When I got out of nursing school, like many, I felt pretty prepared. I knew I still had a lot to learn, but with my drug book in hand and a few other little pocket books, I was ready to go. I read up on things, learned about new drugs, tackled ACLS and overcame my fears one day at a time. But, what I was grossly unprepared for was the art of nursing. Sure, school taught me how to calculate medications, do assessments and manage diseases – all the science stuff. But what it didn’t prepare me for was the sadness I would encounter, the deaths I would see and toll this would take on me. I hadn’t tapped into the art of nursing while I was conquering the science of nursing.
Ok… I have a confession to make. I have been a nurse for over 16+ years and have never worn compression stockings or nurse socks. Nope, not even through my pregnancies when everyone warned me that my legs would look like old oak trees from all the varicose veins I would acquire. You see, I hate socks and shoes. If I could go to work in flip flops – all would be perfect in the world. So, the thought of tight, ugly socks on my legs for over 12 hours gave me tachycardia. Like a stubborn nurse, I took the risk.
Well, the other day, I was starting to notice some some bad, ugly stuff showing up on my tired old legs. I started to realize, I think I should have worn those ugly compression socks… the oak trees are starting to sprout! I also had noticed my legs were swelling more at the end of my long shifts. Ok, being the good nurse that I am, I finally started to heed my own advice! The quest began…
Well, here I go again…. another highly contagious health scare hits the headlines and I find myself doing research. Yup, talking about measles this time.
No, I am not paranoid, but as a nurse, I feel its my obligation to stay abreast of current health care concerns – I find it even more important as a nursing instructor. So, I am sharing what I know with all of you!
Now, what’s the big deal about measles? Well, considering it was virtually eradicated in the US due to vigilant vaccination programs, most are not familiar with this highly contagious disease. In fact, in 2000 the CDC declared measles eradicated from the US. Unlike the flu, pneumonia or heart disease, we are just not familiar and need to re-educate ourselves on a disease we don’t deal with on a daily basis. (On a more personal note, I do not titer for measles, so that just makes my concern level a little higher…and personal!)
Being a nursing student is tough work – all those hours of studying, dedication and hard work….and that’s even before you get accepted to your program! But that hard work continues as nursing school trudges on and each semester presents it’s challenges. But sometimes, we just have to laugh. It is the best medicine right?
So as the semester comes to a close for most, I couldn’t help but think about my poor, tired and weary students who are counting the minutes to winter break! I came across a funny little video about things nursing students NEVER say and I thought about what my list would look like….
When I was a new nurse working in the hospital, I quickly learned who one of my best allies was – the respiratory therapist! As I moved into the ICU, they were invaluable as we weaned patients from the vent and rescued them from death. My second ICU job was at a large metropolitan teaching hospital in NYC. I was working nights in the NeuroSurgical ICU and almost fainted when during my orientation, I was informed that there really was no RT support at night. In fact, the nurses did the vent checks, blood gases, retaping ET tubes (this is where I learned NO pink tape!) and even the weaning and extubation! Say what!! I was grateful for the great RT’s that trained me – I would have been so lost without their valuable insight and knowledge that they instilled in me (and I am pretty sure the patients are thankful also… I still remember my first extubation – not pretty!) Lessons learned and I truly discovered the value of the RT on my team during my shift when I moved on to another hospital.
So, you could say, I had a new found respect for the masters of the lungs, wizards of the vents and providers of smoke pipes! But, one thing in my journey as a nurse I have discovered, they find us pretty annoying…. and rightly so! I often come across nurses who lack respect for their discipline and yet want them to rescue their patient they have let go down the tubes. So what do they wish we knew about them? What do respiratory therapists wish nurses would understand? Well, I asked one of them and here is what he said….
In an attempt to keep up with this current outbreak, I will be posting updates on this new page. If you are looking for general information regarding this disease, you can read all about it on my previous post – What is Ebola? There you will find basic information about the disease, how it is transmitted and other pertinent data.
Please check back often as I will be updating this page as new information becomes available. It is IMPERATIVE that we stay informed, especially the health care workers. We are dealing with a viral outbreak that is unprecedented. I will also post links to where I have obtained the current information and my analysis of the information, if warranted.
I had the opportunity to participate in a discussion regarding the current Ebola situation with some other nurse bloggers. You can watch that video HERE.
- CDC Ebola Website
- CDC Information for Healthcare Workers
- World Health Organization (WHO) Ebola Website
As a nurse, I am often asked what I think is wrong with healthcare? How can it be fixed? Can it be fixed? I always quickly retort with, “The problem with healthcare is that no one seems to care anymore. Remember, it is called health CARE?”. Although it usually gets a chuckle, I really do mean it. We are at a critical time of change in healthcare here in America – new electronic medical records being mandated, Core Measures, HCAHPS, “never events”, Obama-care being implemented, medical malpractice claims on the rise. It just all seems out of control… and kind of silly if you really sit down and evaluate some of these new measures. For example, one of the HCAHPS questions is regarding medication teaching. As nurses and healthcare providers, don’t we want our patients to know about their medications? If we really cared about our patient, we would. Or how about the noise level – another favorite survey question. If we really cared about our patients getting rest so they could heal, we would be quieter. We would want it to be quiet so we could get some rest if we were a patient.
I know all the problems in healthcare can not all be solved by such a simplistic answer. But what if? Imagine, if we all went into work tomorrow and actually CARED about our patients…. took the effort we would expect if we or our family members were a patient. What if we put CARE back into healthCARE?? What would it look like if we took ownership of our patients – really advocated for them when the system really did not seem to be in their favor? I believe each of us has the power to make an impact -we see it every day in the smiles of patients and families we touch.
Call to action!
I challenge you to start to care! There are a lot of things we can’t change, but we can change ourselves! Lets get our there and put the care back into healtCARE! I can’t wait to see what it will look like! Remember, change starts with you, so be the change!!