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My interview with Bertalan is up at ScienceRoll!

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Name Calling

A few years ago, I was working very closely with a physician to figure out what was going on with the critically ill patient we’d just admitted. I was in near constant contact with him for hours as we drew labs, got results, added meds, etc. When things started to settle down, I said, “Thanks for being so available, Dr. S” to which he replied, “You’re welcome. And call me Bill.”

That was the first time in my entire career (~7 years by that point) that a doc had “invited” me to use his first name. It felt strange! I tried it out a few times over the next few months and it really took awhile to feel comfortable with it.

But then I got to thinking. Why don’t we call doctors by their first names? Is it a sign of respect to say “Dr. Jones” instead of “Fred?” Or is it a throwback to the era when nurses used to scramble to give up our seats when a physician walked onto the unit? These days, nurses work more closely with physicians than ever. We call ourselves the “healthcare team.” Do teammates have to address other members with a title?

I have never again been asked to use a doctor’s first name. With some (mostly women), I spontaneously said their first names one day and since they didn’t seem to mind, I kept with it. Lots of nurses who have been on the unit for decades working with the same doctors use first names. But I don’t know if they were asked to, or if they simply started one day and never stopped.

It still feels weird, though. I would always try to call the doc “Dr. S” in front of a patient or family member. But why is that? Clearly doctors have had way more training, years of school, internships and residencies than nurses. (Adding 8/30: Also some rough working conditions, too) But I don’t expect the people with less education than I (CNA’s, students, etc) to call me “Nurse Geena.” Eh – saying that sounds silly, like it’s not a fair comparison. It isn’t, I suppose, but I cannot think of a better one off the top of my head.

I’ve started a poll at Nursing Voices. So if you’re a nurse, head on over and let us know what you do. And I’d truly love to hear what the docs have to say about this topic. Feel free to leave a comment… Would you be surprised/offended if a nurse called you by your first name without being asked to? What if you’d only been working with him/her for a few weeks? Or a few years?

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Grand Rounds and Button Poll Results

Grand Rounds was hosted this week by Rickety Contrivances of Doing Good.

The results of the button poll are in! Over 90% of you voted to keep the buttons. I was kind of surprised! So I guess they’re stayin – sorry to the 9% of you who are tired of them. :)

Now. Who’s got an extra copy of Photoshop laying around? :)

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An Inopportune Call

His normal mood is quite sour. Typically indifferent. He’s not chatty, never cracks a smile, never jokes around. All you normally get out of him are softly-spoken and terse, hard to understand answers.

That day he agreed that the prognosis was probably hopeless. When I called with an update on her deteriorating condition, he said he wasn’t surprised but that he’d be in to see her. He was there within 15 minutes. His mood was elevated to what most people would describe as ambivalent. He seemed almost chatty. More willing to explain things. I was surprised.

During the procedure, his cell phone rang with what sounded like an annoying pop song. His eyes, usually partly cloudy, became dark and stormy. One of us was holding her still, the other was sterile. He fixed his troubled gaze at the one remaining nurse in the room and said, “Can you get that?”

Not an unusual request.

The nurse lifted up his scrub top a little to find the cell phone clipped to his waistband. She had some trouble getting the phone off the holder, and before she could answer it, he said,

Ask her what the hell she’s thinking calling me right now.

Ask her what could possibly possess her to bother me at this moment.

Ask her!

The nurse and I involuntarily glanced at each other. What the…?

She opened the phone and said,


“Um… he’s busy right now… can he…”


“Um… did you hear… ? Ok… Bye.”

“What did she say?”

The nurse and I exchanged glances once again. This did not go unnoticed.

“Nothing. She said nothing.”

Turning towards the nurse that was sterile, his eyes starting to clear from hurricane to mere tropical storm, he said, “I need the drill now.”

And that was that.

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Change of Shift and Blogosphere Love

Get along lil doggies (what does that mean, anyway?)! Change of Shift is up at Nurse Ratched’s Place! She’s got the niftiest stories of the nursing blog world all rounded up.

