Monday, August 24, 2015

I'M A BEDSIDE NURSE



I went back to the world of bedside nursing 5 months ago.The 12 hour days full of adventures is becoming easier to handle as I maneuver back into the groove of things.

The last time I worked on the floor was 4 years ago. Paper charting was it! Thick heavy charts that you have to constantly look for takes up a lot of your time. Not only that, you almost need a degree in hieroglyphics or some shit, just to understand the physician's handwriting!

But not anymore, Electronic charting is the bomb. I was apprehensive at first, but as I learned where to click, copy, and paste, my workload seems more like a breeze! Everything is right there in front of me..Drawback? I feel like I'm losing my touch with narrative charting. Since everything is click, click , click, I feel like I'm not thinking anymore.

Maybe it's just me. What do you think?

I also like the use of Rovers to scan patients ID bracelet in conjunction with their medications that you have to give. It's like having another person with you doing the 5 Rights. How cool is that? But, the drawback is trying to find a Rover that's charged and ready to go. Most of the time, rovers are left behind uncharged,

When you're starting your shift looking for a charged up Rover so you can give the freaking 0730 call from a patient who wants Dilaudid......you get the picture!

But overall, I have to say patient interaction has been a joy. I'm not really sure why I left it in the first place. I guess, I had to search and find out for myself what I truly enjoy about nursing.

Making a difference. That's what keeps me charged up. No matter how small it may be. Whether I'm ordering that extra jello that they like on their lunch tray, to educating them more about how to manage they're disease and see they're eyes light up, gives me goosebumps all the time. Dramatic right?

I also thrive on the adrenalin rush!  The burst of  phone calls you receive while trying to hang 4 units of platelets before the 11am surgery, call lights twinkling for that much awaited pain med teaches you how to organize and prioritize to keep em alive till seven oh five!

It's not perfect by all means. I can run into some really challenging situations. But it keeps me grounded. It makes me think. It makes me do better not only for my patient but also for me.

At the end of the day, when my patients look at me and thank me for everything I have done for them, becomes music to my ears. That my friend is good enough for me.

Happy Nursing.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

REMEMBER THE TIME PART 3

My doctor said, "Sunny and 42 degrees".

It was that morning in October when my daughter let out this loud cry when she was pulled out of my belly. She was 2 months premature! But that cry was a sound of "Watch out world! I'm here to stay!". I knew she was gonna be just fine. 

Looking back, I've always wondered up to this day why I wanted to know what the weather was while she was being born. The only thing I can think of is that I seem to associate a lot of things, specially eventful ones with how the weather is for that moment. It's like a stamp in time. And time seems to stand still for a moment once I grasp the feel of my surrounding. 

I can't remember much of what had happened that whole week while I was in labor and delivery. My husband always said that I was very sick and out of it for the most part. What I remembered was I heard my doctor tell my husband that our baby has to be born as soon as possible.

That morning, no windows to look out from, no memory of what had happened, and the only way I can connect to the outside world was to ask what the weather was.
That was 18 years ago and  I can't help but reminisce through all the little stamps in time - first day of kindergarten, middle school, high school, and the "dreaded" driver's license. Now, she has finally graduated high school. 

Oh how time flew by!

Gone are the days when I was the designated "room mom" during her elementary days in school. Those days were so much fun and entertaining in my part as I watched her grow and learn things which helped her become the fine young woman that she is right now.

When she got her driver's license, I realized that she is not riding her little pink and green three wheeler anymore. The days where I can watch her pedal through our driveway now remains in my memories. She is now driving her own car with everyone else out there and there is no way I can watch her step on the gas pedal !


Riding home from work on the week of her graduation day, the weather was that of your typical thunderstorm season. It was hot and muggy. An afternoon parade of  thunder and lightning kept me wondering if it will storm on her graduation day.

The weather gods blessed us with a perfect sunny and 83 degree day. Gentle breeze kept kissing my cheeks as it reassured me that this is gonna be a perfect day for a glorious occassion. Surrounded with family and friends, our daughter graduated with honors in her Class of 2015!

To my dearest daughter, I want you to know that I am so proud of you. I know that you will achieve whatever you want because of your determination. I know growing up without any siblings had its own perks and quirks. But I can tell that you have managed to find yourself through you - your own strengths.

