Nursing Voices

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Weekend Report

Can you guess what this nurse and I have in common?

Answer: We both work in a factory, and we both frequently check our watches to see how many more hours we have to work until we can go home. The difference is that she gets two 15-minute breaks and lunch. She works in a union shop and I don’t.

I bet you have figured out that my weekend didn’t go too well. I work in a health care factory. The admissions kept rolling in, and there were hospitals from all over the state calling our unit asking if we had any open beds. Sure, we had beds, but we didn’t have enough staff to take care of the patients, so I threw down the gauntlet. I CLOSED THE UNIT FOR ADMISSIONS. Then I told administration. Sacrilege, heresy, blasphemy! When I was asked to explain myself, I said, “I am keeping the unit safe. My first priority is the safety of the patients on the unit.” Keep a mental note of these phrases and make them your mantra. Administrators have a hard time arguing with logic.

I’m sure Mr. Grinch and the administrative bean counters are going to put their heads together this week and figure out a way to make sure that we never lose money like this again. In all fairness, my boss backed me up. She sounded sad when I talked to her over the phone—I’m sure she’s catching hell about this today at work—but she backed my decision about closing the unit.

My plans for today:

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Health Tip For Men

Gentlemen, I want to share this with you because the information it contains may one day save your life. I received it in an email from my mother the other day, and I think every man should carry a copy of these instructions with him at all times. By following these directions you will survive “that time of the month.”

Buy a bottle of wine and enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Green Zone

Photo from Salon Magazine. AP Photo/ Vadim Ghirda.

I’m not sure what Dr. J. thought of me on the first day that we met, but I’m sure he was wondering what he had gotten himself into when he agreed to take weekend call at my hospital. He knocked on our unit’s front door, and I told him that I wouldn’t let him in unless he was bringing breakfast for the nurses. I said that all the other doctors brought us food on Saturday, and we weren’t going to make an exception for him just because he was new. He believed me, and I had to run out of the unit and catch him before he walked onto the elevator and left for the hospital cafeteria.

Dr. J. was a Navy man, and he was earning some extra money by working weekends on our unit. Ordinarily military personnel aren’t allowed to freelance, but our community desperately needs more psychiatrists, so the military allowed Dr. J. to work weekends during his time off from a local military hospital. Dr. J.'s first day on our unit didn’t go well. In fact his first day was pure hell. Dr. J. had gotten a shabby orientation to our unit, and every nasty patient in town had decided to check into the hospital. They all demanded narcotics, and they threatened violence on the unit if they didn't get what they wanted. During his first day on the unit, Dr. J. broke up an altercation between two patients, and a food fight in our kitchen during lunch. He also helped the nurses subdue a patient who was about to throw furniture in the dayroom. I thought Dr. J. wasn’t coming back after he abruptly left our unit after working 8 hours straight without a break. The nurses had ordered Chinese takeout, and when Dr. J. finally came back to the unit after calming down, we offered him dinner. He sat and ate with us and he teased me about the eating arrangements. He said he expected dinner from the nurses every weekend and we told him what we wanted for breakfast next week. By the end of the day, we adored our new doctor, and he liked us, too. We made him promise that he wasn’t going to quit, and that he would be back the following week.

Dr. J. worked weekends with us as the war in the Iraq escalated. More young men from our area were shipping out for the Middle East every week, and we worried that Dr. J. might be next. He said that the military needed him stateside, and he promised that he wasn’t going anywhere. I think he said that because he knew that we were really scared, and that we didn’t want to see him leave. Then one weekend he announced that he had great news. He smiled broadly when he told us that he had been promoted, and as part of his new job, he had volunteered to lead a team of mental health specialists going to Iraq. He said that he was going to be stationed in the Green Zone. We were stunned. I was speechless, and we were all fighting back tears.

