Sunday, August 23, 2009

What Do You Do When...

Picture this...

You are working at a hospital and there is a huge thunderstorm with a lot of lightning & as you are standing in a patient's look out the window & see lightning strike & start a fire. What do you do?

Nothing. I was pretty amazed that I got to see something like that. I mean the entire sky lit up & stayed lit up for a few a baseball stadium. I still didn't think much of it. Must be the blonde in me. Although I did wonder why the sky remained lit up for a few seconds more. Still though, I put it out of my mind & kept working.

And then it happened...a couple of hours later...our entire floor went pitch black. About 5 seconds later the back-up generators kicked in. This was all new to me. I've seen our generators get tested...but never been in a situation where they were put into use. So I go & check on my patients & I notice that while the hallways are lit...the air conditioning is no longer working. Not a big deal for most...but for those with respiratory issues, they usually prefer a cool environment as opposed to a warm one.

I went back into the patient's room in which I saw the lightning strike & I looked out the window again. Whatever it was...was still on fire & you could tell it had been that way for awhile.

Anyone wondering what it was that got hit by lightning?? Any guesses??? Hmmmm?????

Well...what do you do when your electric company gets struck by lightning & it results in a huge fire thus knocking out the electricity completely??? That's what happened.

Not only did we lose electricity, but we also lost our connection with the internet. Luckily, someone had been watching tv earlier & had heard the power company was on fire. So we sat around for a couple of hours. It was getting very warm. The aromas floating around were not pleasant. I had a new found thankfulness for air conditioning if it keeps those awful smells away. And I prayed. It was only midnight...I couldn't last another 7 hours this way.

I don't know how...but we got electricity back around 2 am. I thought for sure we'd lose it again, but we didn't. Considering the circumstances, my night was decent. Add in we had 2 mock fire drills and we had a patient being very disrespectful to the staff and I was thankful I would not be back that night.

My patients were all great...well, that might be inflating it a bit, but they were good. I bonded with one over Big Brother (lol).

And my only real problem patients was this woman that came in with abdominal ascites....liver problems/cirrhosis/etc. She had been in a month earlier & knew that they'd be doing a pericentesis to get rid of the extra fluid. Now, you would think somone with fluid overload would be cautious as to how much fluid they consumed...but not this one. I have never in my life seen anyone eat so much ice, drink so many liquids & eat so much pudding & apple sauce ever. If I didn't put my own restrictions on it...I have no doubt she would have taken in at least 5 to 6 liters on my shift alone. I tried to educate her, tried to make her understand, tried to reason with her....but every half hour it was "Can I have more ice? Can I have more milk? Can I have more juice? Can I have more pudding?" I finally had to say "No, you cannot."

On top of that the doctor ordered Dilaudid for her abdominal pain from having all this extra fluid. Ugh, come on...Dilaudid? There is one thing I have noticed....drug seekers are the world's best timekeepers. Seriously. To the very minute that it can be given again, they are on that call light asking for more. It's ridiculous.

Time for me to get some more rest. I am fighting some type of something. My throat is feeling weird...scratchy...not sore, but like something could be developing. I've had it since I woke up. I hope when I wake up tomorrow it is gone. I don't want to be sick!

Have a good week everyone!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What's Up With the Flowers?

I don't know how many of us out there are familiar with the price of flowers.....but I certainly wasn't. I'm not talking about flowers at a flower shop or on Valentine's Day....I'm talking about the cost of flowers at the hospital gift shop.

I have never had the need to buy flowers while at the hospital (thank goodness) fact, I don't think I've ever visited anyone in the hospital outside of my close friends having babies - which did not require flowers, but baby gifts.

Anyways, as me & my friend/co-worker strolled down to the cafeteria to scrounge around & see if there was anything that looked half-way decent to eat before they closed at 11 pm, we walked by where the flowers are on display. Now at my last hospital, I walked by the flower display often as it was right there when you walked into the entrance of the hospital. I never once saw the prices as they were not anywhere to be seen. I guess I imagined they'd be somewhat reasonably priced as they were gifts for someone that was sick enough to be hospitalized.

Boy...was I wrong.

One rose.....ONE ROSE is $15. What??? They did have a deal though....two roses for $25. Huh? In what country is that a deal? Six roses = $50. And we're not talking like the most beautiful roses you've ever seen...just plain, generic roses that I probably would have a hard time paying $5 for.

