Jump to content
2019 Nursing Salary Survey Read more... ×

jeastridge

Writer

Reputation Activity by jeastridge

Reactions Given

Like 39

Reactions Received

Like 80
Thanks 5
Haha 1

  1. Like
    jeastridge got a reaction from nursejduke, BSN in 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.
  2. Like
    jeastridge got a reaction from twinsmom788 in End of Life: The Final Word   
    "If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check." James 3:2
    I reach down to touch Anne's* hand, my own fingers still chilled by the outside morning air. Her eyelids flutter, letting me know she was aware of my presence. I speak gently, trying to not disturb the threads of silence that hang heavily in the room.
    "How are you doing?"
    She does not voice a response, but the furrowed brow tells me that she is thinking of how to answer my question.
    As a hospice nurse, I come on the stage of life when others have played their parts and now stand silently in the wings, witnesses to life and death. The chemo team is gone, the transfusions are mostly over; the doctors with their serious pronouncements have faded into the background. Standing beside the bed are the one best friend, two of the six children, and a few others that come and go to leave their gifts of steaming soup or fragrant flowers, attempts to brighten the long journey home.
    Anne's eyes open and she looks at me, focusing through the curtain of pain and the blessed numbness of opiates.
    "I'm ok," slides out in a whisper.
    I stand by, struggling to find the best words, the question that might help her along the way, the voice that will not hurt, but instead help. At times like these, everything matters and the burden of that knowledge, keeps my mouth still, waiting for the Holy One to fill it with direction.
    The others leave the room. I hold her fingers in mine, while palpating her pulse, assessing her color, monitoring her respirations, checking her skin for signs of breaks. As I wait, the question spills out, "What is the one thing that bothers you the most about all this?"
    A single tear, creeps down her tissue dry cheek and she answers, "I'm afraid of leaving the children. I'm afraid that they will grow apart after I am gone. I won't be here for them to come home to." She speaks with some effort, but as the words well up, expressed from her spirit, they also relieve some of the pain, pent up in her aching heart.
    I have no response. None is needed. Saying the words and shedding the tear, seem to ease the crack in her heart. Her respirations even out, her eyes close, apparently more focused on the beyond.
    Words matter all the time. It's just that at the end of life, there are so few of them left, that we must count carefully to make sure there is no waste. That awareness keeps us from using them foolishly. As we leave the bedside of the dying, may we carry with us the desire to use our words carefully, every day, not just on the final ones.
    Dear God, Grant me your words today. Let me be silent or let me speak only at your prompting. Give me a renewed awareness that words matter. Amen.
    *Name changed to protect privacy.
  3. Like
    jeastridge got a reaction from FashionablyL8, CNA in End Of Life Conversations With Families   
    Dear deeCNA2013, Thank you for your thoughtful and very personal response to the article. I appreciate your willingness to share your story with me and others as we all travel down this road of trying to do our very best for those we love and those in our care. Bless you as you continue to grieve and to process all of the events surrounding your mom's passing.
  4. Like
    jeastridge got a reaction from traumaRUs, MSN, APRN in A Day in the Life of a Parish Nurse (aka Faith Community Nurse)   
    The doors to the ICU swung open as I swiped my badge and I took a deep breath before stepping forward to face Jane and her family. An elderly woman, 90+, Jane faced day 7 on a vent in the ICU after a serious bout with pneumonia. I greeted her son who sat quietly at her bedside, by now impervious to the low key but constant whirr and beep of the machinery that worked to keep his mom alive. After greeting him, I stepped over to take Jane’s flaccid and swollen hand in mine and greeted her, too.
    Talking with the son, he related the events of the past 24 hours. He emphasized that the doctors assured him she was “stable” and “not suffering.” Despite her advance directive that stated her preferred wishes not to be intubated, when the time came, she was lucid and changed her mind, giving hurried permission for interventional care.
    After talking a while, I brought up the idea of talking with the doctor about having a Palliative Care Consult. Emphasizing that this was something the doctor would have to order if she thought it was appropriate, I described the possible perspective they might bring to the overall picture. During our conversation, his internist came in and said, “I have put in for a Palliative Care Consult” clearly seeing the same picture that we were and thinking it might be time to pause and consider how to move forward.
    After prayer and a moment with scripture, I went on to see others in the hospital before heading over to the church where I have an office. Seeing patients in the ICU is not an everyday occurrence but does happen with a fair degree of regularity. In that environment, the Parish Nurse can serve as a spiritual support person, an interpreter for medical terminology and procedures and a liaison between the family and the staff, especially if difficulties arise.
