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Does Having An Advanced Degree Make A Better Nurse?

Here is Clara Barton, posing with a new class of graduate nurses who received their nursing education through a correspondence course offered by the Chautauqua School of Nursing. Did you know that some of Clara Barton’s contemporaries did not view her as a legitimate nursing leader because she supported alternative ways of getting a nursing education? It’s kind of ironic that many nursing leaders back then didn’t view the founder of the American Red Cross as an equal. Some things never change.

It’s an old discussion. Are nurses with an advanced degree better nurses? Do they make better leaders and does getting a degree elevate the profession? My blog mother, Kim McAllister, from Emergiblog brought my attention to an article that appears at The article contains Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Nurse Ratched's Place*

Chronic Pain, Chocolate, and Vicodin

Chocolate and vicodin? No, it’s not the latest Ben & Jerry’s flavor. “Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest For Relief From the Headache That Wouldn’t Go Away” is the latest book by author, blogger, web designer, and busy woman Jennette Fulda.

I became acquainted with Jennette’s blog during BlogHer 2008, where I had purchased her first book, “Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir.” When she asked if I would like a copy of “Chocolate & Vicodin” to review, I jumped at the chance.

In “Half-Assed,” Jennette chronicled her journey to a near-200 pound weight loss. Just prior to that book’s release, she began another journey — one whose goal proved elusive. On February 17, 2008, Jennette went to bed with a headache. She still has the headache.

Name a diagnosis, she’s heard of it (brain tumor, dead twin in the brain, etc.) Name a treatment, she’s tried it (meds, massage, marijuana, mint chocolate chip ice cream, etc.) In “Chocolate & Vicodin,” Jennette is on a journey to find relief from chronic headache. Writing in a comfortable style, Jennette has a subtle humor that will have you laughing out loud. Trust me, her description of using marijuana “for medicinal purposes only” will have your beverage of choice coming out your nose! (Cover the book!)

But it will also choke you up. Under the humor, under the crazy e-mails from readers that suggest the crazy remedies, this is a serious story of chronic pain disrupting life. Persistent, excruciating pain and the work of coping with it takes a toll on Jennette, and when it becomes too much you find yourself sobbing with her. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Emergiblog*

Change Of Shift: The Best Of Nursing Shared (Vol. 5, No. 4)

Welcome to Change of Shift!

We have some old friends and some new additions. Our submissions cover the best of nursing and the most difficult moments. Some share successes, others could use some collegial support.

So grab a latte, put your feet up, and enjoy…



Change of Shift: Volume 5, Number 4

I love adding nursing blogs to my blogroll! This week, thanks to his CoS submission, I’ve found Stephen at  A Nurse Practitioner’s View, where he presents Team Work. When it comes to patient care, check our egos at the door.

Some teams we chose and some we’re born into, as noted in this heart-warming story from Keith at Digital Doorway, We’re All in This Together.

Nurses are expected to be super-humanly objective and non-judgmental. As this honest post from Nurse Me shows, there are limits, and don’t forget to Always Look Behind the Curtain First. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Emergiblog*

Happy Birthday, Emergiblog!

Today marks the fourth year anniversary of Emergiblog, a delightful collection of Emergency Medicine musings by nurse Kim McAllister.

Kim doesn’t know this, but I use excerpts from Emergiblog when I teach blogging courses to healthcare execs. Her writing is a favorite with them – and when I ask what kind of person they think she might be (judging from her blog) they say things like:

“An experienced nurse with a heart of gold.”

“Someone who’s seen it all and still kept her marbles.”

“I want her to be my nurse when I show up in the ER.”

I agree with all those sentiments… and I wish you a very happy blogiversary, Kim! I’ll see you in Las Vegas*

*Attention – anyone who reads/writes blogs should join us at Blog World Expo, October 15-17. This is our very first year for a special medblogger track. All are welcome!

Speakers include:

Kevin Pho – KevinMD

Dr. Rob – Musings Of A Distractible Mind

Kim McAllister – Emergiblog

Dr. Val – Better Health

Dr. Mike Sevilla – Doctor Anonymous

Paul Levy – Running A Hospital

Kerri Morrone Sparling – Six Until Me

Gene Ostrovsky – Medgadget

Terri Polick – Nurse Ratched’s Place

Nick Genes – Blogborygmi

Marc Monseau – JNJBTW

Negative Nurse Stereotype Promoted By Showtime In Attempt To Capture House MD Ratings?

header_nursejackieThat’s Edie Falco.

You remember.  She played Carmella Soprano.

Great actress; I love her.

Too bad I won’t be watching her new character on Showtime.


“Nurse Jackie” is a new series.

I received an email from Showtime asking me if I would curate a selection of nursing experiences for an upcoming “Nurse Stories” web site that would coincide with the debut of Nurse Week and “Nurse Jackie”.


I don’t get email from Showtime every day, so this sounded pretty interesting.

I went to the website to check out the show before responding.

I made it through one video.


Nurse Jackie is a competent, hard-as-nails, take-no-prisoners ER nurse.

With a heart, of course.

One minute she’s telling a doctor he’s full of it, the next minute she tells a patient to get out of her ER (classic!).

Edie Falco is perfect as the title character.

You’ve all worked with her.

Hell, you might even be her!


My first reaction?, they did it!

They made a show with a strong nurse protagonist, and damn! if they didn’t get the ER environment down!

I had goosebumps, literally.

I was ready to (a) start getting Showtime, (b) spread the word far and wide and (c) take the job.

But then…


They started grabbing her chest.

I think in a the short video I watched (five minutes?) Nurse Jackie had her breasts fondled by three men.

Oh great.

My first thought?

Here we go again with the nurse-as-sex-object stereotype.

(Actually, my first thought is that I must be working in the wrong hospitals.)

But it got worse.


Nurse Jackie is a drug addict.

Has back pain.

Snorts crushed up Percocets.

Oh no they didn’t………


Oh yes.

They did.

Now, would somebody please tell me why, why? they had to portray this nurse as a drug addict?

Did they not see that they had the potential for one hell of a nurse character here?

Did they not see that they could break the mold of media stereotypes in nursing and pave new ground?

Did they not see that there is enough material to build a nurse character out of what happens in the ER alone without adding the oh-so-subtle touch of drug addiction?


If you’re an nurse who spends a lot of time with other people fondling you, you might like this show.

If you’re an RN and addicted to drugs, you might like this show.

In fact, why don’t you go check out the website for yourself.

Watch the video, get a feel for the character.

Tell me what you think.

Tell Showtime what you think.

And if you are really pissed, write to The Truth About Nursing.

I already did.


As for me?

I (a) am not subscribing to Showtime, (b) will not promote the show to anyone outside this blog post and (c) did not take the job.

I am so sick, and so tired, of stupid media portrayals of nurses.

Didn’t watch “ER”.  No “Grey’s Anatomy”. Won’t watch “House”.

Here goes trying to explain to my patients, again, that “no, I don’t watch that show because of the portrayal of nursing.”


You blew it, Showtime.

Of course, it’s not too late to rectify the issues, the show has not debuted yet.

But know this:

No matter how funny, how dramatic or how well written “Nurse Jackie” is, you are doing nothing to advance or promote the nursing profession. But then I guess the goal is ratings and nothing defines a “hit” like sex and drugs.


“Nurse Jackie” is described as “Saint!  Sinner!”.



Sound familiar?



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