Thursday, December 30, 2010

End of Year Review

So this is it. 2010 is soon to be left to the history books and 2011 is ready to take it's first breaths.

The most important question is "What did I learn this year?" because if you ignore the past, you are doomed to repeat it.
  1. Fear is a lousy basis for decision making.
  2. Slow down.
  3. Listen.
  4. Ask questions if you don't understand.
  5. Taking breaks with a resident is good for you and the resident.
  6. Taking breaks away from the residents is good for you and the residents.
  7. Taking breaks away from your coworkers is not a bad idea, either.

The second most important question is, "What are my goals for next year?" because floundering through a year without a purpose is a waste of a perfectly good year.

  1. Go back to working the floor versus working in the med room.
  2. Take more breaks with my residents.
  3. Take fewer breaks with my coworkers.

Have a happy and safe New Year celebration. See you next year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How about we reconnect our frontal lobes?

You may (or may not) have noticed that I blog in the mornings. It's not because I go to bed right after work. I'm generally up until one or two in the morning. It's because I need time to let what has happened marinate and filter through my mind before I write it. Sometimes it helps me be less judgemental and whiny on this blog. I hope I haven't been too much of either one of those. There's more than enough of that crap out on the Internet already.

That being said, can I complain about my nurses?

Sometimes, it's better not to say the first thing that rolls through your brain. Not everyone is brilliant on the first try. Better to take a deep breath and consider your words before you spew them into the world for everyone to see.

I had a resident with diarrhea last night. It was messy and smelly and embarrassing for the resident. It took nearly 20 minutes to get her and her room cleaned up afterwards. Toward the end of this, as I was taking the trash and dirty clothes out of the room, a nurse walked in, wrinkled her nose and said, "Eww. Who is that?"


My response was to sigh, grit my teeth and say "It's Mrs. A. Her stomach is sick."

I sometimes wonder just what my nurses do in their free time that causes their lips to become totally disconnected from their hearts. Do they not think that the resident already feels bad enough? Do they not think that the resident knows how bad it smells? Would not the proper, more "nurse like" response have been, "Who's sick?" or "Did someone have diarrhea?"

So, a call to engage our brains before we put our mouths in gear. Think before we speak today. And may we be forgiven for the hurtful things we've said that we didn't even realize stung the victim.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Gifts

The policy at our facility is that we cannot accept gifts from the residents or their families. We're not even supposed to take food from them if they offer it. I hate telling them that I can't accept their offers, so sometimes I just take what they give me and turn it in to Social Services. Sometimes, if it's just a piece of candy, I'll take it. Fire me. It makes them feel good and keeps them from eating the whole box themselves, so I think it's worth the risk of getting in trouble.

So, I turned in a gift card one of the resident's had given me. I suggested they call the daughter (who had bought them) and tell her we can't accept them and ask her if she wanted to donate them to the facility and not tell the resident because I didn't want their feelings hurt.

I got a call today saying I could come in and pick the gift card up and keep it. Apparently, the daughter had bought a bunch of them and only two of us turned them in. Since the facility "didn't know what else to do or who had gotten them", the two of us who were honest about it are getting them back.

I'm not sure this is exactly how it should be handled, but there it is. And I need some jumper cables for my car, so that's what I'm going to buy. That way I'll be able to get a jump when I need it for old Pearl this winter which will keep my attendance good and that benefits the facility, right? Or that's how I'm justifying it to myself anyway.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Full Moon.
Total Eclipse.
Winter Solstice.
Unusually warm weather.
A death in the facility.
A shift I may never forget even
though I'm trying desperately hard
to do so.

Today will be better.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Brief Hiatus

I'm taking a little vacation from the blog for a week or so. My sister's coming to visit me and I have my hands full getting ready and then will be busy while she's here. I should be back with stories to tell and opinions to foist upon you after the 19th.

Monday, December 6, 2010

What are they in for?

Yes, sadly, another prison reference. But a valid question. When we get a new resident, I want to know why. Are we getting them well enough to go home? Can they not take care of themselves, so are in for a long stay? Are they just here to die?

I'm surprised at how many times I ask a nurse this and they answer me with, "I don't know."

How can we effectively take care of a resident if we don't know what they're in for? Going back to the prison thing, you can bet the warden knows what each of the inmates is in for. They need to know in order to effectively house and, possibly, rehabilitate the inmate. I argue that we are in the same lake, if not the same boat.

I intend to start being more proactive in this. If the nurse doesn't know, I'll go and read their history myself. I may just be a pill pusher and a butt wiper, but I think I can do both jobs better if I know what the goal is.