    At the church, I briefly checked email and made a note to call Mr. S back about his grief. Having lost his wife of 57 years just a few short months ago, Mr. S  told me he felt adrift; one of the things a Parish Nurse can do is help cast out lines of communication and connection, helping him find new ways to anchor himself —social activities, service opportunities, and spiritual comfort.
    I prepared a devotional thought before going to a Caregiver’s Support Group and sharing an hour with them. Meeting once a month, the group of a dozen or so people helps one another through the thick and thin of caregiving, discussing different topics each month and sometimes even having special speakers from nearby facilities.
    After a quick lunch at my desk, I joined a weekly meeting with the pastors on congregational care, discussing how we could best address the needs of our members who were going through a variety of crisis. We usually assigned one designated person to be in charge of responding to a particular need, then bring the others in as was necessary.
    After the meeting, I spent the afternoon returning phone calls, checking on people who were post-op, making notes after each phone call or contact, and working on coordinating some of our outreach ministries: prayer shawls, frozen casseroles, cards, and birthday visits to our “At Home” members.
    One of the beautiful things about Parish Nursing is that there is not a “typical” day. Every day is different and some more challenging than others. What I have described above could stand as a representative sample of what happens many days. As members of the church staff, Parish Nurses work closely with pastors, collaborating in the wholistic care of their parishioners: body, mind and spirit.
    Parish Nursing, begun in the 1980s by Grainger Westburg, is a place where nurses can find new ways to use their skills. While my position is a regular part-time position and I receive a small stipend for my work, many Faith Community Nurses are volunteers who work just a few hours a week, checking blood pressures on Sundays and answering questions or making phone calls. There are a number of definitions of Parish Nursing, but they all include most of the following, “A Parish Nurse is a registered nurse with specialized knowledge who is called to ministry and affirmed by a faith community to promote health, healing and wholeness. The role of the parish nurse is to promote the integration of faith and health in a variety of ways that reflect the context of the faith community. Specific examples include: health advocacy, health counseling, health education and resource referral (http://www.capnm.ca/fact_sheet.htm )”
    If you are interested in being a Parish Nurse, how do you get started? First and foremost you will need to have the support of your church’s leadership to work in this capacity. Talk with your congregation’s governing body and gauge their support. If you feel led to continue after that, you can take an online course in becoming a Parish Nurse to better prepare yourself. You can also seek out other Parish Nurses in your area. Nationally, the Westburg Institute serves as the unifying organization for FCNs, holding an annual symposium, publishing articles and books and providing visionary leadership.
    After a busy afternoon, I snapped my computer closed, double checked my calendar for the next day and got ready to meet a girlfriend for a walk in the spring sunshine, feeling blessed to be able to be a nurse in a church.
  5. Like
    jeastridge got a reaction from traumaRUs, MSN, APRN in A Day in the Life of a Parish Nurse (aka Faith Community Nurse)   
    The doors to the ICU swung open as I swiped my badge and I took a deep breath before stepping forward to face Jane and her family. An elderly woman, 90+, Jane faced day 7 on a vent in the ICU after a serious bout with pneumonia. I greeted her son who sat quietly at her bedside, by now impervious to the low key but constant whirr and beep of the machinery that worked to keep his mom alive. After greeting him, I stepped over to take Jane’s flaccid and swollen hand in mine and greeted her, too.
    Talking with the son, he related the events of the past 24 hours. He emphasized that the doctors assured him she was “stable” and “not suffering.” Despite her advance directive that stated her preferred wishes not to be intubated, when the time came, she was lucid and changed her mind, giving hurried permission for interventional care.
    After talking a while, I brought up the idea of talking with the doctor about having a Palliative Care Consult. Emphasizing that this was something the doctor would have to order if she thought it was appropriate, I described the possible perspective they might bring to the overall picture. During our conversation, his internist came in and said, “I have put in for a Palliative Care Consult” clearly seeing the same picture that we were and thinking it might be time to pause and consider how to move forward.
    After prayer and a moment with scripture, I went on to see others in the hospital before heading over to the church where I have an office. Seeing patients in the ICU is not an everyday occurrence but does happen with a fair degree of regularity. In that environment, the Parish Nurse can serve as a spiritual support person, an interpreter for medical terminology and procedures and a liaison between the family and the staff, especially if difficulties arise.
