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Latest Posts

Despite Her Demanding Work, This Nurse Is Glad She Never Threw In The Towel

Mark Lamers from Online Nursing Degrees.org contacted me for an interview. Mark, I’m flattered. People tell me that I give good interviews because I’m very opinionated. Mark asked some thought provoking questions and one of them really stood out. He asked me about something that I wrote on my blog a long time ago. The post read, “I was also taught that anyone willing to work long, hard hours could obtain the American Dream. I’m a nurse for life, which means I’m not going to retire. In other words, I’m going to die with my Nurse Mates on.” Mark asked, “At this point in your career, it is safe to say you’ve worked long hard hours as a compassionate caregiver. In retrospect, is that American Dream now your story? What would provide the happy ending? What were the necessary steps to get there?

Answer: 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*

One Nurse’s Opinion: The Benefit Of Wearing A Pure White Uniform

Check out this nurse’s erect posture and direct eye contact. Just one look tells you that she was in charge of HER unit. I bet patients never argued with her about taking their prescribed dose of Anacin. I remember when nurses wore pure white uniforms, starched caps, and white leather nursing shoes. Those nurses looked regal. They walked up and down the halls of the hospital with an air of confidence in their step. They looked professional and they especially looked striking when they topped off their white uniform with a navy blue cape.

Taking a cue from the past, I’ve started wearing a white uniform when I’m supposed to work as the unit charge nurse. I’ve noticed how people respond to a white uniform. People know that I’m a nurse when they see my white uniform and they assume that I’m in charge when I sit behind the nurses station. The white uniform gives me an air of authority and says, “She’s the boss.” My new dress code has not gone unnoticed by the young medical interns and residences on my unit. They started calling me an old school nurse. I get tickled when they say that a white uniform looks more formal than colored scrubs with prints slashed all over them. One resident told me that she had a hard time taking anyone seriously when they wear Scooby-Doo scrubs to work.

Anacin Nurse knew the secret of running a tight ship. Maybe I should freak everyone out and start wearing a nurse’s cap.

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

The Planet of Widowhood

This post begins with an ending. On February 27th, 2010, my beloved husband died in his sleep. His life ended and, in a way, mine did, too. Widowhood is a lonely word with a dark meaning, but life goes on. A new life begins when your old one ends.

Sorry I’ve been away so long. I missed my blog but I just didn’t know where to begin. I feel like I’ve just moved onto a new planet called Widowhood. Everything is different here. I’m walking on a landscape where everything is out of place. I’m filling out unfamiliar legal forms almost everyday, and I have to carry David’s death certificate in my handbag everywhere I go. Daily tasks are overwhelming. Cooking? What’s that? David cooked all of our meals at home so now I’m eating out. I feel insecure and that’s just not me. I don’t like living on this planet. 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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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