I then checked out the multi-flower displays...which started at $45 & up. It's absolutely ridiculous. It makes me want to go to our administration & ask "What's up with the flowers?" Seriously...I realize that there is something about flowers that for a lot of people...makes them happy. I see often when walking into a patient's room & there is a gift of makes the room more light, more cheerful. And they scream out "Someone loves me." Why do they have to be so expensive? I feel like starting a "flowers for the sick" campaign.

My week at work was ok. I got the opportunity to go home early on Wed night. I said "Yesssssss" because my shift started out crazyyyyyyyyyy & any chance to get out of that mess was one I would take. I had a new admit at shift change, I had 2 that needed to go to ct scan, I had another whose family had 9308403 questions...even though they were there all day & had plenty of chances to chat with the doctors...they wait until 8 pm to start making requests. I was overwhelmed from being pulled in so many different directions.

I'm normally easy going & not much really bothers me....outside of work. I am great at procrastinating, being unorganized, wasting away of day simply relaxing...doesn't bother me one bit. At's a different story. I want everything done ahead of time, no procrastinating, no disorganization, no relaxing until all of the work is done. I can't stand that I am like that, although it probably is a good thing because I am never there past the time I am supposed to be in order for myself to catch up. If I'm there past can guarantee it's one of two reasons....there is a patient on the unit not doing well & I'm helping our or the day staff is taking their time to get report.

So when I have nights that start off a big mess...I am scrambling to get it all get the patients needs met so they can get to sleep, to get my charting done so the rest of the night can go smoothly. It overwhelms me & at times I feel like I'm in over my head. Not to mention the spectralink phones they make us carry & they call us 90348023042 times throughout the shift interrupting anything we are doing.

I was running around, passing meds, charting....and finally got done at 11:37 pm...I was ready to go. I was elated. As I was walking to the time clock, I heard "Jennifer, we need you to stay." Ughhhhh....nooooooooo. The only good thing about that is that at least all of my work was done & I could have it easy the rest of the shift as long as the patients cooperated. I have learned though...when they say you can leave at better get out of there before they change their mind.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Haven't Forgotten

I haven't forgotten to post...just haven't had the time. Although I just had 5 days off, they seem to fly right by. I work the next 3 nights in a row...sigh. Hoping it goes by quickly.

The patients I have had definitely keep me busy. I can't figure out why though. I don't know if it's because they seem to get medications all throughout the night or that they are more needy or what it is...but from 7 pm to about 1 am, I am running around trying to get everything done so I can sit down and chart. I don't get it because my only responsibilities right now are nursing. Not being a part-time secretary or PCT or transporter...not really even having to interact much with doctors or call them on the phone. It's all patient care & it's not like it's even intense patient care.

Maybe it's the isolation patients...not only the time it takes to suit up in gloves, gown, mask & goggles over & over...but the fact that they tend to be on a lot of different IV medications. I don't know. I can't figure it out. It's not just me...the other nurses are the same way...running around like crazy from 7 pm to 1 am...then it's time to catch up on charting & checking the doctor's orders, etc.

I'm still happy with the change. The atmosphere is so positive, so peaceful, so non-gossip...if that makes sense. We move to another floor this week as they will be updating my floor for the next 3 months or so. I have no idea what the other floor looks like. Hopefully it's decent.

I put in my schedule for the next month & I had to schedule some paid days's required that we take something like 144 hours a year off. That's a lot of time. Anyways, I still have 64 hours to use up before November. I don't really have any plans for my days off...other than to do what I do best...relax.

Actually, I'm thinking of possibly going to Atlanta, GA in late October. I'll play it by ear. It's kinda hard to make myself go somewhere else on vacation when I have the beach less than an hour away and all of the major theme parks also less than an hour away. So who knows...maybe I'll check out Animal Kingdom & Epcot....if the weather is cooler. I also think my niece & nephew want to go to Halloween Horror Nights at that's a possibility too. As well as Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. See...plenty to do without having to drive for hours. Add in the Florida resident discount & it seems foolish to leave the state for vacation.

I am hooked on HBO.....mainly True Blood and Hung. I don't know if any of you are watching it...but most of HBO's series seem to make sense to me. Well, not really sense...but they hook me. I ordered the True Blood books tonight because I have heard they are better than the actual show...although I have a hard time believing that. It's definitely eye opening. And started out slow, but I'm hooked. Love Sunday nights!

Ok, I suppose I should talk about at least one or two patients. I had one that was in with a drug overdose...of Geodon (psych med). She didn't know how many she took or how much other stuff she mixed in with it......but looked very shocked when I told her she would not be getting Geodon that night as regularly prescribed. She & her mother flipped out about how important it is to stay on a proper schedule with that med.'ll heed that advice, but not the advice to not attempt to overdose on it?