    At the church, I briefly checked email and made a note to call Mr. S back about his grief. Having lost his wife of 57 years just a few short months ago, Mr. S  told me he felt adrift; one of the things a Parish Nurse can do is help cast out lines of communication and connection, helping him find new ways to anchor himself —social activities, service opportunities, and spiritual comfort.
    I prepared a devotional thought before going to a Caregiver’s Support Group and sharing an hour with them. Meeting once a month, the group of a dozen or so people helps one another through the thick and thin of caregiving, discussing different topics each month and sometimes even having special speakers from nearby facilities.
    After a quick lunch at my desk, I joined a weekly meeting with the pastors on congregational care, discussing how we could best address the needs of our members who were going through a variety of crisis. We usually assigned one designated person to be in charge of responding to a particular need, then bring the others in as was necessary.
    After the meeting, I spent the afternoon returning phone calls, checking on people who were post-op, making notes after each phone call or contact, and working on coordinating some of our outreach ministries: prayer shawls, frozen casseroles, cards, and birthday visits to our “At Home” members.
    One of the beautiful things about Parish Nursing is that there is not a “typical” day. Every day is different and some more challenging than others. What I have described above could stand as a representative sample of what happens many days. As members of the church staff, Parish Nurses work closely with pastors, collaborating in the wholistic care of their parishioners: body, mind and spirit.
    Parish Nursing, begun in the 1980s by Grainger Westburg, is a place where nurses can find new ways to use their skills. While my position is a regular part-time position and I receive a small stipend for my work, many Faith Community Nurses are volunteers who work just a few hours a week, checking blood pressures on Sundays and answering questions or making phone calls. There are a number of definitions of Parish Nursing, but they all include most of the following, “A Parish Nurse is a registered nurse with specialized knowledge who is called to ministry and affirmed by a faith community to promote health, healing and wholeness. The role of the parish nurse is to promote the integration of faith and health in a variety of ways that reflect the context of the faith community. Specific examples include: health advocacy, health counseling, health education and resource referral (http://www.capnm.ca/fact_sheet.htm )”
    If you are interested in being a Parish Nurse, how do you get started? First and foremost you will need to have the support of your church’s leadership to work in this capacity. Talk with your congregation’s governing body and gauge their support. If you feel led to continue after that, you can take an online course in becoming a Parish Nurse to better prepare yourself. You can also seek out other Parish Nurses in your area. Nationally, the Westburg Institute serves as the unifying organization for FCNs, holding an annual symposium, publishing articles and books and providing visionary leadership.
    After a busy afternoon, I snapped my computer closed, double checked my calendar for the next day and got ready to meet a girlfriend for a walk in the spring sunshine, feeling blessed to be able to be a nurse in a church.
  6. Like
    jeastridge got a reaction from traumaRUs, MSN, APRN in A Day in the Life of a Parish Nurse (aka Faith Community Nurse)   
    The doors to the ICU swung open as I swiped my badge and I took a deep breath before stepping forward to face Jane and her family. An elderly woman, 90+, Jane faced day 7 on a vent in the ICU after a serious bout with pneumonia. I greeted her son who sat quietly at her bedside, by now impervious to the low key but constant whirr and beep of the machinery that worked to keep his mom alive. After greeting him, I stepped over to take Jane’s flaccid and swollen hand in mine and greeted her, too.
    Talking with the son, he related the events of the past 24 hours. He emphasized that the doctors assured him she was “stable” and “not suffering.” Despite her advance directive that stated her preferred wishes not to be intubated, when the time came, she was lucid and changed her mind, giving hurried permission for interventional care.
    After talking a while, I brought up the idea of talking with the doctor about having a Palliative Care Consult. Emphasizing that this was something the doctor would have to order if she thought it was appropriate, I described the possible perspective they might bring to the overall picture. During our conversation, his internist came in and said, “I have put in for a Palliative Care Consult” clearly seeing the same picture that we were and thinking it might be time to pause and consider how to move forward.
    After prayer and a moment with scripture, I went on to see others in the hospital before heading over to the church where I have an office. Seeing patients in the ICU is not an everyday occurrence but does happen with a fair degree of regularity. In that environment, the Parish Nurse can serve as a spiritual support person, an interpreter for medical terminology and procedures and a liaison between the family and the staff, especially if difficulties arise.
    At the church, I briefly checked email and made a note to call Mr. S back about his grief. Having lost his wife of 57 years just a few short months ago, Mr. S  told me he felt adrift; one of the things a Parish Nurse can do is help cast out lines of communication and connection, helping him find new ways to anchor himself —social activities, service opportunities, and spiritual comfort.
