Nursing Voices

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone, and welcome to Doctor Zombie’s Same Day Surgery Center. Doctor Zombie and his colleagues are busy today. I wonder what procedure he’s performing on his patient. Whatever it is, it looks like the anesthesiologist needs to get his act together and check out Surgeonsblog. Doctor Schwab wrote a great post about giving anesthesia.

My little friend, Sparky,and I are sending birthday greetings to our good friend in Baltimore. Happy Birthday, Counselor. Enjoy your special day.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

My Day Off From Work.

I wish my mechanic had wireless Internet at his garage.

I'm having the oil changed in my car tomorrow and I won’t have any way of reading blogs. I wish I were like this girl. She’s young, cute, and knows how to work on her own car. Now if I could get my mechanic to install wireless Internet along with a day spa, I’d be all set.

Don’t you hate spending your day off doing something that you’re not looking forward to doing? Nurses always enjoy having time away from the hospital. It’s nice to have a day to yourself. I once had a nursing supervisor who just didn’t “get it.”

The sun is peeking through my bedroom window. It’s 5 a.m. and I’m in a deep sleep. The phone rings:

Nursing Supervisor: Good morning Mother Jones, RN, this is Mrs. Annoying from the hospital. I’m calling because we need you to come in today to work on your unit.

Me: What? Who….what did you say?

Nursing Supervisor: Oh, did I wake you? I’m sorry. I wanted to call you early so you wouldn’t be late for work.

Me: It’s my day off.

Nursing Supervisor: But we NEED you. You MUST come in. We’re DESPERATE.

Me: No thank you, (grumble-grumble), I’m not coming in (muffled swearing), stop calling me (homicidal thoughts). Goodbye!

A day off is a sacred day. Girls (and boys) just want to have fun!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Perfect Motherhood

Ladies, according to the book, The Perfect Woman, written by Dr. Mary R. Melendy, M.D., Ph.D., we’re all raising our children all wrong. The perfect mother’s soul mission in life is to raise sons who will one day dominate their wives, and to raise daughters who will obey their husbands. I missed the boat on that one. My daughters won’t take crap from men, and they make their boyfriends take out the garbage.

Dr. Melendy uses Lititia Bonaparte as an example of the perfect mother. She’s proud of her son. See the bust of her son sitting on the pedestal? I think Dr. Melendy had a thing for Napoleon. She said that Napoleon was an “extraordinary man, and quoted him as saying, “The fate of a child is always the work of his mother.” Napoleon was quite the emperor. He waged war against his European neighbors for 17 years, is responsible for nearly six million European deaths, fathered numerous illegitimate children, and bankrupt the French treasury. I don’t know that it’s fair to always blame parents for how their kids turn out, but Mrs. Bonaparte raised a little megalomaniac. Way to go, Mom!

The perfect mother knows how to prepare healthy meals for her children, and good nutrition must start in infancy. Here’s my favorite recipe for baby food from her book:

Take a pound of flour, put it in a cloth, tie it up tightly, place it in a saucepan full of water, and let it boil for four or five hours; then take it out, peel off the outer rind, and the inside will be found quite dry. Grate and serve with new milk.


Dr. Melendy also gives mothers advice on teething. She warns that teething can cause water on the brain and is responsible for many infant deaths. One remedy for teething pain is taking the child to the country for a bit of fresh air. She said, “The number of deaths in cities from teething is large, in the country it is comparatively trifling.”Dr. Melendy said to give a baby laxatives if the child develops diarrhea and to coat the child in olive oil. Oh yes, there’s one more thing, NEVER rock a baby to sleep. It can cause convulsions!

A perfect mother knows how to keep her child from becoming sick. Dr. Melendy said that if a cold stable makes a healthy horse, then a cold drafty room should make a healthy child. However, Dr. Melendy concedes that from time to time every child gets sick. Here are some of her recommended remedies for childhood illnesses.

