“I would submit to you that those (small hospital nurses) probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.” - Maureen Walsh For the first ten years of my professional life, I was an inpatient nurse, first on a surgery floor and later in an ICU. After working three shifts in a row, I learned that I’d need to to spend a day recuperating. I called ...

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I became a nurse at the age of 23. I was pregnant with my first son and dove into nursing headfirst, accepting a job in the pediatric ICU of the hospital where I worked. I still remember the call when I received the job offer. I hung up and jumped up and down, screaming in excitement. I couldn’t believe that I got my dream job, the job that wove my ...

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I started my medical career late. Really late. By that time, I’d lived a few lives. I’d earned a boatload of initials. I’d changed husbands, languages, and continents. I’d written a useless novel, and I’d been a Mary Kay lady. One day over lunch as I was looking for something to do with myself, my husband suggested medicine. I spent the next nine years immersed in my medical training, feeling guilty ...

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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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I have been a neonatologist for 30-plus years. Throughout my career, nurses and neonatal nurse practitioners (NNPs) have guided me, assisted me and comforted me through difficult patient care issues that arose. Even more importantly, they allowed me to leave the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) without worrying about how my patients were being taken care of. I am writing this because our profession (MDs and DOs) continue to devalue these ...

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One time, I applied for an emergency department (ED) nurse manager position. I thought I had the job locked up until I was asked during the interview how I would “enforce metrics.” “Enforce.” My holistic, qualitative research-based response to this authoritarian-style question was: “I’ll find more organic ways to achieve your metrics without shoving numbers down their throats.” I didn’t get the job. Someone told me I wasn’t “MBA enough.” Yet, I stand by ...

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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 article is sponsored by Careers by KevinMD.com. To err is human, and in the health care arena, avoiding errors is crucial. Efforts to address communication-related or “soft skill” failures have been ongoing since about 20 years ago when the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published reports titled To Err Is Human and Crossing the Quality Chasm. When we rely on ...

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Corporate health care mentality set up nurses up to be inhuman while holding us to superhuman expectations. We’re told to be caring — but not allowed to do it. It’s time to demand that we stop being abandoned and dismissed by dysfunctional leadership. Early in my nursing career, I was assigned to the pediatric area for one shift in a busy emergency department (ED). Our team received notification of an incoming ...

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On November 6th voters in Massachusetts are facing a very important health care-related question. In addition to voting for political parties in the midterms, they also face three ballot questions. The first of these is whether there should be mandatory state enforced nurse-to-patient ratios. For a general medical or surgical floor, this will be no more than four patients for every registered nurse. For other types of adult floors and the ...

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