I am tickled to death you got accepted to Georgia Tech - your very first choice for college. You did it. I can't wait till I put the "GT Mom" decal at the back of my Jeep!. You are stepping into a brand new arena of life full of possibilities. I am confident that your very own strengths and knowledge will guide you through all the challenges ahead of you. Just always remember, Mom and Dad are always here for you.

Now, it all makes sense. I came to realize after all these years. No matter what the weather may be, you will always be our daughter. You are our sunshine, our spring daisy, winter snowflake and most importantly - my sunny and 42 degree crisp fall weather.

We love you more than you ever know.





Wednesday, May 6, 2015

HAPPY NURSES WEEK 2015

Nurses Week is a celebration of compassion, courage, and love. Nurses are honored for all that they do. But, what do nurses really feel about nurses week? Have you ever wondered? What are your thoughts about this celebration?

As a nurse myself, I can honestly say that the first thing that comes to mind is, "Do I get an extra day off?" Wishful thinking right?

Everything we do as nurses comes straight from the heart. We do what we do because we care. We go an extra mile because we want to. And we don't even call it an "extra mile". We call it, "it's what I do".

We take care of our patients well because they are the reflection of who we are as a nurse. And if things turn for the worst, we give it all we got to try to save a life.

One nurse on our floor always says, "I'm saving lives. One patient at a time!".

And she's right.

By keeping our patients safe at all times, is keeping them free from harm. And when they feel secure, they feel love. And we can only hope that this will lead to the road to recovery.

Nurses give comfort and courage. We also nurture and listen.

We give comfort to the ones who are in pain, tired, hungry, and scared.
We encourage hope to the ones who are in pain, tired, hungry, and scared.
We nurture the natural inner powers of the ones who are in pain, tired, hungry, and scared.
We listen and acknowledge pain, hunger, and fear. 

These trivial moments in nursing is what makes the profession so beautiful. Its beauty comes from within. No amount of nursing books can even begin to teach this concept.

This is because there are no words to explain the joy it brings to a nurse and his or her patient. 

Happy Nurses Week!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

WHAT? YOU'RE BACK ON THE FLOOR? GIRL...YOU'RE CRAZY!

It has been two months since I went back to bedside nursing. I have to say , I didn't realize how much joy and fulfillment I've missed out on ever since I left it 4 years ago. Going back to the hustle and bustle of it all was the most enlightening step I took in my nursing career.

Looking back, my whole purpose of becoming a nurse was to make a difference - in my life as well as the lives of others. Somewhere along the way, I lost track of my goal and delved into the business side of nursing.

As a hospital  ER Case Manager, my job was to review charts to make sure patients were admitted in the right status and necessity. Thereby, maximizing reimbursements. Then, I started working from home as a Care Coordinator for an ACO to make sure patients refrain from going back to the hospital through disease management. Thereby, saving the big insurance company their money.

I became an instrument for the wealthy to become wealthier. I started feeling stagnant, unhappy and non existent. Something was missing. And I yearned for that feeling of warmth when a patient looks at you and says "Thank you for everything you have done for me",

As "corny" as this might sound, I realized that you should really listen to the voice inside your head and pay attention to the beat of your heart. Yes. Bedside nursing is not easy. It's emotionally and physically draining. Politics. Management. Protocols. But, those little nursing moments makes it all worthwhile.

I have been having the time of my life when I went back to the nursing floor. Some of the case managers I used to work with told me I was crazy ! Some said I was brave.Who knows.

Crazy or not, the most gratifying moments of my nursing career has been happening all over again. This time around, I have a better understanding of the patient as a whole. They have a life before, during and after the hospital stay. I welcome patient's families more now as a part of my team. They help me get a better grasp of why my patient is the way they are. It's true, that there are still some patients and families that you really wish were assigned to another nurse. But, I have learned to accept that We are all different. I don't have any control of how people will act. But I have total control of how I react to my surrounding.

I'm more confident approaching physicians and asking them what their treatment plans are for my patients. I'm not scared to voice out my opinion and advocate for my patients. I always say that patient safety is my number one concern. Keeping them safe while in the hospital and knowing that they have a safe discharge plan is a goal that pushes me to do better. In addition, what I've learned about length of stay and discharge planning while I was a case manager made me more proactive with my care plans as a bedside nurse.

