Catching Up On “Me Time”

I know, I know.. I’ve been MIA for almost a month now. It was much easier to attempt to update this during the winter when I didn’t have quite as much going on. But I’ve been doing SO much for work recently and I’ve been trying to stay outside as much as possible with the dogs on nice days. So my dear sweet blog has been neglected.. which I kind of knew it would. Hopefully I can get myself together and motivated and actually make this blog something real, but it’s been so hard lately!

So this update is going to be a random collection of what’s been going on in my life lately..

1.) My hubby’s aunt has a habit of collecting random items.. and happened to have a very old, very large pool table in her basement. It’s a Brunswick, which is supposedly a really good brand. Needless to say, we have since become the new owners of this pool table and have been working on fixing it up for the last week or so.  We’ve finally cleaned and painted everything, now we just need to wait for the billiards place to finish everything else and come back to put it together! And yes, it’s going in our garage. We both have SUVs and they won’t fit in there together, so we decided to just stop using it as a garage and turn it in a mancave/bar for my hubby. He’s SUPER excited.

pool table1

In his aunt’s basement.

 

pool table2

All taken apart, ready to be painted.

2.) I’ve been attempting to eat healthier. If you know me, you know I eat junk food and fried foods like there’s no tomorrow. So I’ve decided to try one new vegetable a week! So far I’ve discovered brussel sprouts, chick peas, and kale.  I can officially say I’m obsessed with brussel sprouts! Sauteed in a littleeee butter and lots of lemon pepper, yum yummmm.

brussels

3.) April Beauty Boxes! I didn’t take pictures of my Birchbox, so we’ll just have to wait for my May box. I’m going to wait until the Nail Files Friday for my Julep box. So that leaves me with.. Ipsy! April’s box had a pink theme to it. Pink bag, pink blush, pink eyeshadow, pink nail polish.. and then a non-pink hair product. I plan on trying the hair product tomorrow. I’m not a huge fan of pink eyeshadow, but the colors were pretty. Anddd I love the blush, it gives me such a pretty rosy glow 🙂 and while I haven’t used the polish yet, I love the color. As always, I’m not super in loveee with my Ipsy items, but I was definitely happy with the contents.

ipsy4-1

It all came in pretty boxes too!

ipsy4-2

Inside the bag.

ipsy4-3

4.) I received my first BzzKit! I’m going to make a separate post to give my actual review of it.. but I was super excited to receive my first box in the mail! Who doesn’t love receiving free items?!

bzzkit2

5.) As you may know, I’m a nurse on a renal unit. Well, one of my coworkers discovered these awesome pins for our badges and she ordered a whole bunch of them so we can all have one. How cute is this little guy?! This company is super awesome and has pins of almost ANY organ. All nurses should seriously check it out 🙂

kidneypin

The little kidney is the actual pin.

 

Well, that was random but my doggies are cuddling and I need to start the laundry. Until later!

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A More Serious Post..

Okay, so this post is going to be kind of more serious than my usual ones. Not TOO serious, but it’s about something I find interesting and something that should be important in everyone’s lives..

Here’s why this topic is on my mind today..

I took a class yesterday with about 30 other nurses that work for the same hospital I do. During one of the presentations, the instructor went around asking everyone where they were born and what was their ethnicity. I was completely startled to hear the results!

Out of the approximately 30 nurses..

  • Not a single one was born in the city in which we work.
  • Only a handful were born in the state we work in.
  • And only about half were actually born in the United States.
  • The places people were born in included – The Philippines, Panama, Asia, Germany and Africa.

I can’t even almost remember all the ethnicities (according to spell check, this isn’t a word but I don’t know what else to use), but it was absolutely amazing to realize I work for a company that VERY obviously encourages diversity.

And not only that.. but nursing in general is a very diverse career. There’s nurses fresh out of college that are 22 years old.. and then it ranges all the way up to nurses in their 60’s who are ready to retire. Three generations of people working together! We’re changing the world people! 😉

I know this isn’t my usual topic of discussion but I thought it was interesting and felt like sharing it with you all.

Do you have diversity where you work?

Just Be Professional

The list could go on, but these are three very truthful points. It happens and it’s real life. We just need to find a way to deal with it.

Nursing and Respiratory Care

As a nursing professional we need to remember some truths that can help us be sane and more productive in our work. The truth may somehow be painful and hard to swallow but a part of the reality of a nursing professional is to be strong enough to admit that the nursing profession has some difficult aspects that you have to bear with. Being positive is a good thing to do but we also need to keep in mind that there are really some negative aspects that we need to learn to cope with.

There Will Be Clashes With Doctors and Colleagues

No matter how much we want to be nice to everyone, it does not simply cut it. There will be times that discussion will be heated and some arguments will erupt between you and a doctor or colleague. The best thing to do is to make sure that…

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I Definitely Jinxed Myself

Well, if you remember, a few days ago I wrote a sarcastic – and completely true – post about what it’s like to be a nurse. You can check it out here. I thought it was pretty funny.. but now I’ve had two terrible, terrible nights at work. Both nights I transferred one of my patients to the ICU. So today I’m going to tell you about what happened last night – because this REALLY, TRULY, SERIOUSLY is what it’s like to be a nurse.

