Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Intelinurse's Back To School Top 5

Today's Top 5...

5. The meter maids are still as vigilant as they were last semester, and a parking ticket is still $15, (cheaper than parking in the ramp for the day).

4. My laptop battery does not last through a lecture when I am reading Grand Rounds and typing notes.

3. The Profs still have not caught on that we all can read and we do not require the course syllabus be read to us word for word, while we "follow-along."

2. The snack shop, aptly if not poorly named, "Recovery Room Cafe" is not my friend. I must stay away from the candy, I must stay away from the candy, I must stay away from the candy...

1. Im scared as hell about Labor and Delivery and hearing about last semester's "surprise delivery in the hall" did not help facilitate excitement in this student nurse.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Man's Best Friend

I said goodbye to my best friend yesterday. I was going to post about it then, but I knew I couldn't get through the typing without sobbing.

Its silly, really, that dogs can have such a hold on your emotions. Charlie could make a crappy day awesome as I found him dutifully at my feet, or he could be the straw that broke the camels back on the days that life got crazy.

Charlie is a 2 1/2 year old golden retriever. I dragged my husband all over MI to find the perfect breeder and then waited 2 months for a litter. I temperament tested the entire litter and had the first pick...Charlie was it! Not too aggressive, not too docile. Truth be told, I would have paid double the $850 asking price.

In my head and heart, golden retrievers are not referred to as goldens, but "Charlie Dogs."

Charlie was obedient, loving, playful, and witty. His ability to endlessly chase a tennis ball and his desire to always bring it back was amazing. His companionship was faithful. He layed outside the shower door every morning, instinctively moving to the bedroom when he heard the shower turn off. He never begged for table scraps and was grateful to act as the dustbuster when the kids spilled Cherrios. Charlie was always up for a walk, a car ride, or a trip uptown to run some errands. Charlie never barked, and when he had enough of the toddlers tugging on his ears or tail, he would simply get up and walk away. He treated every guest to our home as if they were his master. He greeted every human he met with a wagging tail that could clear a coffee table with one swipe.

He will always be the best. He will always have a place in my heart. I love you Charlie.

Friday, August 25, 2006

My couch potato days are over!

So I'm spending time with my 11 yr old son today, I needed to buy a Microbiology textbook ($113) and run some other errands. He was reluctant to leave the Playstation idle for more than a few hours, but I baited him with the prospect of buying some school supplies and a new back pack. I always really enjoy those times with him, as he is chatty and "real" with me. A side that sneaks under a rock when his sister or other friends are around.

So we are in the car, talking about college, and he asks me, in all seriousness, "Mom?, Can a girl be a doctor?"
I swear I felt the immediate urge to pull over the car and launch into a lecture...but I restrained my mouth, and simply smiled and said a "girl" can be anything she wants to be, that includes a doctor, a NASCAR driver, an NFL football player or the President of The United States. I ended the short discussion with, "and guys can be nurses too, darn good ones."

What are they teaching my kids in school? Better question, what have I portrayed for him as it relates to careers and gender?

I am really not ready for the slam of classes and clinicals to start. I have fallen off the wagon and slumped back into my TV addiction...but tonight I thoroughly enjoyed watching Hugh Laurie being interviewed on Inside The Actors Studio. I guess this reflects my age, but I had no idea he was a Brit! His British accent makes him even more sexy...a-hem, I digress...I also didn't know he was an accomplished piano player and singer...and did you know his dad was/is a doc and he admits to being the type of person that doesn't enjoy being happy? How fitting. He also read for the role of Wilson during the initial casting for House. Ok, one last thing, and Ill stop worshipping Hugh Laurie...(smirk) he sums up the show by a phrase from Hamlet (Laurie graduated from Eton and Cambridge by the way) "I must be cruel to be kind."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Physician Input Appreciated

Another edition is up at Change of Shift. Kim always does such a good job with this carnival. Im always so impressed with the great posts. I learn something everytime.

This week, Emergiblog posted a piece on talking to Docs. The Nurse Practioner's Place also posted on this topic recently. Its a topic of particular interest to me because of one of my posts about the very same thing.

Because the topic seems to be heating up in some med blogs, I thought you may be interested in the following studies and some of their findings: (stats from this Medscape.com article: Nurs Econ. 2006;24(3):150-155.)

