Monthly Archives

December 2015

A New Year for Nursing

By | Nursing | 2 Comments

Is your resolution to lose weight or exercise? Are you going to quit smoking? Are you going to save money, make time for you, or spend more time with your kids? Wonderful!2016

I want us to commit to making a resolution as a profession. It’s an easy one.  You probably think I want you to retweet all of my tweets, share all of my blogs, support safe staffing, and donate your money to scholarships.  While none of these would be unwelcome, they are way less important than the commitment I want you to make.

Part of the reason that nurses cannot get anything done is that we are not united in any way.  You are treated badly in your workplace and you want to feel valued.  You want to know everything so you can be respected. This is not going to work.  Sometimes you UNDERVALUE your coworker so you can feel more valued.  This is dangerous to the profession.  It is unprofessional.

It is unkind. You are being unkind.

We are better than this.  Steelworkers, autoworkers, journalists, and actors…. they have all been able to unite.  Why not us? Why is it impossible for us to value each other? 

This is the resolution I want you to make:


I do not know who wrote this, but I hope he or she gets to see this happen in 2016. Will you commit to help us take this small step toward unity?

Share with the nurses you know, and with nurses you don’t know.  Print it out and put it on your break room wall.

Do it.  For you

For us.


Happy New Year





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SMYS Etiquette for Dummies, Part Deux

By | Nursing | 8 Comments

I didn’t think we would be back here so soon, but… we are.

Miss Medical Manners has a column for you once again!kelley

Show me your Stethoscope started because of a very specific thing.  A talk show host being a complete and total asshole.  Instead of emulating that, I would like for you to try emulating Kelley Johnson, Miss Colorado. Because she was a lady throughout that ordeal.

So, more rules of the road!

  1.  I forgot to mention, healthcare professionals can vent here! We work in a job that can only be fully understood by other professionals of the same type, and sometimes specialty. If you are offended by vents, scroll past. If you are someone who is not yet jaded enough to understand a vent, please just understand that this nurse needs a damn vent. If you are a person who is not a medical professional and try to start drama on a vent because your nephew’s ex-cousin’s Confirmation Celebrant once had this one thing and you know all about it……. Do not do it.  My patience is wearing thin… You are either here because you SUPPORT healthcare or because you ARE healthcare. Not because you want to BITCH about healthcare providers. Namely US. eat
  2. Also, Hi! I am the founder of this group! My name is Janie and it is very nice to meet you! I understand that this is a big place and all but please take note of your surroundings.  When I get on a post and ask you to stop acting like a jerk, do not tell me to mind my business, or what the group is for.  I know what it is for.  I swear.  
  3. Praying. I pray.  I leave prayer requests up for 24 hours and then delete them because they clog the feed and people are unable to find posts about what the group is actually about. Healthcare.  Other

    Yep, Just liked this pic again. He is so CUTE!

    religious topics are discouraged except as related to healthcare. There will be no discussion about this.  If I delete a post for inaccurate information or ridiculousness after being abused and told I am a heathen a few dozen times, DO NOT create another post about how nobody is going to stop you from talking about Jesus.  At that point, because I am a pretty smart gal and I am developing a short fuse, I will assume that means that you want to start another group and immediately ban you.  I am done.  ALL healthcare communities that I am aware of do not allow even the mention of religion.  If I continue to be abused because I allow it, I will disallow it.  Thanks.






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Racism in Healthcare. Your Stories

By | Nursing | 4 Comments

We all know that despite the year being 2015….and almost 2016, that racism still exists.  It is shameful, and nobody likes to talk about it.  So naturally, here I am.  Yelling about it. Because that is what I do.


Not a fish out of water.  That is a fish in a pool of sharks.