Croup: It is imperative that a child with croup be placed in the state of “free vomiting.” At the earliest sign of croup, give Wine of Ipecac every five minutes until free vomiting is established. If after an hour vomiting does not occur, give the following mixture:

One scruple of Powdered Ipecac, 1 ½ oz. of Wine of Ipecac. Shake well and give one to two teaspoons every 5 minutes until free vomiting occurs. After the vomiting, place the child for 15 minutes in a warm bath. When out of the bath give him small doses of Wine of Ipecac every two or three hours. If all else fails give a teaspoon of kerosene.

Bronchitis: Confine the child to his bedroom, and if very ill, to his bed. Let him rest on a pillow on your lap. If fever occurs give the following:

Mix two drops of Tinct. Of Aconite with one full glass of water. Give one teaspoon of mixture every 15 minutes. For external application, take a strip of old muslin, wet in kerosene, and wrap around the neck and cover with a dry cloth. Leave on until the skin is red.

When a child becomes a teenage, the perfect mother’s duty is clear; make them ashamed of their bodies and tell them that sex is bad….very, very bad. But most importantly, the perfect mother must warn her children about the “evils of self abuse.” You know what I’m talking about. Dr. Melendy explains that self abuse drains blood from vital organs, and is an “offense against moral law.”

Is it safe to say we’re all going to hell?

In my next installment of the Perfect Woman we will discuss Dr. Melendy’s thoughts on what qualities a good nurse must have, and recipes for the sick.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

News Flash: Clara Barton was a Nurse.

Warning: This is a rant. I’m on my soapbox, and I’m not in a good mood.

I was having lunch the other day with some nursing colleagues when someone mentioned Clara Barton. My associate had visited Clara Barton’s home in Glen Echo, Maryland when she was on vacation. She said that walking into Clara Barton’s house was like walking on hallowed ground. Another nurse a the table tilted her head, smiled, and said, “It sounds like you had a lot fun, but you do realize that Clara Barton wasn’t really a nurse.” There was dead silence at the table. We stared at her in disbelief. I finally broke the silence. “Clara Barton is a nursing role model,” I said. “She cared for wounded soldiers during the Civil War, and she was the superintendent of NURSES for the Union army. How can you say she wasn’t a nurse?” Our colleague, who holds a Ph.D. in nursing and who is a nursing educator, didn’t flinch. She said, “Clara Barton didn’t go to an accredited nursing school, and she didn’t have a degree, therefore she wasn’t a real nurse.” After hearing this logic I headed for the bar—I needed a drink.

There’s a feud going on in the nursing community, but this feud isn’t between the Hatfields and the McCoys, it’s between nurses who hold a nursing degree and those who don’t. It’s a passionate feud and the battle lines are drawn. I graduated from a three-year hospital diploma program, and even after working as a bedside nurse for nearly thirty years, there are some who claim I am not a “real nurse.” This infighting is tearing the profession apart.

I wonder what Clara Barton would think about all the bickering if she were alive today. I think she would be amused that some highly educated people view her as less than a nurse. Unfortunately those same people wouldn’t care what Clara thought because she never earned a nursing degree. Nurses are a catty group, and I’m sure Clara’s detractors would belittle her ideas, undercut her efforts to improve health care, and snicker at her qualifications to run the American Red Cross.

Here’s a news flash to my nursing colleagues that just don’t get it: Clara Barton was a nurse, and so are ALL the men and women in the nursing profession who work everyday, taking care of their patients.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Lustful Men

Don't you just love it when studies confirm what we've known for years? According to researchers at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University, men are always thinking of sex. Well, duh! I wonder how they collected their data.

Reacher: "Sir, are you always horny?"

Male Subject: "What?"

Reacher: "Sir, do you lust in your heart?"

Male Subject: "Are you on drugs? What kind of a question is that!"

The research also found that 19 percent of women think about sex on a daily basis. I'm not in that 19 percent. I'm getting forgetful in my old age, and I'm always trying to remember where I put my car keys. I don't have time to think about sex.

Click here to check out the Kinsey Institute website.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Grass Roots Nurse

Here is a grass roots nurse who is working to improve health care in America. She is asking the doctor to support the National Nurse Act. He thinks it's a great idea. Smart doctor.

