She was new to this ICU. She was young, smart, funny, and considered one of the “cool” nurses. Before we could really get to know her, she exposed her wonderful, fantastic, perfect life all over social media. Their perfect two-story brick house, their two little, perfect angel daughters — the perfect life in the perfect town. But what was most important was her perfect, handsome husband. He was bound to be a self-employed ...

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The brother I never knew. He was buried in an unmarked grave with other dead babies. 1960. I am now the age my mother died. She was 64 years old: colon cancer. She was a vacant, negligent mother. During one of my psychology classes in nursing school, we learned about the baby monkey experiment (the Harlow experiment), where a baby monkey was laid against a mother made of wires. It was an inanimate object ...

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I walk out my front door today to do my obligatory walk around the block with my pups. Two police cars with blue lights flashing, lead a caravan of over 100 motorcyclists to a funeral for one of their fallen brothers. They revved up their motors in the procession, I guess, as a sign of love, of brotherhood, of kindred spirits in the motorcycle world. I choked up. I was ready to ...

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Smoking was cool. And he started smoking at the age of 15. Two packs a day — every day. When he was 32 years old, we had our first-born son. And he decided to quit cold turkey. But the damage was done. Somehow, someway, it would catch up with him in devastating ways. By the time my husband was 66 years old, he developed shortness of breath and chest pain. With exertion and without ...

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My anger rises when I see the TV "nurse" with her short white dress and her breasts spilling over her pronounced cleavage and her submissive voice speaking to this muscular male MD. Her quick giggle and pretentious demeanor is a stereotype portrayed across the land. And the reality of what we really do goes unnoticed. We have people shouting: "Bring me a coke!" "A blanket, hurry up!" "The food is too cold ... the food ...

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All of us nurses and physicians in the ED and ICU knew him well. He was a young, 21-year-old. A smart, articulate guy who kept going from one hospital to the next. He had a system down ... almost. This young man was a drug seeker. He knew all about seizures and how an Ativan IV push felt during the "seizures" he allegedly was having. Even though he had several identities and different ...

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Perfect nurse. Perfect manager. Perfect puppet. An ICU physician once told me: Nurse managers have a life cycle of a mosquito. Fast and furious And then gone. Deleted until the next one shows up. It was the perfect ICU. Twenty-five beds. Dynamic intensivists. Phenomenal. And they respected us nurses and collaborated with us. We had perfect cerebral perfusion together. Experienced ICU nurses who knew what to do like clockwork — teaching the younger new nurses. Teaching them the facts of ICU. ...

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Our 20-bed ICU finally captured 10 intensivists — all board-certified in critical care medicine. We were fortunate enough to have one of these doctors in our ICU 24-7. Of course, they all practiced professionally with expertise. But I remembered this one the most: Dr. Jason McKenzie (name changed for privacy). He easily became our friend and "go-to" person. Clocking in at night and finding out that Dr. J was our doc, would give me ...

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If you went to go to a museum in New York City and saw a live heart encased in glass, still pumping and pulsating — it would be my heart, shredded into a thousand pieces all in disarray. But it still would be pulsating. This describes my life as a nurse. Nursing was a vacuum that sucked me dry and left me dangling with nothing more to give. Three years left ...

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In 1976, we couldn't wait to be nurses. Our starched white dresses with the nurse caps and stripes symbolized our graduation status as we were called one by one to receive our diploma and a rose. We took an oath to care for the sick, to be professional, to critically think, to respect doctors and to respect patients and family members. And to respect each other. It was the age before computers. We ...

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I have to work tonight. It’s Saturday. And I don’t want to go in. It’s springtime, the skies are blue, birds chirping, and the flowers show off their magnificent colors. But it’s Saturday. And along comes being a nurse. We have mandatory weekends, mandatory holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving and Easter and Independence Day and Memorial Day. Mandatory. And even on my day off when I get a real nights sleep, I think ...

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I was 5 years old on a busy New York City street with my mom, dad, and two sisters. A large man in shabby clothes holding a garbage bag in his hand stood on the corner waiting for the light to change. My dad reached into his wallet and handed the stranger a $20 bill, patted him on the shoulder, and said, "Have a good day, my man." Dad knew everybody — ...

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These events happened over 18 years ago. Some content has been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty. Searching for positive changes in the health care industry. We are not a number, and the patients are not a number. I’m not good at lying. My eyes go to the left or look downward, and I start to stutter and pause. There is no eye contact, and I fall deep into ...

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Florence Nightingale was among the first nurses who started wearing a nurse’s cap. The cap was derived by nuns and represented those caring for the sick. Hair was neatly tightened into a bun and covered by the cap. Back then becoming a nurse was typically seen as a female profession, but men were allowed to become nurses too. In 1930, only one percent of RNs nationwide were male. Growing up in the 1950s ...

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Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets and Sesame Street, died at the age of 53. His diagnosis was toxic shock syndrome/streptococcus pneumonia — a deadly bacterial infection. We were on vacation when we heard the news: The genius who opened the imaginations and hearts of our children ... maybe you too ... was gone. We were devastated and saddened that the magic Muppet man had died. One year later, our ICU admitted ...

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I know what you’re thinking: She’s cold-hearted, cruel, and unkind. But am I? Or are you? Grandma Lilly is 87-years-old and in the ICU. She’s on a ventilator with her wrists restrained to the side of the bed. Grandma can barely see because her eyes are puffy: scleral edema. And her heart races: 140 beats per minute. Her blood pressure is low and Levophed and vasopressin drips are ordered. Her family can’t talk ...

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This is based on a true story. The name and some details of the events have been changed.  She was the smarter nurse who floated to ICU, to CVRU, to CCU. She could handle any crisis: balloon pumps, CRRT, open-heart patients, respiratory distress, code blues — anything. Sandy was quiet. She didn’t really have any nurse friends. She was a loner. But we could depend on her to take the most difficult assignments. She ...

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My name is Lucy. I have stage IV liver cancer. I wanted everything done — even though the doctors told me this disease is terminal. My family, my church and my friends were praying for “the cure.” Though I believed in God and the hereafter, I wasn’t ready to go. 74-years-old with beautiful children, grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter. I woke up confused. In the background — wherever I was — I could hear ...

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Jenna had it all: She was smart, pretty, inquisitive and popular, with just one more year until she graduated from high school. She was at the top of her class and couldn't wait until high school was over, and she could become a pediatrician just like her dad. One day, Jenna would be an MD. "One day at a time," her parents always told her, even though she wanted to rush to ...

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It was a long December. A few years ago, my husband of 37 years got his death sentence: recurrence of liver cancer with mets to his lungs and lymph nodes. He had a “Whipple” — a surgical procedure for pancreatic cancer — on Dec 24, 2015, and the surgeon discovered liver cancer too. So it was a 16-hour surgery. We were told he might die on the table. His eyes haunted me as ...

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