    I prepared a devotional thought before going to a Caregiver’s Support Group and sharing an hour with them. Meeting once a month, the group of a dozen or so people helps one another through the thick and thin of caregiving, discussing different topics each month and sometimes even having special speakers from nearby facilities.
    After a quick lunch at my desk, I joined a weekly meeting with the pastors on congregational care, discussing how we could best address the needs of our members who were going through a variety of crisis. We usually assigned one designated person to be in charge of responding to a particular need, then bring the others in as was necessary.
    After the meeting, I spent the afternoon returning phone calls, checking on people who were post-op, making notes after each phone call or contact, and working on coordinating some of our outreach ministries: prayer shawls, frozen casseroles, cards, and birthday visits to our “At Home” members.
    One of the beautiful things about Parish Nursing is that there is not a “typical” day. Every day is different and some more challenging than others. What I have described above could stand as a representative sample of what happens many days. As members of the church staff, Parish Nurses work closely with pastors, collaborating in the wholistic care of their parishioners: body, mind and spirit.
    Parish Nursing, begun in the 1980s by Grainger Westburg, is a place where nurses can find new ways to use their skills. While my position is a regular part-time position and I receive a small stipend for my work, many Faith Community Nurses are volunteers who work just a few hours a week, checking blood pressures on Sundays and answering questions or making phone calls. There are a number of definitions of Parish Nursing, but they all include most of the following, “A Parish Nurse is a registered nurse with specialized knowledge who is called to ministry and affirmed by a faith community to promote health, healing and wholeness. The role of the parish nurse is to promote the integration of faith and health in a variety of ways that reflect the context of the faith community. Specific examples include: health advocacy, health counseling, health education and resource referral (http://www.capnm.ca/fact_sheet.htm )”
    If you are interested in being a Parish Nurse, how do you get started? First and foremost you will need to have the support of your church’s leadership to work in this capacity. Talk with your congregation’s governing body and gauge their support. If you feel led to continue after that, you can take an online course in becoming a Parish Nurse to better prepare yourself. You can also seek out other Parish Nurses in your area. Nationally, the Westburg Institute serves as the unifying organization for FCNs, holding an annual symposium, publishing articles and books and providing visionary leadership.
    After a busy afternoon, I snapped my computer closed, double checked my calendar for the next day and got ready to meet a girlfriend for a walk in the spring sunshine, feeling blessed to be able to be a nurse in a church.
  7. Like
    jeastridge got a reaction from traumaRUs, MSN, APRN in A Day in the Life of a Parish Nurse (aka Faith Community Nurse)   
    The doors to the ICU swung open as I swiped my badge and I took a deep breath before stepping forward to face Jane and her family. An elderly woman, 90+, Jane faced day 7 on a vent in the ICU after a serious bout with pneumonia. I greeted her son who sat quietly at her bedside, by now impervious to the low key but constant whirr and beep of the machinery that worked to keep his mom alive. After greeting him, I stepped over to take Jane’s flaccid and swollen hand in mine and greeted her, too.
    Talking with the son, he related the events of the past 24 hours. He emphasized that the doctors assured him she was “stable” and “not suffering.” Despite her advance directive that stated her preferred wishes not to be intubated, when the time came, she was lucid and changed her mind, giving hurried permission for interventional care.
    After talking a while, I brought up the idea of talking with the doctor about having a Palliative Care Consult. Emphasizing that this was something the doctor would have to order if she thought it was appropriate, I described the possible perspective they might bring to the overall picture. During our conversation, his internist came in and said, “I have put in for a Palliative Care Consult” clearly seeing the same picture that we were and thinking it might be time to pause and consider how to move forward.
    After prayer and a moment with scripture, I went on to see others in the hospital before heading over to the church where I have an office. Seeing patients in the ICU is not an everyday occurrence but does happen with a fair degree of regularity. In that environment, the Parish Nurse can serve as a spiritual support person, an interpreter for medical terminology and procedures and a liaison between the family and the staff, especially if difficulties arise.
    At the church, I briefly checked email and made a note to call Mr. S back about his grief. Having lost his wife of 57 years just a few short months ago, Mr. S  told me he felt adrift; one of the things a Parish Nurse can do is help cast out lines of communication and connection, helping him find new ways to anchor himself —social activities, service opportunities, and spiritual comfort.