I asked Dr. J. for a few minutes of his time after he was done seeing his last patient for the day. I shut his office door and bluntly asked him what he was thinking when he volunteered to go to Iraq. He smiled and said that I sounded just like his mom. He explained that he needed to see the front for himself so he could better assess the needs of the troops. He also told me that the government wasn’t telling the American public about what was really happening to the troops in Iraq, and that troops were trying to commit suicide in the battlefield at an alarming rate. Dr. J. said that he and his team needed to go to Iraq so they could teach frontline medics how to handle depressed and suicidal soldiers in the field. He confessed that he didn’t really want to go, but that he felt it was his duty to go and care for the troops. He predicted that military hospitals wouldn't be able to deal with the onslaught of soldiers returning from Iraq who would need mental health services, and that his ultimate goal is to improve the military’s mental health system. I hugged him and made him promise that he would come back home in one piece. He was deployed to Iraq the following week.

Dr. J. left a year ago and we haven’t heard from him since. He's in my thoughts and prayers.

Will wars ever end?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I Love Carnivals

I'm a big fan of Change of Shift and Grands Rounds, but did you know that there are so many other great carnivals online thanks to Blogger? I've enjoyed reading and submitting post to these carnivals.

Check out these carnivals:

Carnival of bloggingboomers at LifeTwo - ... Midlife Improvement.

Catholic Carnival at Cause of Our Joy

Carnival of A Different Prayer at a Different Prayer

Lutheran Carnival at Living Sermons

Carnival of Medical Surrealism at American Center for Surreal and Paranoid Life.

Grand Rounds Is Out of This World

Hear ye, hear ye.......

Liana is hosting this week's edition of Grand Rounds at Med Valley High. There are a lot of great submissions this week, and I really love the solar system theme. Go and check it out.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Go Ask Mother

It's another lazy Monday morning and I'm so glad I got to sleep in today. I'm really beginning to hate working the weekends. I tease my prince that if I ever get married again that I'm going to marry for money. That way I could quit my job and I would never have to work again. He laughs and tells me that I'm stuck with him for life. I'm not complaining. This princess would be lost without her prince.

I met our two new doctors who will be taking over our unit at the beginning of June. I don't think they know what to make of me. I'm outspoken, and they looked at me as if they were thinking that I needed to "stay in my place." Yeah, right!

It’s time for another edition of Go Ask Mother. I’ve had a busy couple of weeks and I’m just now catching up with my mail. I’m sorry that I’m such a slowpoke about getting back to everyone. Sometimes I think I need to hire a personal assistant to help me get through my day. Does anyone know someone who wants to work for free?

Here are some of the questions that I’ve received from my readers:

In response to the Virginia Tech Shootings, Forty Two asked:

"How do you differentiate between someone who suffers from a mental illness and someone who's adolescent experiences have led him to believe that people are cruel, indifferent, and must be punished?"

Hi Forty Two:

You ask a very interesting question. Where is the line between genuine hurt for reality based offenses, and insanity? I guess the answer lies in the second part of your question concerning punishment. I think an individual crosses the line when they are all consumed by hatred and the need for revenge.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. I have a very good friend who spent 5 years in a Nazi concentration camp, and lost his entire family at the hands of Nazi murderers. He has every reason in the world to hate the human race, but he refuses to be consumed by hatred. He told me that he has been able to give meaning to his suffering and that this is what keeps him sane. He said that he’s known a lot of survivors that can’t get past the hatred and the lust for revenge, and that these people were eventually driven into madness by their loathing of humanity. Today, my friend is a rabbi, and a founding board member of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

I don’t believe that people are born evil, I believe that they are created by what happens to them in their lives. I have a feeling that Cho’s problems started long before he entered school and was bullied by his schoolmates. His great aunt in South Korea was interviewed, and she said that Cho’s emotional problems started to manifest themselves in his early childhood. It’ been reported that some of his writings revolved around the subject of sexual abuse. I hope I’ve been able to answer your question.

Cliffie from Canary Feathers asks:

"Oh Great Mother of All Nurses:

In your last edition of Go Ask Mother, in which you discussed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, my eyes bugged out when you said, “we are what we think.” That's right out of James Allen, Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale, Norm Peale, Robert Schuller,
Wayne Dyer, etc. This leads me to my question. Mother Jones, what do you think of that whole positive thinking movement that sells so many books and seminar tickets. Do you ever use it at work?"

