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10 ways to be your boss’s favorite employee. -Even if they never say it out loud.

1. Be positive.

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Being a leader involves a lot of problem solving. Much of your boss’s day is spent thinking about processes that are broken, employee complaints and negative issues. The positive employees stand out and are greatly appreciated.

2. Have a sense of humor.

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Sometimes the only solution in a terrible situation is to laugh. Laughing at the boss’s jokes is highly encouraged. Being able to keep a sense of humor, especially about yourself, is a refreshing quality in an employee.

3. Don’t just volunteer, follow through!

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What ever you have raised your hand to volunteer for will become your boss’s job if you don’t follow through. Volunteering in meetings is only the first step.

4. Make their job easier.

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It may seem like your boss is getting credit for your hard work. Really they are getting credit for having a exemplary employee. If you can take something off their plate, do it.

5. Meet deadlines and bring solutions.

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Feedback and reporting company issues is important, but bring a possible solution when you knock on the office door. Meeting deadlines or at least keeping your boss in the loop of your progress is vital. After you were assigned a task, she is counting on you to cross the finish line.

6. Be honest. Leaders need constructive critiquing too.

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Yes, laughing at the boss’s jokes is good, but being a yes-man is not helpful. Be honest, in a kind way, to help your boss recognize areas that need improvement.

7. Give trust.

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Don’t automatically assume that every decision or action your boss makes is a direct attempt to ruin your life.

8. Say thank you.

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Just as much as you like to feel appreciated, your boss needs it too. He probably can’t remember the last time an employee thanked him. If the thought of your boss quitting makes you feel ill, let them know how much you appreciate them now. Leaders usually do not hear the positive impacts they made on employees until their going away party. Too little. Too late.

9. Tell them what you need.

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Leaders want you to be successful, but are not mind readers. Tell them what you need. It may not be possible to immediately get your needs filled, but knowing is half the battle.

10. Let them have a bad day.

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Everyone has the occasional bad day. Your leader is human and is going to disappoint you and themselves at some point. Don’t judge them too harshly for one bad shift. Grab the tissues and chocolate and let them know that tomorrow is a new day.

 

 

 

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The Little Blue Button

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A “code” is the term that medical professionals use to describe the orchestrated chaos that surrounds a patient that is on the brink of death.  Depending on the facility a code may be called a Code Blue, Code Red, Code CPR, or sometimes Code 99.  They all mean the same thing.  A person is about to die unless there are medical interventions made immediately.  Sometimes it means that death will come no matter how hard we try to stop it.

 

A few months past graduation I experienced my first code on my own patient.  The man had been verbally abusing me all day.  I had been running around trying to make him happy and also care for my other five patients.  He was bellowing from his bed that he was going to die.  A lot of patients speak in that way, but something about the way he said it terrified me a little.  All his vitals, physical assessment findings and that he was able to yell with so much energy all assured me that he was stable.  I called the physician anyway.  He agreed to assess the patient. I went to check on my suddenly quiet patient.  When I walked into the room I knew something was different.  I will never forget how grey he looked.  I froze in a moment that felt like eternity while I listened and looked for breathing.  It only took a few seconds to confirm.  I reached up above his head and pressed the small blue button.

 

I was the person yelling now.

 

I called above the alarm sound for help. Help came.  Almost before I could lay the patient flat in the bed, a nursing aid, with a football player build, began chest compressions.  Respiratory commanded the head of the bed, bagging and preparing for intubation. A metal crash cart clanked into existence, pushed by my charge nurse.  The emergency room physician and intensive care nurse rushed in together. The ICU nurse asked who the primary nurse was.  All I could think was ‘Oh Crap! That’s me.’  She told me to grab the chart (that’s back when patient’s records were big, clunky, 2-ringed, plastic folders stuffed with a ream of paper printouts and handwritten notes) and call the patient’s physician.

 

I ran to the desk and called the doctor again. He was just getting off the elevator. We met at the patient’s bedside. I calmly answered questions about history, vitals, and labs, all while the resuscitation dance continued.  I was calm only on the outside.  Inside my mind raced, searching for what I might have missed.  This man had been screaming at me all shift.  How could we be coding him now?  I couldn’t think of anything I could have or would have changed.  Even now looking back, with much more experience, I know gave him appropriate care.  I watched the code continue, clutching the hard plastic chart.  I optimistically observed that his color was pink again.  Surely that was a good sign, I told myself.

 

As if someone had flipped a switch, everything stopped.

