Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

This Nurse Feels Unnecessarily Attacked: What Set Her Off?

Looks like Mr. Administrator has some ‘splainin’ to do!

And I suggest he be straight with my colleagues, because a nurse can sense BS before it is even spoken.

I am not in management, and I never will be.

No, I am one of the “rank and file.” And right now, this member of the “rank and file” is hotter than hell.


What set me off?

A comment in a post on the Health Leaders Media website, entitled Top 5 Challenges Facing Nursing in 2012. The article, written for nursing management, refers to nurses as “rank and file caregivers” and disparages their understanding of the importance of the “patient experience” to reimbursement: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Emergiblog*

The Calming Effect Of A Touch

So, Megen wrote this post recently about “Therapeutic Presence.”  The following passage really caught my attention:

Question is: are there more things in nursing, Horatio, than science can explain? Can we touch patients and zap them with calmness or take away their pain? Can we, by our mindset during our provision of care, substantially affect our patients’ outcomes? Can any of this be taught? Can we do it on purpose? I don’t know. That situation has captured my attention, though, because the flip side must also be true—if I despise my patient, she can probably tell that too, regardless of how tightly I’m controlling my behavior.

Little backstory:  A few weeks ago I had a laparoscopic cholecystectomy.  Basically, a very nice surgeon made a few incisions into my abdomen, inserted a camera and some wrenches or something, and took my gall bladder out.  I had never had surgery before.  Never been intubated.  I have been on “the bed side” quitefew times, but never for surgery.

A week elapsed between the time we decided to do surgery and the time the surgery actually happened.  It was a really hard week for me as I was very anxious about the whole thing.  I’m not even sure what exactly it was that I was nervous about.  I Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at code blog - tales of a nurse*

Keeping Up With New Things: Nurse Decides To Go Back To School

Nursing instructors grading Exams in the 1950s. Courtesy of Johns Hopkins Medical Archives on Flickr.

I remember it well. Cramming all night for a nursing exam, taking the test, and hoping for the best. It was a nerve racking experience for the students, but I’ve always wondered what it was like for the instructors. Check out these old gals. Grading papers was time consuming before computerized tests, but I bet they got some pretty entertaining answers.

Miss Jones, Medical Surgical Instructor: “Oh my God, I can’t believe this answer. It’s right up there with the excuse, “my dog ate my care plan.”

Mrs. Smith, OB/GYN Instructor: “I know what you mean. These young people are the future of our profession. Read more »

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

What Really Happens On A Night Shift At The Hospital

I wonder how many cups of coffee an average night nurse consumes during their shift. Look, there’s someone we can ask, although it looks like her caffeine buzz is wearing off. Notice the telltale chin to chest head tip that gives sleep deprived nurses away. She may look like she’s charting, but she really is in a twilight sleep.

Working nights isn’t for wimps. Neither is working holidays and weekends. You are always short of help, and BIG things seem to go wrong just as the day shift staff heads out the door. I always thought that I was just paranoid about working the off shifts, but Muhammad Saleem from RN Central sent me some information that validated my observations. I’ve posted their research results below. I’ve lived through a lot of these situations. I’ve seen seasoned nurses nod off at the desk at 3AM because they’ve been working their butts off, and I’ve worked with doctors who don’t answer pages promptly during evening hours and on weekends even though they are on call. I’ve also worked with new residences who are unable to write coherent orders until the third week of their rotation. Sometimes I’ve wondered why more things don’t go wrong in a hospital.

I think their information looks accurate. What do you think? Read more »

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

The New Meaning Of The Refrigerator Nurse

Meet Nurse Prudence Perfect. She is the unit’s refrigerator nurse. It’s her job to make sure that everything is perfect and meets Joint Commission standards because you never know when the old JC will drop by for an unannounced visit. Insulin vials labeled and dated? Check. Refrigerator thermometer easily accessible and log up to date? Check. Hey, who put their lunch in here? There is to be no food in medication refrigerator! Prudence is gearing up. Stand by for one of her Joint Commission inservices.

For you nursing history buffs, the term “refrigerator nurse” goes way back to a time when Prudence was a graduate nurse. The term was coined back when it only took one paycheck to support a family, and when nurses, typically women, quit working once they got married. A nurse who went back to work after she was married in order to buy luxury items for her family, such as a refrigerator, was known as a refrigerator nurse. Some have suggested that these nurses were less dedicated to their patients and to the nursing profession, but this is simply not true. It was a different time back then. Women who went back to work after they got married broke with convention. They were rebels and some of the best nurses I’ve known.

This week, I also became a refrigerator nurse, but not in the classic sense. Read more »

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

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »