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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A School Nurse & Off Duty Nurse Make a Difference

This morning I’ll share two stories that have been in the news and continue to be in the theme of this weeks stories. I’ve provided the video stories as well as the associated media links.

The first is of a school nurse who noticed a young boy’s coloring seemed out of the ordinary.

New Jersey School Nurse Saves Boy’s Life:

 

The second is of a pediatric nurse who was at a gymnastics event and saw a man was in trouble and gave him CPR.

Boston Celtics honor off-duty nurse who saved man’s life after he collapsed at Shrewsbury gymnastics meet: 

There are countless stories similar to the ones I’ve depicted below. As a nurse you never know when your knowledge and skills will be called upon for someone else. Later today, I’ll be sharing the last post for the week for Nurses Week! I hope you’ve enjoyed the stories thus far.

 

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When nursing care, intuition, and technology work together.

Today I’ll share some thoughts on one of my own experiences as a nurse on the lives of others. I’ll admit, I’ve not been in the position of having a patient in critical condition that needs life saving measures during my shift. However, there have been several instances over the course of my career where I’ve been able to proactively identify events that could have led patients or people down a less optimal pathway for their health.

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I am a nurse (not ‘just’ a nurse).

Today I’d like to share a poem by Suzanne Gordon entitled ‘Just a Nurse’. Sometimes we (nurses) will hear this comment, ‘just a nurse’ over the course of our nursing careers. I know I’ve heard it and it has never felt great. When I have heard it, I tend to think about all the responsibilities I have over the course of the day that I’d like to share to that person in an effort to educate him or her on how essential the nursing role is to health care delivery. These responsibilities are with the intent to improve the health of others and/or prevent any possible harm.

 

 

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“It’s a nurse.”

Yesterday I shared the story from a Critical Care Nurse on what it means to help the lives of others. Today, I want to share a video story that I came across several months ago entitled, ‘It’s a nurse.” I caught this video by way of social media and it is the voice of a mother whose son is in the hospital.

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Through the Lens of a Critical Care Nurse

The first story I want to share for Nurses Week is that of a critical care nurse, Stephanie Thomas Joyce.  Stephanie is a Registered Nurse at Elliot Health System in New Hampshire. She wrote the featured post below recently on social media and I found her words to capture those thoughts that many nurses have running through their minds while at work caring for patients.

 

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