 

The ER physician called time of death after nearly 40 minutes of trying to coax my patient back to life.  I watched as my patient lost his rosy color while the team waded through the open package wrappers that had been hastily discarded on the floor.  The CNA stayed and helped me to clear the debris and prepare my patient for the morgue.  The aftermath of the code was over quickly.  I think that is what stunned me the most.  The physicians and nurses went on caring for their patients.  Housekeeping came and cleaned the room for my next admission.  I did not have time to cry or sit in disbelief or process what had happened.

 

The shift went on and so did I.

 

I have since been to countless codes.  Sometimes I am doing the compressions.  Sometimes I am the nurse directing the chaos.  Occasionally I am the primary nurse questioning every action I did or didn’t make that shift. Luckily one aspect of patient codes has changed since I was a new nurse.  It is now an expectation in many hospitals that a debrief occurs after a code, regardless of the outcome.

 

A debrief is conducted as soon as possible after the event.  All available team members are expected to attend.  It is a confidential and non-discoverable group discussion of the event.  The purpose is to discuss the facts, problems, barriers, needed improvements and to acknowledge and share feelings.  This is not a time to place blame or try to find fault with one another. This opportunity to discuss the event and acknowledge how we feel about it is a valuable practice.  I never want to feel that losing a patient is business as usual.

 

Debriefing is the pause that we need to take to acknowledge, gain knowledge and make adjustments for the next time we press that little blue button.

 

 


Debriefing Steps 

1. Introduction: The facilitator establishes the group goals and rules and reinforces the need for confidentiality about anything that transpires within the group.

2. Fact gathering: Each staff person describes what happened and facts are gathered.

3. Reaction phase: Led by the facilitator, the group examines its feelings, thoughts, and responses to the event experienced. If the debriefing session happens soon after the event occurred, there might not be any symptoms.

4. Symptom phase: If some time has elapsed since the event, group members may be experiencing symptoms. The facilitator helps the group examine how these reactions have affected personal and work lives.

5. Stress response: The facilitator teaches group members about their stress response.

6. Suggestions: The facilitator offers guidance on how to cope with stress related to the incident.

7. Incident phase: Group members identify positive aspects of the event.

8. Referral phase: The facilitator concludes with this phase, whereby specific individuals who require additional support are referred for individual follow-up.     

Adapted from: Hanna, D., & Romana, M. (2007). Debriefing After A Crisis. Nursing Management (Springhouse), 38-42,44–45,47.


This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog Carnival.

More posts on this topic can be found at http://scrub-ed.com/

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*all accounts are fictional
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You Might Have a Work Spouse if…

Do you have a work spouse?  Not your significant other that happens to work with you. Not the person you go home to at night and share bills and children.  A work spouse is the person (male or female) that you love to see at work, but your relationship is completely platonic .  I have had many work spouses over the years.  My good natured husband has seen them come and go and luckily has never been jealous. In fact he probably is happy that he doesn’t have to listen to me talk about work quite as much since I have already hashed it out with my “other” significant other.

 

How do you know if you have a work spouse?

Read below for the tell tale signs that someone at your workplace is your work spouse.

 

You might have a work spouse if…

 

1. One look in a meeting and you know exactly what they are thinking.

 

 

 

 

2. You have each other’s backs, no matter what.

 

 

 

 

3. You don’t get mad when they are honest with you.

 

 

 

 

4. When you go out on a limb at work, your coworker will join you even if it means they might have a rough time.

 

 

 

 

5. If your coworker is out for the day it displeases you.

 

 

 

 

6. Other employees have given you and your coworker a nick name like Bennifer.

credit: www.elle.com
credit: www.elle.com

 

 

 

 

7. If you and your coworker were in charge office life would be utopic.

 

 

 

 

8. You can’t wait to tell your coworker the big news

 

 

 

9. Life decisions are discussed sometimes with your parents, friends, doctor, or clergy , but ALWAYS with your coworker.

 

 

 

10. Your child or pet was named for or by a coworker.

 

 

 

 

11. You share your darkest secrets and they know where you hide your private stash of chocolate.

 

 

 

 

12. You don’t get jealous of their well deserved kudos/promotions/raises.

 

 

 

 

13. You boost each others careers and are each others’ biggest cheerleaders.

 

 

 

 

14. Mondays are not quite as bad as they used to be.

 

 

 

 

15. Your real spouse gets tired of hearing what your coworker said or did that was so clever and funny.

 

 

 

 

16. You don’t quit a job you hate unless they can quit too.

 

 

Thanks to all my past, present and future work spouses!

