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One Nurse Opens Her Heart And Talks About Her Life In The Medical Field

Well, not my heart.

I was contacted awhile ago and asked if I wanted the chance to read and review Tilda Shalof’s new book, Opening My Heart.  (Amazon link, but NOT an affiliate link – I live in California and due to a new law, Amazon has cut all ties with us).

I had the chance to include a story in a book that Tilda edited a couple of years ago called Lives in the Balance.  So I had fond memories 🙂

I’ll say up front that I enjoyed the book.  I had a range of emotions while reading it – frustration, worry, happiness.  Frustration because although Tilda is a very experienced ICU nurse, she doesn’t take her own health seriously at all.  I read with disbelief as she described her incredible denial of the obvious need to treat the heart condition she was born with.

I was amused at her doctor’s and husband’s reactions when she tried to tell them that if anything went wrong with her surgery, she didn’t want to be kept alive on machines.   She explained that she used to have a dog and her husband absolutely refused to euthanize the miserable thing.  I liked this passage in particular:  “To Ivan, love means never stopping love or giving up.  This is what families say.  They can’t let go because of love.  I hope no one loves me this much, ICU nurses often say to one another.”

Amen, sister.

Tilda writes about Read more »

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

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*

Things You Can Learn From A Bad Nurse

My husband had a screening colonoscopy last Friday.  His nurse in the recovery is the only one I had issues with.  I, not my husband.

All went well, but let me tell you he is not an ePatient Dave.  He did not read his instructions about when to quit eating and the prep.  I did.  I then reminded him along the way:  “Only clear liquids today.”  “You must take the Ducolax at 3 pm.  Do you want me to text you a reminder?”

Sometimes the instructions we give patients are clear, but not always read.

The staff at the front desk were very kind and organized.  Calls had been made the day before and I had insured the insurance information they had was correct.   I did not tell anyone I was a doctor.  I’m not sure if my husband did later or not.


When I was called back by the nurse, she mispronounced my name calling me Rhonda (which I forgave easily).  She did not introduce herself to me.

As we entered the recovery area, she did not take me to my husband and assure me he was okay.  She took me to the desk and abruptly said, “You need to sign this.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

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*

Overheard At Pain Management Clinic

Doctor: Mr. Smith, your urine test is positive for cocaine.

Mr. Smith: [Blank Stare]

Doctor: Have you been snorting cocaine recently?

Mr. Smith: No.

Doctor: Then why is there cocaine in your urine?

Mr. Smith: Maybe your nurse put it in there.

Doctor: If my nurse had cocaine, I don’t think she’d put it in your urine.


Bonus tip for pain management specialists: cocaine’s half-life in the urine is 2-4 days. “Random” urine drug testing on Mondays offers a higher yield than other days of the business week because most patients abuse illicit drugs on weekends>>weekdays.

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