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Med Surg, Informatics
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donnakhamm has 22 years experience and specializes in Med Surg, Informatics.

Although I now work in IT, once a nurse, always a nurse. Looking at nursing from a different perspective and sharing my experience make me a better analyst.

donnakhamm's Latest Activity

  1. donnakhamm

    Is there any help for this old nurse lost in new age nursing??

    What always amazed me was multiple IV lines and ICU nurses. It would seem that every shift the nurse would come in, completely rearrange the pumps and tubing (along with a few lines) and then felt set for the day. At shift change, the next nurse would come it, and rearrange it to her taste! Now that nurses have to chart what lines are feeding into which ports in the EHR, maybe this happens less?
  2. donnakhamm

    Is there any help for this old nurse lost in new age nursing??

    Despite being behind in my email, I had to read this email chain. I am an older nurse (23 years on the job--15 on the floor--yep, Med-Surg with a pinch of ICU) but came to nursing at the age of 40. So, I think I qualify as a COB. I started with a BSN, got my Masters in Nursing Informatics and now work as a Systems Analyst. Notice, the nursing adjective is not included here. I work for IT, but, once a nurse, always a nurse. Change has been such a part of our culture, and until recently, healthcare was immune to it. Healthcare is trying to catch up, and the process is less than orderly. Nursing has not taken a seat at the table as they should have--and it shows. I heard several times that the electronic charting does not reflect the quality of nursing. I guess you need to define quality to be sure, but patient outcomes and patient satisfaction scores should reflect nursing quality. A lot of what folks consider niggling detail are really attempts to record, in a retrievable fashing, information that is important to the care of the patient. At the same time, if done correctly, it can also measure patient acuity. You can 't complain that nurses are over-worked (of course--we can see that!) without some data. Don't be afraid to capture this. The linens didn't get changed....hmmmmm...do you have codes for as to why it wasn't done? Everyone in healthcare is being asked to do more in their jobs--being tasked with working to the maximum limits of their training and licensure. Think of the things that RNs have traditionally done--and love them--that could be done by a CNA? RN jobs are changing, whether we are ready or not. I agree, there are many different avenues for nurses--it is important that we find the path that is best for us. I regret that anyone feels that they are no longer useful or qualified for their jobs. If that occurs, I would look to two things. 1. Leadership who is not aware of how important it is to grow and encourage your staff, and 2. Nurses who are unwilling to try and change. The economy has disrupted the plans of many baby boomers like myself. We have to find a way to adapt.
  3. donnakhamm

    Doctors Don't Always Listen: Bridging the Communication Gap

    Not another "I hate Doctors thread" sigh.... For every bad doctor example there are equal or more bad nurse examples. When are we going to accept that we are all members of a healthcare team with different skills and scope all of which are equally important. Stop with the petty us vs them mentality! I agree, assuming an adversarial stance does not help nursing. Nursing Management needs to stand up for nursing when these situations occur and no hospital should tolerate bad behavior from a physician. This is one of the reasons I would not go back to floor nursing. The other is that nurses are their own worst enemies at times. When we pick on each other rather that build each other up, we perpetuate the stereotypes that others can use against us.
  4. donnakhamm

    Doctors Don't Always Listen: Bridging the Communication Gap

    But what happened to the patient? Did you seek help from a medical director. Does this organization have a process for escalating such issues?
  5. donnakhamm

    So, why are you a nurse?

    I started back to school when my kids were little; I knew that I would not be able to stay home with them forever. My BA in English, non teachng, wasn't going to go far in this community, so when I learned that the local community college offered an Associates Degree in Respiratory Therapy, I was IN! In my first class, Medical Terminology, one of my classmates, with a BS in biology, shared she was getting pre-requisites so she could apply to the nursing program at a nearby university. With a 4 year degree already, only the nursing courses were required to earn a BSN. Same amount of time and a BSN--I was IN! With no medical experience of any kind, I took an EMT class to make sure that I wouldn't faint at the sight of blood. The class required two observation shifts in the ED. Love at first sight! When I learned that I could volunteer while I was in nursing school, I was IN! 750+ hours of volunteering got me an interview for a summer nursing intern position on the Surgical unit. My ED work clinched the job. That led to a part-time position as a nurse's aide during my senior year of nursing school. When I graduated, summa cum laude, during a nursing glut, this connection got me a part-time nursing position at my hospital, and the rest is history. What nursing has given to me: a chance to grow, to connect with the human race in a way that very few people ever experience. Now that I work in IT, I am constantly asked if I miss nursing. Well, once a nurse, always a nurse. I miss patient and family contact, but I don't miss the grueling hours or the politics of the floor. As an IT Systems Analyst, I can explain to my fellow IT folks why the clinical world may seem to make unreasonable demands. In turn, I can explain to clinical folks that what they are asking for is often beyond the capabilities of any IT system. Instead of being the vector between the physican and the patient, I am positioned between IT and clinicians. A better question might be, "Why am I glad I am a nurse?" Just identifying myself as a nurse to someone in need offers me a chance to offer assistance in a non-threatening way. Nursing helps me to meet people where they are at, experience their lives. They might need assistance, or maybe they just need to be heard. I learn something new every day--and most often it is something about myself.

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