Heads up everyone, Alisa Schneider and Teri Mills from the National Nurse Team will be guests on Satellite Sisters next Friday, October 27th, at 10:30 am PST. To find a radio station near you, click here.

Mother Jones RN will be listening, and I hope that you will be listening, too.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

More From The Perfect Woman

A few days ago, we discussed what a perfect woman looks like according to the book, The Perfect Woman, written by Mary R. Melendy, M.D., PhD. Today, I’m sharing Dr. Melendy’s beauty secrets for getting that perfect woman glow.

First, find a rubber hose and shove it up your nose. According to Dr. Melendy, flushing the body with water from the inside out will make you robust, hence, giving you a healthy glow. I thought doing things like that would cause a nosebleed, but what do I know, she’s a doctor and I’m just a nurse. She also suggests hiring a chambermaid to hose you down with cold water. I recommend that you stand inside of a tub before your chambermaid administers this treatment, otherwise you’ll have a mess on your hands. The woman in the illustration is not standing in a tub. I guess back then, being beautiful didn’t mean you had to be smart, just subservient to your husband’s will.

Dr. Melendy said that bathing is an essential part to being beautiful.

Here are Dr. Melendy’s rules about taking a bath:

1) Take a bath when you’re warm. After you take a bath, exercise. Sweat makes you glow.
2) Do not eat two hours before, or one hour after bathing.
3) The best times for bathing are at 10 a.m., 3 p.m., and at bedtime. Every full bath should be taken quickly, and should be followed by a vigorous rubdown, and exercising.
4) Wet the head and chest before bathing to prevent colds.

Dr. Melendy said that a woman’s hair is her glory. She tells readers that brushing their hair everyday will remove dust, thereby preventing dandruff, and she suggests that readers shampoo their hair with Green’s soap, pure Castile soap, Woodbury’s tar soap, and Pear’s soap. Castile soap is great stuff. When I was a nursing student, we used Castile soap as a shampoo in the hospital, and we still use it when we give soap water enemas. I know, too much information.

I will be posting more tips later. Next time, we will discuss perfect motherhood.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Prison Nurse

I found this book on e-Bay and just had to bid on the darn thing. Our nurse looks like she walked in on her patient without knocking. Doesn’t the prisoner looked surprised? My nursing instructor, Miss Manners, taught us to always knock before entering a room, and she gave us a tongue lashing if we walked into a patient’s room unannounced.

Dr. Louis Berg wrote this trashy novel. The former prison psychiatrist said his book is an account of what goes on behind prison walls. The Macaulay Company published the original book in 1934. The book was also turned into a movie in 1938

“Young Dr. Evans Dale was in prison, paying society’s just price for transgressing its commandments. This courageous outlaw was the man Judy Grayson loved, but when his life hung in the balance, the only person she could turn to was powerful, ambitious Dr. Hartmann, who wanted Judy for himself.

Judy Grayson dared to bring her gift of healing into an underworld of men—thieves, drug addicts, and murderers!”

I checked out Dr. Berg, and he was not only an author, but also a great scientific researcher. (Please visualize me rolling my eyes). In 1941, Dr. Berg theorized that radio soap operas were responsible for tachycardia, arrhythmia, emotional instability, and vertigo. To put his theory to the test, he listened to an episode from two radio serials, and then monitored his own blood pressure 30 minutes. His blood pressure increased. Dr. Berg concluded that radio soap operas were dangerous to their “unfortunate addicts,” and that middle age women, teenagers, and “the neurotic” were especially at risk for the shows’ ill effects.

I wonder if Dr. Berg listened to the radio show, The Woman in White?

The Woman in White, ran from 1938-1942, and was one of the first serials to focus on a hospital. (Cue in overly dramatic soap opera organ music).

In today’s episode of The Woman in White, heroic Karen Adams, star nurse, is faced with a dilemma. Only recently Nurse Adam’s boyfriend, the handsome, yet deceitful, Dr. Kirk Harding fathered a child with Janet Munson. To make matters worse, Janet has married Nurse Adams’ brother. And standing in the shadows is Dr. Lee Markham. Nurse Adams thinks of Dr. Markham as a friend, but he loves Nurse Adams from afar. Can he find the courage to tell Nurse Adams about his feelings before she throws her life away on a cad?