Hi Cliffe, thanks for writing me. I’m flattered that you consider me the Greatest Mother of all Nurses. *I’m blushing*

I’m amused when I see new books touting that their pages hold the never before told secrets to finding happiness. The information in these books is usually valid, but it’s not new, it’s recycled wisdom that’s been repackaged for an updated look that generates a lot of revenue for the authors.

One of the newest books hyping happiness is called The Secret, edited by Rhonda Byrne. The book is based on the movie of the same name. In the beginning of the book, Byrne writes that the book’s pages reveal information that has been hidden from the common man throughout time in an effort by the rich to maintain the social and economic status quo, and that by following the book’s philosophy, the reader can create the life they want, whether that means getting out of debt, finding a more fulfilling job or falling in love. Bryne has compiled the writings of many new age hip and trendy gurus who have also made tons of money by recycling ideas of the people that you mentioned in your letter.

Talk show hostess, Oprah Winfrey has embraced Byrnes book, and the book is currently being showcased on Winfrey’s website, guaranteeing its blockbuster success within the literary marketplace. One of my coworkers bought the book and brought it to work, and as I was flipping through its pages I thought, “Man, why didn’t I write this? I would be rich!” One of the secrets Byrne doesn’t discuss is how to find a great literary agent. I don’t know if Byrne has found the secret to finding happiness in her own life, but one thing is clear, she has found the secret to making a whole lot of money. Maybe it’s sour grapes, but I never use pop psychology books while caring for my patients at work.

If you have any questions or comments for the edition of Go Ask Mother, please send them to nurseratchedsplace (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Target Therapy

Do you want to know a secret? I’m addicted to shopping, but I don’t shop at just any store, I shop at Target. You know, the store with big red target logo and the catchy TV ads. Shopping makes me feel better when I’m feeling blue, and since I’ve been feeling rotten for the last couple of days, I hopped into my car yesterday and drove to Target to get some needed therapy.

Wandering the aisles looking at all the great merchandise usually cheers me up, but not even trying on new clothes lifted my mood, so in utter defeat, I left the store after purchasing a bottle of laundry detergent and a container of kitty litter. I never said that I was a big spender, all I said was that I like to shop. As I left the store and started walking towards my car, a young teenage girl walked towards me and began to speak. She looked familiar, but couldn’t place a name to her face, nor could I make out what she was saying because she was looking down the ground as she was speaking to me. She stuttered and waited to see if I was going to respond to her before she came closer. Then she said the words that I dread hearing. She asked, “Do you remember me? I was one of your patients.”

It’s not that I don’t like seeing my patients, it’s just that I have a bad memory for names, and I don’t like hurting people’s feelings. The youngster must have read my mind because she gave me a little smile and reminded me of her name. She became more comfortable as we chatted about her new boyfriend and her school activities, but I got the sense that she was working up the courage to tell me something important. She finally took a deep breath and told me what was really on her mind. She told me that she plans to go to nursing school someday because of me. I felt my jaw drop, and after a few seconds of stunned silence, I asked her why. She said that I had been her favorite nurse because I’m a little nutty, and because I listened to her when she talked about her feelings. She said that I made a difference in her life. Then the girl’s mother walked out of the store and they went on their way.

My mood lifted as I tossed the kitty litter and detergent in the back of my car. It’s nice to know that you really can make the difference in someone’s life. There are days when every nurse needs a little Target therapy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Fallout From Virginia Tech

I’m bracing for the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings, and the press has released the hounds.

It’s started in the tabloid newspapers the day after the shootings. The New York Daily News is describing the Virginia Tech gunman, Cho Seung-hui, as a PSYCHO. The words madman, sicko, and crazed headcase blazon the headlines rag newspapers, and those words are running rampant on the Internet. No one is arguing that the gunman, Cho Seung-hui, was ill, very ill. He desperately needed psychiatric help. His teachers knew it and so did some of his classmates. People who knew the boy feared him, and some tried to get him help. My concern is that these tragic events will feed into the belief that everyone with a mental illness is a danger to society. This belief is the farthest thing from the truth, but unfortunately, many people suffering from mental illnesses are going to suffer as a consequence of yesterday’s tragic events.

