"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Anyway, todays post is a nursing post, a somewhat controversial one and I even debated awhile even posting it at all. But, here goes...
So I worked Friday through Sunday this past weekend. What started as a slow-ish weekend quickly turned extremely busy (who woulda thought for early May? Weird.) Anyway, Saturday night I thought I had a pretty easy assignment. Most of my patients were in their 50's, the easiest and very nicest age range group in my opinion. This is not to say that they don't have potential to be very sick because by all means- any patient in any age group has potential to be critically sick. But it just so happened that that night my patients were very nice and had what I thought to be easy diagnoses to take care of.
Now, when it comes to customer service in the hospital- patient satisfaction means everything. It's how hospitals get reimbursed from huge insurance companies. It's how we get more patients. You've all heard the term, one patients good experience- they tell one person but if they have a bad experience they tell ten. When something good happens to a patient in the hospital, it makes them smile. But they still feel yucky. They just want to feel better and go home. They *might* go home and remember that they had a good nurse, but probably won't remember your name. But, they may tell other people that your hospital has "good nurses". But all it takes is one bad experience mixed with one grumpy or really sick patient to create a chaotic mess of unhappiness. Suddenly that patient feels wronged, that what has been done to them is unjust- even if all it was was that they had to wait 40 minutes for you to remember to bring a soda back they asked for. What they don't know is that when you leave their room, maybe you had to suddenly help a coworker in a dire situation, or another one of your own patients needed you, or whatever! Patients don't think about that. Realistically, patients do know that they obviously aren't the only patient there on your floor. They know that. But they don't like to think about it.
Think about how you would feel or have felt if you were a patient. You are bored. You're thirsty and all you want is a coke. You ask the aide to bring you some when she comes in for vitals- and she says yes but then keeps going along with vitals and when she's done she forgets. Thirty minutes go by and you ring your call bell and the nurse comes in- you ask her. She says no problem but then gets pulled into another patients room and forgets about your soda. The nurse doesn't even realize how big of an issue to you this is because in our eyes, the nurses, its just a soda in the whole scheme of things. We are worried about your vitals, your health condition, our other patients, etc. But to the patient, they just want the friggen soda and they feel that as if everyone is forgetting about them. Next they go home and tell ten people that your hospital has horrible customer service, even if you provide the best healthcare.
On that note, I always try and do my best possible job when it comes to customer service. I always knock when I enter patient rooms. I always address them properly and then remember how they like to be addressed after that. I smile with them, I listen to everything they have to say and I don't belittle them. I do my best to remember if they asked for something and I get it as soon as I can. I always tell them what shift I'm working and what time they will be under my care until. Before I leave at the end of my shift I make sure to explain that I will be leaving in approximately a half hour and then your next nurse will be in shortly after so that patients know. Patients tend to not like when their nurse just disappears and a new nurse takes over, or when a nurse hasn't been in for over an hour because they were in report or seeing other patients. I always always do my best to explain everything to the patient, even if its just pushing a saline flush into the IV. To us its a simple saline flush, harmless- to them its a large syringe of something that is being pushed into their body.
So despite my best efforts to be attentive to all and provide the best customer service, sometimes its truly impossible. The more patients you have, the harder it gets to be as attentive to all as the patient wants you to be. Take the following story as an example.
I had a young patient, lets call him John Smith. He was in his 50's and his wife was as well, and was staying with him in the hospital, watching and listening to everything. John had just had a heart procedure done with us and was put on a very good blood thinner, now extremely necessary and important for his heart to function. However, John was prone to nosebleeds. In addition to the (very good) blood thinner and the dryness of our hospital, he came down with a nosebleed. When my nurse aide had told me that it had begun, I went in right away to check it out. I told him exactly what to do and told him I'd be back in ten minutes. At that exact same time an admission had just arrived under my care. Now, small blip- patients just admitted to the floor require a lot of customer service. They are scared, probably tired, hungry, they don't know whats going on, they need a lot of answers. They don't like rolling up to your floor on a stretcher and then being left there for 90 minutes before the first person comes in to see them. I always try to greet admissions within ten minutes of their arrival and do my whole admission shebang. So anyway, I told John I'd be back, and I went to go say Hi to my admission. I gave her the downlow on what was going on and completed a quick assessment. I told her the aide would be in soon and we should be able to get her to be able to sleep shortly, as it was 12:30 at night. So back I went to see John, and suddenly realized it wasn't just a nosebleed, it was a water fountain. I tried a couple more tricks and then quickly got my nursing supervisor.