    I prepared a devotional thought before going to a Caregiver’s Support Group and sharing an hour with them. Meeting once a month, the group of a dozen or so people helps one another through the thick and thin of caregiving, discussing different topics each month and sometimes even having special speakers from nearby facilities.
    After a quick lunch at my desk, I joined a weekly meeting with the pastors on congregational care, discussing how we could best address the needs of our members who were going through a variety of crisis. We usually assigned one designated person to be in charge of responding to a particular need, then bring the others in as was necessary.
    After the meeting, I spent the afternoon returning phone calls, checking on people who were post-op, making notes after each phone call or contact, and working on coordinating some of our outreach ministries: prayer shawls, frozen casseroles, cards, and birthday visits to our “At Home” members.
    One of the beautiful things about Parish Nursing is that there is not a “typical” day. Every day is different and some more challenging than others. What I have described above could stand as a representative sample of what happens many days. As members of the church staff, Parish Nurses work closely with pastors, collaborating in the wholistic care of their parishioners: body, mind and spirit.
    Parish Nursing, begun in the 1980s by Grainger Westburg, is a place where nurses can find new ways to use their skills. While my position is a regular part-time position and I receive a small stipend for my work, many Faith Community Nurses are volunteers who work just a few hours a week, checking blood pressures on Sundays and answering questions or making phone calls. There are a number of definitions of Parish Nursing, but they all include most of the following, “A Parish Nurse is a registered nurse with specialized knowledge who is called to ministry and affirmed by a faith community to promote health, healing and wholeness. The role of the parish nurse is to promote the integration of faith and health in a variety of ways that reflect the context of the faith community. Specific examples include: health advocacy, health counseling, health education and resource referral (http://www.capnm.ca/fact_sheet.htm )”
    If you are interested in being a Parish Nurse, how do you get started? First and foremost you will need to have the support of your church’s leadership to work in this capacity. Talk with your congregation’s governing body and gauge their support. If you feel led to continue after that, you can take an online course in becoming a Parish Nurse to better prepare yourself. You can also seek out other Parish Nurses in your area. Nationally, the Westburg Institute serves as the unifying organization for FCNs, holding an annual symposium, publishing articles and books and providing visionary leadership.
    After a busy afternoon, I snapped my computer closed, double checked my calendar for the next day and got ready to meet a girlfriend for a walk in the spring sunshine, feeling blessed to be able to be a nurse in a church.
  8. Thanks
    jeastridge got a reaction from OldDude in Yes Ma'am, I mean Yes sir   
    Cool bio. Just sayin.
  9. Like
    jeastridge reacted to OldDude in Yes Ma'am, I mean Yes sir   
    I think we can all agree "Nursing" is, "historically," a female profession. And, regardless of male participation today, nursing is still a female dominated profession. I don't think there is anything negative about this fact and I have no issue with female/male nursing ratios or anything associated with the subject so I'm not trying to make any point about that.
    It's my opinion "nursing," collectively, is considered a female profession in spite of male participation and notwithstanding the conscious efforts to express the contrary or to express the word "nurse" as gender neutral. I believe this arises from our subconscious mental state and has been established, maybe even with subliminal contributions, from everything we've been exposed to in regard to real life and media representation of "nursing." Over the years, as females entered traditionally male professions, "Fireman" became "Firefighter," "Policeman" became "Police Officer," "Mailman" became "Mail Carrier," etc. As a result, the description changes call attention and introduce the possibility the profession could be female or male. The term "Nurse" has nowhere to go in this regard and, to date, I'm not aware of any effort to replace "Nurse" with any other descriptor.
    When you hear the word "nurse," is your immediate mental image a male or female? Say, for instance, if "nurse" came up in a word association game, would you instantaneously see a man or a woman? I see a woman. I believe most of the population sees a woman and I'd like to offer up two personal observations as an explanation.
    First, and you can find a multitude of examples just on this site if a writer is not consciously trying to be gender neutral when they refer to a nurse they will use, "she" or "her." Yes, I've seen some exceptions but, overall, this had been my observation. Maybe you could attribute this to female nurse writers on this site but when you expand it to the general population you'll find male's referring to nurses as "she" or "her."