 

The patient is 44 years old. He was admitted to the hospital with nausea and vomiting. Medical history includes AIDS, ESRD (end stage renal disease), and high blood pressure. He’s not a diabetic, but they’d been having trouble stabilizing his blood sugars all day because he hadn’t been eating, so he had IV fluids with dextrose running.

When I had checked on him in the beginning of the shift (about 7:45pm), he was sleeping – no distress noted. The tech took his vitals about an hour later (about 8:30pm) – no distress noted. When she took his blood sugar at 9:40pm, it was only 51. When I entered the room, the patient was lethargic, difficult to arouse, but did not appear to be in any type of distress (which is normal for a patient with low blood sugar). I immediately gave him concentrated dextrose through his IV. Then when I went to re-position him, while I waited to recheck his blood sugar, I noticed a thick, brown liquid coming out of his nose. At this time I noticed he had become diaphoretic (aka sweaty) and his breathing was very labored. He would open his eyes only if I shook him and shouted his name, but would not keep them open and would not talk. I immediately placed him on oxygen and notified the MD and the rapid response team. When I rechecked his blood sugar, he had come up to 99.

Everything happened very quickly after that – we suctioned him, we assisted his breathing with an ambu bag, we attached the AED pads (which thankfully, we didn’t have to use), we inserted a nasal airway, and we immediately transferred him to the ICU. While there the doctor attempted to place a subclavian central line (in his chest), but was unable to due to poor vascular access. Eventually, they placed a central line in his femoral vein (in the groin), and then intubated him. They suctioned his lungs and his stomach – and both contained a thick, brown liquid.. meaning he most likely vomited and then aspirated on it.

It’s crazy to me because it all happened so quickly. This patient is known for sleeping while curled up in a little ball. The way he had his arm positioned was blocking my view of the vomit, which is why I initially only noted it coming out of his nose and didn’t see it on the sheets. I initially thought he was lethargic from the low blood sugar, but I quickly realized that was not the case. He must’ve vomited like 2 seconds before I walked into the room – which is quite lucky for him.

So what did we learn from this?

1. Never assume anything when you first walk into a patient’s room. If I hadn’t continued to assess him, or even if I hadn’t stayed in the room while waiting to recheck his sugar – we might’ve found him too late.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I immediately notified the charge nurse, the doctor, the rapid response team, and the other nurses working down my hall that something was wrong and that I’d be needing assistance. Shouting for help is also very effective.

3. Don’t feel bad if you don’t know what’s happening. I didn’t know exactly what was wrong with him, but I knew his symptoms meant something was very, very wrong. The important part is just knowing that something is wrong.

4. Trust your instincts.  I notified the doctor and the rapid response team before I even checked his vitals, before I even thoroughly completed my assessment. I was checking his pupils while on the phone. I knew that things were progressing rapidly and I knew I needed them there ASAP.

I’m sure there are things I could’ve done differently, but I feel very pleased with the way I handled the situation. I knew my patient. I knew something was wrong. I knew to ask for help. I knew exactly what to do before I was told what to do. It’s a good  great AWESOME feeling to feel like you really know what you’re doing in your career.

I am proud of myself.

The end.

What It’s Like To Be A Nurse

I took a little break from blogging over the weekend. I feel like I need to get this thing under control. Most people have a theme to their blog – fashion, food, parenting, etc. Me? I just babble. And I’m kind of okay with that, but I never really put much thought into my posts. I just start typing and see what happens (as I’m going to do today). But anyway, bear with me and we’ll try to figure something out, okay?

For today’s post, I’m going to talk about what a typical night at work is like for me. Some things may or may not be exaggerated.

((Background information – I’ve been a nurse for 3 1/2 years. I work 7p-7am on a renal medical/surgical telemetry floor. Meaning most of my patients have kidney disease, are on dialysis, need to have a heart monitor, may have had surgery recently, or have some random ailment that doesn’t qualify them to be placed on any other floor. We basically have the melting pot of patient diagnoses.))

6:50 – 7:00 pm

Arrive to work and get my assignment – varies from 4-6 patients. While attempting to look up info on my patients (diagnosis, medical history, labs, meds, etc), another nurse arrives and complains about her assignment and wants it changed. So then we all shuffle patients around and the assignments get changed, and now I have to look up info on new patients.

7:oo – 7:45 pm

Time to start report, but can’t find the nurse who had my patients. I usually have to get report from 2 different nurses. One of them forgets why the person is here. Another forgot to give them their suppertime meds, “you don’t mind giving the pills, do you? I switched them to your time.” And also, “Oh he’s really, really confused, so I couldn’t do his admission history. His daughter was here all day though, so he didn’t try to get out of bed.” (Really? Why didn’t you do the admission history then? Or call the admission nurse?)

