Nursing Voices

Monday, March 31, 2008

Calling for Submissions

Look at these two. I wish they would knock it off. I'm tired of workplace violence. They are going to miss the next Change of Shift if they don't stop fighting. Have you sent in a post? Don't miss out. Send me a link to your post at And by the way, there is going to be a very famous nurse hosting this week's CoS. She is one of my best friends, and she is a big time nurse. I can't tell you who it is because I've been sworn to secrecy. I'll see you at the next Change of Shift.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mother Jones, RN Goes to Washington

It’s that time of year again when members of the National Nurse Team meet with lawmakers in Washington, DC to lobby for the Office of the National Nurse. Here’s why we need a National Nurse:


• To establish symbolic national leadership for a new philosophy and cultural shift to prevention in US Healthcare
• To raise visibility, enhance prestige and support recruitment to nursing,
• To provide guidance for state and local leadership that can mobilize nurse volunteers and other healthcare providers at the local level to enhance prevention and improve health outcomes.

The National Nurse would work side by side with the Surgeon General, and each would compliment the work of the other. We must strive to improve the health of all Americans. Go to to find out more about the Office of the National Nurse.

Florence Nightingale would want an Office of the National Nurse. How about you? Every American deserves a nurse.

Before I go I want to let you know that I am hosting Change of Shift on April 3. Please send me your submissions by April 1 to

Monday, March 24, 2008

Retail Therapy

No, that isn’t me. I can’t wear high heel shoes anymore. I’m too old to walk around in those things. I might fall out of them and break a hip.

Everyone has a vice. My vice is shopping. It’s my therapy. Shopping helps me relax after a bad shift at the hospital. I’m sure that its therapeutic value has something to do with the serotonin receptors. There are several schools of thought concerning retail therapy. My husband hates it. He cringes every time I have a bad shift at work because he knows what’s coming next. He told me once that I get a dazed look on my face before I head out for the mall. Macy’s, however, is a big proponent of retail therapy. It’s good for their bottom line. My local Macy's store loves it when I get stressed out at work.

The good people at Macy's want to thank the following patients and their family members for driving me into my latest shopping frenzy:

1) The patient who asked me, “What would you do if I knocked you down on the floor as a ran out of the unit.” She asked this question as her big, brawny boyfriend was trying to get me to open the unit door.

2) The patient who told me that he was allergic to a mild pain medication after he swallowed the pill. The physician told me that the patient was manipulative, and that he was trying to get Oxycotin. I told the patient to get back to me when he started going into anaphylactic shock.

3) The borderline patient who stood at the nurses station for twelve straight hours, demanding to be released from the hospital. After all, she had the right to kill herself after leaving the hospital, right?

4) The two teenagers who started fighting in the hallway during visiting hours.

5) The mother who brought her child into the hospital after the kid bit her during a temper tantrum. The mother came up to the unit, looked at me and said, “Fix her.” I just shook my head and walked away.

Shop till you drop!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

To All Good Eggs

A true friend is someone who thinks you are a good egg even though they know you are slightly cracked.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hard Times

Do you remember reading about the Great Depression in your history class? This is a photo of a Rural Rehabilitation family. According to the nurse’s report, the children had hookworm and the mother had pellagra and milk leg. Unfortunately, history has a way of repeating itself. I’ve been giving this a lot of thought since the implosion of Bear Stearns. I really think that times are going to get tough, and that nurses need to start thinking of ways to help their patients.

I've turned to some of my nursing history books to see how nurses use to care for patients during hard times. I bought this book on eBay. Lamps on the Prairie was published in 1942 and was compiled by the Writers’ Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Kansas. This book is full of great nursing history. Here are some examples from the book.

I’m not making this up. This is a cage bed. Strong wire reinforced the wooden slats. Mental health patients who were housed in asylums lacerated their knees, backs, hips and elbows as they fought to escape from these instruments of torture. These beds were used before the advent of antipsychotic medications. Nurses went to lawmakers and were instrumental in getting rid of these horrible things. Nurses must continue to be vigilant, and report abuses in the health care system.