    Second; and this one has been the most interesting to me over the years...and the most conclusive to my theory. On a regular basis, at least every week for sure, when I make a phone call and introduce myself..."Hi, this is OldDude, school nurse at XYZ Elementary School," the first response I get is, "Yes ma'am -(micro pause)- I mean yes sir." Same thing when I work at Urgent Care..."Hi, this is OldDude, I'm a nurse at XYZ Urgent care," same thing..."Yes, ma'am -(micro pause)- I mean yes sir." The person I'm talking to realizes I am a man. I have a normal to lower pitched man voice. I introduce myself with a man's name - a name that is only a man's name. But I end the introduction with "nurse." I believe "nurse" is what produces the subconscious response of "Yes ma'am." And then the tail end of their mental slinky arrives and they remember I am a man and say "Yes sir." Some of the people get frustrated and apologize and I assure them it's OK and not to worry. It really doesn't worry me and I kinda find it entertaining. I've never been upset with nurses being referred to as "she" or "her." 
    So, I'm saying, here we are in 2019, in the world of PC and the likes, nurses are still perceived as women...and I'm exactly OK with that...just an observation.
    If you have an opinion about this, I'd like to hear it.
    I'd like to hear from other man nurses if you have experienced the same telephone responses.
    Or, I'd like to hear from female nurses if they've received a response to their phone calls as "Yes sir - I mean yes ma'am."
    Otherwise, thank you for reading. 
  10. Like
    jeastridge reacted to Maureen Bonatch MSN in What’s Love Got to Do With It?   
    Nurses are often the healthcare professional patients turn to when they’re vulnerable. As the most trusted profession, our patients may confide information during routine care that they wouldn’t normally share. Sometimes vague or questionable information about relationships may be concerning, and raise questions as to whether emotional or physical abuse is occurring. The way we respond to the patient may determine whether they feel validated, or persist in seeking help.
    Emotional abuse may be challenging to define, since the signs may be subtle, or absent. Nurses are in a unique position to provide education on early interventions, prevention, and health promotion. Adequate communication, and developing an awareness of signs of emotional abuse, may provide an opportunity to offer guidance and education.
    Emotional Abuse
    Most of us have been in arguments, or yelled at someone we care about. Often we regret it and apologize later, and sometimes we don’t. These occasional outbursts are normal expressions of emotions. But if yelling or hysterical screaming is the first, and only response, that may be a sign of an unhealthy relationship.
    Emotional abuse is an attempt to control the other in a relationship. Often the perpetrator doesn't even realize they’re being emotionally abusive. They may feel insecure and blame the other for their unhappiness, or think they know what’s best. A few potential signs of emotional abuse include when one person in a relationship tends to:
    Respond with criticism Attempt to isolate the victim from family and friends Make unfounded accusations Constantly check on their partner’s whereabouts Review their phone, email, and computer history Accuse and place blame for their problems Humiliate with name calling, and other methods to belittle or embarrass Gaslighting
    Another form of emotional abuse is known as gaslighting. This manipulation tactic to gain power in a relationship makes the victim question their reality. It can occur in a relationship, the workplace, and has been used by abusers and cult leaders. Gaslighting is done slowly so it wears the victim down until they begin to doubt themselves, lose confidence and their own sense of identity. Even if the perpetrator tells lies to distract from their behavior, and deny what the victim knows is the truth, they may be begin to doubt their perception of reality.
    Codependency
    Codependency can affect the ability to have a healthy relationship. These relationships are often one-sided and emotionally destructive or abusive. Initially this term was used to describe relationships that involved alcohol or drug dependence, but it has since expanded to include relationships with someone who is mentally ill, or from a dysfunctional family.
    The victim may neglect their own needs, and their family and friends to support their abuser. This unhealthy behavior has become their normal. They may not know how to respond in any other way. Despite their unhappiness, often they feel guilty, and as if they’re to blame.
    Look for Subtle Signs
    We may need to confront their own fears, values, attitude and beliefs about abuse to educate themselves about signs of emotional abuse. Personal experiences and cultural upbringings may cause us to overlook the signs, or question why the patient hasn’t taken the steps to end or leave an emotionally abusive relationship. Relationships are stressful and often the victim invests significant energy into preventing the next emotionally abusive episode. They may not want the relationship to end, but want the emotionally abusive behavior to stop.
    Nurses can look for subtle physical signs that don’t have an identifiable underlying cause such as stress-related health issues such as digestive issues, headaches, or being evasive to the cause of an injury. Try to communicate with the patient alone in a safe, quiet setting and avoid undermining or judging the victim.
    Safety First
    Nurses play a role in identifying, and reporting, signs of domestic violence, now often referred to as intimate partner violence (IPV). Even though the majority of victims are women, men can suffer emotional or physical violence as well. Appearances shouldn’t be judged as to who seems more physically intimidating in the relationship and who might be at risk.