 

 

 

 

What signs did I miss?  Comment and let me know about your work spouse.

 

 

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The Secret Awesomeness of Night Shift

The hospital feels different after 5 PM.  

The scheduled surgeries are finished for the day.  The short stays and clinics are emptied and closed.  Administrators, executives and their assistants all begin vanishing like the sun over the horizon.  The last few tired nurses clock out and the hectic cloud of day shift follows them into the elevator.  What is left behind is an alternate hospital universe that only true night shift staff discover and appreciate.

The bright lights are dimmed to signal to patients, visitors and staff that night has arrived.  The coffee and tea come out to greet the healthcare team to another night.  Some nursing units brew their own caffeinated delights,  others take turns making massive runs to Starbucks, Dutch Bros or another favorite coffee spot.  Patient assessments are completed and medications are passed.  Nurses and ancillary staff move quickly to check off all the tasks on their lists.  If they are lucky they will be able to tuck themselves in to the nursing station to chart and chat the hours away until dawn.

Everything is more a little more relaxed.  No topic is taboo by 4 AM.  Night shift staff know each other, the good, the bad and the unmentionables.  If a manager or administrator happens to come in on night shift, the news spreads quickly and the books, smart phones and uncovered cups disappear in an instant.  Those late night visits from administration are rare. Night-shifters learn to depend on each other like family.   

The calm can be misleading.

In the darkened corners of the nursing unit lurk the possibility of chaos.  Disaster can interrupt the laughter at the nursing station, despite the careful observation and care of patients.  When emergencies occur, the night shift team leaps into action.  The juicy conversations and cat videos are abandoned and the only priority is the patient.  An outsider may not see an emergency on a nursing unit as seriously as the team working in it.  It does not usually look like it does on television.  There are a lot of people.  Everyone is in motion.  It is often quiet with one or two people calling out times and actions.  Faces are focused.  Minds are alert and assessing, searching for causes and solutions within milliseconds of coming to the bedside.  They have done this before and settle into their comfortable roles.  The night shift team are a little more earnest and confident.  They know that reinforcements are not coming.  This is night shift.

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When the emergency has passed, for better or worse, the team returns to its tasks.  The work and night continue.  

Despite the craziness and sleep deprivation, night shift is awesome.  Most people dread working at night and do not understand why any sane person would choose to work the late shift.  It is not the frappicinos.  It is not the chance of watching cat videos for hours.  It comes down to the men and women sharing the nursing station with you.  They don’t always get along, but they are always in it together.  They create the secret awesomeness that is night shift.  

Shhhhhh don’t tell the boss! 

 

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23 Ways You Know You Work Nightshift

This was you when you decided to try nightshift.
1. This was you when you decided to try nightshift.
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2. This is how you ask to be low censused after you had to stay up all day.
You avoid the sun.
3. You avoid the sun.
You have become an expert in the art of sarcasm.
4. You have become an expert in the art of sarcasm.
You become like siblings to your nightshift buddies.
5. You become like siblings with your nightshift buddies.
Drinking at 0800 seems perfectly normal.
6. Drinking at 0800 seems perfectly normal.
This is how you greet the dayshift when they are late.
7. This is how you greet the dayshift when they are late.
Your beauty maintenance tends to get behind.
8. Your beauty maintenance tends to get behind.
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9. This is your response when the charge nurse asks where you would like to float.
This is how you feel when you get the message to come in on call.
10. This is how you feel when you get the message to come in on call.

 

This is the look  you give the  person that asks you to stay 4 more hours after your shift.
11. This is the look you give the person who asks you to stay 4 more hours after your shift.
What you say to every meeting that is scheduled at noon.
12. What you say to every meeting that is scheduled at noon.
Running to codes is a breeze.
13. Running to codes is a breeze.
You have seen so much that in emergencies you are eerily calm.
14. You have seen so much that in emergencies you are eerily calm.
This is how your family feels when someone rings the doorbell during the day.
15. This is how your family feels when someone rings the doorbell during the day.
No topic seems inappropriate after 1 AM.
16. No topic seems inappropriate after 1 AM.
When you hear that one of your best friends is going to dayshift.
17. When you hear that one of your best friends is going to dayshift.
This is how you feel when someone tells you how nice it must be to sleep at work.
18. This is how you feel when someone tells you how nice it must be to sleep at work.
Everything is funny at 4 in the morning!
19. Everything is funny at 4 in the morning!
Your bedroom has black out curtains, blankets, or tinfoil on the windows.
20. Your bedroom has black out curtains, blankets, or tinfoil on the windows.
How you feel when your lunch/nap alarm on your phone wakes you up.  Back to work!
21. How you feel when your lunch/nap alarm on your phone wakes you up. Back to work!
How you feel after working a 6 night stretch.
22. How you feel after working a 6 night stretch.
No matter how crazy working nights can be, you are grateful to work with the best people ever!
23. No matter how crazy working nights can be, you are grateful to work with the best people ever!







