Friday, October 31, 2014

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A TELEPHONIC NURSE

The five second silence on the other end of the line seemed like forever. Until my patient said, "It's nice to know that someone is willing to check on me, ask questions, and listen to me." Then I said, "It's what I do Sir. Nothing less and wish I can do more".

I started working from home as a nurse care coordinator. Armed with the company issue Blackberry, I reach out to patients and follow up on their ER visits. I check on their conditions, identify their needs, and validate concerns. Make sure they understood their discharge instructions, filled their prescribed medications, and followed up with their PCP, to name a few.

When I left the hospital setting four months ago, my biggest concern was losing the personal interactions. But I was mistaken. Yes, I work by myself in my home office, No physical interaction. Yet, the connection I have made through phone calls exceeds more than what I expected.

It's hard to make a connection to start with. I remembered working in the bedside, I came across many different personalities. In the flesh, right in front of me. For the most part, I have met and taken care of many patients that has made me the nurse I am right now. The person I am right now. Each one taught me something. No matter how small it was, it made a life long impression.

As a telephonic nurse, the nail biting challenge is not knowing who's going to answer on the other end. What mood they're in. Will they be receptive towards me. Trying to make a link by just my mere voice. My tone, the way I sound, how effective I formulate my words. No face to go by, no height, no weight, no color. Just pure and simple voice.

"My prayers are with you" Those were the words I told her the day before I called her back the next morning. She said, "I'm so glad you called. I was thinking about you and how you helped me feel good about my situation". Then, I told her, "We must have been connected, because I thought about you this morning so here I am". She said, "God is with us. He sent you to me". And from that moment, I felt goosebumps, tingling down my spine, a feeling of love and warmth. Is this God?

The love and warmth has always been there. When patients say thank you for reaching out and checking on them. When they invite me to come over their house and chat with them. When a COPD patient starts feeling better and asks me how I'm doing, without running out of breath. I'm doing very well.

When moments happen and I do make connections, reminiscence of floor nursing starts reliving inside my head. A time when an older adult looked in my eyes and said, "Thank you", because I fed her. I told myself, "No, thank you for reminding me that I do still care". Little did she know that guilt started eating me up. Because I really just want to get away from all the chaos in the nursing hallway, I then smiled and told her, "You're welcome. I want to make sure you get your dinner".

The bedridden patient who cannot talk. He looked at me and somehow, I knew he said thank you. I continued on to wipe his face with a warm washcloth, to clean him up. To give comfort and reassurance. That for this little smidgen of time, give him dignity, love and warmth.

These connections are what makes nursing extraordinary and apart from any other profession.

Each patient in person or not, touches your inner soul. Make you believe in something far more words can ever express.

I don't have a door to open and greet my patients with a smile on my face. What I have is the company issue Blackberry. A phone number and a phone ringing on the other end. Waiting for someone to answer. So I can greet them with a smile on my voice.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

NURSES ADVOCATE FOR EACH OTHER

To all my fellow nurses out there, hope everything is well. 

With the recent spotlight shining on Ebola, its hard not to get affected by the continuous blows that the news has to offer. The media photos of the horrible outbreak in West Africa is enough to make us realize that there are forces of nature we still need to understand.. Then, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, The two nurses who contracted Ebola while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan - the first person to be diagnosed and die of the virus in the United States.

Once the news broke out about Nina Pham, the response came from different sides and the blaming game started. It became overwhelming. It has been hectic.

A nurse's role in any setting is far more complicated than meets the eye. Not unless you are a nurse, especially caring at the bedside, you don't have the slightest idea on how grueling it can be out there in the clinical setting.

The high nurse to patient ratio, physician orders that you have to fulfill, tasks you need to carry out for patients, families, staff, management.....is far too extensive to fit in a 12 hour work shift.

The plot continues to thicken when caring for patients are further dictated by protocols. managed care systems and tedious documentations. Yet, nurses armed with the nursing process, follow these rules and protocols down to the last glove that has to be removed as part of the personal protective equipment needed to ensure the safety of patients and the rest of the healthcare team. 

This clearly shows how nurses being in the forefront, are placed in a very critical position of safely caring and advocating for those in need. Yet, when it is all said and done, who advocates for nurses?

Nurses, let's advocate for each other. We need to stay together, remain together. Watching out for each other is the right thing to do. 

In light of this, CDC has issued the use of the buddy system when caring for patients and when putting on and removing of PPE. Nurses do these all the time. We have an unspoken spirit of comraderie that is with us always. It's a bond we share which makes this profession stronger than it has ever been.

The recent Ebola infections here in the USA can serve as a learning process for all of us. It shows how mother nature needs to be respected and not abused. That events can turn into so many directions. Directions that I believe are all valid and worth looking into. This is how we learn. Keeping an open mind. It's up to us to choose the actions to take, To gain knowledge and prevent catastrophe.

Nursing is an integration of knowledge, values, and concepts.  I truly believe that we  nurses  realize the importance of what we do. We take patients' safety first and ours last. Society will realize that our actions are guided by our own knowledge, expertise, and professionalism. Actions do speak louder than words. 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

"The Walking Dead" Season 5 Premiere: It's The Pleasure Principle


The torturous anticipation leading to The Walkng Dead's Season 5 premiere was  satiated by what I think is the most violent and rumpus filled premiere yet. From the throat slashing, burning-zombie- necking...to  the emotional reunion with ass kicker, the show delivered its highest rating episode  to the walker fans, by far.