Will Nurse Adams, unaware of Dr. Harding's dalliance with Janet, become his wife?
Will Janet tell her new husband that he is not the father of her child?
Will Janet and Nurse Adams ever figure out that Dr. Harding is a dog, and kick him to the curb?

Turn in tomorrow for the next episode of The Woman in White (cue out organ music).

Like Dr. Berg, the show’s creator, Irna Phillips was an oddball. Soap opera historians agree that Phillips was a hypochondriac. She allegedly consulted a doctor everyday. In 1970, Phillips decided to take a European vacation and booked passage on a hospital ship. What is it with these artistic types anyway? There's no business like show business.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Perfect Woman

In today’s book report, I’m revealing some tips on how to be the perfect woman. In her book Perfect Womanhood, published in 1901, Mary R. Melendy, M.D., PH. D. tells readers how to have a happy marriage, healthy children, and a radiant body.

First, let’s discuss what a perfect woman looks like. Forget looking like an anorexic super model. According to Dr. Melendy, the perfect woman looks like this sculpture of Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister, Paulina. She has a big butt, a large waist, and a flat chest. According to Dr. Melendy most women are drop dead gorgeous, so let’s move on.

Dr. Melendy writes that beauty starts from within. The perfect woman only thinks thoughts of joy, love, and peace. She instructs women to sit in silence for an hour every night and think subservient thoughts because it helps them become less selfish and more submissive to their husbands’ will. Yeah, right. I’m sorry, as someone who refuses to be a doormat, I’m going to have to pass on this one. The only thing I want to do at night is watch a little TV and surf the web.

Dr. Melendy said that the perfect woman worships her husband, and has LOTS of babies. She said that the a woman is the “seed from which life springs forth.” She also says a good mother knows how to prepare home treatments when someone in her family is ill.

Here are just a few treatments that the good doctor recommends in her book.


“Aconite, Belladonna, Kali Chloricum, Kali Bi-Chromicum, Proto-Iodide, or Bin-Iodide of Mercury are the principal remedies in this disease.

Give one teaspoon of Aconite and Belladonna in alternation, every hour until the fever subsides. If, however the symptoms grow worse, give five drops of Belladonna, twenty drops of Kali Chloricum, and half a grain of the Kali Bi-Chloricum, each in a tumbler half full of water. Of the Mercury, which is also powder, give a dose about the size of a small pea.”

Chicken Pox:

“For fever and headache, give Aconite and Belladonna, alternately (turn about).

If there is aching of the bones, and bilious symptoms, give Bryonia and Rhus, alternately.

For restlessness and nervous excitement, disturbed sleep, etc., give Coffea. If there is a painful discharge of urine give Cantharides or Conium, or both alternately.

If the eruption is very server, give Tartar Emetic.”

Be watching for more tips from Dr. Melendy's book on how to be the perfect woman.

Email From Mother

My mother is my email buddy and she passed this one on to me. I usually won’t post these, but in the spirit of the upcoming elections, I couldn’t resist. Surgeons, take note, you might pick up a few tips.

>Subject:: Easiest Surgery Patients
> The first surgeon, from New York, says, "I like to see accountants on
> my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside
> is numbered."
> The second, from Chicago, responds, "Yeah, but you should try
>electricians. Everything inside them is color coded."
> The third surgeon, from Dallas, says, "No, I really think librarians
> are the best; everything inside them is in alphabetical order."
> The fourth surgeon, from Los Angeles chimes in: "You know, I like
> construction workers...those guys always understand when you have a
> few parts left over."
> But the fifth surgeon, from Washington, DC shut them all up when he
> observed: "You're all wrong. Politicians are the easiest to operate
>on. There's no guts, no heart, no balls, no brains and no spine, and the
> head and the butt are interchangeable."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Dating Game

When I was a sweet young thing, I didn’t know anything about the dating game. I was naïve when it came to the affairs of the heart. Oddly enough, now that I’m an old, married lady, young people frequently ask me for dating advice. I learn through observation. Here are some things I’ve learned over the years by observing doctors.