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Acknowledgements: All gifs were found on google 🙂
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10 Ways to Bring Back the Magic to Labor and Delivery 

All babies are special, but first babies have the unique gift of changing a woman and man into a mother and father.  There is something extra special when a family is welcoming their first child or grandchild. There is also something special about the first baby of the year. Nurses, all over the world, are betting on which mom will deliver the first baby of the new year.  Each hospital wants to be the first in the area to claim the New Years’s baby.  Newspapers will feature photos of the star newborn. The lucky first-of-the-year babies will be showered in gifts from hospitals and companies.

There is a lot of focus on the first baby of the year and nurses ensure that the birth is special and celebrated.  This is a fun tradition, but that feeling fades quickly as the never ending line of pregnant mothers stream in for delivery. Even the most benevolent and happy nurse can forget that every delivery is someone’s special day. Some days feel like just another ordinary day at work.  Nurses have bad days just like everyone else. The difference is that a labor nurse’s bad day can darken a family’s memory of their birth forever.

When labor nurses begin to lose sight of the magic of birth it is important to recharge, refresh and relearn what makes each birth special.

 

Here are 1o ways to bring magic back to labor and delivery:

 

1. Identify something you like about your patient. This may be difficult with some patients, but everyone has some redeeming quality. Find it.

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2. Smile. If you smile your patient will feel welcome and it can change your attitude as well.  Fake it till you make it.

 

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3. Acknowledge and speak to all the people in your patient’s room. The mama is not the only one welcoming a baby into the world.  The patient’s family is important and they will appreciate being recognized.  Also they can be recruited to help get ice, hold legs and fan the patient.  The people in the room will be the ones that will be there to support the mom at home when she is tired and needs help. Include the whole family in patient education so that they can help mom and baby transition successfully.

 

CALL THE MIDWIFE - SERIES 3 - EPISODE 8

 

4. Include the partner or coach in conversations with the patient. A mother’s support person needs to understand and give input on the patient’s plan of care. The decisions are the patients to make, but they often look to their partner or labor coach for guidance.

Including the partner in the conversations with the patient establishes trust and is an element of family centered care.

 

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5. Take lunch off the unit. This may be impossible at some hospitals.  If at all possible, leave the unit for your break. Go outside and breathe real air. Take a walk in the sunshine and absorb some vitamin D.

 

6. Use your relaxation skills to relax yourself.  You teach these techniques to patients every day, those same relaxation techniques can benefit stressed nurses!

 

7. Use your vacation days. Don’t hoard vacation days. People that take less vacation days have less job satisfaction.

 

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8. Join your professional nursing organization. Keeping up to date on new research is exciting and stimulating. Challenge yourself and continue to grow in your specialty.

 

Call the Midwife - Ep 4

 

9. Go out of your way for your patient at least once a shift. They may not thank you, but you will know that you put in extra effort to make your patient’s stay better.

 

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10. When the baby is born take a few seconds to look away from the IV pump, computer and delivery instruments. Witness a new person take his first breath. Watch as a mother holds her baby’s for the first time. Look at a father’s complete reverence and amazement at the miracle that has just occurred.

 

Doris Aston CTM

 

My New Year’s wish is for all nurses to be reenergized in 2015.

Take the time to make every delivery special for your patients.

For nurses it is just another day at work, but for each mother it’s a day that she will always remember.

 

 

 

 

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Men Need Not Apply

 

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If we, as women, want equality in the workplace, why are we sabotaging our fellow nurses? Why do we call males in the nursing profession “male nurses”? Using this phrase insinuates that nursing is a female profession. It is true that in recent history nursing has been dominated by females. Currently about 10% of nurses are male, but that number is growing. Women have fought for status among our male physician colleagues. We wanted to be respected for our knowledge, training and experience. Our sisters, daughters and friends became medical doctors by an increasing number. Gender stereotypes in medicine have been torn to bits. We do not refer to women MDs as “female doctors”.  Yet we cling to our gender biases in the nursing field. This bias is clearly evident in the obstetrical field. In the land of labor and delivery, female nurses continue to dominantly out number male nurses. This may be more design than accident or patient preference.