As much as it was gratifying, deep inside, I have this nagging feeling of disappointment with how the whole thing  turned out.

And you're probably thinking. WTF

Well. here's my thing.

It might have been the fact that the seasons in which The Governor was featured made an impression on me. His arrogance and abusive persona  held us tight for quite some time to the point that everyone felt really disgusted and  cheated when the show did not kill him at the end of Season 3. Yet, when everyone else wished he was dead, I had this inner most inclination that he stays... Just. A. Bit. Longer. A show always needs a villain.... and what a villain he was.

As I have written before, A drama simply just cannot go on without a villain. During The Governor's run, there was no other character that I thought can replace him just yet. Not unless, of course, one is in the making. Governess Carol - I'll come back to this,

 I believe that his drawn out presence made it more worthwhile for us to see Michonne's katana go right through his heart.  It was a true manifestation of delayed gratification.

This ploy was very well executed. It showed a level of sophistication in the writer's part.  As well as for all the viewers who were able to grasp the concept.  A person's ability to delay gratification shows important life skills such as will power and self control.

On the other hand, the season 5 opener offered an action packed version. It was straightforward and uncomplicated. It was instant gratification to say the least. 

Yes. It was great. While it lasted. But I was expecting more of a tactical approach by the prisoners inside Train A. Instead, the train became a gas chamber. Oh well.

Then, Macgyver was written all over. Starting off with the self constructed scrap metal weapons to how Carol saved the day by shooting a firework into a fuel tank equals flying grilled zombies all over Terminus. 

It was badass alright.

But I don't think this is the last time we see Terminus. There are a lot of unfinished business. Like when Rick told Gareth , ''There's a machete, with a red handle. That's what I'm going to use to kill you". Now correct me if I'm wrong. But don't you think Gareth will have a taste, or should I say a feel of that blade slitting his throat?

What about Michonne's katana? She cannot be without that katana. It;s somewhere in Terminus. She has to somehow reunite with her weapon.  

And going back to Carol. Yes she saved the day. Yes, she redeemed herself to Rick. But, I have always had this skepticism about her character.  She seems to have this "going the extra mile" approach for the good of everyone else. She killed Tyrese's girlfriend who was sick with this respiratory virus, to "isolate" the disease. And don't forget "look at the flowers Lizzie".  ............"sympathetic" villain. 

The writers of the show with no doubt, redeemed themselves by pacifying us with the instant gratification approach. We are hard wired to want things. And with the present society of wanting everything - NOW, the season 5 opener was altogether relevant and appealing. 

What did you think about the season premiere?




Saturday, October 11, 2014

E Is For Ebola And Enterovirus D68 :An Infographic

The Ebola Virus and Enterovirus D68 has been in the forefront for weeks now. There has been so many information that has been brought to our attention and sometimes, it can get overwhelming. I would like to take this opportunity and present them in an infographic I made. Hope this helps.



Sunday, October 5, 2014

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

 

I was listening to Tiesto's Ultra 2014 Mix  while working out and I heard him say "Expect the unexpected" a couple of times during his performance.

The commanding phrase then started  playing in my head over and over again. I decided to write about it. One idea led to the next until I stumbled upon a  "curve ball".

I asked my husband.

Is a curve ball always unexpected? He sad in life yes . In baseball no.

So my question now is, Has life ever thrown you a curve ball?

I know my life has had a few. My most important lessons learned were from hits coming from the left field. I guess, what matters the most is if you actually let it hit you straight in the face or if you manage to zap it straight out of your ball field.

Here are a  few things I learned during those unexpected circumstances.

Roll with the punches.. Life will throw you a curve ball. There;s no way around to it. Life's surprises comes in many forms. But always remember that - You. Can. Do. It. You are sharp and resourceful. If there's a will, there's a way. Answers are all around you. It;s just a matter of believing in your self that you can overcome the challenge.

Snatch that opportunity. I believe that, curve balls, as notorious as they might be, can actually present you with golden opportunities that are worth seizing. Sort of blessings in disguise. As a matter of fact, opportnties are always around you. But sometimes. we are trapped in our own comfort zones We forget that we are capable of  improving ourselves. Don't be complacent. Keep moving and learning.  won't, regret.

You have what it takes.   You've got the power. Hey, do you remember the song "The Power" by Snap.   " I got the power. It's gettin,, It's gettin... It's gettin kinda hectic !"This song just started playing in my head while writing this. You have the core strength to overcome anything. Might not be easy at first. But I found out that curve balls teaches you your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Time helps in the healing process. You grow from each experience. Thereby, giving you a better outlook and hope. 

There's always light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how long or short your travel might be inside this tunnel, that gleam of light is always there waiting for you. I know. Sometimes its hard to even think that the darkness which envelopes you will even set you free. But it will. You're not alone. Talk to your close friend, family, the higher being, God.

Have fun. Take the little moments in your everyday life to enjoy. Take a deep breath, step back and let it be. - Tweet this. 

I know as nurses, we always try to encourage our patients to engage in some form of therapeutic communication. We forget that we nurses, need time to vent and talk about our feelings too. We try to be strong for others, and we neglect ourselves in the process.

Nurses, let's practice what we preach. Take care of yourself first. 

Be safe. Don't loose your grip in life.


Helpful Links:

http://www.suicidentipreveonlifeline.org/ 1-800-273-8255 24/7

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 24/7

National 1-800 Crisis Hotlines.

National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-25-ABUSE