Friday, February 27, 2009

Good news for terrible music fans

Dear lord this is so Strongly Disagree it goes all the way around to being Strongly Agree, if you believe that Likert scales are circular or perhaps Möbius strips.

These guys have taken lots of popular songs and run the vocals through Microsoft’s Songsmith which purports to compose music behind bedroom singers’ tunes. It’s truly awesome/terrifying. I won’t prejudice you with my favorites, just explore and be entertained. Yay for the internets!

Oh well, here’s one favorite not on the site above, “Runnin’ With the Devil”.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Moving up, in one way

After showing interest, I've been appointed one of my unit's representatives on the Staff Nurse Professional Practice Council. This is a group of bedside nurses (as opposed to management) representing every unit and service in the hospital who gather to discuss policy, lobby for change, and serve as a communication link as part of a shared leadership model. Fancy words sure, but so far I'm seeing the value. Other services like nutrition or pharmacy can present to us, get nursing feedback, and together we can make make beneficial changes. It's also a forum where we can discuss matters both positive and negative with the Chief Nursing Officer.

As our unit is large and employs many nurses, we have two representatives, one from the day shift and one from nights. It should come as no surprise to my friends that I'm taken on this role; I tend to be an enthusiastic change agent. Flipping to daytime wakefulness once a month is no fun, but it's nice to get paid for an eight-hour meeting.

In reference to the title of this post, I'm moving up professionally in that I'm entrusted with representing my co-workers. At the same time, I'm a little frustrated that I haven't gotten the opportunity to advance clinically in the manner I'd like. They've only had one training class since I've gotten off orientation, but I really want to start taking kidney and liver transplant patients. They have special needs that vary from our standard patients, but having talked it through with experienced nurses I should be able to handle them without a problem. It's just a matter of being offered the class and checked off on the knowledge. I also would like to get checked off to run two pieces of equipment that are frequently used, CVVHD units (continuous dialysis) and balloon pumps (support heart function). There's a waiting list for the training of course and more tenured staff are ahead of me, but I'm champing at the bit for something more.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Two nurses in Wisconsin were reported to police for taking cell phone pictures of a patient’s x-ray showing a “sex device” stuck up his butt. And then one of them allegedly posted it on Facebook. Total, unethical idiots. Way to promote the profession classy ladies.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

2:1 nursing

Recently I’ve been the 2nd nurse for 2:1 patients a few times. These are patients whose care is so demanding that two nurses are needed to provide it all. They are usually unstable and on external devices to support their heart and/or kidney function.

In the most recent case, the patient was on ECMO which stands for Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation. On ECMO, the patient’s blood supply is routed out of the body via tubes inserted in the large arteries or more commonly veins in their groin to a device that oxygenates the blood before returning to the body. It’s used when a person’s lungs or heart-lung system isn’t working properly. Before ECMO was started on this patient, their supposed-to-be oxygenated arterial blood was black rather than the normal bright red. Post-ECMO insertion they were doing much better.

The workload for 2:1 patients is divided into inside and outside nurse. The outside nurse is more experienced and is the brains of the team. They made the clinical decisions and chart. The inside nurse is the hands of the team. They administer medications, adjust IV flow rates, draw blood for labs, suction the patient, etc.

It’s a show of confidence and respect that I’ve been assigned to be the inside nurse and let me tell you I was both proud and raring to prove myself worthy. Each time it’s worked out very well. It helps that I’m friendly with pretty much everyone at work and get along very well with the veteran nurses that often lead the 2:1 teams. It’s great experience and I look forward to doing it in the future.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Smartier and smartier

Joolie likes learning. I like learning too. Whoo for dimensions 3, 6, and 9!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Visitors, not the alien kind

Daniel and Elana came down to visit me this weekend. I've not been very aggressive about inviting people down so it was nice when Daniel expressed interest a little while ago and we were able to work out a good time for all of us. Rain delayed them on Friday night so by the time they arrived, we only had the energy for beer at a bar/coffee shop around the corner.

It's an interesting place, but noisy at night and as I usually like to read when I'm alone, I don't go often. We had a spirited conversation about Lost and sending NSFW-but-rather-tame photos to friends' cellphones. Now that there's sufficient medical applications for the iTouch, I'm starting to think about getting one. You know, for work.

Saturday was leisurely as well. A little "antique" store and fabric store perusing before we headed to the museum district. After a tour of the museums last year shortly after moving here, I've been holding off on revisiting so as to have a visitor-friendly destination just in case. We only managed to get to the Menil main building and the Cy Twombly annex (I'm not a fan) before rain sent us scurrying. We ate a nice Thai dinner and then returned to my place for whatever we're calling disco naps now. I guess we were all exhausted because the disco naps turned into sleeping all night.

After a serviceable Sunday meal (there was no slice of cantaloupe at the end so I could hardly call it brunch), D&E were off and I puttered about doing laundry for the work week ahead. If others want to visit, I'm game. Just book with me with plenty of advance notice so I can arrange my work schedule and flip over to being awake in the daytime.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Frankly, the kids are bored

Today I took some high school boys from a local Communities in Schools project on a tour of my hospital unit in a likely vain attempt to interest them in nursing. One of the nurses in the education department regularly brings high school kids in to generate some interest in medicine as a future career. The groups vary in enthusiasm I was told and this one was only slightly more engaged than our sedated-into-unconsciousness patients.

I gave them a rundown of what our patient population was like and the role of the nurses on our unit, trying to make it sound exciting (it really is) and rewarding (emotionally and financially). When that failed to inspire any questions or even change in facial expression, we went through the various medical TV shows and ascertained which were reasonably accurate (ER, though with less death of staff) and which were ridiculous (Grey's Anatomy, Scrubs, House). That ate up five minutes. Thank goodness the Communities in Schools staff had good questions. I think I might have even convinced a staffer to consider nursing.

After the unit tour, we went to lunch with several other male nurses speaking as part of a panel. The best part of the day was when we shared our stories of how and why they got into nursing. The kids couldn't of cared less but I was inspired, especially by the guys who immigrated here. I'm a big dork about this, but I really do love nursing and have an inordinate amount of pride in the profession so I love to hear stories from co-workers about how their making a difference in people's lives.

I'm on the list now so I'm sure I'll be presenting again to students in the future. Here's hoping the next group is a little more receptive.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


All through nursing school and through most of my first year working I wore athletic shoes to the hospital. I've never cared for the chef shoes that are popular and, though I don't own a pair, I can't imagine that Crocs provide enough support for me.

Last year a friend of mine who works long hours in retail recommended I try out Z-coil shoes. After a test run I decided they worth the hefty price tag. I don't have back or joint problems, but knowing their prevalence in the nursing workforce I figured I'd try to head off any future problems. Nurses are rather fond of prevention.

They're not particularly stylish and what with the thick heels, I sometimes feel like Karloff’s version of Frankenstein’s Monster. When wearing them I have to be vigilant of feet placement. It would be rather distressing for all involved if IV tubing got caught in my shoe coils and I were to yank a large central line out of patient's neck. It's second nature to me now to look down at my feet whenever I'm at the bedside.

Now I need to pull out the receipt to see if taking the tax deduction for work-related apparel is worth it.