It starts in nursing school.

Beginning in nursing school, men are cautioned to be respectful of mother’s wishes to be cared for by women only. This warning is appropriate and justified as some cultures and religions forbid men from caring for women. Other women may have experienced sexual violence or simply prefer women only care givers. Outside of these exceptions, it should be presumed that the gender of the nurse does not matter. The hypocritical bias against men in labor and delivery is especially apparent during nursing school.  It is common for a male student to be shooed out of a patient’s room that not only has been to a male doctor, but has male residents rounding on her. The message that we are giving our fellow nurses is clear.  Male doctors are respectful and take care of patients appropriately, but a male labor nurse is, for lack of a clinical term, creepy.

I have heard the argument that men don’t understand what women need in labor, because they can’t have babies. This is a belittling and backwards notion.  If that concept is extrapolated out to other fields of nursing, then only cancer survivors can work oncology, the mentally ill can only work psych and diabetics only can teach about diabetes. There are many women that have never, and will never, have babies that are wonderful labor nurses. I have met many of these ladies and I am proud to call them friends and colleagues.

As a clinical instructor, I spoke to a patient and asked permission for a male student to take care for her during her delivery. This is not an action that I wanted to take, but what was required of me by the unit. The sweet lady agreed graciously. Her labor nurse went right in after me and sabotaged the whole plan by “clarifying” that this was a MALE nurse and he would be there for the delivery and was she SURE that she wanted a MAN in her room. When the question is posed in that way, patients may begin to feel embarrassed and feel like they should say no. Her doctor was male, which made the situation more preposterous. The student was gracious about the situation, but his learning suffered because of a nurse that felt justified in blocking him from the experience.

Is our culture biased against male nurses?

There is a cultural bias against males in OB nursing.  It begins in nursing school and is reinforced in the hospital setting. I have had multiple conversations with floor nurses, hiring managers and physicians regarding hiring males into labor and delivery. The push back is quick and strong. We don’t need men here, we don’t want men here and our patients shouldn’t have to have men in their deliveries. A survey was conducted to gauge perceptions of males in obstetrical nursing revealed that this is not what patients, nurses or men prefer (McRae, 2003). According to the study most pregnant women would accept a male OB nurse. Up to three quarters of the labor nurses surveyed had positive attitudes toward male labor nurses. Few men had worked in obstetrics, 6.8% and most said they would not want to work in OB. Male nurses did site nursing school as the reason they were not interested in OB. These results can be viewed as a tremendous positive for men who would like to pursue obstetric nursing. With very little representation in the specialty, men enjoy a favorable opinion from both mothers and current labor nurses.

Social Media weighs in on the topic.

I quick polled two of my online social groups. One is a mothers group and one is for labor nurses. The majority of the mothers reported that they would be comfortable with a male labor nurse. The ones that stated that they would  uncomfortable explained that they were exceptions. They agreed that males should be free to be OB nurses and probably would be good at the job.

Brittany Renee Dunevant summed up her feelings this way, “Women have a male doctor (OBGYN), so what is the difference? If he knows what he is doing, then he is the same as a female nurse to me.”

The labor nurse group had similar feelings. All respondents agreed that males should be OB nurses. About 46% of the nurses had worked with male OB nurses. Half of the nurses said that although there was no official ban on male nurses, it was an unspoken rule in their labor unit.

Erin L. Hollen is a perinatal nurse, certified childbirth educator and  breastfeeding counselor.  Erin discovered that she had some hidden biases that the survey brought to light. Upon reflection she observed that a male nurse may have a positive affect on fathers. Speaking of fathers Erin shares “…if they see that you can still be supportive of a woman in this situation and still be ‘masculine’ maybe they will participate more.”

Is labor and delivery a secret, girls only club?

In many hospitals the answer is yes. The new question is: How will we break down the gender bias that we are perpetuating with each new class of nursing students.

Answer: Let male nurses into OB. No questions asked.

 

McRae, M. (2003). Men in Obstetrical Nursing: Perceptions of the Role. MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, 28(3), 167-173. Retrieved November 22, 2014.