As far as gossip goes, Babs RN and Ambulance Driver have announced that they are in sweet bloggy love. If you’re in the mood for the down and dirty, visit Babs. But for the long sweet romance story, visit AD. Good luck you crazy kids! :) Might there be live blogging from the wedding?

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Who’s had sepsis? Raise your hand.

Suzi has a question for ya’ll:

I had a kidney stone episode January 2007 which took me to the hospital unexpectedly. My urologist could not remove the stone because there was massive infection caused by the stone rubbing up against the “wall.” I spent five days in the hospital with fever, passing blood, on IV antibiotics, oxygen, and with incredible “sweats” that required clothes and bedding changes several times in a 24 hr. period. I couldn’t get out of bed alone to use the bathroom. I was terribly weak.

After 5 days and under medical advice I was sent home to bed. I was to continue oral antibiotics, and a “stent” was put in place until the stone could be removed. A week or two later I did have the surgery and the stone was removed and another “stent” was inserted. My doctor told me I had been very very sick and I was to do exactly as he said, which was basically to stay in bed until the second “stent” was removed.

Now, heres the question: How long should I expect to be “recovering” until I am back “up to speed?” The doctor told me it would be about 30 days after the surgery. This estimate was way off!

It is now the middle of July and while my recovery seems to be steadily improving,
I continued to experience loss of strength and energy (I can now run up 15 steps X 3 without getting winded) But I cannot power walk the distances I used to. I also “break out” in sweats when I use physical energy. Have any of you had a similar recovery experience from a blood infection (sepsis) and if so, would you share it with me? I just want to know if I’m in the “normal” range.

I knew someone who had sepsis and was hospitalized. It took her MONTHS to fully recover enough to come back to work. At least 6, I believe. Any other experiences?

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When a patient is going to have a colonoscopy, the colon has to be cleaned out so that the doctor can see what’s goin on in there.

To achieve this, the doctor often orders Golytely, which is an electrolyte solution meant to cause some serious cleaning-out while preventing dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. We sometimes give it in the ICU to patients who are to undergo a colonoscopy the next day. If they have an NG tube, we just mix it up and put it down that. If they don’t, they have to drink a glass of the stuff every 10 minutes.

An entire gallon of it.

Think of a really vile salty drink, then imagine having to drink a gallon of it within about 4 hours. Some complain more than others, but I think it’s safe to say that it isn’t pleasant.

It’s highly effective, though.

Apparently I’ve mentioned the process to my husband before, because one day he was walking around during his lunch break and found what might be a possible replacement for what has up until now been a very uncomfortable process! Instead of this:


People could just eat bags of this:


I found it to be quite an unfortunate name for a candy. And it isn’t just the name. Apparently if you’re “sensitive” and you eat too much, it really can possibly stand in for the other stuff!


Well, even if you weren’t exactly looking for the laxative effect, the bag claims that a serving of these candies actually counts as 1 exchange of fruit.



Since when do lemon oil and tangerine oil count as a fruit??

Image credit

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Latest Edition of Change of Shift

A new edition of Change of Shift is up at Emergiblog. Go and check out the best posts from nurses around the blogosphere. Kim gussied up the CoS logo – it looks great! Blue is this carnival’s color!

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The Button Poll

Off to the right there, you’ll see that I’ve chosen to do my blogroll in the form of little buttons for each blog. There used to be a few buttons, and now there are a million.

Does it take my page forever to load because of them? My image editing software died on me (long story), it costs way too much right now to get a new version, and I stubbornly refuse to use anything else. Old dog/new tricks and all that.

So tell me what you think of the buttons. If ya’ll like them, I’ll figure out a way to make them. If you think they’re goofy, I’ll probably go back to using text links for the blogroll.

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8 Month Old Does CPR; Saves Gloworm


(Click to enlarge!)

That’s my boy!

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  • profileI 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!

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