Whoa. I got some really unexpected news. My boss informed me that I am to start training to be charge nurse. She didn’t ask if I wanted to, just told me. Then said that I was already on the schedule to start next week. I’ll have 3 shifts precepting with that day’s charge nurse. In some ways, it’s cool…
I took care of a woman who has had the crappiest medical life. She is a nurse as well, but has been through cancer, amputations, multiple infections in one “stump” that caused her to have a blood infection (“sepsis”) and become hemodynamically unstable (Blood pressure 60!), thus requiring the fine services of the CCU. By the time I got there for my shift, she was muchly improved and I had a lovely time with her. She was actually very cheerful, smiled a lot, and had a great sense of humor. Quite inspiring.
my right from my left.
See, I don’t think I really internalized the exact meaning of “left” and “right” until college. By then, I was learning how to be a nurse. When nurses assess and chart on patients, they are facing the patient across from them. So when I’m checking out an IV site on the patient’s right arm, my perspective of their right arm is that it’s on my left. But later, when I write it down, I have to remember it as being their right arm. Since I spend MUCH more time paying attention to the left/right thing at work, my mind almost immediately thinks “right” when I’m looking at something that’s on my “left.”
It’s a really difficult life. :-)
At some point, I helped take care of a patient in CCU. One day as we were helping him to the chair, I noticed what looked to be an Apple computer power source thingy laying on his bed amongst all the other assorted wires. It looked very much like the little recharger apparatus that my iPod came with. He had asked a few days earlier if it would be okay for his wife to bring in his computer to listen to music with. So I said, “Oooo! You brought your iPod!” To which he gave me a rather odd look… so I said “You know … to listen to your music?” to which he stated, “An iPod? No way…that’s just my computer. iPod’s are way too expensive for SOME of us to afford.” Which then made me feel really stupid. At around $300-$500, iPods are indeed pricey, but entirely worth it and I use mine on a daily basis. So that conversation was thus dropped, ending with a quite awkward silence, until someone helped break it by saying to me, “Hey, take his catheter bag.” Ha!
A day or so later, I happened to simply walk past this patient’s room. I noticed that his laptop Apple computer was on his bedside table (I hadn’t actually seen it in the previous conversation, just the power source). Upon closer inspection, I noted that the Apple computer sitting on his bedside table was none other than an Apple *Powerbook.*
Which retails for anywhere from $2,000-$3,000.
We had a patient once who had cardiac bypass surgery. Sometimes during surgery, the surgeon deems it necessary to put in pacer wires … these are wires that are kinda embedded in the heart and come out the chest. If needed, we RN’s hook those wires up to a temporary pacemaker after surgery. The pacemaker is a little smaller than a VHS tape, but about that size. Anyway, this guy has been hooked up to one of these since surgery. He’s an engineer. One night, a fellow RN went into his room and found him holding the pacemaker, fiddling with the buttons, and when he saw my coworker said, “Ya know, I can’t for the life of me figure out how this thing works!”
We nurses find this sort of thing quite amusing :-) (It’s okay … you have to push many buttons simultaneously to get it to work so you can change the programming on it.)
Lesson … if you are in the hospital hooked up to boxes and things, please try not to play with them :-)
Disclaimer: All stories are composites of different patients, doctors, nurses, and situations. Details about stories have been changed to protect patient and healthcare worker identities.
1. What is this?
This is a weblog specifically for personal medical stories. Many interesting things happen in hospitals, clinics, schools, hospices, at ball games, recitals, and on planes and trains. Almost everyone that comes into contact with someone in some sort of medical situation has at least one good story, be it an RN, MD, LPN, nurse’s aide, unit clerk, unit support, manager, or volunteer.
This is a place for sharing stories. It all started on our personal weblog. As an RN, I started posting stories about what happens at work, and people really enjoyed reading them. A friend suggested that I start an entire blog dedicated to medical stories. I thought it was a great idea.
2. How does it work?
If you want to submit a health-care related story, click on “submit your story” at the top of the website. It emails the story directly to me. You can also use this link to email me with any other questions, concerns, etc.
3. What will be posted?
Any health-care related personal story. Stories about patients, nursing school, med school, that unbelievably awful night your Med-Surg self had to float to the Psych floor….
4. What will not be posted?
Detailed identifying characteristics. Definitely no patient names, not even specific ages. No dates. Location is okay if you feel comfy with providing that.
Otherwise, obviously no gratuitous profanity, vulgarity, solicitations, nude photos or recipes.
Certainly no research papers, journal articles, or anything academic.
5. What are the guidelines for submitting stories?
You know, just use common sense.
6. Can the general non-healthcare-public submit anything?
Absolutely! Was there a nurse or doctor that made an experience especially awful, or especially good? We’re only human… Sometimes we forget that we’re being perceived somewhat skewedly because patients typically aren’t thinking completely straight when they’re in the hospital. Some of us really like to be reminded of what it’s like to be a patient. And some of us NEED to be reminded.
7. I submitted a story weeks/months ago! Why hasn’t it been posted yet?
Because I procrastinate. This is unfortunate, I know, but that’s how it is. I also work full-time and don’t post as much as I’d like. Every story submission is read and the ones appropriate to post will be posted in due time.
8. Who did that awesome Nurse Blythe painting in the upper right hand corner?
9. Who made the buttons on the right side of the page?
I made them in Photoshop using the actual graphics from the blog, when I could. Some I had to do myself using the colors of the blog that I was buttoning. If you download any of these for your own use, consider linking back to my site. The first 20 buttons were really fun to make, the rest – not so much. I tend to really procrastinate on adding links to the sidebar for this reason. If you think you could do better, be my guest. Buttons are 90×25 pixels.
10. Image credits:
When emailing a submission, exclude information that would lead to a break in confidentiality. Feel free to include your name and location, but try to leave out specific dates and the obvious (other names, facility names, etc). In other words, use your noggin’. I’ll change around whatever I feel is inappropriate, such as “My patient Mr. Bird, who is 52, had a knee replacement the other day at Grand Hospital in the Bahamas. He was such a card.” You get the idea.
While it is preferred that stories be true, the only real requirements are that they
be entertaining and thought-provoking and stuff.
- I am Gina. I have been a nurse for 15 years, first in med/surg, then CVICU, inpatient dialysis, CCU and now hospice. This blog is about my experiences as a nurse, and the experiences of others in the healthcare system - patients, nurses, doctors, paramedics. We all have stories!