 

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Being a New Nurse aka The Hunger Games

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All nursing students have heard the saying, “Nurses eat their young.” Being a new nurse is scary.        Your first nursing job may feel  like the Hunger Games.

 

 

 

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You think you nailed the interview when the manager loves your nursing school story about the geriatric patient with the smelly feet.

 

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After your third panel interview in a week, all you can manage is to say thank you and hope that you get a job offer.

 

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This is you nailing your first nursing  job.

 

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This is the firs time you sign your name with RN

 

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The opening ceremony is how you look in your starched uniform and perfect bun.

 

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This is how you look after you’ve been a nurse for 6 months.

 

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Finding a computer to chart is like fighting your way to the cornucopia.

 

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You have never heard so many machines beep at one time.

 

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The reaction you get when you ask for help from the nurse that no one warned you about.

 

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The pep talk your preceptor gives you about caring for the 90 year old, 90 lb woman with dementia who you are just a tad afraid will hurt you, again.

 

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The last 7 minutes of your shift, while you are waiting to clock out.

 

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The minute you finish your shift assessment your charge nurse floats you to another unit.

 

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You and your buddy decide to complain to your manager about your 4 on, 1 off, 4 on night shift schedule. They won’t fire both of you…right?

 

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Haymitch is your veteran nurse friend that gives you advice and is always dragging you out for bloody Mary’s after your night shift

 

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When the doctor belittles you in front of the patient.

 

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This is the key to getting nursing awards.

 

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Losing a patient is difficult, but you have to finish your shift.

 

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This every shift that is short staffed, which seems like every shift.

 

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Getting to know the other staff is not as easy as you think.

 

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Learning how to prioritize patient needs and requests can be overwhelming.

 

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Your family and friends don’t know what you are going through, but they are your biggest supporters.

 

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How you feel when the charge nurse asks you take your 3rd admit of the day.

 

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How you justify playing Candy Crush after you offer to help out your unit.

 

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When you find out your work spouse accepted at another hospital.

 

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Keep smiling! Your bonus is based on the patient satisfaction scores.


 

 

 

 

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Please Don’t Hit Me

stressI have been hit, kicked, punched, slapped, had my hair pulled, scratched, spit on, cursed at, had things thrown at me and bitten. Am I in an abusive relationship? Are those memories of an abusive childhood? Am I a street fighting ninja? No. I am a nurse.

Nurses experience abuse from patients. Patients can be impaired by disease processes, medication, and stress which causes them to strike out against the hand that cares. Multiple studies have shown that workplace violence against nurses is mostly due to patients hurting nurses. Nurses have an almost universal reaction to this violence. They keep coming back to work to risk being hurt again.

Patients who lash out

Helping a person through the detoxification process is exhausting and can be dangerous for the patient and the nurse. Alcohol is the legal, easily accessible drug of choice for some adults. When a person realizes that they have a drinking problem detoxing in a medical setting is the safest way to do it. Alcohol and drugs have powerful affects on the body which are not always understood by the abuser. Cleansing the body of the substance can be difficult to endure. It is possible to die from detoxification that is not medically managed. Young male adults are particularly terrifying for me to care for while they are detoxing. A 6 foot 2 inch, 200 pound, 25 year old man having hallucinations is no match for a woman who can barely reach the pedals in a pick up truck. Thanks to physical restraints and adequate doses of lorazapam I have avoided serious injury from this type of patient.

One group of patients that I have not escaped injury from is the laboring and postpartum mother. I have had my arm pinched, squeezed and scratched countless times from doing post delivery fundal checks. I routinely preamble the fundal check my asking my patient to “Not hurt your friendly nurse.” They look at me smiling, not quite understanding what I am about to do and why I am warning them that it will be uncomfortable. As soon as I’m pressing the top of their uterus, to assess for firmness, the claws come out. My arm is the closest target. I am actually more gentle than a lot of my counterparts, but there are times that being gentle is not in the patient’s best interest. Postpartum hemorrhage is the number one reason for maternal death. A mother can exsanguinate (bleed to death) in just 10 minutes. Although I have literally had my hand slapped, I will keep putting myself at risk for the safety of my patients.

Why is the violence tolerated?

The patients are why nurses keep coming back to face the possibility of injury. We forgive and move on to the next patient. We try to make the workplace safer, but accept that due to the nature of our work we are vulnerable to abuse. We hope that when we are ill, injured, confused and angry there will be a nurse to help and forgive us.