I’ve received email from some of my readers asking me how something like this can happen. One of the instructors of the gunman went to the police with her concerns, but nothing was done. We walk a very fine line when we talk about mental illness and an individual’s civil liberties. In my last post, The Jesus Three, I talked about three harmless men who were locked up for life because they thought that they were Jesus. They were not a threat to themselves or society. These harmless men were denied their civil liberties, and because of what has happened in the past, the pendulum has swung the other way, and now some dangerous people are allowed to walk the streets. Today people cannot be locked up unless they communicate that they are in imminent danger of harming themselves or others. Nowhere in Cho’s writings did he mention any specific plans about committing a crime against others. The question is where do we draw the line when deciding how to protect the rights of people who just think that they are God while locking up those who have a God like desire to decide who shall live and who shall die.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those affected by yesterday’s tragedy.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Jesus Three

Psychiatric nurses get to meet many famous people throughout our careers, well sort of. Sometimes we care for patients suffering from delusions of grandeur. When I was a student at a Veterans Administration hospital, I cared for many “A List” celebrities. I met President Harry S. Truman, the Virgin Mary, and Albert Einstein. I also had the honor of meeting three gentlemen on a unit, all claiming to be Jesus Christ. The unit nurses dubbed the trio “The Jesus Three.”

The Jesus Three were a happy trio that spent a lot of time together in the unit’s sunroom, reading the Bible and debating religion. They also walked through the unit baptizing other patients and the staff. I felt a gentle mist of water landing on the back of my neck one day as I was talking to one of my patients in the dayroom. I turned around and found one of the men with a plastic spray bottle. He smiled as he baptized me and said he was saving my soul. I thanked him, and went on with my conversation.

I couldn’t understand how these gentle souls ended up in the hospital. They never yelled or cursed, and they helped out the nursing staff by feeding patients who couldn’t feed themselves. I also saw them writing letters for those who couldn’t read or write, and chatting with patients who never received any visitors. I found out later that their family members didn’t want to deal with “peculiarities,” so they had them committed into the hospital. That sort of thing was commonplace back then, and unfortunately they got swept up in an unfair system.

Nurses are taught never to feed into a patient’s delusions, but on the last day of my psychiatric clinical rotation, I just had to ask them how they could all be Jesus Christ. After all, didn’t the Bible say that there was only one true Messiah? They all looked at me and smiled. One of the men said, “I guess that just proves that the spirit is among us.”

Maybe angels really do walk among us on psychiatric units.

Friday, April 13, 2007

In Defense of Nurse Ratched.

I’m getting word that the name of my blog is upsetting some people, so it's time that we clear the air and discuss some issues that are circulating within the nursing community.

There are nurses in our profession who are on a mission to elevate the profession of nursing by combating nursing stereotypes. They truly feel that as long as nurses are portrayed as buxom sex-craved women, or women such as Nurse Ratched, the profession will forever be condemned to subservience. I applaud anyone who stands up and fights for their beliefs, however I think that nurses are missing an important point.

Despite prolific stereotypes of nursing within our culture, nurses are the most trusted professionals in America. The public loves us and no one in their right mind believes that these stereotypes are an accurate portrayal of our profession. We are viewed as angels of mercy, another stereotype that many nurses are willing to accept. The problem with nursing isn’t how we are portrayed in pop culture, or how the public views us, the problem is entrenched in how nurses view each other. Nursing is not only a profession; it’s a culture all to its own, and frankly, it’s the most catty and backbiting culture on the planet. I’ve never been able to explain this phenomenon, but I’ve always suspected that it’s because the nursing profession is swimming in estrogen. Yes, my statement could be construed as another stereotype, but come on, let's be honest, I bet that thought has crossed your mind, too.

Cultural stereotypes aren’t the problem; we are our own worst enemy. We can’t even agree about who is qualified to be a nurse. The great debate about who is educationally qualified to be a nurse rages on. Outsiders with a bird’s eye view of our profession can’t figure us out, or they take advantage of our divisions, and use them to exploit us. For example, hospital administrators have exploited these divisions for years, and continue to use them to subjugate their nursing staff. Other professions, such as doctors, are also stereotyped in the media, yet they are thriving as a profession. Doctors are powerful within hospitals because they don’t undermine their colleagues, and they work together as a united front. Nurses need to take note, and follow the example set by physicians.

