« October 2008 | Main | December 2008 »

November 18, 2008

How Does Your Workplace Treat RN Travelers?

Consult2.72x77[1] As I watch the stock market plunge again today, I am hearing rumors of more and more local medical facilities letting their per diem nurses go, replacing them with RN travelers. Is this the right approach, considering the nursing crunch?

Throughout my career in various ICU settings I have met many nurse travelers, some quite knowledgeable, some well gifted; others could use a few classes in organizational and efficiency skills. But, all have been flexible in meeting the needs of the various units. Yet, speaking to them one-on-one, many believe that the nurses that they work with don't seem to recognize their abilities and skills. Nor do the managers. Some RN travelers feel like they are portrayed as incompetent in knowledge and skills.

I have found exactly the opposite. Many of the RN travelers one meets are exceptional nurses and interact with patients more so than the regular staff. This makes me feel a bit sad as many my colleagues see the traveler as a simply a  “body to take over the next shifts' patients,” without recognizing who they are, where they went to school,  their hobbies, interests, and why they chose travel nursing. It is not easy to acclimate to new setting every 13 weeks or so, but they do so in multiple, varied environments. So, why don't we take the time to get to know them and their accomplishments a bit better? 
How does your workplace treat RN travelers?

November 18, 2008 in Beka | Permalink | Comments (10)

November 17, 2008

Change of Shift -- Video Version

Don't miss the latest report of nurse-related blog entries. Check it out here this week, at Crzegrl: Flight Nurse.

November 17, 2008 in Nurses Who Blog | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 12, 2008

Are You Tending to Your Own Emotional Needs?

Pain3.72x84[1]  How often do you leave your workplace drained physically and emotionally, especially after a hard day or night of work? I have slept the past two days -- I thought I would never complete my 3 shifts last week. All 3 shifts were racked with people with GI bleeding, an intubated 95-year-old frail woman, entering the last stage of life (without family support), and other patients whose families wanted “everything done for them,“ despite end-stage diagnoses …Is this what nursing has become today ? Keeping the dead alive?

I realize that is a rather blunt statement. I find these patients to be the most taxing emotionally, their families often making the provision of care even more difficult during a 12-hour shift. I left all 3 shifts emotionally drained. I felt I had done what I could for these patients. Yet, their families wanted more. What is “more,“ when a patient is attached to every modern medical device available to maintain life?

Feelings of turmoil ran through me as I climbed aboard the bus each morning. Sheer exhaustion…

At home, I climbed into bed, after stopping for breakfast at the local diner. I was going to sleep things off. Renew myself by reading a newly written biography on Einstein - 452 pages left to read and then window-shop for the rest of the week.  Until my next 3 shifts…what would they encompass?

What are your thoughts on compassion fatigue? How do you cope?

An interesting Web site: Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project

November 12, 2008 in Beka | Permalink | Comments (44)

November 05, 2008

Imagine Working as a Nurse in 1889!

Beka rose In New York, Columbus Square, the fall colors have not erupted to brilliant reds, yellows, and golds quite yet. Yet, everyone seems to be taking advantage of the 70 degree weather -- jogging, walking their dogs, strolling along 5th Avenue, and seeking hidden shopping deals at Bloomingdales. I just finished working a 3-day weekend, which wasn’t that bad although my body seems to be in a constant state of movement as my DBS battery has a lifetime of 5% left. Yikes!  I've noticed that lace seems to be making a comeback in clothing trends -- rather popular in the 1890s as well!

Can you imagine working in 1889 as a nurse? This list is a partial one of duties left to nurses of that time. (Wonder what physicians were doing?)  The list (Nurses' Duties were Different in 1889) starts out, "In addition to caring for your 50 patients, each nurse will follow these regulations:"

* Daily sweep and mop the floors of your ward, dust the patient's furniture and window sills. (Now called the Dept. of Housekeeping or Environmental Services!)
* Maintain an even temperature in your ward by bringing in a scuttle of coal for the day's business. (A responsibility of BioMedical Engineering!)
* The nurse's notes are important in aiding the physician's work. Make your pens carefully; you may whittle nibs to your individual taste. (Anyone know how you “whittle nibs”? I’m clueless!)
* Each nurse on day duty will report every day at 7 a.m. and leave at 8 p.m. except on the Sabbath on which day you will be off from noon to 2 p.m. (Does this refer to Ethnic origin and religious practices?)
* Graduate nurses in good standing with the director of nurses will be given an evening off each week for courting purposes or two evenings a week if you go to church regularly. (Ahh, a prerequisite required to maintain good standing…)

I find this list fascinating as it reflects how much nursing responsibilities and duties have changed over the past 100 years or so. While you may not remember back to 1889 (!), how about those of you who were practicing 30 or 40 years ago? What are the biggest differences you see?


November 5, 2008 in Beka | Permalink | Comments (42)