shutterstock_239583778 The woman lying on the transport cot in the examination room was terrified. I could see it plainly in her eyes, but there was no time to stop and comfort her. I was a young, recently graduated nurse in a busy urban emergency room, struggling to keep up with its daily array of shootings, stabbings and crises. ER nurses hustled. We dealt with ...

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shutterstock_141622243 Some years ago when my father underwent bypass surgery, he was anxious, depressed and in pain as he lay in the hospital bed tied to IV catheters and tubes. Each day, his surgeon, his hospitalist, and other consultant doctors whisked in and out, asking how he was feeling and then ordering a treatment plan. A few years after his full recovery, ...

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shutterstock_246953212 Let's take a moment to consider what makes a terrific nurse. First, by way of gathering information, let's consider the health care industry's present views on excellence in nursing.  Let's think about how this conception of excellence in nursing aligns with our own perspectives. In a recent Atlantic article, titled "The Problem with Satisfied Patients," Alexandra Robbins writes about the economic ...

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An excerpt from The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with the Heroes of the Hospital. The outdated caricature of the sexy nurse -- breasts straining buttons on a form-fitting white minidress, shapely legs slipped into white heels -- remains pervasive and global. Nurses say it also holds the profession back. Imagery that sexualizes nurses presents a difficult job requiring ...

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shutterstock_263182502 Being a nurse is one of the most important jobs in any society. It is also one of the most respected. Public opinion polls consistently rank nurses as the most trusted profession -- usually ranking well above physicians. And it’s for good reason. Patients in hospital may forget who their doctor is, but they will rarely forget their nurse. The doctor ...

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nursedoc gomerblog Nurse Shannon Wilkens on floor 4 west thought she saw someone she knew in scrubs walking into room 414. “He was tall, I swore he looked familiar. Our charge nurse informed me he was recently hired and volunteered to work nights,” Wilkens recalled. “So being that it was slow, and I had only three patients as opposed to ...

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When I was in nursing school there was always a lot of eye-rolling when it came time to discuss nursing diagnoses.  This was mostly because nursing diagnoses were followed by book-length nursing care plans that we had to produce for various imaginary patients. There was also a faction, including myself, who thought a medical diagnosis was just fine, thank you, no need to reinvent the proverbial wheel. For example, for a ...

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Nurses rock! What would doctors do without them? Watch ZDoggMD's ode to nurses.  Enjoy.

shutterstock_169875926 The job of a nurse has changed dramatically over the last couple of decades. I’ve witnessed these changes at close quarters and heard feedback from nurses in several different hospitals. The biggest change undoubtedly is the interaction with information technology and the move away from paper charting. The theory behind this push, which is part of the federal government’s meaningful use policy, ...

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shutterstock_226224511 I talk a lot with different physicians about integrating NP/PA providers into their practice.  I am frequently astonished by the level of reluctance, resistance and downright animosity from these physicians.  Many times a doctor will have a medical “horror story” with the NP/PA  playing  the  villain.  One bad encounter or event seems to  justify a complete rejection of the many positive ...

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As I finish my post-operative care routine for my 9-day-old patient, I notice that the cerebral oximetry machine is not picking up a strong signal. Despite troubleshooting, I am unable to figure out how to fix the problem, and I head to the Pixus to get a new sensor. Unfortunately, this one does not work either, and we must use a smaller sensor to pick up an adequate signal on ...

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doctor v nurse Having been both a nurse and a doctor, most of the questions I get from readers have to do with making the decision between nursing and medicine.  Let’s lay aside for a moment the reality that the fields are totally different and that direct comparisons are useless. But people ask me all the time, so, as a little experiment, I ...

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shutterstock_189396983 I really hate it when a nurse practitioner is called a mid-level provider. "Mid-level provider" isn’t even a legal or academic term. It is slang developed to demean or minimize a health professional, who is not an MD. The term "mid-level provider” is primarily aimed at nurse practitioners (NPs) as well as physician assistants (PAs) and midwives. It is insulting to health professionals ...

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Recently I had dinner with a friend of mine who, decades ago, had sat on my doctoral dissertation committee. At one point we touched on my dissertation, which covered the health issues of Baltimore's homeless teens. "You always had an uncanny connection with homeless kids," my friend said. "You really understood them." I gazed out the window, seeing the homeless people with their shopping carts in the park across the street. Then I ...

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As I travel the country providing coverage for inpatient rehab units, I have been struck by the generally high quality of nursing care. Excellent nurses are the glue that holds a hospital unit together. They sound the first alarm when a patient’s health is at risk, they double-check orders and keep an eye out for medical errors. Nurses spend more time with patients than any other hospital staff, and they are therefore ...

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I wouldn’t say I’ve had a lot of revelations in my professional life, but there is one that still affects me emotionally to this day, and it’s about nurses. I had been a PICU doctor for a number of years, and I was rounding on all the patients in the PICU with the rest of the team. The background sounds consisted of the usual beeps, alarms, and humming from the patient’s ...

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It was recently Nurses Week in early May and there were a lot of adulations being offered on social media and throughout hospitals regarding the appreciation we have for those among us who have chosen to be on the “front lines” of caring for us when ill or injured. As an emergency physician I could speak about the many times a nurse has grabbed me and pulled me into a room ...

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An excerpt from ASSUME THE PHYSICIAN: Modern Medicine's "Catch-22". “What did you learn today?” I asked, fearing the answer. I was suspecting a recitation about the new methods of documenting nursing competencies, or a delineation of the process by which she helped the hospital maintain its “magnet” status to attract more ...

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shutterstock_125154740 As I noted earlier, hospitals permit around-the-clock observation of patients. If you don’t need around-the-clock monitoring, you don’t need to be in the hospital. Who is doing this around-the-clock monitoring? Nurses. Therefore, whether you are a patient or a physician, one of the best things you can do is get on the good side of the nurses. If you are a patient, a nurse watches over ...

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I hate being told what to do.  I will scratch and claw when ordered around.  It takes a conscious act of will to smile and say, “sure, I’ll get going on that right now.” This is a problem since, as an anesthesiologist, I get told what to do all the time.  My kids order me around all the time.  When I was a nurse I used to bristle at the term ...

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