Tell Your Date You See Dead People.

When I lived in Chicago, I worked with a very handsome, young, psychiatrist. He was well dressed, well spoken, and a complete gentleman. His package included soulful brown eyes, a dazzling smile, and rock hard abs, and yet, he couldn’t find anyone who would go out with him. I asked him why he couldn’t find a date, and he said that while women love the idea of going out with a doctor, they don’t want to hang out with a psychiatrist. He said that women were more afraid of him getting inside their head than inside their pants.

A few months later I noticed my favorite psychiatrist was glowing when he walked on to the unit. He told me about his new girlfriend. When I asked him for the details, he said that before he asked her out, he told her he was a funeral director. He said she was creeped-out and didn’t pressure him for information about his line of work, and that they had a great time on their date. When he confessed his sins, and told her about his true occupation, she said she would rather go out with a shrink than with an undertaker.

Never Date a Married Woman Whose Husband Has a Gun Rack Mounted on His Pickup Truck.

When I worked in Southern Illinois, I knew a doctor who was a notorious womanizer. He never met a woman he wouldn’t bed. One day a raging husband of one of his conquests appeared at the doctor’s office. Apparently, the doctor had made a “house call” when the woman’s husband was at work, and one of his business cards had fallen out of his pocket on to the bedroom floor. The husband parked his pickup, complete with a gun rack, in the clinic parking lot. An office nurse noted the truck’s “optional equipment,” and called the police. As the husband was being lead off in handcuffs for disorderly conduct, the doctor apologized to him in front of a waiting room full of astonished patients.

Painting by Will Bullas.

Don’t be a Stupid Lounge Lizard. If You’re Married, Take Your Date to a Place Where People Don’t Know You.

When I was young, single, and free back in the glory days of Disco, I liked to hang out with my nurse-girl-posse at the local watering hole. One night when we were out, I saw a man on the dance floor who looked vaguely familiar, but I could place where we had met. He was wearing a bright orange silk shirt, brown polyester bellbottoms, and layers of gold chains around his neck. His stomach protruded over his belt buckle and his shirt was unbuttoned, revealing a thick rug of curly hair on his chest. He was with a woman I didn’t know. As I sat staring at the man and his date, one of my friends gasped, and then started laughing so hard she couldn’t catch her breath. The lounge lizard was a psychiatrist at our hospital, and his date WASN’T his wife. The doctor claimed he had an open marriage, but his wife didn’t agree. She filed for divorce. The doctor’s ex-wife received all of the marital assets and Dr. Disco got the shaft. Party on!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Thank you, Google.

Last Friday morning I booted-up my trusty Mac to check my blog's stat counter. I usually have 20 hits by 10 a.m. because my mom, and my other relatives, get up early and log on to see what I've been up to. When I looked at the statcounter, I dropped my can of Coke on the floor. My stat counter was going crazy. When I followed the path to see where everyone was coming from, I found out that my blog made the "Blogs of Note" list.

I feel like I'm making an acceptance speech at the Oscars, but I want to thank the good people at Blogger Buzz and Google for choosing my blog. It's a labor of love, and I enjoy writing about the nursing profession. I also want to thank everyone for the thoughtful comments.

Advance for Nurses.

Check out Advance for Nurses' latest article about the National Nurse Act,which would establish the Office of the National Nurse. Please ask your representative to cosponsor the bill. I believe that every American deserves a nurse.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Medical Pulp Fiction

I know a place where nurses are nymphomaniacs. They work in shady places, wearing tight, white wiggle dressing, and exposing their voluptuous breasts to power hungry doctors. The doctors are lecherous womanizers who are healers by day and adulterers by night. They exploit women to fulfill their savage desires. These are the men and women of medical pulp fiction.

So, did I get your attention?

I’m not like those people who buy Playboy Magazine just for "the articles." I buy these books because I like to look at the vamp-laced artwork on the book covers. Here are some books I just picked for the family book collection.