The authors of the book wrote a lot about hydrotherapy. I thought that hydrotherapy was really weird until I learned about its history. There was a time when people didn’t believe in taking bathes. There were a couple of reasons for this. Some people didn’t bathe because of religious reasons, but many more didn’t bathe because they thought it would lead to ill health. Unfortunately, unsanitary conditions led to multiple health issues that could have been prevented with the use of soap and water. The book explains how nurses worked hard to teach patients the benefits of bathing. The man in the picture is receiving a "hepatic douche." Nurses must focus on preventative care so patients can stay healthy.

My favorite part of this book includes information about homemade medications. Major drugstore chains might want to consider selling powders and potions that our grandmothers were buying back at the turn of the century if the economy keeps tanking. During the Great Depression, housewives cured illnesses such as dropys, melancholy, and consumption by using tried and true goodies from their local apothecary shop. Imagine how sales would spike once cocaine, opium, heroin, and cannabis indica were once again available over the counter. Nurses would have to teach patients about the benefits of the Coca plant.

I hope the economy quickly rebounds, but just in case it doesn't, I’m learning the words to, “Brother Can You Spare A Dime?”

Monday, March 17, 2008

Satan and Lesbian Housewives

Best Weekend Quote:

A delusional patient was watching Desperate Housewives in the dayroom. The patient believed he was Satan. He turned to me and said, “God made Eve. I made lesbian housewives.”

I can't wait to use that information the next time I play Trivial Pursuit.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Looking For Love in the Washington Post

I came across this personal ad in the Washington Post while I was working at the drug rehab center. It read:

53 y/o SWM, 5’6’’ 140lbs, drinker and ex-church member, seeks SWF to help me stop drinking.

Translation: Boozer-loser seeking codependent female for long term dysfunctional relationship.

My boss at the rehab center is single, so I clipped out the ad and put it on her desk just in case she’s looking for a hot date.

I love the Washington Post.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dr. Kevorkian Runs For Congress

According to a news story published in the Huffington Post, Dr. Jack Kevorkian plans to run for Congress. Kevorkian, who is still on parole, is running as an independent in Michigan’s Ninth District. I know that a lot of you are thinking, “Gee, we shouldn’t send a convicted criminal to Washington, D.C.,” but really, look what’s already there. Lobbyists are in bed—figuratively and literally—with public officials, members of Congress are chasing congressional pages, and then there was Senator Larry Craig's unfortunate incident in an airport bathroom. And don’t get me started about what’s lurking in the White House. It seems to me that Kevorkian would be in his natural environment. He’s already spent time in jail, and he would be working with people who need to go there. And if elected, I’m sure that the HMOs will ask Dr. Kevorkian to legalize assisted suicide. Here’s a previous post about how it’s cheaper to let people die than it is to help save their lives.

Say yes to Dr. Death. Vote for Kevorkian in 2008!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Court is NOT in Session

Judge Judy would not be amused. She and I get upset when stupid people screw things up. I went to court today to face down a drug dealer who stashed drugs on my unit and was allegedly selling them to the other patients on the unit. I didn’t see Scum Bag selling the drugs, but I found his stash when I was searching his room for cigarettes. So, there I was, waiting for the bailiff to call Scum Bag’s case when the judge finds out that Scum Bag didn’t make it to court. Apparently Scum Bag is in another county jail, and someone forgot to fill out the paperwork requesting Scum Bag’s presence in court. Hence, I wasted my day and the judge was really pissed off. The State’s Attorney told me to look for another subpoena in the mail. Oh joy!

I hope Scum Bag gets life in the poky for screwing up my day.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Nurse Chapel Speaks

Meet my good friend, Nurse Chapel. She and I go way back together. I watched her on Star Trek every Friday night when I was a kid, and she was the one who convinced me to become a nurse. Nurse Chapel was my idol. I thought it was really cool that she worked on a spaceship. Did you know that Nurse Chapel is a big fan of Change of Shift? The latest edition of CoS is up at Emergiblog. Beam up and check it out.

Live long and prosper.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Sultry Nurses Seduce Patients

You’re right Curmudgeon, I have a fabulous pulp paperback book cover to illustrate this story. What do you think?

