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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I remember when I started nursing school about a decade ago, that there was a near militant attitude describing the nursing shortage. School administrators, politicians, and journalists hopped on this easy bandwagon and talking point. Research and polls of dubious quality rode the tidal wave of popular opinion. Unsurprisingly, their genesis in an echo chamber yielded predictably confirmatory responses. As graduation time was fast approaching, the class began to job ...

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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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Leaving the nursing profession is bittersweet. My heart left nursing a while ago when I came to the realization that nursing left me first. It never was a two-way relationship. The profession left me without acknowledgment of work-related stress, specifically post-traumatic stress (PTS). First responders and emergency workers often hear the phrase, "It's just part of the job.” So we all just deal with it — or not. I've heard this ...

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