Nursing Voices

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's a Fact: Middle Age Sucks

This is Maxine. She’s my role model. Just wait until my kids try sticking me into a nursing home. They’ll never see what hit them.

I found this yesterday while I was visiting my favorite blogging attorney at Second Effort. Scientists have proven that Middle Age makes us depressed. Well, duh! I’d like to know who was silly enough to fund that project. I guess that Thomas Tusser was right when he said that a fool and his money are soon parted.

Why can’t they fund studies like this one:

This study makes more sense. What do you think?

When you’re done scratching your head and trying to figure out how these scientists procured their research funding, check this post out. Amy Quinn from Live Smarter talks about the ten terrible patients you meet in a hospital, and how to deal with them. It's good stuff, and she didn't need a research grant to figure it out. Then go visit Kim at Emergiblog for Beatle's Week at Grand Rounds. You're going to love it! Yeah, yeah, yeah!!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Help Wanted: Nurse with a Broken Heart

Poor Kate Mallory. She’s having man problems. Here’s her story:

Kate wore her nurse’s cap proudly. She was pretty and redheaded, but as old Dr. John said, “there was no nonsense about her.” That is why he chose her as the nurse for the Vincent case.

The Vincents were a powerful family, and Kate knew that caring for a crippled child in their isolated mansion would be demanding, but her job was not made easier by men involved in her life. After all, how long could a beautiful nurse stay in the same house with a handsome, moody young widower? And then, too, her employer’s cousin, a brash young doctor, had begun to show a disturbing interest in her. It would be best to go…and yet, when she held the tiny helpless baby, she knew that to leave world be to fail—as a nurse, and as a woman.

It sounds like Kate is going to have her heart broken before she figure things out. I’ve worked with a lot of nurses who are always suffering from a broken heart, so nurse recruiters, listen up! Here is a new recruiting tool that will lure more nurses into your place of employment. A Japanese marketing company is offering “heartache leave” to the their employees who are going through a bad breakup with their partner, and they are offered more leave days per breakup as they get older. This is a great perk for nurses because we aren’t getting any younger. This firm also offers leave during “shopping season.” I’m passing this along to you because, God knows, you need all the help that you can get to keep nurses from leaving the profession.

I’m still looking for my dream job. Last weekend turned into a pile of pooh from the moment that I stepped foot onto the unit. No staff, violent patients, and crazy family members who screamed at the nursing staff just because they can. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget about the guy who threatened to break my nose because we were out of ice cream. Sorry, I don’t work at a Baskin Robbins. Maybe I’ll dress up in a pink, pinstriped pinafore and put Haldol sprinkles on top of ice cream cones all day in an effort to keep the peace. Or better yet, I’ll find a new job that offers heartache benefits, and I'll start breaking up with a new guy every week. I need the time off.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Snort-Laugh Heard Round the World

(If a nurse ever acted like this at work, he or she would be fired on the spot.)

See the woman standing by Steven Jobs? Her name is Katie Cotton. Katie is Apple's Vice President of Worldwide Corporate Communications, and one of the dumbest people on the planet. She never learned the first rule about the blogosphere: Do not snort-laugh at a blogger, especially one who is a cult hero. It will come back to haunt you for the rest of your life.

During Macworld 2008, Violet Blue saw Steven Jobs on the show floor and decided to go talk to him. According to her website, Ms. Blue is pro blogger, podcaster, vlogger and femmebot at Metblogs SF, Geek Entertainment TV, and Gawker Media's Fleshbot. She is also a sex columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, the author of almost two dozen books, an 11-year SRL member, and a Forbes Web Celeb. In other words, Ms. Blue is well connected. This is what she wrote on her blog:

So, I saw that Steve Jobs was just hanging out on the Macworld expo floor, not in conversation, not talking to anyone, and poking at his phone in the middle of the public so I walked over. Thinking a girl -- in this case, a fangirl, me -- will never get anything if she doesn't ask for it, I lightly touched his arm and said "hi". He looked at me, and I blushingly asked if it would be okay for me to ask if I could take a picture with him. I didn't say my name or anything else, I was just a girl. He told me curtly, flatly that I was rude. And turned his back to me. The small circle of people around him sniggered. That woman you see actually snort-laughed at me, and rolled her eyes.