    Encourage patients who you fear might be in an unhealthy relationship to devise a safety plan if they don’t intend to leave, or a code word for family and friends to indicate they’re in trouble. Provide available hotlines and other resources so they realize that there’s help available.
    Increase Awareness
    Often patients who may suffer from emotional or physical abuse don’t ask for help, but that doesn’t mean we can’t offer it. Acquiring ongoing education can help increase the awareness of emotional abuse, and the ability to identify the signs of an unhealthy relationship and how to help these patients.
  11. Like
    jeastridge reacted to Maureen Bonatch MSN in How Do You Referee as a Nursing Supervisor?   
    Where there are people, there’s conflict. Unfortunately, as much as we try, we can’t always leave our differences at the door before starting work. Varying opinions, miscommunication, misunderstandings, values, and priorities can lead to tension and stress. Employee conflicts can create an uncomfortable work environment. As a nursing supervisor, you can’t ignore a volatile situation between employees once you’re aware of it. Often it’s not the conflict that’s the problem, but how we deal with it.
    That’s Not In The Job Description
    When you started as a nursing supervisor, you may not have considered the challenges of dealing with the conflicting personalities of the employees you supervise. Most employees are hired based upon their knowledge and skill, which doesn’t mean they’ll get along with everyone they work with. It can become an even more unpleasant part of your job if you try to ignore the issue. You might end up spending a lot of your time, thought, and emotional energy dealing with the consequences of the conflict.
    It’s best to intervene early to help ease the tension. If you ignore the problem, it may nurture feelings of ineffectiveness and frustration with your position. This may evolve into unresolved resentment for the employees that have made the work environment uncomfortable.
    Step Into the Ring
    You may be the supervisor, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t formed friendships with some employees and developed your own assumptions of others. This can make it more difficult when dealing with a situation. You’ll have to leave your biases and preconceived opinions behind to approach the situation objectively.
    It may be your instinct to try to fix the conflict, but you should try to determine the source of the discord before acting. Just as if it were a patient presenting with a conflicting diagnosis, it’s best to seek the true cause of the symptoms before starting to treat them.
    Put Away the Gloves
    You might only know part, or one side, of the story. Take the time to listen and try to understand the situation before acting. Sometimes when employees feel as if they’re heard it might be enough to start mending fences. Ask questions to prompt them to think about the situation from a different perspective. If possible, encourage the employees to work it out themselves.
    Discord could stem from a variety of reasons such as conflicting personalities, gossip, unequal pay, jealousy, feeling as if a coworker isn’t pulling their weight, perceptions, internal or external stressors, believing there’s favoritism—or they just don’t get along. A few ways to work to resolve the discord include to:
    Allow each employee to privately verbalize their concerns Seek to identify and how to best address the problem Rule out bullying and incivility Give clear, behavioral feedback regarding what could be done differently, with specific information on how to improve Be consistent with standards and set consequences, so employees know what to expect Follow-through to ensure that the problem is resolving Document the situation, steps taken, and resolution for reference Apologize if you’ve played a role in creating the discord Seek another perspective, such as someone from human resources, or another manager, if necessary Ring the Bell
    It can be challenging to be around the same people every day, and even more so when you work in a stressful environment. The healthcare environment requires teamwork to provide safe, quality care. It’s in your best interest, and the interest of your patients, to work to resolve the situation. Draw on your communication skills to help employees develop a professional, or tolerable, relationship.  
    A nurse leader’s work often involves leading by example and providing guidance and coaching to help employees work through discord. It may be an unsavory part, but it’s a necessary one. Try to be alert for signs of animosity before a situation becomes volatile or uncomfortable. Although sometimes, despite your best efforts, there are situations that disciplinary action may become necessary. Be sure to be consistent with following the steps and guidelines from your facility.
    There’s No Winner or Loser
    A nurse leader has to be involved with their employees to know a problem exists. Dealing with employee conflicts may not be the most enjoyable part of the job as a nursing supervisor, but it can help you gain the respect of your employees, and grow as a leader. Although there’s no formula that will work for any, and all, employees, sometimes just taking the time to listen and seek a satisfactory solution can be beneficial for your employees.
    How Have You Dealt With Employee Conflicts?
    Article Sources
    7 Strategies to Manage Conflict
    9 Ways to Deal With Difficult Employees
    Can’t Nurses Just Get Along? How to Deal With Lateral Violence in Nursing
    Dealing With Difficult People
  12. Like
    jeastridge reacted to Lil Nel in Nurses with Attitude   
    Yes.