I attribute this new found confidence from my experiences outside of the hospital floors. My break away from direct patient care made me realize that I can do more and refuse to settle for less. I now  appreciate bedside nursing more than I ever did. Bedside nursing is hard but easy to love. It's chaotic, but puts your priorities in order. It's draining, yet fulfills your heart. It's what I love, and that's good enough for me.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

WORKING FROM HOME IS NOT WHAT IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE


Life has its way of teaching you a lot about yourself. The decisions you make can turn your existence meaningful or disconnected. But whichever direction you end up in, the drive to make it better lies again, in your hands.

I have worked in a hospital setting for 26 years. My personality has always been drawn to providing a helping hand to those who are in need. The decision to become a nurse became the next step as a second career, and it has been eight years since I attended the hard earned pinning ceremony.

 I worked as a bedside nurse for 4 years, moved to case management for 3 years, and 9 months ago, I became a nurse care coordinator, working from home. The current job I'm in right now was more of a long term goal that came a little too early. But I did it for the money.


And let me tell you, if  you have to change your job or do something only because of the money. DON'T. The increase in salary did blind my decision, knowing that I don't like the nature of the job. I call it - nurse telemarketing.

I was assigned patients who I need to reach out to and do "care coordination" according to company guidelines. Most of the people I call don't even know that the program exist. I have to make this long spill about the "program" hoping that they will participate and let me assist them in disease management. From there, I can coordinate their doctor's visits by making sure that they have a follow up appointment after an ER visit, make their next doctor's appointment if they missed the previous ones, refer to a social worker for hardships with meds and transportation, educate about their disease....and the list goes on.

It's not a bad job. But, it's not the right fit for me.

My problem was after a little while, I became isolated form physical interactions with other people. I do get the phone interaction. As a matter of fact, I have had great phone conversations with a few, Some of them even made an impact in my life. But for the most part, reaching out to people not knowing what I’m up against can be draining sometimes. People don't want to be bothered!

Let's just put it this way.

I don't like getting calls from people I don't know, or a sales call. What made me think that I would enjoy this job knowing that I will be doing that thing that I don't like!

I did it for the money. 

In addition, the idea of working from home and all its glory added to the excitement of it all.

But all good things can come to an end.

The novelty of working in my pajamas 5 days a week became old very quickly. I found myself with no drive to even shower sometimes. That's ridiculous! You know you've been working from home too long when your husband tells you, "Wow, it's nice to see you again dressed nice!” And mind you, I was wearing jeans and t -shirt that time.

Another thing is I cannot separate work from personal life. There's no distinction. My work office is the next room from our bedroom and closing the office door is not doing the magic trick either. It's not even the physical manifestation of the job that's affecting me. It's the fact that my home life and work life exists in one place. I can't leave work at work. I can't clock out, and leave the hell out of there. I. Live, With, My, Work.

So, what have I done about it?

I made the decision to give up this "dream job" and go back to bedside nursing. I know, for some, you might be thinking that this is the biggest mistake that I will ever do in my life. I don't know. I don't have an answer for that. All I know is,,,. I'm not happy. I feel disabled, disconnected, unfulfilled. I'm missing time with my husband now that I'm doing five days a week. It's different. Work is always there and I cannot enjoy time with my husband and daughter.

Some might say that my reasons don't even count because they are so childish,,,, not spending enough time with husband? If it is, then let it be. All I know is what's important for me. Time. I miss the days when we can spend days together before we go back to work.

Working on the nursing floor can be physically and emotionally draining. I know this. But at least, I know I'm alive and can still do for others and in turn provide myself with the satisfaction of knowing that I exist.

I would like to thank my husband of 19 years, for always listening and supporting me with everything. I remembered him asking me one night if I was Ok. I guess he can tell that something is bothering me. All I did was start crying. Then he said, "I know you're not happy. Go back to the floors. You always seem to be full of life when you worked on the floors". The only thing I can say was, "We're going to lose a lot of money". He said, "It's OK. We'll still work and bring home paychecks. All I want is for you to be happy. We'll make it".

We always do.