1. Oermann and Moffitt-Wolf (1997) reported that recent graduates experienced a moderate amount of stress during orientation. Stresses in rank order were lack of experience, interactions with physicians, lack of organizational skills, and new situations. (emphasis added)

2. Duchscher (2001) conducted semi-structured interviews at 2 and 6 months of employment and found three major themes evolved sequentially: doing nursing (included dependency issues on others, fear of physicians, self-absorption, not questioning authority), the meaning of nursing (comfort with fallibility, self-awareness, patient-centered caring), and being a nurse (no longer feeling like a puppet on a string.) (emphasis added)

The list of studies and articles on this issue is a mile long. Obviously, its an issue for new grads. This nursing student will be sure to overcome the trepidation of speaking with docs BEFORE I hit the floor as a new grad. Thanks for all the posts and comments that offer applicable advice for this real-life issue nurses are facing everyday.

Any physicians out there who would like to contribute to this discussion, i.e. advice, retorts, opinions...make your voice heard.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

No One Can Spin It Like Spike

If you haven't seen it, I would highly recommend watching Spike Lee's HBO documentary on Katrina.

He has a gift for in-your-face subtleness. Of note for me was the montage of dead bodies depicted with no voice-overs or narration, only a haunting violin piece that was reminiscent of the holocaust. He also managed to replay press conference footage in black and white which somehow reminded me and my husband of the footage I have seen from the 60's when the South was de-segregating. Chilling. He whispers racism in your ear as he documents the failure of a nation to respond to this disaster.

I was angered by what I saw transpire in New Orleans last summer. This piece re-kindles those emotions. Most especially, it renewed my disgust with the slow Federal response and the political games that were played by the Govenor, the Mayor and the President.

It is my deepest hope that we have learned from this disaster.

Grand Rounds Becomes A Centenarian

Check out this weeks all inclusive 57 submissions. Great Job Dr. Charles.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Sweet! I will shamelessly admit I have been hoping I was popular enough for someone to tag me. Good things come to those who wait, because not only have I been tagged, but tagged by a Canadian med student! I affectionately refer to her blog as "itis" because its summer, school is out, and there are too many syllables in medstudentitis. I highly recommend a perusal of her site-she makes a wonderful addition to the medical blogosphere. Ok, enough shameless brown-nosing. (hey-you never know, I may be nursing one of her pt's one day.)

1. One book that changed your life: Bible, God

2. One book that you've read more than once: Left Behind, LaHaye, Jenkins

3. One book you'd want on a desert island: 98.6 Degrees, The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive, Cody Lundin

4. One book that made you laugh: The Indespensable Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson I wish he would come back from retirement for one last hurrah.

5. One book that made you cry: Night, Elie Wiesel

6. One book that you wish had been written: Overcoming Arithmophobia for Dummies

7. One book that you wish had never been written: The DaVinci Code, Dan Brown (link disabled purposefully)

8. One book you're currently reading: The Priest, Francine Rivers

9. One book you've been meaning to read: Manhunt, 12 Day Search For Lincoln's Killers, James Swanson
I tag... Surgeonsblog and N is For Nursing

The Cookie Monster Blues

Clinicals start in exactly 14 days. I wonder if the hospital nursing staff posts this sign somewhere, upgrading the student nurse terror alert to Blue?

Last semester I noticed that the scrubs of the upperclassmen looked washed out and dull. So it was then I decided to buy a new set of scrubs each semester. I bought them yesterday. I had forgotten just how bright they are, just how much I scream "student nurse" when I wear them. I had forgotten why I have developed a distaste for anything in the hue of Royal Blue. And I had forgotten that the color is affectionately referred to as Cookie Monster Blue.So keep your eyes peeled, and if you think you spot a posse of Cookie Monsters walking down your floor at the hospital, not to fear, for its just your friendly student nurses, back for another semester.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


I have tried watching Grey's Anatomy this summer. I just can't seem to get into it. Now I know why.

Catching up on good shows I didn't have time for during school is a mindless activity I enjoy during the summer. Having said that, I have heard all the hype on Grey's Anatomy, but have never seen an episode. A few nights ago, I watched my first episode. It was titled, "Tell Me Sweet Little Lies." For those of you who watch it regularly, it was the episode where the nurses went on strike.

