Wednesday, March 1, 2017

When Patients Self Diagnose

When Patients Self-diagnose

WebMD. It’s pretty much the #1 enemy for nurses treating a spooked (and sometimes snappish) patient with a reliable Wi-Fi connection and a previous search that reads: What do I have if…
But hey—at least they’ve come to the right place to really find out, right? And that’s where you come in.
Nurse Mendoza discusses patients who self-diagnose, and how to respond to them calmly, compassionately, and confidently.
Have a favorite “self-diagnosis” that you’ve stumbled upon while on the job? From the “way off” to the “way out there,” share your story with us in the comments section below!

 When Patients Self Diagnose

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Now that I’m a nurse

5 things I’ll never do now that I’m a nurse

Hemera | Thinkstock
Oh, heavens. When I look back on some of the crazy stuff I did as a young’un, I can’t catch my breath. Working in a hospital that specializes in neurocritical care has meant a big change in my perceptions of what’s smart and what’s not.
I wasn’t all that wild as a teenager and young adult, really. (Hi Mom!) There were just some things I did that I remember with awe.
Now that I’m a nurse, I would never:

1. Go car-surfing while a buddy of mine attempts to shoot me with a homemade bazooka that fires things tied to firecrackers.
You’d think this would be self-explanatory, wouldn’t you? It’s not.

2. Mix muscle relaxants, alcohol and Tylenol.
I shudder to think that I actually did this more than once, back when I was working in a college bookstore. Something about lifting three or four tons of books a day made it seem like a really good idea.

3. Ski.
If somebody came up to you and said, “Hey! I want you to hurl yourself down this steep hill while wearing a pair of fiberglass knife blades attached to your feet!” you’d look at him like he was cray to the cray to the zee. Yet, if the same person said, “Hey! Let’s go skiing!” you’d be all over it, wouldn’t you? I was, before I saw what running into a tree could do to a brain.

4. Assume that I know anything about anything.
People think that because you’re a nurse, you’ll know everything there is to know about everything from wound glue to chest tubes to newborns. It’s not true. You might have a good overview of things when you come out of school, but specialization rapidly deprives you of any knowledge you might’ve had outside of your field. I tell doctors all the time, “Don’t assume I know jack about what you’re doing, okay?” and it’s true.

5. Take my health or my ability to move for granted.
Any day spent on the right side of the ground is a good day. I am not kidding. If you can get up, move around, take care of yourself in a reasonable manner and communicate somehow, you’re way ahead of a whole bunch of people that I see every day. I have never been so thankful for what I’ve got, and so determined to keep it, as I was after seeing a few brain-injured people in a rehab facility.

Monday, January 2, 2017

night shift RULES

Top 10 reasons the night shift RULES

Thinkstock / m-imagephotography
As an ER nurse who works nights, I always see these lists and comments ,
I love nights and so do my fellow nocturnal nurses! After asking around to my fellow NOC nurses, this is my compilation of the top 10 reasons that being a nurse on night shift rules:
1. No idiot drivers. You don’t have to contend with other stupid drivers on the way to work because NO ONE is on the road. It’s only you, the occasional intoxicated driver (which you gladly call in to dispatch because you don’t want to deal with the patient load the accident will cause 20 minutes later), and the occasional wildlife – and, let’s face it, sometimes the deer are smarter than the people on the road.
2. The people you will treat will ACTUALLY BE SICK. No more dealing with “Oh, I have a sore throat that started yesterday and I didn’t feel like going to urgent care.” These folks are usually asleep in their beds, and wait to clog the ER until around 0900 the next morning. JOY.
3. You see more wildlife. I go for runs when everyone is asleep or tucking in for the night. I’ve seen more bears, hawks, owls, badgers, deer, foxes, coyotes and wolves than you can imagine, and I’ve even sighted a possible cougar, as well as the occasional bobcat. You learn to appreciate nature more at these hours, as there are no cars or people out to ruin it. You feel alone with nature and it’s the rawest, most overpoweringly calm feeling in the world. I feel most at peace during those times – and I get to experience it every day.
4. You are forced to bring your own food and eat healthy, or eat nothing at all. The local restaurants and hospital cafeteria are closed for the night, the vending machine is all the way on the other side of the hospital, and you just don’t DARE venture that far away from the department, as this will most certainly call to the Gods of Mass Chaos to immediately rain hell on the ED if you even consider venturing further than the department bathroom.
5. Less is more. There’s less “unnecessary” staff to get in your way. I will say no more to this statement, as many who work nights in the medical field will completely understand this.
6. No sharing the bed! When you come off shift, you get to go home to a bed ALL TO YOURSELF! The kids are at school, your spouse is at work, and you have no one kicking you or asking for “sexy time” when all you want to do is get an uninterrupted 6-8 hours of sleep.
7. Empty grocery stores! On your night off you get to grocery shop, and again, not have to deal with the general mass population. If you want to run and jump on your cart and do wheelies between each aisle, you can (and will) without hesitation, because the place is devoid of people who will judge you.
8. Parenting is easier. Never is there a moment in your home when EVERYONE is asleep. Working nights, I’m always awake to catch my teenager attempting to sneak his way in or out of the house. BUSTED!
9. Empty gyms. On your night off, you can go to the gym and run on the treadmill for two hours if you want, not the normal allotted 30-45 minutes some gyms demand. Again, fewer people to contend with – it’s heaven!!
10. Stars. I see more stars because I’m outside at night more often. I’ve learned constellations. I’ve witnessed more meteor showers than ever before. I see the Northern Lights more often. Looking up at the night sky also gives perspective. The universe is a lot bigger than we can imagine, and I’m reminded that there are forces out there that are so much larger than we can ever comprehend. We really are comparable to a tiny microbe living on a grain of sand in the ocean, and that’s the most sobering realization of all – one of which many people can benefit from. I think if we all stopped to think a little more, things might be a little less crazy.

Sarah Kobernick, RN, has worked in the medical field for 13 years as a CNA, LPN and currently as an RN in the emergency department. She also works as a part-time sex assault nurse examiner. She does what she can to stay positive and remain focused on what she does – helping people!

Saturday, December 31, 2016