Ms. Blue snapped the picture (above) of Steven and his posse. Moments later, technical evangelist, Robert Scoble, caught up with Ms. Blue. He filmed and livestreamed her reaction to the snubbing. See below:

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought that people in public relations specialized in public relations. Apparently Ms. Cotton missed that lecture in class, or maybe she is just stupid. Whatever happened, the story about her rude behavior is going to be out on the Internet forever. I bet that Marc Monseau from JNJ BTW could teach Ms. Cotton a thing or two about public relations. Marc does his job well, and he is a gentleman.

As for you, Steven, I think that you’re stupid, too. What's wrong with you? You were rude to a young, hot, sexy girl who is one of your biggest fans. You have demonstrated something that I figured out a long time ago. Money can buy you power, but not common sense.

Friday, January 25, 2008

One Last Thought

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.
-Ben Williams

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

News From Around the Blogosphere

Now this guy looks like he’s having a lot of fun. That or he’s had too many double espressos from Starbucks. Don’t you wish you had his energy? Personally, I think he looks a little manic. Maybe someone should slip a mood stabilizer into his next cup of Joe.

There’s a lot of things going on in the blogosphere, so here are the announcements. Hear ye, hear ye, Change of Shift is up over at Pixel RN. There are a lot of great posts over there, so go check it out.

Nurse Connect , a proud sponsor of Nurse Ratched’s Place, has recently launched some new updates to their site. Great new chat features have been added to the site, and visitors can now take a 60- second tour before joining this unique online community. I’m going to join their community, how about you? I’ll see you at Nurse Connect.

I love red dresses, especially red dresses that promote health care. The Heart Truth campaign, with it’s Red Dress symbol, is working to raise awareness among Americans that heart disease is the #1 killer of women. To help promote this initiative, the campaign is teaming up with fashion designers and celebrities around the nation to showcase the Red Dress Collection 2008 during Fashion Week, starting February 1, 2008. Did you know that 1 in 4 women dies of heart disease? People, this is important, so please pass on this information about the campaign. Click here to get a widget about this event for your blog.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Patients Say the Darndest Things

I remember watching the Art Linkletter Show when I was a little girl. His show came on in the afternoon, and I was allowed to watch it after I ate my lunch. My favorite part of the show was “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” I’m sure that some of their comments and observations embarrassed the heck out of their parents. I remember my mom laughing at what the kids said, and then warning me not to say things like that about her out in public. Over the years, I’ve heard patients say the darndest things. Here are some of the most memorable quotes I’ve heard during my years as a nurse.

A woman gives birth to a baby girl. The doctor tells her that he is about to deliver the placenta. The woman names her baby girl Placenta because, “It’s a pretty word.”

A drug addict argues with a nurse because he wants his pain meds NOW! She wants to know why he thinks that he deserves free drugs and services just for being a bum. He said, “I’m on welfare. Welfare is an entitlement. That means I’m entitled to get whatever I want.”

A patient arrives on a psychiatric unit wearing a tinfoil hat during an election year. He tells his nurse that he is talking to his Space Brothers. The nurse asks the patient what he and the Space Brothers are talking about. He said, “I’m telling the Space Brothers that one of them needs to run for President. The Earth Candidates are fuckups, and we are going to get screwed over again if one of those idiots gets into the White House."

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

(My apologies to Hillary Clinton and to all of her supporters who read my blog. Sorry, everyone. I just had to use this picture.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Evil Children

This is Damien Thorn. He is a charter from the movie, Omen II. It’s a horror classic. Many of the teenagers on our unit remind me of Damien. They are evil children. I took care of my first Damien-like patient about twenty years ago, and I was shocked when I found out that the boy had hit his parents and destroyed their home. I couldn’t believe it. My parents would have knocked me into the next state if I had raised a hand to them, and this kid was still walking around making demands of the nursing staff, and of his parents. Feeling like I was living in the Twilight Zone, I went home and talked to my children after work. I asked them, “What would happen to you if you hit Mommy?” My three year old just stared at me, and my five year old laughed nervously while she sat on the couch. They asked me if I was asking a trick question. I told them about what I saw at work, and then repeated my question. My five year old finally answered, “You’d kill us.” Then I asked them, “When did you first know that you aren’t allowed to hit me?” My daughters thought a moment, and then the youngest said in a tiny little voice, “Forever.”