In the episode, there was a small scene between one of the "stars" and a nursing student. The nursing student was portrayed by a pencil thin blonde woman, all of 21. A character that is not representative of the students sitting next to me in class. But I take issue with how this student was portrayed. She was being bossed around by the resident, nay, she was being barked at. And of course, the student replied with skittish uncertainty. Now I can certainly relate to skittish uncertainty...see Um, Excuse me. However, must the American public be subjected to unfair stereotyping of student nurses? Hmph! I was actually a little embarrassed as my hubby was watching the episode too. He said in jest, "Is that how it is in clinicals, honey?"

I read an editorial in an AJN publication once about how nurses are being portrayed in the "new generation" of medical thrillers on TV. The days of being respected as we were in the show ER are over. Now we have to deal with the false portrayals of our profession as depicted in House, and Grey's Anatomy.

Rise up proud nurses! Fight to defend your hard earned reputation, take to the streets in protest. Turn off your televisions, boycott these shows!

Ok, so that's a bit extreme. For I too will be placed squarely in front of my television for the season opener of House this fall, but isn't there something we can do?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Mental Filing Cabinet

I took my 11 yo dtr in to the doc today to have some pesky warts treated. Her previous pediatrician refused to treat them and told her to keep duct tape over it for 6 weeks, and they would go away. Seriously, thats what they told her. (darn HMO docs, so freaked out to spend a little money) : )

Anyways, my daughter asked the nurse if she could tell her if she was the right weight for her age and height. Peer pressure starts so young these days. The nurse would not tell her. Is there some secret I don't know about here? Is she afraid she will create an anorexic/bulemic by giving her this info? Dtr is too polite (especially in front of mom) to push for an answer, but mom isn't!

I asked her why she was avoiding answering the question. The nurse said I should really have that issue addressed at her next physical ( a year from now). What? Isn't it a nurses job to educate?
So I smiled, relenting my lack of knowledge in this area to a nurse who could have simply plotted the info on a chart she has in front of her. I decided I would bug the doc instead.

Doc said an 11yo female who weighs 128lbs and is 62 inches tall is in the 90th percentile. It took him less than one minute to plot it and I was satisfied. What was that nurses problem?

Mental Filing Cabinet Under "Never Do as a Nurse"
Avoid an opportunity to educate a patient.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Welcome to Change of Shift. As usual the posts are wonderful and the submissions will not disappoint. I enjoyed the recent Grand Rounds' format of a stroll through a Garden, so I am adopting the style. However, I thought it appropriate to walk readers through a college campus, after all, I am a nursing student!

Welcome to campus! Our first stop on the college campus tour is the lectern, a place where ideas are brought to fruition, and theory examined in an atmosphere of teaching.
Nursing Studio kicks this portion of the tour off with an informative piece on ACLS. Setting the bar for all of us, she has mastered the audioblog feature for your listening pleasure and offers her post as a podcast! Much better than chalkdust and erasers. Unbounded Medicine follows with a helpful primer regarding Gallstone Ileus.

The next stop on our tour is the faculty lounge, where the experienced teachers go to share their war stories, and their personal feelings. A place of retreat. A place every student, could they be a fly on the wall, would learn so much regarding the "real world" they are preparing for.

Mediblogopathy sits down for a break first, as a new "faculty member" to her blog is introduced. Welcome Paeds RN, and thanks for the advice to fellow faculty in Compromise. The next faculty member to stop in for a break is Dr. Schwab at Surgeonsblog. He shares his gut-wrenching experience with a young Memorable Patient no. 4. Maybe Donorcycle would like to offer him a drink after that story as she relates a story about teen-suicide that is a good reminder not to get to cynical in Good For Her. Warrior Mom follows with her experience in going the extra mile for a patient in Empathy. Digital Doorway lightens the faculty discussion in re-telling his own experience as a vet and ailurophile in The Nurse as Vet. Finally, OncRN admits, with a level of honesty that only comes out when the faculty lounge door is closed, that somedays she is just going for the Oscar in I'd Like to Thank The Academy.

What would a university be without the local cafe? A place where students can find an escape, chatting with old friends and meeting new ones. How relaxing it is to grab a latte, open up the laptop and enjoy a favorite blog, or download iTunes to the iPod?

