May you find the opportunity in every challenge.

The internet erupted on Saturday about something that Senator Walsh in Washington State said in a hearing about nurses. Her tone and underlying assumptions about our ability to play cards while at work were very disrespectful to the 4 million of us in the United States.

This is the second time in a few years where someone in the public eye made an uninformed statement about the most trusted profession in the United States for 17 years in a row.

I’ve learned over the years, through my own entrepreneurial endeavors, that assuming statements are often due to a lack of knowledge.

If we had to put a care plan together and form a nursing diagnosis for this situation, we’d likely use something similar to: “Knowledge deficit related to the reality of being a nurse.

 

Let me share some of my realities about being a nurse:

  • I never played cards while caring for patients. (I’ve never played cards in any of my nursing roles over the last 19 years).

Some things that I always did while caring for patients include:

  • I always felt as though despite all that I had done for my patients, there was more I could have done to care for them as I left each day over and above what was necessary. (Try carrying that around at the end of every shift and having it add up over time).
  • I always dreaded night shift because that first hour was the most anxiety provoking for me. Parents wanted to put their children to bed to get their rest (understandably so). I would be getting out of report around 7:30pm not even having prepared any of the 8 o’clock meds for my 4-5 patients all due at the same time.

 As nurses, we know we have to prioritize those patients that are in need first but try telling one parent that his or her child needs to wait while you care for another. That is REALLY hard to do. I often wouldn’t finish that first 8 o’clock med round until 11 o’clock at night.

(OF NOTE: Why do we expect nurses to deliver all of their patients’ meds in the same hour right after starting their shift and not having assessed any of them yet? Can someone find a new innovative solution to this system level problem?)

  • I always worried about whether or not one of my assigned patients would code on me during my shift. I often had palpitations before work each morning because of this concern.
  • I always wanted my patients to have a new clean bed or crib and bathed (if an infant) or have an opportunity to shower if possible. This wasn’t required but it was something I felt was important to do.
  • I always prioritized my patients and their families over my own personal needs for nourishment over 12 hours. Sometimes I wouldn’t eat anything until 8 or 9 hours into my 12-hour shift.

 

I say this about myself, but I know that I am not alone. Perhaps I had palpitations more than other nurses, but the other statements are likely transferable to most if not all other nurses.

Today, I spent a lot of time on my computer catching up on some things.  While working at my desk, I would occasionally open Twitter in seek of a distraction.  I could not open Twitter without a flurry of reactions to Senator Walsh’s remarks today.

Throughout the day, I continued to think of the Woodhull Report. In the most recent report, the results demonstrated that nurses are only cited in 2% of journalists’ stories.

If we are only in 2% of stories, how can we assume that the public knows the extent of our work? Well, one thing we can safely say going forward is that everyone will know we don’t play cards. :) 

Yet, this just scratches the surface. How do we use this unfortunate incident that set Twitter ablaze today as an indication that we can do more as a profession to educate others on what we do?

How do we proactively educate a nation on why we are the most trusted profession year after year at a level that abominates the possibility of such comments from happening in the future?

Honestly, it starts with us, the nursing professionals. If we each share our knowledgeable voices on a proactive and consistent basis in a consumable way, we can begin to make the positive change necessary to dispel misconceptions and assumptions.

Think about how you might be able to share something you know with others that might not know it.

We’re trained for this! We educate our patients every day about things they do not know but need to know for their own health and wellbeing.

How can you educate others through your spoken or written words in a way that can influence their perspective? How can you present the information in a way that opens the door for the reader or listener to want to know more and ask more questions?

If I can educate someone not in healthcare about the role of nurses in informatics, interoperability, and innovation, you can find your niche and do the same.

 

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Acknowledging Personal Growth through Public Speaking

Last week I had some major flashbacks this afternoon as I approached the Northeastern campus. I was invited to speak on innovation in nursing and healthcare to graduate nursing students. I’ve done this annually for the last several years.

As I approached the classroom, I had memories of rushing to class two nights a week for 4 years after being at work all day. I used to park in this garage as I would rush to make it to class on time.

Northeastern

I then spoke for 2 1/2 hours straight tonight 😳🤣.

As I left, I remembered how much I greatly disliked speaking in front of a class 10+ years ago.

I’d stress about it all day.

My knee caps would shake while I tried to remember what I wrote on my notecards.

I wouldn’t think about anything else but the fact I needed to do that for about 5 minutes, 10 at most.

Now I enjoy it and find it one of the fun parts of my job.

While I’m talking, I don’t think about anything else going on in my day. I make fun of myself and laugh about it. Most importantly, I hope the students think differently as they leave about the opportunities that might catch them by surprise at some point in their career.

 

**If you are interested in having me come to speak at your event, school, conference etc., please do reach out at tiffany.kelley@nightingaleapps.com and I’d be happy to discuss further**

Workarounds and their power for finding Innovative Solutions

If you are anything like me, you see ways to make improvements wherever you go and wonder why something is the way it is…

As nurses and healthcare professionals we need to make improvements often through workarounds to get our work done.

In this piece, I describe those innovative behaviors through workarounds in the context of neonatal nurse environments.

Workarounds are clues that something could be done better, often at a system (and not individual) level. “Do you consider yourself to be an innovative nurse? The concept of innovation is frequently permeating conversations around the future of nursing. Many may hear the term innovation, and wonder “what does it really mean to me as a nurse?” and others may think “innovation does not really apply to me.” Yet, you may be surprised to learn that you are innovating in your role as a nurse every day in your work..”

To read the full article, Workarounds as the Catalyst to Drive a Culture of Innovation, click here.

February 11th was National Inventor’s Day!

Last Monday was National Inventor’s Day!

To celebrate the day, I attended an event held on behalf of UCONN at the Mark Twain House in Hartford CT.

I learned quite a bit…

February 11th is National Inventor’s Day because it is Thomas Edison’s birthday (inventor of the 💡). The first patent issued from the USPTO was in 1790.

The first patent was issued to Samuel Langhorne Clemens (aka Mark Twain). A total of 3 patents were issued that year. Today, there are approximately 320K patents issued each year.

Dr. Eric Hintz, a historian from the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for Innovation and Invention spoke to us tonight on several historical ecosystems and their foundational areas of invention influence.

UCONN_NationalInventorDay_2019

One thing I found quite interesting is that Henry Ford wasn’t the first one to create cars. They were first called ‘horseless carriages’ by Hiram Percy Maxim in 1896. He invented them in Connecticut nearly 20 years before Ford due to market saturation of the bicycle.

If you ever get the chance to go to the Mark Twain house, I encourage it. The same is true for the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for Innovation and Invention. I had the pleasure of speaking there two years ago next month and it was a fabulous experience. Below is a memory of that event in their 2017 Annual Report.

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The fax machine still exists… in healthcare

Sometimes I am a new patient and it often goes something like this:

“If you can fax us the forms back that’ll be great.”

“I don’t have a fax. Can I email?”

“No. You’ll have to fax or bring in with you for your appt.” 🤦‍♀️.

Bidirectional secure portals do help and cut down on the #fax issue in my experience.

Read on to learn more about fax machines in this article by CNBC:

Health tech is so old-fashioned that Google has to adapt its cloud service to work with fax machines. 

What do you think? Any of your own stories to share?

Have a great day,

Tiffany