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jeastridge

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  1. jeastridge

    Nurse on a Mission Trip to Belize

    Well said. A trip like this helps us re-prioritize our lives and examine again what is truly important.
  2. jeastridge

    Nurse on a Mission Trip to Belize

    If you feel a leaning toward doing this, don't hesitate! Joy
  3. jeastridge

    Nurse on a Mission Trip to Belize

    Thank you for your very kind and encouraging words. Joy
  4. jeastridge

    Nurses with Attitude

    Thank you for sharing. What a great nurse and example you are! And I love that last sentence, "Inspiration goes a lot further than denigration." Amen to that. Joy
  5. jeastridge

    Nurse on a Mission Trip to Belize

    I left for Belize on a Saturday after running around getting ready to be gone for a week, I almost plopped into my airplane seat, grateful for a few minutes of respite when I began to wonder, “What have I gotten myself in to?” Going was my daughter-in-law’s idea. As a PA, she had been wanting to go serve as part of a medical mission. My husband, a family doctor, and I readily agreed to join a team that gradually grew to 28 to serve for a week in the inland part of the Central American country of Belize. Long a part of the British Commonwealth, the country has English as its official language but with a total population of under 350,000 it remains needy with many parts of it underserved medically. Our team went to work in a compound that housed a medical and dental clinic where foreign doctors came 4-5 times a year. We were there to volunteer doing everything from family medicine and dentistry to screenings, hearing assessments with fitting for solar powered hearing aids and giving out of basic “reader” eyeglasses. The first day we went to church in the morning and then saw 50 people that afternoon. Overwhelmed by the numbers of people and the long lines, we immediately began to work to prioritize, triage and figure out how many people we could realistically serve a day so that we would not end up having people wait all day only to be turned away. We did our very best to work with compassion and efficiency but there were still people we could not get to. As a nurse and a sort of coordinator for the team, it was my job to help match volunteers with jobs they were suited for and to watch over the general work of the clinic, intervening where there might be problems. Together with other nurse volunteers, including a local nurse who helped with translations when people were not fluent in English (Belizians speak a mix of English, Spanish, Creole, and some Mayan languages), we checked vitals, weights, blood sugars, occasional hematocrits and lots of urine samples for infection and pregnancy. Our team had access to on-site X-rays, some ultrasound and EKG. The dental clinic also had X-ray and was fully functional to do most extractions and some restorative work. Some of the patients moved between dental and medical and even on to eye checks and hearing tests to get the full benefit of all the services provided. Modern medicine and cell phones made it possible for our doctors to work with physicians back in the US to assess and offer expertise on cases. One young man, age 15, came in with a bullet lodged in his lower brain. The images were sent to a neurosurgeon stateside and also to a radiologist and a pediatrician. Together they concurred that surgery might do more harm than good and that he should not have it removed because of the risks involved with surgery. When seen, he was 2 weeks out from his injury and walking with minor assistance. The educated opinion of the experts, rendered from far away, were a great help to a family that did not know which way to turn. The most difficult cases we saw were the ones where we felt our hands were tied by circumstances beyond our control. The breast mass, the severe heart murmur in a younger man, the colon cancer, the “spells” that remained undiagnosed—all caused the team anguish as we conferred, prayed, and tried to find a way forward. In a place where few have insurance and the medical system is cash based, not having money for a procedure simply means that it will not happen. In the end, we tried to give some assistance to the hardest cases we faced, but all were daunting as radiation and chemo and surgery are scarce and mostly unavailable. Extended treatments often require travel abroad, something that involves another set of hurdles, including the necessary paperwork and large amounts of cash. After a busy week of seeing hundreds of patients, I was left with one predominant emotion: gratitude. Gratitude for what we were able to do, gratitude for the appreciative response of those we reached out to and those we worked with, and gratitude for all that we have here at home. In spite of the difficulties involved, overseas medical missions is productive in that it refocuses us on things that really matter: relationships, compassion, and the unity of all humanity as we occupy one fragile planet together. Yes, we are different but my goodness, we have so much in common. Whatever nation we are from, our bodies work in much the same way and malfunction in similar ways; our passion for helping our loved ones is undiminished by deprivation and scarcity of resources and our desire to be treated with dignity is uniform. My hope is that we did a world of good in our week in Belize. Realistically, I know that the impact was relatively small. Some would argue that the resources spent in taking so many people was not worth the benefit. However, I would argue the opposite. The seeds of love and care sown will continue to bear fruit for years to come and more than that, our team was changed. We all came back with a bigger vision of our place in the world and our greater responsibility for our neighbors, both here and beyond.
  6. "As you can see, the first two steps in resolving practice issues involve identifying the practice issue, then fully exploring the issue and the anticipated outcomes on the quality of patient care and delivery of high-quality nursing practice." Thanks for this discussion. It is well stated.
  7. jeastridge

    Nurses with Attitude

    Thank you for sharing. Well said.
  8. jeastridge

    Nurses with Attitude

    I appreciate your response. Nursing is a tough job, for sure. Thank you for working hard to be a great nurse!
  9. jeastridge