To make a LONG story short, I was basically in that room from 12:30 to 7:00 am, with maybe a 45 minute break (in which I quickly went to the bathroom, got something to eat, and charted like my life depended on it). The nosebleed was so severe that it required my constant attention, constant manual pressure to the nose, and a STAT consult to the ENT MD team, twice.
Okay so point here- In this case, I was able to provide excellent customer service to John. Him and his wife even said at the end of it all, right as I was saying goodbye, how fantastic I was all night and how excellent this entire hospital has been so far. They were pleased, despite John being in a very uncomfortable clinical situation. However, I had a brand new admission that was probably wondering where I was after I gave her the down-low, and I had 4 other patients that needed me as well. One of those four patients began having chest pain while I was with John, and another was yelling that he couldn't breathe. Because it was necessary for me to stay with John, I had to delegate responsibility to handle these new problems to other nurses on the floor.
Now think about this for a second. While I was doing what I had to do and on my end was taking care of the patient by sending another nurse in- this is what the patient feels: Its 2am and you wake up with chest pain. You ring for your nurse who you've had for two nights now and knows your story- but in comes the aide. You tell her you have chest pain. She goes and gets me, who unbeknownst to her- sent in another nurse. Now one of my (very good) friends and coworkers handled the chest pain for me by attending to this patient by explaining that I was tied up in another room. But does the patient want to hear that some other patients problem is more important in my eyes than her chest pain? Probably not.
Maybe I over think things. In fact I know I do. But to me, its basic human connection. I've always been extremely aware of peoples emotions around me and I have the extraordinary ability to put myself in others shoes and see how they might be feeling, and then I have the decency to try and fix it. I try to make patients as happy as possible and in situations like that shift, those five other patients probably weren't very happy with me, but John was. So I made one patient happy and sacrificed five. But let's say I had left John to be on his own for his nosebleed- to provide his own manual pressure to his nose for six hours while I tended to five other patients. Sure- I would have made five happy and sacrificed one, but that one sacrifice would turn into a monstrous story if not even a lawsuit. So although I couldn't obey the law of attending to the greater good, I obeyed the law of excellent nursing. Although I may not have made my patients the happiest, I at least knew about their problems and made sure they were taken care of by at least someone. To me that's the best I could have done.
Well thank you for reading today, as always! I love you all,
Friday, May 3, 2013
Anyway, this topic sprouted into my mind a couple days ago. Let me give you a small back story. Lately, my boyfriend and I have come to the inevitable conclusion that its seriously time to lose weight. Neither of us are significantly overweight, but we're both at the point where it definitely couldn't hurt to lose, either. Those happy blissful first years of dating make for a lot of restaurant frequenting and alcohol, neither of which are good for you! :( So we decided to do this together, the whole diet and exercise thing.
Now I overall thought I ate pretty healthy to begin with. As some of you know, I decided about 6 years ago that I was never going to eat or support any fast food franchise ever again. By support I mean I refuse to even take my kids there and give the franchise money even if its not actually being eaten by me. Will that change when I have ten minutes to feed the kids en route from soccer to dance practice? I hope not! Time will tell, but I hope that I can stick true to my beliefs.
So being that I never eat fast food (except for Subway and Panera if you want to count them), I also never drink Soda, never eat Chocolate and don't typically indulge in a lot of sweets, I eat a LOT of fruit and a fair amount of veggies....My only understandable downfall is my love for restaurants and that I probably don't drink enough water. I also have a bad habit of eating late at night. Also, working night shift doesn't help at all. So based on all that, it didn't seem fair or right to me that I was still seemingly gaining weight at a rapid pace. So I had to put a stop to it before it got any harder to lose, and my boyfriend was on board. We thought about a couple programs, including Weight Watchers (a personal favorite of mine) or perhaps trying it on our own, or going to see a nutritionist, or a freelance dieting company, or one of those marketed weight loss pills/shakes or whatever.
But instead of spending money right away, we decided to do it on our own with the help of the program "my fitness pal". It's available online and via apps on a lot of phone carriers. Via phone, you can literally scan bar codes of what you are eating and it calculates everything for you. It's futuristic and awesomely awesome. It sets up a profile for you and makes goals and predicts progress for you based on how your day went. At the end of the day it even gives you pie charts of the breakdown of carbs, protein and fat you ate. It's pretty cool, and all for free. It focuses on calories mostly, but also tracks the remainder of nutrition for each product. Like Weight Watchers, It really teaches you what you were doing wrong and opens your eyes to how much you actually eat during the day and where you can cut back. Just from using the app for three days now I've realized a couple of my hinders to weight loss, some being: Starbucks Green tea frapps with soymilk/no whip (still unhealthy), Thai tea with bubbles, RITAS (I'm a ritaholic), my soy ice cream, and wineeeee. All of those said things I knew to not be extremely healthy per say but I didn't consider them to be *the* reason I wasn't losing weight. Now I treat myself to one of those said things when I have a couple calories to spare.