My mother sent me this. It’s an ad from the Des Moines Register. I bet this kid doesn’t hit his parents. People, you have to teach your children that you are the boss, and they need to start learning that lesson shortly after leaving the womb. Please, don’t come to me whining that your kid is out of control when you let them get that way in the first place. Children seek limits, and they will act out until you finally have to put your foot down, or until the police come to your house and drag your kid off to jail.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Weekend Recovery

This is what I look like on Monday morning after working two twelve-hour shifts over the weekend. It’s hard looking glamorous when you are exhausted. My shifts always end up being longer than twelve hours—they generally turn into 14 hours shifts—and we are always short of staff. Last night I came rolling into my driveway around 2 a.m., and then the hospital called me just about the time I started drifting off to sleep. The supervisor wanted to know if I wanted to come back into work. I don't remember what I told her, but I'm sure that my response was colorful. AND LOUD!

Will someone please pass me another chocolate bon-bon. I’m too tired to move.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Steven Jobs and the MacBook Air

Hey, Steven, I’m over here. This is my future boss, Steven Jobs. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to hire me one day to work for him at his office. I'm going to be his private duty nurse. I want to work for Steven so I can get an employee discount on Apple products. I also want to work for Steven because he looks cute in a pair of blue jeans and in a black turtleneck sweater. Steven introduced the MacBook Air this week at Macworld 2008, and I’m putting it on my list of things that I’m going to buy when I win Lotto. It’s a skinny mini computer that tapers in thickness from .76 inch down to .16 inch. It’s beautiful to look at, just like Steven.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cheap Week

I don’t know how this happened. Someone must have slipped me a Mickey when I wasn’t looking. I’ve been suckered into working on the hospital’s Nurses Week committee. Last year’s celebration was really lame, and this year’s celebration isn’t going to be any better thanks to our hospital administrator, Mr. Grinch. He is continuing his tradition of being a tightwad. Mr. Grinch told us to be frugal, and he gave us a budget of $3000 to provide gifts, activities, and a dinner for over 300 nurses during Nurse’s Week. We asked for more funding and he told us that the hospital is strapped for cash. As a side note, we just found out that the hospital made a profit of 3.8 million dollars last year, but I digress. We’ve been told to beg venders like Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson for money, food, and products to give away as gifts. I’m not begging pharmaceutical companies for trinkets. I begging for tranquilizers.

Happy freakin’ Nurse’s Week.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday Therapy

Photograph by Mother Jones, RN

Those are my tootsies sticking out from the bubbles. I’m not in a good mood. In fact, I would rate my mood as a 9.5 on the “Cranky Old Nurse Scale.” My entire body hurts. Why? Because one of my patients went ballistic and repeatedly slammed me into a wall this weekend when I was at work. Then I had to tackle my patient in the hallway with the help of another nurse while security raced to our unit. I know what’s going to happen next. My boss is going to call me up on the phone and ask, “What are you going to do to keep this situation from happening again?” Here’s a thought. LEAVE NURSING! We were understaffed, and we didn’t receive any support when we told administration something very bad was going to happen if we didn’t get extra help. But everyone knows that it’s always the nurse’s fault when something goes wrong on his or her unit.

I’ve unplugged the phone, popped some Tylenol, and I’m taking a long hot bubble bath while sipping on a few Margaritas. Oh yeah, and I’m also taking pictures of myself getting drunk in the bathtub. Thank God for quiet Monday afternoons.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Change of Shift is up at Nursing

Oh. My. Gawd! It's time for another edition of Change of Shift. I'm calling all of my friends to let them know that they can catch the new edition over at Nursing Jobs. org. It's some of the best reading in the blogosphere, so go check it out.

The Wallflower and the Beautiful People

I was a wallflower when I was in high school. There are pretty girls, and then there are girls with a “nice personality.” I was the latter. I was sweet sixteen, never kissed, and never…well, you know what I mean. I’m pretty sure that I was the only virgin in my graduating class. The pretty girls in my high school dated the cool guys and ran for homecoming queen. I stayed home on Saturday nights and watched Laurence Welk with my parents. Popularity was out of reach, but I learned to cope, and life went on.

Now I’m having flash backs of high school. Kim from Emergiblog surfed over to Medgadget last week, and nominated Nurse Ratched’s Place as Medical Blog of the Year. I felt like I had just been nominated for homecoming queen. My blog was on an A List with some really popular blogs, and I was hanging out with the cool guys, like Kevin MD. I was so happy, but now my dreams are dashed. The committee that is running the contest has cut my blog from the list of nominees. Where’s my scepter? Where are my flowers? Damn it, I want a crown!

OK, maybe I can’t be homecoming queen, but can someone at least ask me out to the prom?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More From the Bookshelf: Who Done It?

