What do you do when the thrill is gone?

When I was a young girl I dreamed of being a nurse.  I wrote an essay in third grade about my dream job.  The idea of helping others and wearing crisp white uniforms was my idea of the perfect life.

Getting a degree would be a huge challenge for me as a child with no parents being raised by retired grandparents.  With the help of grants, student loans and working as a nurses aid I made it happen.  These circumstances made it even more sweet when that BSN was placed in my hand.

This newly minted nurse was over the moon excited to accept a position on the high risk antepartum unit of a large prestigious hospital in the Texas medical center in Houston.  I learned so much at that first job. (Don’t we all truly learn to be a nurse at our first job?)  Life changes and unexpected events carried me through an adventure of many different jobs and specialties.  Learning and becoming more knowledgeable and capable along the way. I just assumed it would always get better and better!

Reality however along the way things happen that could easily crush your spirit if you let them.  Any position that puts you in a large group of mostly women can be challenging.  I think these bumps and bruises to my ego made me stronger and wiser. But now nearly 30 years into this morass with healed wounds and callused ego I am struggling. Where is that joy that the younger me felt to put on the fresh white coat?  Are patient’s less grateful, feeling empowered with their Google knowledge?  It’s difficult to put my finger on the problem but I know I cannot be the only disenchanted nurse in wonderland.

I still give all I have to each and every patient that I see however it is difficult to pull water from a well that is not replenished.  What is the source of refreshing that well?  Education? self-care? I honestly do not know. I will push forward in search of that fountainhead.

 

Big Pill

It can cure a whole host of maladies. It can make you feel better and look better!  If taken properly is has little to no side effects.  It’s FREE!!!

So why don’t more people have it in their life?

Because it is EXERCISE.

Current recommendations found a heart.org are 30 min 5 days a week.  This can be in one 30 minute or 3- 10 minute spurts.  Very do-able.  Our watches even tell us how many more steps we need and keep track of steps for us.  It is simple, right?!  Yet we find so very many excuses.

When it is broken down and made to sound so simple we might feel a li

 

Doctor Who?

There continues to be a fair amount of push-back from M.D.’s who do not think a Nurse Practitioner who earns a terminal degree (DNP or PhD) should be called “Doctor”.  Some M.D.’s believe that it will cause too much confusion for the patients because a provider is “just a Nurse Practitioner” and not a Doctor.   They often site the fact that Nurse Practitioners do not receive a comparable amount of training (not really true).

To practice as a Nurse Practitioner an experienced nurse must go on to obtain a Master’s Degree and participate in hundreds of hours of clinical training. Then after passing a standardized examination he/she can obtain a license to practice as a Nurse Practitioner.   Some NP’s choose to go further and obtain a doctorate and can indeed be called Doctor at that point.  So one would then assume all those called “doctor” hold a terminal or the highest possible degree in a field.

Hold on to your hats, because I’m about to blow your mind.  Medical Doctor’s  are not required to hold a terminal, or doctorate degree.  Some physicians do go on to obtain a PhD, but not all.  There are several professions that receive this title ‘Doctor’ as an honorary title and not a degree.   Some of them are  Medical Doctor, Dentist, Veterinarian and Chiropractor.  So next time you hear “just a nurse practitioner” do your own ‘pushing-back’ and ask the question “just a NP as opposed to what?…”

Dangerous Exposure at Work for Healthcare Providers

As a nurse I have done all I can to protect myself from hazards at work.  By vaccination, personal protective gear and extreme hand washing I feel I’m in a safe little cocoon.  Little did I know I could expect my personal safety to be at risk!

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that healthcare workers are at a markedly increased risk for WORKPLACE VIOLENCE.  From 2002 to 2013 violent incidents (those serious enough to require days off to recuperate) were “four times more common in healthcare than in private industry” (Caring for Caregivers, OSHA website).

The majority of the incidents (80%) were from patients!  The people we come to work every day to care for and for whom our job is to make more comfortable and healthy.  Please keep in mind that theses are incidents that were serious enough to 1. be reported and 2. require days off be taken afterwards.

So if you are reading this, thank a healthcare provider in your life.  If there’s not one in your life, find one and thank him/her for risking their personal safety to help others feel better!

How to be a perfect patient.

When you are a patient it can be stressful and overwhelming.  You need to communicate all of your woes and symptoms but let me give you a few hints on being our favorite patient.

  1. Answer our yes or no questions with YES or NO please.
  2. please keep your list of woes to 3 or less, we cannot solve all your problems in 15 minutes.
  3. When I ask you to take a DEEP breath open your freakin’ mouth and TAKE A DEEP BREATH.  Little tiny nasal inhales are impossible to hear.
  4. Know you medications or bring a list.  The “little green pill” could be anything.
  5. When I ask if you’ve had surgery I mean all of them no matter when.  Just because it was 20 years ago doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
  6. And finally, please don’t argue with me that you need x or y medication because Google or Dr. Oz said so…….

Resistance is not futile 

Antibiotic resistance is real. Drugs that were once our ” go to ” for community acquired pneumonia or bacterial respiratory infections are not even on current algorithms. We are having to return to older antibiotics with more side effects to eradicate bacterial infections.

Scary fact number two is that the drug pipeline for antibiotics is sparse if at all. What does it all mean? I’m afraid to connect those dots….

The other side of the pillow 

I’ve been providing healthcare in some form since I was a teen. This year it was my turn to be cared for. What I learned is that hardly anyone listens to the patient.  It was a very frustrating. There was one sweet angel of a nurse that listened AND actually heard what the patient was trying to communicate and acted to improve the situation. One shift out of 5 is not acceptable to me. I was able to speak with a supervisor who was making rounds. She was very professional and employed active listening but nothing changed in my care after our conversation. 

So, how do I make this a learning experience? The quick and dirty lesson is the oldest and most basic. COMMUNICATE! Even if you cannot do a thing about the predicament BE HONEST.  If you’re unable to do a darn thing to help me; tell me! At least I’m not waiting for an answer / outcome that’s never coming.