End of Life Decisions – Lessons Learned

End of Life Decisions

Sadly, I can’t say I remember my first code or even the first death I witnessed. Unfortunately, there have been so many over the years. Not to minimize any life that has crossed my path, but after 16+ years, it does all start to blend together. There are a few who stand out – but, I will save their stories for another day. However, each experience – each life – has been a small part of my molding – shaping who I am, teaching me a lesson. And those lessons I try to pass on.

We rarely talked about death in my nursing program – the model for our nursing school was based on restoring people to their highest level of functioning – death doesn’t always fit into that equation. So, when I came out of school, I was clueless. In my personal life, I had not had anyone close to me pass away, so I really didn’t even have that frame of reference to draw from. However, working in critical care areas – I had to learn quickly!

From Frustrated to Fulfilled – Book Review

One of the hardest adjustments for new nurses to overcome is the unanticipated frustrations they encounter in their nursing journey. Although we attempt to prepare nurses to care for patients and instruct them in safe medication administration, it is difficult to prepare them for the “real world”. Unfortunately, these new nurses find themselves unprepared, lost

Remembering the Art of Nursing

Art of Nursing

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.

Best Nurse Socks

Best socks for nurses

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 or even face 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 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 feet would kill after a long shift and I heard the right socks are the perfect way of avoiding foot pain. My legs were also 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…

What is measles?

What is measles?

Well, here I go again…. another highly contagious health scare hits the headlines and I find myself doing research on different health advice blogs to find out more. 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!)

 

Learning Never Ends in Nursing

Learning Never Ends in Nursing

Learning Never Ends in Nursing

Well, folks, I have some bad news. I don’t usually like to start out with bad news, but the truth must be told.

When you are done with nursing school, the learning never ends.

Yup, its true. No lies. You spent all this time in school. Moving toward the finish line. Hope and freedom insight. Only to find out, the learning never ends!

Now on to the good news – you likely will be more engaged in what you are learning and will likely find much more enjoyment! Crazy as it sounds – its true! As you enter your career after graduation, or even change jobs, there is always new information to be learned.

New Nursing Graduates in Specialty Areas?

New Nursing Graduates

This month I have the honor of hosting the Nurse Blog Carnival and the age-old question, “New nursing graduates in specialty areas?”

As a nursing instructor, I get to hear a lot of dreams and goals from my students. I actually encourage it. It helps give them direction and really start thinking about their careers. As with most dreams, they are lofty. Although I encourage dream building, I also try to encourage them to be realistic. I like to remind them that dreams and goals are often obtained after a journey and usually some sacrifice and hard work.

Best Nursing School Study Books

So when I was in nursing school, you know back with the dinosaurs, one of my instructors used these awesome handouts with her teaching. They were black & white back then, but had really simple clear visuals for lots of topics. My husband & I eventually found and bought the two books that were in publication at the time (this was pre-Amazon and we actually had to locate them in a book store – the horrors!) . Being a visual learner – these were a gold mine! I still use these books for handouts with my students and they usually love them too!

Nursing study books

 

Nursing From Within – A book review

A few months ago, I was offered the opportunity to review a book. Not only was I intrigued by the title and description – I LOVE doing pretty much anything that supports a nurse getting their voice out there! I happily agreed and began reading Nursing from Within: A Fresh Alternative to Putting Out Fires and Self-Care Workarounds by Elizabeth Scala.

Book Review

What Respiratory Therapists Wish Nurses Would Understand

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….

Respiratory Therapy