Things nurses say in the "real world"

This post is inspired by Joni over at Nursetopia, who recently posted Jargon Invasion and recounted the story of using public health jargon (“healthy BMI”) when discussing weight loss and exercise. I think Joni’s post makes sense to most of us nurses who regularly use words and phrases from our “nursing world” out in the “real world.”

My best friend is a nurse practitioner and when we are together with non-medical friends and family members, they often laugh at us or shake their heads at our choice of discussion topics and the words we use. The fact that both of us studied women’s health and think nothing of discussing the intricacies of women’s bodies and sexuality sometimes makes others uncomfortable. This has also added quite a bit of language to the vocabularies of our children which sometimes makes us uncomfortable as well!

Do you find that you use nursing or medical terms in your everyday life that might sound odd to others who are not health care professionals? Describing my daughter’s drug rash as diffuse and morbilliform might give her pediatrician a clue that I am a nurse. When my children use the word vomit instead of throw-up or puke, I know that they are listening to my choice of words (no, they haven’t picked up on emesis yet!) Other things I’ve said that have garnered some odd looks include disease process, laboratory analysis, and cardiac event. When I say umbilicus instead of belly button, my kids know exactly what I’m talking about. Using the word axillary to describe a temperature reading is normal at our house.

I even find myself using medical abbreviations in my everyday writing. For example, I’ve got to clean my daughter’s newly pierced ears b.i.d. My grocery list might contain veggies with ranch (but instead of with I’ll use ‘c’ with a line over it.) And I’ve been known to email a colleague to review something for me stat.

It’s all part of being a nurse, I guess. It sure keeps things interesting! Have a comment to share? I'd love to hear your assessment of this post...document your observations here!

Posted: 2/22/2011 3:00:39 PM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 2 comments

Categories: Inspiration

Editorial round-up

When I receive a new issue of a journal, I eagerly turn to the editorial right away. I like to feel that connection with the person bringing me the content within the pages (or through the links of online journals.) I find that editorials often tell me more than what is featured in the issue. Oftentimes, editors share their views and opinions on current events, clinical experiences, and sometimes personal stories. I thought I’d share some of my favorite editorials from recent issues here in this “Editorial Round-Up.”

  • In Defining a Culture of Safety, OR Nurse2011 editor-in-chief Elizabeth M. Thompson, MSN, RN, CNOR, shares her beliefs about leadership and how a team approach by perioperative nurses has impacted the patient safety movement.
  • In Leading Change, Advancing Health, AnneMarie Palatnik, MSN, RN, APN-BC writes “If we don't control our practice, someone else will. If we stay focused on the goal of providing accessible, affordable, quality care, and promoting health, how can we go wrong?”
  • In LACE, APRN Consensus... and WIIFM (What's in It for Me)?, Kelly A. Goudreau DSN, RN, ACNS-BC teaches us about the LACE (Licensure, Accreditation, Certification, Education) model and how advanced practice nurses are stakeholders in this regulatory movement.
  • In the January issue of Nursing Management, Richard Hader PhD, NE-BC, RN, CHE, CPHQ, FAAN reminds us in Circle Back Before Moving Forward that “No one knows everything and you don't have to either!!”
  • In Year of Pain, Year of Promise, Maureen Shawn Kennedy MA, RN  reflects on events of 2010 and looks ahead to 2011 while asking the question “There's a way to move forward, but are we willing?”

This is just a sampling of what our editors are writing about. I hope you enjoy reading them!

Posted: 1/25/2011 1:38:46 PM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 0 comments

Categories: Inspiration

Yes, I’m thankful for MS

As Thanksgiving approaches, I try to remind myself of all that I am thankful for. I’m thankful for my friends and my family and I’m thankful for my health…as strange as that may be from a person with relapsing-remitting MS. I am thankful for MS because to quote Thoreau “most men lead lives of quiet desperation” and MS has given me perspective on life.

I’ve come a long way since the initial diagnosis seven years ago and it has been quite an introspective journey. I’ve learned not to worry about things out of my control and I’ve learned to value everything. For example, I enjoy jogging, something I used to hate, because I can do it. My legs are working and I can do it. I cherish sunsets, beautiful birds soaring through the skies and every smile that crosses my son’s face because I can see them. My eyes are working and I can do it.