A newcomer to the healthcare blogging scene, Drug Induced Hallucinations, is welcomed into the cafe with a creative approach to writing in EMS Concerto. Blissful Entropy joins our Paramedic student at the cafe table and expresses much deserved gratitude in Thanks To The Frontlines. The conversation switches gears when Its a Nursing Thing vents about her arithmophobia and shares a song from her iPod with Math Sucks, Jimmy Buffet says so. Improbable Optimisms shares her feelings about how the people that she ministers to in an ED embody Christ with God in The ER. Finally, KT Living takes a seat and shares a shift experience that almost broke her as a nurse. Sounds like it was friends and fellow nurses who helped her through a tough experience. Thankfully the cafe offers complimentary Kleenex!

Finally, a spot on campus near and dear to everyone's heart, the library. Students and faculty alike explore the printed word for a look into history, or possibly for work on a research paper. Whatever the purpose the book serves, it is a powerful tool in eliciting a wide range of emotions, points of view, and in furthering that which was spoken of from behind the lectern. What do the stacks hold this week?

Our first selection from the shelves appears to be a well written biography. Fat Doctor authors Supermom, RN, MN, CDE. Emergiblog writes a persuasive essay exploring a personal experience with Hospice care several years ago and how it has evolved since then in Valley of The Shadow. Has it been a good or not-so-good evolution? Wrapping up our tour through the library is a historical look back from Nurse Ratched in Do You Remember When. This is the type of writing I enjoy the most, history. We can never seem to imagine life as they experienced it, but a few generations from now, the same will be said of us..."How did they put up with that?"

This concludes your campus tour. Hopefully you have enjoyed your stroll. Fall is coming and soon the leaves will be changing, the drum corps will be audible practicing for the first home football game of the season, and us students will be back to class, learning, experiencing and blogging all about it!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Where did summer go?

Yesterday the mail contained three children's catalogs, all of which prominently promoting their vast selections of Halloween costumes. I wanted to protest the advancement of summer towards fall by not looking at the catalogues, but the kids have surrendered on my behalf and have already decided on their Halloween identities and with whom they will trick or treat.

Today, as I came in from the deck, enjoying a wonderful warm summer breeze and plentiful sunshine, I heard "the voices." The voices that will forever remind me of fall, the immanent end of summer and back to school. The voices of John Madden and Al Michaels, the voices of NFL football. Tonight was the first televised pre-season pro-football game, and the first sign it is nearing the end of my summer.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Math Sucks, Jimmy Buffet says so!

this is an audio post - click to play

Jimmy Buffet said it best in his song, "Math Sucks." I am convinced it is the sole reason I am not in medical school and am also certain it is the reason I have a near nervous breakdown during the first two weeks of every semester in nursing school. Maybe its because my 10th grade geometry teacher was more interested in running football plays with his players than teaching math, but ever since then, I have struggled with math. It killed my ACT scores...goodbye pre-med at the local Big Ten university. and it wreaks havoc on my ego everytime my husband does the math in his head quicker than I can peck the numbers into the calculator.

I have a BA in business, and only obtained it by taking stats twice. When I decided to go into nursing school, I had to take Algebra II before I would be considered as a candidate for the nursing program. I took it online and only passed it because my accountant hubby helped me with my quizzes and homework. So I was hopeful that having passed those hurdles, I would be mostly math free in nursing school...I said hopeful.

How is it that I have been accepted into a nursing school that feels the need to proove its "dedication" to producing math competent nurses. Their policy? To have a mandatory math test in each nursing course. If a student doesn't pass the test? You're Auf'd. Seriously. Auf Weidersehen. And no kisses on the cheek from a gorgeous blonde lingerie model either. You're just done-irregardless of how far into the program you have advanced.

I am not devaluing math's place in the life of a nurse. I understand that certain orders require the nurse to calculate rates and dosages. But if its so important, why not just create a Nursing Math class as a part of the program? Why must the powers that be rob me of my back to class excitement by throwing in a do or die math test. To make it all the worse, it occurs in the first week back to class after a long math free summer.

Im sure my attitude does nothing but perpetuate my anxiety towards these impending tests. Im also sure that I will be a good nurse even if I have to ask a colleague to check my calculations before I give a med. But as all nursing students know, we are but puppets, who dance willingly when our strings are pulled. For the puppetmasters know how desperate we are to be successful nurses who will graduate.

But math still sucks.