This is all Curmudgeon’s fault. He’s my blog buddy over at Second Effort. I wasn’t going to post anymore smutty-nurse book covers, but now I can’t resist. Curmudgeon wrote this post about an article that was published in The Sunday Times. Sarah-Kate Templeton, Health Editor at The Sunday Times, wrote that, according to a new survey, "Almost one in 10 nurses think starting a relationship with one of their patients is acceptable while one in six said they knew of a colleague who had a sexual relationship with a patient they were looking after." I want to know who conducted this survey, and where they found these nurses. I’m wondering about the validity of this survey because these nurses have more of a “social life” than the rest of us. I'm not saying that some nurses don't date their patients, they do, and I wrote about it in this post. However, nurses are not sex crazed kittens looking for a hot date. We’re too old and tired to go to wild orgies after work.

Sorry perverts. Start fantasizing about something else.

Politics On The Couch...

I want to thank the good folks at Politico for this cartoon. This is the best explanation of Schadenfreude that I've ever seen.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Praise the Lord and Pass the Haldol

Best quote from last weekend:

A nurse was passing out meds when she approached an old man sitting in the dayroom. She said, “Excuse me, Sir. I’m here to give you your Haldol, but first, I need you to tell me your name and your date of birth. The old man responded, “I’m, I’m…I’m THE LORD! And my birthday is July 25th. The nurse said, “Isn't your birthday on December 25th? The Lord was born on Christmas Day, and that's on December 25th.” The old man thought a moment, and then said, “I’m the Lord, so I can change my birthday to anything I want.”

Can I get an Amen!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Great White Hunter and the Emergency Room Nurse

Do you remember the old Tarzan movies? There was always a guy in the movie playing the part of the Great White Hunter. He was a troublemaker. The Great White Hunter killed natives and poached wild jungle animals in Tarzan’s backyard. Tarzan didn’t like that, and he would swing out of the trees and kick the hunter’s butt. There was also a hungry lion hanging around that ate the hunter at the end of the movie. That was my favorite part because native killers and poachers suck. And speaking of poachers, did you know that some hospital administrators are trying to poach ER nurses from other facilities? Really! Just ask our hospital administrator, Mr. Grinch.

It’s a fact, ER nurses are super stars. Having a heart attack? No problem. An ER nurse will get you up and running in no time flat. Can’t breath? They will fix that, too, while doing twenty other things at once. And let me tell you, I’ve never met an ER nurse who takes crap. It’s really hard finding good ER staff, and hospitals are doing a lot of things to keep their ER nurses happy. The first thing that comes to mind is MONEY. Yes, it’s good to be paid what you’re worth. Here at the Greatest Hospital in the World, Mr. Grinch came up with a plan, and offered ER nurses a whopping $15 dollar an hour differential for working in our emergency room. This bonus was referred to as a “critical need” differential. In other words, Mr. Grinch started paying top dollar for top talent, and needless to say, the talent came bursting into the nurse recruiter’s office when word got out about the differential. Mr. Grinch built up a top-notch ER staff in no time at all, but there was a flaw in his plan. He didn’t bother telling anyone that the differential was only temporary. It dried up just after a few months. The ER nurses were not amused with Mr. Grinch’s shenanigans, so they all walked out of the Greatest Hospital in the World and started working at the Hospital Down the Road.

Mr. Grinch was beside himself. He wasn’t happy about the mass exodus by his emergency room nurses, so he went looking for his wayward staff. He took a road trip with the intention of poaching a few nurses and bringing them back to his hospital. After arriving at the Hospital Down the Road, Mr. Grinch blew past the triage area, and walked up to his former staff members who were sitting at the nurses station. The nurses just stared at him in disbelief. Mr. Grinch said that he wanted to be their friend, and that all would be forgiven if they came back to the Greatest Hospital in the World. He even said that he would even give back their critical need differential just because he wanted to make them happy. The oldest nurse in the bunch told him to get the hell out of their ER before she called security to have him escorted off of hospital property.

Poor Mr. Grinch has something in common with the Great White Hunter. Lions eat the poachers, and nurses do, too.