 20 years ago. It has served me very well but I would like to upgrade from it to perhaps a cardiology series. Any thoughts?
  11. Cricket183

    Pre-employment Physical for LNA

    My recent pre-employment testing was extensive! It not only included a series of lifting exercises of increasing weights (from floor to waist (squat), transfer from counter to counter, lift from waist to overhead, pushing and pulling a weighted sleigh a specified distance, etc); it also included a timed step test with pre & post vital signs, urine drug screen, and a PT eval of my ROM, medical background, etc. It was very similar to a functional capacity exam and took 2 1/2-3 hours. It was crazy! Every place I’ve ever worked before you just had to go in do one simple lift test (basically a squat with 50lbs). Depends entirely on the institution!
  12. I have a different take on this. I have just recently returned to nursing after a long absence due to being on disability for a serious medical issue. I felt like I needed to disclose during my interview for two reasons: (1) to explain my more than 10 year gap in employment, and (2) my condition, although no longer physically limiting, does require ongoing treatment that directly affects my schedule. I chose to very, very briefly mention my medical condition. And then focus almost entirely on how I was looking forward to returning to nursing and then hit on some past career highlights. I also focused on the things the experience of being on the other side of the bed taught me (perseverance, hard work, compassion, importance of holistic care, etc) and how those qualities would be an asset to my future employer. And finally, of course, I had to mention my accommodations, which really aren’t much-my schedule (I’m PRN and we self-schedule but I do require 4 consecutive days off every 6-8 weeks) and I cannot accompany a patient to MRI because of an implanted neurostimulator. For me, disclosure worked. I was hired with my first interview. I have not shared with my coworkers about my medical condition, nor do I plan to. I have been asked why I was away from nursing so long and have answered for medical reasons. I don’t know if that is the best way to handle it or not. Time will tell.
  13. Cricket183

    When to know you're over delegating

    First, don’t second guess your delegation. It was absolutely appropriate. You didn’t ask the tech to help the patient to the bedpan out of “laziness” or because it was a task that was beneath you. You had another priority that took precedence. One that a tech could not address. A couple of things that I have found that really help when delegating: Always treat your techs with respect. When delegating, treat them professionally. You’re requesting their help, but you’re also requesting they do their job. Don’t apologize. Be straightforward and IF you have time, explain the prioritization behind your request so they understand you’re not just asking them to do tasks you don’t want to do. “Can you please help patient A to the bedside commode. I need to medicate Patient B for pain before PT gets here.” You’ve only been on the floor a couple days so it might take time, but when you do have the time (on the rare occasion) be willing to jump in and help when the techs are giving your patient a bath. It’s a great time to assess skin. Or when they’re turning a patient, or feeding a patient. The PCT that said we (nurses) don’t get to spend enough time with our patients wasn’t wrong. (Although her attitude and motivation suck!). We are spread so thin, we don’t get to do the type of care many of us wish we could. Over time the techs come to realize who is willing to help out and who isn’t. They will figure out if you’re delegating because you’re busy or if you never help a patient to the bathroom or change a brief or clean a bedpan. One last thing, appreciation goes a long way. Never forget to show it. A simple, “Hey, thanks for helping Mr C to the bathroom. It gave me a chance to chart his daily assessment.” (No I wasn’t playing a video game or surfing the internet!)
  14. Cricket183

    Refresher Nurse

    I could be wrong and my perspective might be biased by my own circumstances, but I would think the 10-11 year absence would be the bigger obstacle to overcome than the history of a job you were fired (resigned) from back in 2003. Personally, I found the gap in my career hard to explain without revealing my disability or looking like I could not handle the physical demands of nursing, especially during the screening process. I knew each time I filled out an online application that 99% of the time it was probably automatically disqualified due to my 11 year absence. After several months with no response, I completely redid my resume and cover letter and it helped. In my resume, I focused heavily on my professional summary section-giving a broad overview of my skills and qualifications but then giving specific examples from my previous experience of each. For example, one of my bullet points is “self-motivated professional who easily adapts to new situations and enjoys a challenge. First RN on the unit who earned OCN certification and strongly encouraged others to do the same. Developed the Breast Health Navigator program at XX hospital.” I also did not draw attention to the gap in my employment. My dates of employment are listed but they aren’t a focal point. I did briefly mention my absence from nursing in my cover letter but only briefly. I framed it by saying, “After a leave of absence from nursing for health reasons, I am eager to return to the nursing field to utilize and build upon the experience and skills I attained at XX hospital.” I included those qualities/skills I have that the institution was looking for; mentioned I just completed a Refresher Course; and then also mentioned those things that my absence from nursing taught me (compassion & understanding from being on the other side of the bed, hard work and determination, focus on health and wellness) and how those qualities would be an asset to my future employer. I think it’s all in how you frame it and feel about it. If you see it as a stumbling block and a problem, it will be. If you look at it as something that you learned from, others will see it that way too. When I changed the way I felt and thought about my own “stumbling block”, the doors quickly opened. I don’t know if this is the kind of thing you are looking for or if I’m just wasting your time (hope not!). Nurse Beth has a lot of good info. under her section. I used a book she recommended. It’s written for new grads but I found a lot of it very helpful. I also got some great advice from others here when I was searching for answers.
  15. Cricket183

    Refresher Nurse

    Each BON is different on their requirements to return to practice after an extended absence of practice or if your license is on inactive status. The first thing to address will probably be the status of your license. Was your license in good standing when you went inactive or were you still in the probationary period. That may affect your next step. Your state’s BON would the best place to start. Although not the same, I had a similar circumstance and will tell you the process I had to go through in my state (Texas). I, too, left nursing in 2008. I had to go on disability for medical reasons (Diagnosed with CRPS & lost most of the use of my arms, among other complications). I placed my RN license on inactive status in 2010 when doctors told me I’d never be able to return to nursing. Several years ago I began a new treatment for my CRPS and slowly regained my health. In 2018, I decided to return to nursing part-time. Because my license was inactive and it had been more than 4 years since I had practiced, Texas required me to take a RN Refresher Course. It was a 16 week didactic course with 16 hours of skills lab followed by an 85 hour clinical preceptorship. I finished it last May and returned to nursing about a month ago.
  16. Cricket183

    Who LOVES their job and why?

    I’m loving nursing (at least right now) because I didn’t think I’d ever get to do it again. I worked in inpatient oncology from the time I graduated nursing school until 2008. Unfortunately, I had to leave nursing for just over 11 years due to my own medical disability. I was told by my doctors I’d never be able to return. Fortunately, new treatment options have improved my health, although not cured my condition. I took a RN Refresher course last year and returned to my nursing career on a part time basis just over a month ago. Things have changed in a lot of ways, especially with computerized systems. When I left nursing we were just transitioning from paper to EMR, and now everything is electronic so it’s a bit of a learning curve. But I am having a blast! (I realize I may change my mind when the newness wears off!). The basics of nursing, however, are still the same and that’s the stuff I’ve always enjoyed most.