I don't know who was worse....the teenager patient or her mother. It's like the mother enjoyed watching her daughter upset. Just as she would settle down & possibly fall went the mom to shake things up again. Really? Do you really have to do that? I wanted to throw her out, but I was too busy tending to my other patients. The next night this patient was to be transferred to a psych facility....only she was refusing transfer. Ummm, you're under a Baker don't get a decision in this matter. She informed me that she would resist transfer & I may want to call the police right now. Yeah, ok...enough of the drama. I looked at her right in the eye & calmly said "We'll deal with that when transport shows up...until then, just go lay down & relax." I wasn't going to feed into her dramatic world. She wasn't going to rattle me either.

I was too busy with other patients to worry about what she might do when it's time to be transported. Lucky for me, transport didn't show up at all that night & I wasn't there when she finally did get transferred out. Go me!

I had another patient who spent over a week in the hospital because he wanted something to be wrong with him. He was his 20's....with his laptop stuck on the Mayo Clinic page and Web MD. Searching for symptoms, diagnoses, etc. I cannot believe he was there over a week with nothing really wrong with him. And we wonder why health care costs are skyrocketing.

I had another patient that claimed to have a seizure while out at a softball game. She definitely was high anxiety & could have used a couple of psych meds to regulate her mood swings. One minute she's happy, the next she's crying, the next she's mad...I couldn't keep up with her. Then she goes & complains that no one is doing anything for her & she may as well go home. I was all for her signing out AMA because she was not someone that would ever be satisfied. Some nurse showed up & seemed to think she could be super nurse & calm this patient down. I pretty much wished her luck & followed in behind to observe. No matter what SN (super nurse) said...the patient had a problem with it. I finally had to jump in & save SN from drowning in the mess she was creating. We walked out of the room & I basically gave her the look of "see what I mean" to which she frantically ran for the elevator. I haven't seen SN since then.

I've had some really sweet patients and I've had my share of rule out H1N1. I am getting sick of this flu....they have us dressing up in full gear if someone so much as sneezes, coughs or has a fever. about overkill. I do comply though as we have had a couple of deaths related to H1N1, but those are the patients I dread the most...because of all the precautions we have to take.

That's about it for now. Hope everyone has a great week!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Meetings, meetings & more meetings

This has been the week of meetings for me. On Wednesday morning (after working 12 hours), we had a town hall meeting to go to. Now in the nearly 5 years I worked at my other hospital, I had gone to the town hall meetings ZERO times. Yep, that's right. I had no desire whatsoever to hear what the administrators had to say...because it's typical b.s.

This time I was inspired to go to my first town hall meeting at the new hospital....inspired why? Because of it being mandatory. I can't get into trouble this quickly on the me & my fellow co-workers ventured into the conference room for the first time hoping it would be over quickly so I could rush home & get some sleep.

I was pleasantly surprised....greeted by happy, smiling faces. The theme was baseball oriented & they were dressed as though they were on a baseball team.....even had some admin dressed up handing out crackerjacks & leading us into doing the wave. Wow! All this at 7:30 in the morning. They also gave us breakfast & these "clapper" type gadgets so we could make as much noise as we wanted. I could quickly tell that these were fun people....not just people pretending to have fun. And I was amazed at how quickly that fun feeling spread.

I work for a religious hospital and while I do not consider myself to be religious all that much, I do consider myself to be spiritual. With that being said, as much as I find it odd that my workplace stops often to say a group prayer....I feel embraced by the feeling of God all around us. I am glad to have this religious influence in my life. Our motto is to extend the healing ministry of Christ...the skill to heal, the spirit to care. It is an inspiration.

If I'm losing you, I apologize...but I need to write this out so I can look back & remember the difference.

The hospital I quit is within the same exact organization as the hospital I am at now. Their motto is the same.....both hospitals advertise pretty much under the same name. Now when the adminstrator at this meeting started was the first time I had ever seen or heard him. And while the first 10 min of listening to him talk, I'll admit....I was sitting there wondering how someone around my age could be so high up in administration. As he spoke about this hospital....about all it has going for itself, and the videos they showed & him saying "people tell me there is something different about this place, there is an energy here like no other"....I was first. The more he talked, the more I was proud of where I now work. The more he spoke, I realized how just down to earth he was.....he didn't think he was better than any of us (as opposed to the admin from the previous hospital who always thought they were on top while nurses were at the bottom of the barrel). When he went on to not just mention all that was going on within the hospital...they had banners posted for every single department with at least 10 positive things going on in every dept. And when we walked out the door that morning...they were handing us ice cream & t-shirts (hey, we're easily influenced, what can I say?)....I felt really good and somewhat disappointed in myself for dreading having to go to that meeting in the first place.