Believe me, when Ken Kesey wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, he wasn’t thinking, “Gee, how can I insult nurses. I know, I’ll create Nurse Ratched. That will do the trick.” Nurse Ratched is a literary metaphor for a lot of different things, and I make no apologies for choosing Nurse Ratched’s Place for the name of my blog. As an ardent bibliophile, and as a psychiatric nurse, I find her character fascinating and I enjoyed the book. Stop throwing rotten tomatoes, and start focusing on making relevant changes that will empower nurses.

Let the hate mail begin...........

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cap Me!

I know that some of you think that the old-fashioned capping ceremony is corny, but I feel bad that some of you have never gotten to experience the thrill of getting your cap or pin, so I wanted to share this picture with you. Yep, that’s me many moons ago. How do I look? Of course, other than the gray hair, the extra pounds, the wrinkles, and the sagging body parts , I look the same today as I did on the night that I received my cap. Hey, don’t challenge my delusional system unless you can replace it with something better. I wonder what score Kim from Emergiblog would give my cap based on the Emergiblog Cap Rating Scale. By the way, did you know that we used Lubrafax to glue our stripes onto our caps?

I received this email from my mother and I wanted to pass it on to you. It’s cute. Don’t write these entries at work:

Charting Bloopers
(Actual writings from hospital charts):

1. The patient refused a autopsy.

2. The patient has no previous history of suicides.

3. Patient has left white blood cells at another hospital.

4. She has no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very
hot in bed last night.

5. Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.

6. On the second day the knee was better, and on the third day it disappeared.

7. The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be

8. The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.

9. Discharge status: Alive but without permission.

10. Healthy appearing decrepit 69-year old male, mentally alert but forgetful.

11. Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.

12. She is numb from her toes down.

13. While in ER, she was examined, x-rated and sent home.

14. The skin was moist and dry.

15. Occasional, constant infrequent headaches.

16. Patient was alert and unresponsive.

17. Rectal examination revealed a normal size thyroid.

18. She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life, until
she got a divorce.

19. I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy.

20. Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.

21. Examination of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.

22. The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.

23. Skin: somewhat pale but present.

24. The pelvic exam will be done later on the floor

25. Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What Does it Take to Be a Real Nurse

I saw this on eBay last week. Isn’t it cute? I remember my capping ceremony. I stood in front of a crowded church while reciting the Florence Nightingale Pledge. It’s something that I will never forget. Looking back, I’m amazed that I ever got to take that pledge, or that I made it through nursing school.

I went to nursing school in a small town in Southern Illinois. Racial tensions were high, and the Klu Klux Klan was in its glory. The schoolwork was hard enough, but imagine trying to get through your emergency room rotation as one of your teachers is bragging to the other faculty members about how she was going to crucify a Jew. I’ll give you one guess who she was talking about. This woman screamed at me in front of my classmates, and in her office behind close doors. She constantly told me that she would made sure that I never made it through nursing school. I quietly took her abuse. I was young, inexperienced, and scared, but I was determined to stick it out. I decided that I wasn’t going to give my teacher the satisfaction of running me out of town.

Those events happened many years ago and I’m still standing. I am bulletproof and unbreakable. I am a real nurse.

Iris from “Did I Just Say That Out Loud ????” has started a meme which asks what makes someone a real nurse. I’ve posted my answers, and I hereby tag Kim at Emergiblog, Deacon Barry, Nurse William, and anyone else who wants to play.

Real nurses can talk about all kinds of gross body fluids while eating a meal.

Real nurses can tell a doctor what orders they need to write in a patient's chart while making the doctor believe that it was their idea to write those orders in the first place.

Real nurses can run a three-minute mile while they are at work in two minutes flat.

When real nurses get together, they grip about work. Sorry, but if you think that today’s hospitals are focusing on how to provide good quality care, you aren’t a seasoned nurse, and you are naive. Hospitals are running their nurses into the ground and real nurses know that hospitals are strictly profit driven.

Real nurses are patient advocates.

Tag, you're it!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah!