7:45 – 9:00 pm

After introducing myself to all my patients (and hearing, “Oh honey, you don’t look a day over 16! Are you sure you’re a nurse?” at least once), I begin my assessments. Usually at some point during this time, I get called on my (annoying) work phone no less than 5 times to either fix telemetry leads, talk to a lab tech, radiology tech, pharmacist, family member, etc, give pain meds, help someone to the bathroom, etc, etc. And also during these assessments, I hear things such as, “Yeah, I’m coughing a lot, look at this green stuff I saved in this tissue.”,” Oh, my poop looks funny, I saved it in the toilet for you to look at.”, “Can you scratch my butt for me? I can’t reach.”, “I picked at this scab on my arm and it’s bleeding.”, “Do you know if I’m taking a pill that starts with a M or D and I don’t remember what it’s for?”.. and so on.

9:00 – 10:30 pm

Time to give out medications! None of which are available from pharmacy, even though they’re routine medications that the patient has been on for DAYS. Wait at least 30 minutes for each pill I request. Out of the 4-6 patients I have to give meds to – one will deny ever hearing of any of their pills, one will refuse “that little white pill because I definitely don’t take little white pills at home”, one will ask for a sleeping pill that they don’t have ordered, one will ask for a laxative… Oh, and also, the person admitted with uncontrolled hypertension – will have a blood pressure of 220/112 without PRN’s available. Time to call the doctor!

10:30 pm – 1:00 am

Attempt to chart my assessments. Receive an admission and get report from the ED nurse who knows absolutely nothing the patient. Tells me their IV is in their right wrist when it’s in their left forearm. Tells me they’re alert and oriented, comes up to the floor speaking to “that cat sitting on top of that IV pole.” Tells me, “Oh yeah, their vitals have been fine,” comes up to the floor with HR in the 130’s and temp 102. Time to call the doctor. 

1:00 – 1:30 am

Lunch time! Watch tv in the break room, guzzle my 32 oz of super sweet iced tea, eat whatever random food I have that night. Oh, and also receive about 5 calls from the secretary and/or monitor tech about telemetry, pain meds, potty breaks, etc. Have they forgotten I’m on my lunch break?! Oh, and did I mention we have these handy, dandy locators that tell everyone where we are at all times? They can always find you.

2:00 – 5:00 am

Finish charting. Answer call bells. Read over the charts. Look at labs. Give pain meds, breathing treatments, or other random PRN’s. Patient #4 wakes up at 3am requesting a nicotine patch, call the doctor again. Patient #3 with HR sustaining in the 40’s, call the doctor again. Wait 45 minutes for doctor to return page. Patient #1 requests a sleeping pill at 4:50am, don’t think so! Wait, what? Patient #2 has a history of VRE?! Oh man, they haven’t been on isolation this whole time! Time to get out the bleach wipes and scrub my body. Patient #6 decides to pee in the garbage can because they couldn’t find the urinal sitting on their bedside table.

5:00 – 7:00 am

Send one or two patients to dialysis. Give out early morning meds. Patient #4 pulls out IV while attempting to put on a hoodie over their hospital gown. Blood everywhere. Too bad that doctor only ordered a one time dose of Hydralazine (instead of a PRN), because the hypertensive patient is now 234/128, time to call the doctor! Receive phone call from lab, patient #2 with potassium level 2.3. Guess I’ll page that doctor again. Doctor never calls back because it’s almost shift change. Oh, and apparently patient #3 has thrown up everywhere because that little white pill that she never takes? Yeah, it was her Reglan. ((Please oh please, let day shift get here soon!))

7:00 – 7:30 am

Thank goodness, day shift is here and ready to get report. Except they need to drink their coffee and eat their oatmeal first. “I don’t know why night shift is in such a hurry, they don’t do anything during the night anyway. All the patients do is sleep.”  “What do you mean you didn’t restart that IV? Now I have to do it.”

7:35 am

FINALLY take a bathroom break. Phewww, I’ve been holding that pee in for 12 hours!!

THE END

And there you have it. Okay, so maybe that all didn’t happen in one night. But yes, every single one of those things has happened to me at some point. Most likely within the last week.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my job. I love my patients (and the majority of them are seriously awesome). I love my night shift coworkers more than anything. I truly enjoy what I do. And I like to think I’m pretty darn good at it. But what bothers me are the people who think – “well, I guess I’ll major in nursing because I don’t know what else to do.” NURSING IS NOT EASY. You need to be passionate about caring for people and passionate about what you do, because nursing is certainly not for everyone. NIGHT SHIFT IS NOT EASY. Contrary to popular belief, patients do not sleep during the night. They’re bored and lonely and the hospital beds are not comfortable, so they ring their call bell all the time. They ask for random things.. because they’re BORED.

Maybe someday I’ll make a What It’s Like To Be A Nurse Part 2 with all the super awesome stuff!

Any other night shift nurses agree with this summary? Feel free to voice your opinions 🙂