MS has taught me that we make out of life what we choose. We have the power and the strength within us to overcome anything. I do not take anything for granted because you just never know what tomorrow will bring. So thank you MS for giving me that view of life because it is so precious and I intend to enjoy every minute of it.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

By Kim Fryling-Resare

Posted: 11/24/2010 2:21:08 PM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 1 comments

Categories: Inspiration

Veterans Day should be everyday

Yesterday was Veterans Day and all around me I saw people saying thank you to veterans who have served our country by defending our right to freedom. Many of the nursing websites and journals posted messages thanking the veteran nurses who have served our country so well. I also tried to do a blog post yesterday to say thank you to our military nurses but, technology was not on my side and wouldn't allow me to post. As I pondered this experience on my drive to work this morning, I had another thought. It is not the day that is truely important, it's the overall feeling that we should say thank you to our military nurses everyday. They are truely the unsung heros in our profession. I have had the honor to work with many nurses who have served our country over the years. I am in awe of their dedication and devotion to helping individuals who are in need even if it means putting their safety in jeapardy.  The next time you are searching for an example of a nurse who really embody the spirit of giving; look no further than a nurse who is actively serving or who has served in the military.

By Anne Dabrow Woods, MSN, RN, CRNP, ANP-BC


Posted: 11/12/2010 8:42:42 AM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 0 comments

Categories: Inspiration

When Monday is a good day

When I was in graduate school, my schedule was a little busy. I’m sure many of you can relate - juggling work, school, friends, family, and other responsibilities can be daunting. My weeks went like this: clinical Tuesdays and Thursdays, classes all day Wednesday, and work Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (three 12-hour night shifts).

It was exhausting, but fortunately the hospital where I worked paid 100% of my tuition and allowed me the flexibility of working 36 hours each week, while getting paid for 40 hours and receiving full-time benefits. This schedule didn’t leave much time for anything else, but I was pursuing a goal and luckily had a supportive (and understanding) network of colleagues, friends, and family.

My best day during that year and a half was Monday. I felt so free driving out of the city on Monday morning. While traffic on the other side of the highway was stop-and-go, I breezed home without any problem. Driving with the windows down (even in winter - had to stay awake!) and the radio on with some “snappy tunes” had such a calming effect after 3 shifts in the MICU. Having the entire day ahead to myself was such a gift. Of course, there was studying to do, and showers, meals, and sleep to squeeze in, but it didn’t matter. Monday was my best day.

What's your best day? Remember, nurses, no matter how busy you get or how overwhelmed you feel, take a little time to take care of yourself. Have a great Monday!


Posted: 10/25/2010 2:28:17 PM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 0 comments

Categories: Inspiration

The First Lady Talks to Nurses

Last week, more than 5,000 nurses participated in a conference call with First Lady Michelle Obama and Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN, FAAN, the administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration. The call focused on the role of nurses in educating the public about the Affordable Care Act. After sharing the personal experience of her daughter’s meningitis and the impact of the nurses who provided her care, Mrs. Obama went on to describe details of the Affordable Care Act:

“…insurance companies can no longer discriminate against kids because they have a preexisting condition.  Patients can no longer be dropped by their insurance companies because they get sick.  People suffering from a serious illness like breast cancer can focus on their treatment because they no longer have to worry about hitting their lifetime limit on coverage.  And college kids and young adults just starting out on their own can now get coverage through their parents’ plan.”

“And some of the biggest new changes and benefits are the reforms that deal with preventative care…Things like mammograms, cervical screenings, colonoscopies, childhood immunizations, prenatal and new baby care, high blood pressure treatment, all of these are included in new insurance plans with no deductable, no copay, no coinsurance, nothing.”

Mrs. Obama is calling upon nurses to “spread the word” of these changes and educate our patients and the public. You can read the transcript of the teleconference as well as the American Nurses Association's highlights of the newly enacted provisions of the Affordable Care Act for more information.

Posted: 10/4/2010 8:52:01 AM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 0 comments

Categories: Inspiration

What is your passion in nursing?

My father-in-law is a retired professor of kinesiology and wrestling coach. He continues to be very involved with wrestling, often running clinics for students, athletes, and other coaches. While he may not hold the title “motivational speaker,” I believe him to be one. He stresses the importance of discovering one’s passions in life to his students, colleagues, friends, and family. He has several of his own passions and enjoys hearing about the passions of others, that is, what brings them the greatest fulfillment and joy.

The Level III nurses in the MICU where I worked each identified a diagnosis or patient population as their ‘specialty.’ It was part of the application process to attain that coveted position. I was always drawn to caring for patients with primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), perhaps because many of the patients we saw with that diagnosis were young women, not much older than me at the time. These patients were often newly diagnosed and were admitted with only mild symptoms. Unfortunately, most of them had rapid progression of the disease and went home for only a short time, if at all.

It seemed only natural that this would be my clinical focus when I applied for my Level III position. I was the primary nurse for just about each PPH patient we admitted.  I delved into learning everything about the disease and its treatment. At the time, we would do trials of inhaled nitric oxide to assess the response of a patient’s pulmonary arteries to vasodilators. If the pulmonary artery (PA) pressure decreased, they’d be treated with either oral vasodilators or a prostacyclin infusion. We’d monitor PA pressures, cardiac output, and systemic vascular resistance closely to get the optimal dose while being alert for adverse reactions. Sounds simple, but it rarely was. This was about 10 years ago and additional treatment options are available now.