Anyway, the point of this post- what's wrong with this country?
The other night for dinner, my boyfriend and I picked Saladworks for dinner. For those of you unfamiliar with the franchise, its a lot like a Panera Bread- you can pick soups to eat, salads, sandwiches. What I found to be cool is you can create your own salad. My boyfriend got a Chicken Cesar premade salad, dressing on the side- And I made my own. I got romaine lettuce and added chick peas, carrots, egg whites, wheat noodles, croutons and lite raspberry vinaigrette dressing on the side, and it came with a whole wheat roll. For me, that's 509 calories. Not too bad for what I got (a lot) and the roll is to blame for a lot of that. My boyfriends was 441.
Now before I make my point here, lets think about a meal at McDonalds. Now I went to their dollar menu choices and picked out a theoretical/fake meal for my boyfriend and I.
Two McDouble Cheeseburgers, two medium fries and two sweet teas. This led to 1,840 calories, being 920 each.
So Saladworks: 950 calories for BOTH of us, cost me $19.58.
Mcdonalds: 1,840 calories, would cost me about $6.
I had to pause there for a second because it makes me so angry. So lets think about this. The country of America has a raging epidemic of obesity. We have ads everywhere to lose weight. Take this pill, drink this, eat this, join our program, be high school skinny again! Yet we have endless ads for fast food, too. So Okay lets say someone wants to lose weight but they are on a budget, like 89% of the country is. Lets face it the majority of us aren't swimming in cash. So someone wants to go lose weight so they think, oh hey! Saladworks! I like salad! It's healthy! I'll lose weight! But oh, how much? That's $20!? When I used to spend about $6 dollars on my dinner? I can't afford to lose weight! So they go back to McDonald's, spend less but also eat less matter, but eat more calories, gain more weight. See where I'm headed here? What incentive does the majority of America have to lose weight when it's obviously dramatically more expensive to lose weight. Joining Weight watchers alone will cost an individual about $52/month alone. People go to the fast food because its cheap, its fast and it tastes good. Places like Panera and Saladworks are dramatically more expensive and it takes longer. This.Is.Why.America.is.Overweight.
In an ideal utopian world, well- my utopia- people would have incentive to buy healthier things because its a lot less expensive. Popular fast food chains would become sky rocket prices-the dollar menu would cease to exist and "Value" meals would now cost $20. People on severe budgets would be drawn to healthier food because its cheaper. Think about it, we are digging ourselves a hole right into health care itself.
Someone on severe budget---> Eats fast food----> Becomes severely overweight----> A lot of health problems arise (diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, muscle/bone issues, etc)----->they don't go to the doctor because they don't have the money----->they wait and wait and those problems now become---->Strokes, heart attacks, knee replacements, gastric bypass, lifelong rehab, or even death.----they can't pay for that either.
Those second problems are so much more hard to take care of, not only on the demand to healthcare workers but to our economy! Treating someone for a FIRST heart attack that they can't pay for could cost the economy tens of thousands of dollars- and that's if its remotely uncomplicated!
It just gets me so angry. I am blessed enough to be able to afford the higher prices that come with losing weight. But a single mom with 3 kids trying to feed herself and her kids? Perhaps not so much. Yes I over exaggerated, yes I picked out dollar menu items as an example from McDonald's to make my point. Perhaps a more in depth meal at McDonald's would cost up to $15, but can you imagine how many calories that could be? Not only that, but my boyfriend and I were very full after our meal at Saladworks, and we felt great. If I ate $10 worth of food at McDonald's- Not only would I probably feel like complete crap, but it wouldn't be able to keep me full. I'd be craving more fat and sweets within an hour or two and then the cycle repeats.
Okay so I'm done now. I could probably talk for hours and hours about the Nutrition problems with our country, but I can't keep my audience forever. You're probably hungry by now. Just kidding. No I'm actually pretty hungry, I shall make myself some strawberries perhaps....yumm.
I'm sure some people won't agree with me, and that's totally cool- that's ALSO what America is all about- freedom of speech. Amen to that!