I found a letter in my post office box late last week from our hospital administrator, Mr. Grinch, announcing hospital pep rally week. He said he loves working with us, and that we will be celebrating excellence. Mr. Grinch explained that our wonderful hospital has five “Pillars of Excellence” that guide our daily actions and decision-making policies. The pillars are Quality, Service, People, Innovation, and Finance. I immediately thought that I had found a typo in the letter when I discovered that Finance was mentioned as the last pillar. After all, nurses are constantly being told that we have to work harder with less staff in order for the hospital to make more money. Mr. Grinch said that he was was very excited about the upcoming events. Here’s what’s happening this week at the hospital:

Monday: Silly Hat Day.

Free Hot Breakfast Bar in the hospital cafeteria from 6-9 a.m. Employees must be wearing a silly hat to get a free breakfast. I’ve heard of singing for your supper, but I’ve never heard of looking silly for your breakfast. I think I’ll pass.

Tuesday: Crazy Socks Day.

Sorry, there are no prizes for wearing crazy socks on Tuesday. You just get the honor of looking peculiar while you are at work.

Wednesday: Wear a Smile Day

Employees who smile are eligible to receive a free chair massage and blood pressure screening in the basement by the cafeteria. Keep on smiling!

Thursday: Hospital Spirit Day

Employees are encouraged to wear hospital colors to work to show their “team spirit.” For doing this, hospital employees will be rewarded with a hamburger or hotdog cooked out on a grill, and a chance to win a FREE flat screen TV. I can't imagine Mr. Grinch giving away a nice television. Maybe he plans to charge a delivery fee equivalent to the cost of the television. I wonder if it’s the same kind of TV that Mr. Grinch has in his luxurious office.

Friday: Jeans Day

Once again, there are no special prizes for wearing jeans to work, but the hospital plans to deliver special gifts to each department. Maybe I'll drop by the hospital to see if these guys are our “special gifts.”

I felt butterflies in my stomach after reading my letter from Mr. Grinch, or maybe it was just gas. Oh yeah, I’m feeling the love. Anyway, I can’t wait to see what they come up for us for Nurses Week. I heard that the hospital plans to spend 4 bucks on each nurse. Well placed sources have told me that Mr. Grinch plans to buy us each a flash light. Oh joy, now I'm really feeling the love. I’ll keep you posted.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

More Medical Pulp Fiction

You can find them in every town, living somewhere on the wrong side of the tracks. They are doctors and nurses, looking for a few cheap thrills. Dedicated professionals by day, these harlots and lustful men meet in dark corridors of seedy hospitals, full of passion, longing for each other’s touch. Their steaming hot bodies yearn for excitement, but in the end, they find only momentary pleasure. Their flesh is weak and their souls perish in the flames of their desires. Once again it is time to visit the men and women of medical pulp fiction.

I love the covers on these sleazy books, don’t you? My book collection is growing, and I’ve found these books on the Internet. Here’s a sampling of my new acquisitions.

She was his nurse and his office wife! That’s why Janice and Eric simply had to keep their love for each other a secret. But how long could such a secret be kept from Eric’s lovely, ruthless wife, Elissa—or from Ben Archer, the man who was determined to marry Janice?

How long could Janice and Eric go on seeing each other every day, tortured by the few moments of intimacy they were able to steal? All that was bottled up had to rise to the surface and break through like a volcano erupting…it had to happen!

This is just another illustration of why NOT to have an affair at work. Things don’t get done, and people are going to find out about your relationship. And I’d like to know what the job description is for an office wife. I’m sure it has nothing to do with cooking or washing windows. I think Nurse Janice is about to get her hair torn out by a pissed off wife.

What do rules mean to a girl torn by passionate yearning? Yet Joy Durling, nurse and woman, found herself trapped by two sets of rigid, moral codes—those which forbid a nurse to get emotionally involved with her patients, and those which damn a woman who loves another woman’s husband. Joy found that working beside a young doctor, watching his strong hands move over the patient, feeling his strength, his will, change the lives of helpless men and women, was an experience she could not ignore. Despite her struggle to avoid it, Nurse Durling found herself swept into a love-torn situation with her patient, her patient’s ruthless husband, and with handsome Dr. Barry Kirk….a turbulent foursome that almost led to the ruin of all of them.