Primary pulmonary hypertension was definitely my passion in critical care. Why? It’s hard to say - perhaps I identified with the young patients admitted, perhaps because the treatment trials involved frequent assessment of hemodynamic parameters and the changes in the numbers and the patients symptoms were clearly evident, or perhaps because most patients were awake and able to communicate (unlike the majority of the patients in our unit).  Maybe all of the above!

Many of you may feel that nursing is more than a job and more than a career.  Is nursing your passion? What makes it your passion? And is there a certain patient or diagnosis that you are most passionate about?

Posted: 9/20/2010 2:18:32 PM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 0 comments

Categories: Inspiration

Sometimes no words are needed

Sometimes no words are needed 
Just a nod may be all that is necessary 
A look of understanding 
One hand over another 
A friendly smile 
A shrug of the shoulders 
Someone sitting close by 
Not saying anything 
Just being there 
Sometimes that’s all we can do 
Sometimes that’s all that someone needs 
Sometimes that’s all that we need 
Running in circles to find an answer when no answer exists 
Can be frustrating 
We must learn to accept this 
Be there for one another 
Sometimes no words are needed 

Posted: 9/13/2010 8:34:21 AM by Cara Deming | with 0 comments

Categories: Inspiration

Nurses are the most trusted profession in healthcare today

Have you ever had a week when everyone and their brother comes to you for advice about healthcare? This week has been one of those weeks for me. Questions about pertussis, community acquired MRSA, H1N1 and the flu vaccine, ALS (Lou Gerhig's Disease), sinus infection, allergies, and acne,  just to name a few,  were asked of me by my family, friends of my family, and acquaintances. 

I'm sure many of you have had the same exact experience. Why do they come to us? Because we're nurses and they know they'll get the truth from us. They know if we don't know the answer, we will point them in the right direction. The Gallop Poll every year, except after 9/11,  has found nurses to be the most trusted profession over physicians, clergy, police officers, and used car sales men (okay, that one isn't unexected).

It makes me proud to think this wonderful profession is recognized by people all across the U.S. and around the world, as the the "honest and trustworthy" profession. It's understandable when patients ask us to tell them the truth about things even after their physician has just spoken to them.

So next time I get a call late at night from a family friend who just wants to know the truth about a diagnosis, instead of thinking "couldn't they call in the morning;" I will stop and think how lucky I am to be a part of one of the "most trusted professions" in healthcare today.

By Anne Dabrow Woods, MSN, RN, CRNP, ANP-BC

Posted: 8/27/2010 1:08:22 PM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 0 comments

Categories: Inspiration

Nurses - truly a special population

I was recently reading an article from the Journal of Neuroscience Nursing about the role of the nurse in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.  This article struck a cord in me. (Perhaps a spinal cord?  OK, bad pun.)  I started to think about all of the nurses that I’ve come across…not only in the work setting but in my personal life. 

In 2003, I found myself in a whirlwind of something new and strange and at the time, very scary.  I was diagnosed with relapse-remitting MS.  I’ve come a long way since that initial diagnosis and I credit a lot of it with the assistance of some terrific nurses.

I have the deepest respect for nurses.  You are truly a special population and do not get enough credit for all that you do.  So I wanted to say thank you to all nurses out there from the bottom of my heart and especially…
Thanks to the emergency room nurses who listened to my story and were a little more tactful and delicate than the physician who told me that the “good news” was that I didn’t have a brain tumor or brain cancer and I didn’t have a stroke. 

Thanks to the nurse in the hospital who, after my diagnosis, stood by my bedside at night when the tears would come.  She tried to ease my anguish when I could no longer keep on the good face that I put on for my family during the day.   

Thanks to the neurology nurses and the IV nurses at the MS clinic who continually take the time to talk, give me information about the disease and treatment options, offer support and insight, and most of all, always have a smile. 

Thanks to the nurses I work with who amaze me with their knowledge, passion, and desire to pass it on.  When people find out what I do for a living, they excitedly ask “Oh, are you a nurse?!” And my cheeky response is usually, “No, but I play one on the Internet"" or "No, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night," and usually quickly follow up with "…and I work with some great clinical editors who really know their stuff.”

And of course, I have to say thanks to that special labor and delivery nurse who helped bring my son into the world in 2006. 

You all hold a special place in my heart.  Keep doing what you do.

By Kim Fryling-Resare

Posted: 8/26/2010 2:30:53 PM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 1 comments

Categories: Inspiration

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