    Nurses with Attitude

    Haha. Yep, rarely does anyone fit either description all the time. But we can inspire one another to do better, right?
  10. jeastridge

    Nurses with Attitude

    I agree. It was embarrassing to hear.
  11. jeastridge

    Nurses with Attitude

    Consider two possible scenarios: Nurse A Nurse A enters the emergency department bay where a critical patient, in the process of stroke protocol lies semi-comatose on a gurney, surrounded by anxious family members and friends. She says, “There aren’t any rooms over in ICU. You all will have to spend the night here. I will watch over him, but I have 3 other patients I am taking care of. I think you all should complain to the administration. If you don’t, nothing will change. I know I’m outta here as soon as my husband gets a transfer.” As she leaves the room, her negativity fills the space just as surely as if she trailed toilet paper on her shoe. Nurse B Nurse B enters the same area to start an IV and hang plasma. She does her duties in a professional manner and asks the family if they need anything. “Well, the other nurse told us there aren’t any rooms upstairs. What are we going to do?” She replies, “We will continue to take excellent care of your loved one while he is in our department. We will be just outside the door if you need us. Please don’t hesitate to call. We will also be working diligently to get the patient to the ICU as soon as is possible. Is there anything I can do to help you all be more comfortable while you are here with us?” As she leaves the room, the family sighs but feels re-assured that matters are under control and that they don’t need to be as worried. As a Faith Community Nurse who often visits a variety of Emergency Departments to be with families who are in a time of crisis, I see all kinds of nurses in action and am able to observe their interactions with patients. Unfortunately, I have witnessed some Nurse A’s and a number of Nurse B’s. While many Nurse A’s may feel perfectly justified in their complaints and what they say may be true, it is disheartening to see and hear nurses complain to patients, especially in their moments of true crisis. What would Nurse B’s say to Nurse A’s? She would be polite and not condescending but she would say in no uncertain terms: Don’t vent in any way to patients and their families. Don’t tell them about your life, about how tired you are, about how many shifts you are working, about how low your pay is or about how your car is in the shop. They do not care. They are sick. They need your help. They do not need to be in a position where they feel they need to take care of you. Being a professional means working through the bad times as well as the good times. Work is not always fun. It is work. It can be rewarding but it isn’t always rewarding or fulfilling. There are times when it’s just plain old hard. Get over it. Work anyway. Show up early. Dress professionally. Do a great job. Make your team proud. In the end you will, most likely, experience some sense of satisfaction for doing your best. You are in complete control. You can’t change your circumstances and you can’t change what happens to you but you can always be in charge of how your respond. Your reactions are totally yours. Maintaining control of your attitude is what makes you stand out from other nurses. As Zig Ziglar said, “Your attitude not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” The Big Picture Every part of your life experience matters and fits together to make a bigger picture. While a “dream job” may never come your way, every job teaches us something. When we are new grads and have to “settle” for something less than we expected, we learn to do our best, to be humble and to persevere, gathering whatever we can and growing through it. As we go through our professional lives, many of us are able to look back and acknowledge with great humility, that yes, that job that we hated so much during that season of life, was critical to helping us get to where we are today, doing what we always dreamed of. Remember, it is always about the patient. It is not about the nurse. Being self-less, not self-absorbed leads us along the path that brings light and life to our spirits. Contrary to our natural inclinations, when we serve others with a joyful heart, we find the true rewards that we were seeking all along. Are You an A or a B? Probably most of us are some combination of a Nurse A and a Nurse B, hoping that we are much more of a Nurse B most of the time. We can help one another along by not feeding the frenzy of complaints and instead by calmly and steadily working together to pursue true professionalism as nurses, setting great examples for one another to follow.
  12. jeastridge

    Gonna Quit: When Nursing Is Rough...

    I'm sorry you have had a tough time. You might try your local community college placement office (they often provide services free of charge to the whole community not just their students) and maybe brush up on interview techniques and making a better resume. I hope others will have suggestions for you too. Wishing you the best. Stick with it. Sometimes finding a job can be a full time job in and of itself!
  13. jeastridge

    Gonna Quit: When Nursing Is Rough...

    Well said and good points. Thank you for sharing.
  14. jeastridge

    Gonna Quit: When Nursing Is Rough...

    Other jobs...Let's see. School nurses, office, insurance, educators, case managers, utilization review...all nursing jobs involve patients, of course, but not all positions are like the ones in the hospital. Finding the perfect fit often takes a while and a dose of perseverance....Maybe other nurses can contribute here on other ideas. All the best!
  15. jeastridge

    Gonna Quit: When Nursing Is Rough...

    You list some serious problems and these that you listed often go unmentioned because they are more subtle--but the pressure is there. Maybe some other nurses can chime in on their strategies for maintaining healthy boundaries in a demanding profession? For me, part of it is simply acknowledging that they have a problem but I can't always be the answer...but it is hard. For sure. Joy
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