What is it about being an office nurse that makes a girl’s libido go haywire? Nurse Durling sounds like she has very poor personal boundaries. She needs to snap out of it and start taking better care of her patients. The woman is the background needs some privacy while she is getting dressed. And Dr. Kirk better watch out. Nurse Durling might change her mind about him and charge him with sexual harassment in the workplace. Good grief!

Being a nurse, and a sensationally attractive woman besides, young Laura Weston found it ridiculously easy to make a conquest of R. Steven Prescott. From the first moment of intimacy in her apartment, he found himself slipping deeper and deeper into her power—at last becoming her helpless tool in a racket which had become one of the obnoxious social evils of our times.

Working outside the law, Laura executed her black plans with the boldness and precision of a master villainess, relying not only on her wits, but also on her superb body. Could nothing stop this beautiful, unscrupulous woman?

Poor Dr. Prescott. Laura used her pretty face to sucker him into working for a black market baby-selling ring, and now Dr. Prescott wants out of the deal. Laura is a tricky office nurse, and it looks like her boss has had it with her shenanigans. Now I’ll admit, I’ve done some things in the past that have really gotten some doctors upset with me, but I never remember doing anything that made them want to kill me. Wait, maybe once, but that’s another story. It looks like Dr. Prescott is about to air his grievances with Nurse Weston. Maybe he should start out by discussing the office dress code.

Friday, April 06, 2007

One Last Thought

There is nothing worse than bitchy eggs. Enjoy your Easter weekend!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Old School: Bygone Days of Patient Education

What’s going on here? This looks vaguely familiar. Wait a minute, I remember, it’s called patient teaching. This is a visiting nurse teaching a new mother how to make formula for her baby. I know this is going to come as shock to many younger nurses, but we use to have lots of time to do patient teaching. Nurses would spend hours doing 1:1 teaching at a patient’s bedside, but those days are gone. Now we barely have enough time to learn our patients’ name before their HMO pushes them out the door.

My first job as a psychiatric nurse was a dream come true. I had time to really talk to the patients, and to listen to what they had to say. Each staff member created a group based on our own area of personal expertise. I am the queen of bargain hunting, and since many of my patients lived on a fixed income, I created a “shopping group,” in which I taught patients how to create a budget and shop for the best deals. During the winter months, my patients and I clipped coupons, and we studied the local newspaper and penny saver paper looking for good deals. When the weather was nice, the occupational therapist and I would take the hospital van and drive patients to yard sales, flea markets, and thrift stores as a way of teaching them how to stretch a dollar. We had the patients make up a shopping list, and then we would give them money to buy their items. Today's HMO companies would never reimburse a hospital for that group. HMO won’t let us take patients out anymore because “if they are well enough to go outside of the hospital for a group, they are well enough to go home.”

Since hospitals are demanding that nurses do more work with less staff, I’ve created this group that takes into account the time constraints placed on busy nurse’s schedule. I estimate that a nurse can complete this 1,2,3, Zing group in about 15 minutes. Maybe the insurance companies will pay for it if we document the activity as a socialization or nutrition group. Things go better with Coke.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Shoot Me, I'm Not Perfect

It’s hard being the perfect woman, the perfect mother, and most importantly, the perfect nurse. I need to re-read this book and take a refresher course on how to be flawless because I screwed up at work.

I went to bed last night after working my usual Sunday evening shift and I went right to sleep. I was exhausted when I arrived back home, and I was well on my way to falling into a deep, peaceful sleep when I woke up around 2 A.M. I sat straight up in bed and screamed a succession of naughty words when I remembered that I hadn’t documented that my patients had received their 10 PM meds. Now I promise you, my patients got their medications, and I know that I can document those medications when I return to work, but crap, I hate it when I make mistakes. I’m the charge nurse, I’m the old pro, I’m suppose to be perfect! I tossed and turned in bed, and I couldn’t go back to sleep. Some people would say that I had a senior moment, while others might suggest that I had a mind fart, but whatever you call this phenomenon, it SUCKS.

Hospitals require perfection from their nurses, and God help you if you fail to meet their employer’s expectations. Perhaps Fujitsu’s new service robot will replace me if I make any more mistakes at work. I guess my boss will have something else to throw in my face during my next evaluation.