I’m kicking back and reading some new books. Dr. Neuschatz contacted me and he asked me to review his book, and being a devout bibliophile, I agreed to write a review. Dr. Joseph J. Neuschatz is the author of TerrO.R. It’s a quick read for anyone who likes a good book.

The main character is Dr. Phillip Newman. He is a quirky physician who loves his job as an anesthesiologist. And of course, he is married to a beautiful nurse. I really like that part of the book. The man obviously has good taste. Well, anyway, Dr. Newman cares for a healthy nineteen-year-old man who wants a tattoo removed, and unfortunately for Dr. Newman, the young man dies on the operating table. The young man’s father refuses an autopsy based on religious grounds, and then socks the doctor with a huge lawsuit. That’s when the sleuthing begins. I’m not going to give away the ending. Let’s just say that it should scare the pants off of the people who work at Home Land Security.

I liked the book, but there are a few issues that the author needed to work on before his book went to press. I found some typos, and some misspellings. The plot was also somewhat disconnected, and the conclusion seemed a little rushed. The book needed a professional editor to whip it into shape. However, even with these weaknesses, the book wasn’t a bad read.

Thanks for the book, Dr. Neuschatz. Nice work!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Is Britney Spears Bipolar or Just Plain Crazy?

I’ve been getting a lot of email this weekend from readers asking me what I think about Britney Spears. I don’t really know what’s happening to the pop princess, but I know what was happening on Cedar-Sinai Medical Center’s psychiatric unit when Britney Spears checked in. This is how the night played out:

The phone is ringing at the nurses station. It’s the emergency room nurse calling report. “Hello, Charge Nurse, you are getting a new admission from the emergency room. It’s Britney Spears. Age 26, diagnosis, Mood Disorder, NOS, rule out Bipolar Disorder. Oh yes, (snicker) Miss Pop Princess is telling me that she is a VIP, and she is asking that we please accommodate her every need.” The charge nurse hears Britney screaming obscenities in the background.

Then Britney is strapped down in four point restraints, and is wheeled to the unit with her posse in tow. The press comes racing up in the elevators, and camera strobes are flashing as the unit door slams shut. The charge nurse meets her new patient. “Good evening Ms. Spears. I’m going to be your nurse tonight, but first I need some information. Do you have any allergies?”

Britney: “*uck YOU!”

The Spears family is ushered into a side office while Britney is given a massive dose of Haldol and Ativan, and goes to sleep for the night.

The next day, Britney denies having a problem, and blames everyone else for the consequences of her actions. So what if she was drunk and high on prescription medications? She’s a superstar and can do whatever she wants. And the kids? Well, they belong to her, so her ex-husband, Kevin, can just *uck off! Then, a couple of days later, Britney throws a temper tantrum and her spineless doctor releases her from the hospital against medical advice. I’m sure that the nurses who were working on Britney's discharge paperwork were surprised by Dr. Phil’s arrival onto the unit. We must be approaching Sweeps Week.

Maybe I’m the one who is crazy, but Britney reminds me of Marilyn Monroe. She’s going to be dead soon if she doesn’t get some serious help.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Invega Popcorn Review

My favorite drug rep works for Johnson and Johnson. He learned from our psychiatrist that we didn’t receive anything for Christmas from our hospital administrator, Mr. Grinch, so he came to our unit bearing gifts. What a great guy! He gave us a Christmas card along with a big box filled with pens, notepads, paperclip holders, clocks, and clipboards. We loved all of his gifts, but we were especially delighted to receive Johnson and Johnson’s new goodie, Invega popcorn. Our drug rep knows that nurses love to eat because we always whine at him if he doesn’t bring in Risperdal popcorn . We all looked forward to popping up some bags of the new popcorn after the patients turned in for the night, but our enthusiasm for the popcorn quickly went up in smoke.

Unfortunately, I must give the new popcorn a thumbs down. My opinion has nothing to do with the popcorn’s lack of active ingredients (see disclaimer printed on the side of the bag). I don’t like the popcorn because of all of the old maids. Unlike the Risperdal popcorn, the kernels in the Invega popcorn are old, and they won’t pop up. One nurse kept trying to re-pop the old maids, but had to stop when the paper popcorn bag started burning in the microwave oven. Security wasn’t happy when the smoke detector was activated. Neither was the fire department. Enough said.

We still love our drug rep, and we sent him a thank you note for his thoughtfulness. I’m sure that he didn’t know that he was giving us a fire hazard as a Christmas gift.