Mon Dieu! What’s going on here?
Where’s the nurse, and why isn’t this patient properly draped? This doctor obviously has poor professional boundaries because “his patients tempt him too much.”

"3 Women and a French Doctor:

Magoune, a promiscuous young farm wife, has her leg in a cast, yet she is still a provocative woman.

Kitty, a beautiful English adventuress, insists that giving her “pleasure” is the only cure for her pain. (As a side note, I’m sure the HMOs would endorse this type of therapy if they thought it would save them money).

Elise is a lonesome French widow. The Doctor’s massage treatments awaken feelings she could not control!

Does a doctor remain purely professional in his patients’ boudoirs? Here is the highly sophisticated, shockingly frank story of what went on behind the closed doors of a handsome French Doctor’s consultation room.”

Note to self: Keep all hot-blooded, female patients away from French doctors who make rounds wearing a loud, kiwi green suit.

Nurse! Don’t you know it's unprofessional to parade around a doctor’s office dressed like a trollop? You certainly have the doctor’s attention. I also see you’re thinking about what happened last night after office hours instead of tending to your patients.

“His arms enfolded her as she burst into tears. His face was gray and haggard. ‘Christie, listen to me. Don’t’ you see we can’t go on like this, being together, wanting each other so damnably, without taking each other. There’s not much future in that.’ ‘It’s the only future I want, Ross,’ she told him huskily when she had controlled her tears. ‘I want to belong to you, Ross. I want to be yours completely any time and all the time. If we can’t be married for a while it doesn’t matter…Ross, I love you. I’ll never love anyone else…Never! Never!’ Recklessly, Christie offered her gorgeous, fresh young beauty to the man she loved, knowing it was all she had. A young nurse in the employ of a cynical, world-weary doctor, she knew from experience that only passion could hold a man who lived as this doctor did, pampered by women!”

What would Florence Nightingale think?

I know I've shared this book before, but I can't help showing it again.


“A doctor and a nurse embraced in the dusky shadows of the gray walled room, their bodies entwined, their lips pressed together. Suddenly there were footsteps in the corridor….somebody opened the door and turned on the light….

Hospital Doctor takes you into the private world of doctors and mistresses, nurses and lovers—an amazing world of heroes and heels who are tempted by pretty faces and a craving for cash.

From the incisive pen of a surgeon himself comes the shocking truth behind many of the operations performed annually which lead to mayhem and manslaughter; the startling expose of underpaid interns and ruthless physicians who resort to shameless practices and character assassination in their ambitious quests for fame and money.”

Oh please, nurses don’t have time to go to the bathroom, let alone time to play "doctor" with a doctor. See the nurse in the doorway. She’s telling her coworker that she better get back to the unit because all of her patients are on their call light, wanting pain medication.

I wonder how our naughty nurse is able to keep her cap from falling off while she's making out with her boyfriend.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Get Your Hands Off My Coke

Ladies, did you know that you are at higher risk for developing stress fractures because you drink cola, and that you should give it up?

Notice how the nurses are laughing. What, give up cola? Yeah, right!

According to researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, women who are worried about osteoporosis should switch to another beverage or limit their consumption of cola to occasional use. The suggestion that nurses give up their cola comes under the heading of “when hell freezes over.”

Trust me, things can get ugly if nurses don’t get their hit of high-octane fizzy sugar water. Super nurses lose their ability to outrun speeding bullets and outwork locomotives if they don’t get their cola. And you can forget about asking a nurse to jump over a tall building at a single bound. No one jumps like that without caffeine.

If researchers think women shouldn't drink cola, maybe one of them can develop a diet supplement that tastes like Coke.

Coke--it's the real thing.