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
|Some of my bookshelf on the left with my CRAZY cat|
|my pathway, the beginning stages...|
|She loves to hide|
|the vet said she's weird because she likes her belly rubbed...|
|She thinks shes the queen of England.|
|the day she got home, when she was a weeee bitty kitten!|
|taken tonight, she loves me, 80% of the time|
|Sitting on "her" window|
|she sleeps a LOT|
Thursday, January 31, 2013
- spackeling (sp?)
- cutting things
- staining wood
- applying stained wood to wall (well actually my dad did this- I'm not allowed to hold big machines that nail things to walls)
- Cleaning some more
- making to do lists
- moving furniture
- cleaning said furniture
- taping painters tape
- untaping painters tape
- cleaning things I've already cleaned, again
- applying floor tiles
- buying a lot of crap
- making a lot of friends at Lowe's
- buying a lot of magic erasers
- cleaning some more with those erasers
- making a lot of decisions
- painting second coats
...And it goes on and on. Getting up early and staying up late, every day has been full! But FUN!
I know that these are the days I will cherish and look back on in ten years. I will marvel at how far I've come in comparison, and cherish the memories I'm making with my dad and my boyfriend as we renovate. It's been hilarious, fun, and a tremendous learning experience.
For example, here are some small, some big, all useful things I've learned in this whole experience:
- It's not that hard to buy a house, especially if you're a first time buyer like me. A lot of the stress comes from selling a house. Buying a house isn't terrible once you've picked it out and have the money to do the down payment. The rest is thousands of phone calls and a shitton of paperwork and deadlines, more paperwork and a lot of signatures. But its no big.
- It's not as hard as I thought to paint. But everything needs a second coat.
- I'm not a good enough painter to not use a drop cloth. *sigh*
- Almost anything in your home can be fixed with the right amount of money and sweet talking with employees at Lowe's and Home Depot. And asking nicely.
- Always sample colors before you buy in the gallon size. But I've noticed the samples are sometimes just a twad different from the real thing so be prepared.
- I learned how to stain wood!
- Always let the stain DRY before you try and touch something with it on, and try not to let it get on your bare skin, its really not fun to get off.
- Make sure your ladder is definitely sturdy before getting on and off it a million times. Like don't use the one you found in the garage that was there when you bought the house.
- Keep track of how much improvement money you are putting into the house.
- If you think a room is small, just put on and take off painters tape around the perimeter of the room, on the ceiling and floor. Your perspective will change.
- Make getting blinds a first priority!
- Rome wasn't built in a day.
- It takes 24 hours for spackle to dry.
- Don't take painters tape off until you're certain whoever painted what they painted definitely did their second coat.
- LABEL BOXES when you pack, it will make it SO MUCH easier to unpack and maybe your box with the silverware won't end up under 20 boxes in your office or bedroom.
- ITs your house, don't be afraid to be daring and create your own ideas/designs. Think outside the box!
- If you hear a noise, go check it out. Make peace. Learn about your house.
- When you hire any time of professional, follow them around and learn about your house and what they are doing. That way you know more about your house and you know how to do what they did. Ask questions!
- If you think you may have a ghost, make friends with it on day one. I got mine some pumpkin seeds and she loves it. I'm only partially kidding.
-Almost anything can be cleaned with a magic clean eraser.
- Its not the end of the world if you get paint on the molding, trim, ceiling, etc. Either it wiples off easily, or you can go back with touch up paint.
- Just give in and get the MyLowes card. Preferably not on your last visit to buy paint...
Anyway, I'll probably add some learning experiences as I continue to work on the house. We're still not done painting, we need 40% of our furniture yet, and still so much CLEANING. I honestly never thought I had it in me to clean this much, but I guess you grow up a lot when you have your own house. I first noticed myself caring about cleanliness when I had my very first dorm room in college. I had a single, so it was all up to me to keep it clean. If I didn't, I always was mortified when friends stopped by and saw my messes. So I finally understood why my mom was always so adamant about cleaning the house when company came over. But then by the time I was a senior in my single dorm, I really didn't care about my rooms appearance. I would *maybe*
But anyway, 2013 will be a huge year for me. I've got to learn how to start cutting coupons and paying attention to sales. I've got a friggen mortgage now, which is scarier than anything. I've always been the kind of girl that's afraid of commitment, and having a 30 year commitment to anything is nerve wracking to me. But I'm ready for it. This feels right. I fell in love with the house when I first saw it, and I plan to put a lot of love into it.
Look for more updates on the house, more to come! Maybe I'll tell you my ghost story.
- With love,