As I came into work that night, it was still ringing in my mind about how things are different here. It's the little things...people helping people, no arguing between departments, everyone working together to get the job done. It was finally clicking. I have been at this new job now for 6 weeks. It has flown by & not for one minute have I had any problem communicating with anyone or any other department. Something is different there....things work & it's not just by luck or's because something is different there. They don't just say what they mean, they mean what they say. Nothing is b.s. or tell them what they want to hear...they truly care about patient satisfaction AND employee satisfaction. They don't sit around trying to figure out how to pinch a penny or how to find ways to make the staff feel overwhelmed & overworked. They are so proactive that it isn't even funny. It's refreshing.

The next morning I had a department staff meeting....yet another thing I never looked forward to at my previous hospital. Only because it was blah, blah, this or blah, blah, that. It wasn't about was about more admin b.s. Sure it was an open forum to speak up....but nothing ever changed for the better & that's frustrating. So I went into this meeting somewhat hesitant and went out feeling quite relaxed. This department has multiple staff meeting times during the week....because they know we are busy & they try to have multiple meeting times so that hopefully one of the meetings times will work out for each & every one of us.

We had maybe 10 people at this meeting...small, but more intimate. More personal. We were informed that our floor is about to be renovated. Amazing considering the economy. They are moving us to another floor for about 4 months while they invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into making our floor look brand new & updating the rooms. We got to see another floor that had the renovation done & I am excited. This is what I mean...they want the patients to be happy...they want the staff to be happy. My manager said that administration pretty much gets us anything she asks....because they know we need the equipment/supplies to get the job done properly. And a job well done is a job that makes most patients happy.

It's refreshing to see how things are supposed to be. It's not just a dream. I feel like I left an abusive relationship and have found something so good, so rewarding....but in the back of my mind I'm thinking it's too good to be true. Any minute now the reality will hit. Well, I've decided if it does, it does...but I'm not going to worry about it. I'm going to enjoy the feeling I have right now when it comes to work. I went in last night and my floor was preparing for "fun Friday." They just started doing this once a month.....they pick a theme, decorate, provide food & get into the theme for the day. Today it was a Hawaiian Luau.

They went all out on the fact, I think they were even planning on giving lei's to the patients to include them in on the theme. Everyone was smiling, having fun...working together. This is how it's supposed to be...especially in healthcare when there are a lot of stressful situations. You have to bond with your co-workers in order to survive. And you need the managers and administrators working with you to accomplish this. This hospital has it figured out. Communication is wide open & everyone works together.

Now the last meeting I had was this was to review the PCU/ICU test and the EKG/ACLS test from a couple of weeks ago. I got a 90 on the PCU/ICU test....highest score among the new hires. Woo hoo...go me! However, my score of 73 on EKG/ACLS wasn't good enough & I have to do some computer based learning modules. All of the new hires have to do them. I somewhat disagree because I don't believe that basic EKG analysis includes rhythm strips such as accelerated idioventricular or paroxysmal junctional tachycardia. That sounds a lot more than basic to me...but oh well. What doesn't kill me makes me stronger, right?

I have plenty more to write as I haven't posted about my patients in the last 2 weeks. I will try to catch up with that over the weekend. It has been an adventure to say the least.

I did manage to find the time to visit my old hospital. Myself and another nurse that left with me went up there last Saturday night. Nothing has changed. While it was a quiet, calm night....we heard nurses arguing with pharmacy and another nurse had to transport her patient for a CT scan & it was 1 am. They hired agency and a lot of new grads. Weird to go back after only 6 weeks & not recognize nearly half the people that were working that night. We were told that they are now thinking of offering part-time or per diem to those that are thinking of leaving or have fact, there was someone else that just left & they were hoping to get her to stay part-time by offering her that. We were asked if we would come back on a part-time basis. Nope. Nothing has changed. The reasons we left are still the same. I miss my co-workers, but not enough to go back to working under those conditions. Not after seeing how it doesn't have to be that way.

It feels good to be proud of where I work. While I still dread having to work 40 hours a week, at least it's a good place to work.

Have a good weekend everyone!