The Intern Survival Guide

I worked as a neurosurgical nurse many years ago at a teaching hospital in the Midwest, and twice a year a new crop of interns descended upon our unit. It was the best show in town. The spectacle began with the chief of neurosurgery, Dr. Holier Than Thou, strutting on to the unit with his entourage marching behind him. He stood before the crowd in his impeccable white lab coat, telling everyone within earshot of his importance, and how he held the power of life and death in his hands. I would sit at the nurses station and snicker at the biannual parade, and remembered my first day in the hospital as a nursing student. Two interns had asked me to go into a patient’s room to get a set vitals signs. They didn’t tell me that the patient was cold, stone dead. I walked into the patient’s room, saw the dearly departed, and calmly walked back to the nurses station to find the interns laughing their fannies off. I told them they were going to make damn good doctors one day, but first they had to learn what rigor mortis looked like. Nonetheless, because every new group of interns looked like lambs being lead to slaughter, I pitied them, and I gave them information to use as a survival guide. These are the rules I taught them about working with nurses.

1) Nurses deserve respect. We are with the patients twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, while doctors are only able to see patients a few minutes a day. Smart interns forge alliances with the nursing staff, and understand that nurses can save their butts when something goes wrong with one of their patients.

2) Don’t take the last piece of pizza in the nurses lounge unless you are invited to do so. Nurses are territorial about food.

3) Nurses do not tolerate interns with a budding God complex. Nurses have no problem calling arrogant interns every hour on the hour for Tylenol orders, especially at night. Arrogance breeds contempt.

4) Don’t be stupid. If you want to complain about nursing care, be careful when you approach a nurse who is working the last half of a double shift. Refer to rule #3.

5) Nurses are your friends. We want to see you succeed, and if we like you, we will make sure that Dr. Holier Than Thou doesn’t find out that you order Demerol 1000 mg, instead of 100 mg, IM q 4 hours PRN because you were dead on your feet after being on call for three days in a row.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Quality Nurse

Look at that cute little girl in her daddy’s arms. I wonder if her daddy wants her to be a nurse when she grows up. That’s my dad and me on my grandparent’s farm at a family reunion, and yes, he always wanted me to be a nurse. He was a very practical man. He said, “You won’t get rich being a nurse, but you’ll always have a roof over your head and food on your table.” My new blogging buddy, The Curmudgeon, at Second Effort asked me if he should encourage his daughters to go into nursing. His questions made me start thinking about the qualities that make someone a good nurse. It's a question that people have been asking for a long time.

In the 1914 book, “Practical Points in Nursing for Nurses in Private Practice,” Emily A. M. Stoney discussed the qualities of the perfect nurse. Here are samples of what she said:

Qualifications of the Nurse:

“The questions asked by physicians and surgeons before employing a nurse are: Is she neat and clean, and does she understand all the recent antiseptic methods? Does she know what to look out for in the cases under her care, and when to send for the physician? Is she modest in assuming responsibility? Is she faithful to the physician’s orders, and fitted for the cares of a severe and critical illness? All these questions are asked, together with others, and it is a nurse possessing just these qualifications that each one should wish to be.”

Responsibilities of the Nurse:

“The profession of nursing is one in which there is no limit to the good that can be done; it is also one which every woman embracing it must ‘walk worthy of the vocation wherewith she is called.’ A nurse should have such tact, as well as skill, that she will do what is best for the patients, even against their will, knowing how to manage the weakest and most irritable, and doing all that is necessary for them without their knowing it.”

“She must be scrupulously clean and neat in her own person, especially with regard to the arrangement of her hair, which should be smooth and well kept. The office of nurse is too high and too holy for any woman called to it to wish to devote much time to the adornment of her person. Her one object, as regards herself, should be to be clean, simple, neat, modest, sweet-tempered, and to know how to mind her own business.”

Duties of the Nurse:

“The patient should closely be observed, and all that can be done to make her comfortable should be anticipated, not waiting to be asked for anything. The nurse should wear noiseless shoes, and move about the room quietly; she should look where she is going, and not knock against the bed or the furniture; and she should avoid everything that may annoy the patient.”

“The directions of the doctor must faithfully be carried out, and in the absence of directions the nurse should think what he would like to have done. When she makes a mistake, it should be confessed at the first opportunity; the physician will always be found very kind; but if mistakes are left for him to find out, he will naturally lose confidence in his nurse.”

“A nurse should always wear her cap; it is her badge of authority.”