    Management seems to think that all patients are blind. 
    They are not.
    I have had multiple patients tell me that my facility is understaffed.
    I encourage them to comment honestly on Press Ganey survey.
  13. Like
    jeastridge reacted to Tenebrae in Nurses with Attitude   
    There needs to be a balance between 'bitter and twisted' and 'little Miss happy'
     
    While I dont discuss staffing with families, i have been known to encourage families to take their concerns re staffing directly to management when they have expressed concerns about obscenely high patient to staffing ratios
  14. Like
    jeastridge reacted to JKL33 in Nurses with Attitude   
    I am assuming that the spirit with which this was written is commendable. The over-simplification and stereotypical portrayal of of A and B are a very unfortunate approach, though.
    People do not change their behaviors by seeing them portrayed in an exaggerated manner. Stressed people trying to navigate a difficult situation especially do not change their behaviors by being vilified. They simply become more downtrodden.
    Second, the approach of not seeking an honest rapport with patients or in any way saying things with the intent of dishonesty, particularly with regard to scenarios where their care is compromised (in ways either big or small), is a violation of our very Code of Ethics; Provisions 2, 3, 4, 5,  and 6 to be specific (there are only 9). Clearly it is wonderful if a situation can be portrayed in a "not dishonest" manner while providing the best care possible and maintaining professional decorum and demeanor - - but that, of course, wouldn't  include profuse exclamations about the excellent care and the idea that someone will be right outside the door.
    Third, part of what actually enables the situation of poor allocation of resources for nursing care is a long history of nurses being expected to cover for others' decision-making.
    Fourth, it is but a delusion to believe that patients can be fooled about these difficult situations. Any nurse who has always maintained decorum and been careful not to disparage the employer knows this and has fielded questions from patients that get right to the heart of the matter; they can and do make their own observations. They might choose to respect (and therefore trust) a nurse who appears to make the best of things by not spouting off, or they may simply recognize that they are being lied to, and that the person lying to them can't be trusted any more than any other agent of the business.
    Lastly, yes, Nurse A's comments were not professional. But it's a grievous offense to imply that the main thing wrong with the situation is "her negativity."
    😢😢
    As others have stated, there is a middle ground here, and I highly suggest using it in order to protect the patient rapport and one's own dignity and integrity (which is addressed in Provision 5).
    🙂
  15. Like
    jeastridge reacted to Lil Nel in Nurses with Attitude   
    Wonderful comment!!!
    I am a combination of A and B.
    I have had patients with unrealistic expectations due to the fact that I must assess 12 patients before I can do their dressing change.
    Since I do not want these patients to think I am ignoring them, I tell them exactly what is sitting on my plate, but that I will take great care of them.
    I find this approach resets expectations, while keeping the patient happy.
    People just want to be told the truth.
    I don't lie to patients.
    I take their trust very seriously.
  16. Like
    jeastridge reacted to kbrn2002, ADN, RN in Nurses with Attitude   
    Thank goodness I work in a SNF where that inane scripting hasn't been a thing, at least not yet.  While most of us don't go out of our way to complain about staffing issues, we also tend to not lie about it.  When a resident or family member comments about an obviously short staffed shift I will let them know that yes, we are challenged today. No point in lying about it when a shift is bad enough that they ask. 
  17. Like
    jeastridge reacted to traumaRUs, MSN, APRN in Nurses with Attitude   
    Having been the bearer of bad news for years now to many patients/family members its all in how you approach it: I always ask what they've been told about the situation or what is your understanding of this situation? What kind of questions do you have? 
    After I understand what they understand (whether right or wrong), then I steer the conversation to the meat of what I want to discuss. 
    There is no reason for me to get emotionally involved because in order to do my job, I have to remain an objective observer. 
  18. Like
    jeastridge got a reaction from cec0007 in 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.
  19. Like
    jeastridge got a reaction from cec0007 in 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.
  20. Like
    jeastridge got a reaction from megbabyrn in Nurses with Attitude   
    I agree. It was embarrassing to hear.
  21. Like
    jeastridge got a reaction from cec0007 in 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.
  22. Like
    jeastridge got a reaction from not.done.yet, MSN, RN in 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.
  23. Like
    jeastridge got a reaction from not.done.yet, MSN, RN in Nurse on a Mission Trip to Belize   
    If you feel a leaning toward doing this, don't hesitate! Joy
  24. Like
    jeastridge got a reaction from cec0007 in 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.
  25. Like
    jeastridge got a reaction from cec0007 in 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.
×