On the message boards yesterday, an African American nurse was very upset and obviously came to us for help. However, she used a word that none of our team can abide. We are a pretty thorough racial mix, and we lost our collective minds when we saw derogatory racial slurs just OUT THERE on our message boards.  I am sure you know what it was, but I will give you a picture to help. This is one of the saddest little poems I have ever seen. It addresses the marks that can be made on children exposed to a single incident of racism, and it makes me ill.images (8)

We asked her to remove it, because that word is appropriate in almost no context.  She was very upset, left the group, and for that I was sad. But we cannot allow these words of hate to occupy any place within Show Me Your Stethoscope.  We are about unity.  We love our members, and we are not interested in their skin color. We are #nursesUnite.

There will be some racial slurs in the following stories.  You wrote them, and I will leave them intact because keeping the lines of communication open and honest is very important to me.  How you are treated, and how your patients are treated is very important to me.  Let’s look at some contributions to this blog.

Pamela Nienaber I have been told throughout my career that a patient didn’t want me as their nurse because I wasn’t Hispanic. (I live in South Texas) Also very frequently the patient would refuse to speak to me in English but would speak to the doctor in perfect English when he/she was in the room.

Destiny Bennett-Whiteside Doing in home care, I went to a patient’s home for the first time and upon entry the patient refused to let me get a set of vitals and also proceeded to sic their dog on me claiming they don’t allow niggers in their home. The dog attacked me as the patient and their family watched. Walked away with a bad dog bite.

<Name Redacted because of age of patient> I entered the room of a 97 yo AA woman. I introduced myself and asked if I could do my assessment. She yelled at me “get out of my room you white devil”! She would not let me enter without screaming. I didn’t get offended. I considered her age and things she may have experienced being black in the south. I sent the AA tech in the room to be her nurse while I stood in hall out of line of sight. Worked great. Pt was comfortable, got the care she needed, and all was happy. Sometimes instead of getting offended, walk in their shoes.

Paige Geisterwolf I had to step in when a white family member called my CNA a ‘n-word,’ I was cut-off mid greeting by a black woman who wanted a black nurse (we didn’t have any that shift); I have been called an ‘uppity redneck;’ several nurses were accused of being racist toward Hispanics because her q2prn dilaudid wasn’t on time. All from patients and families, never coworkers.

Robin Covey I’ve had patients refuse to be cared for by my African American students in the long term care facility in the past. I reassigned the students so they wouldn’t be subjected to the nastiness of a hostile patient for the entire day. Only a couple of patients like that though. These patients were quite elderly and difficult to work with overall.

<a 23 year nurse and nurse manager> I just resigned from a management position where I work. A huge part of why I resigned was racism. I am white. But the other white nurse managers are very racist. Several months ago, at the lunch table, the nurse directors and managers were discussing employees. Whenever they talk about a black person they would tap their cheek. I was sickened by it.  I stopped going to lunch with them about 2 months ago. The retaliation started then. I refused to be part of the “mean girls club” It is like a high school clique. I have worked at this hospital for 23 years. I resigned from my management position and am staying registry. I am scared to death about starting somewhere new, but I know I have to do it.

Michelle Mariash Schroeder Working in northern FL, I occasionally take care of a ‘good ole boy’. At the very beginning of my shift, as I was making my initial rounds, a patient eyes me up and down, and with a disgusted look on his face, said “one day, patients will be able to choose their nurses.” I didn’t give him the satisfaction of getting another nurse, however it was one heck of a long shift! Every time I spoke to him, he would look at me as if I had three heads, and would then look at his wife for ‘translation’ even though I don’t even have an accent even though I’m Filipino. At the end of my shift, when I’ve just about had enough, I asked a caucasian colleague to help me with him and he was as sweet as pie and as cooperative as could be with her. I was so disgusted and never felt like that with a patient. Glad not everyone in the south is that way.

<redacted> Oh – and as a nursing instructor, I have been accused of being a racist – oddly enough by both black and white students. I find that funny because my family is like the United Nations – we’ve got lots of rainbow action, but of course they have no way of knowing that. Reality is, of course, that if you can’t pass the tests, you don’t pass the course. Race won’t save you or damn you in my class. But here’s a favorite picture of my kids. The bride is my step daughter whom I have raised from the age of 6 as my own.

Janie Harvey Garner  When I was a young nurse I took care of a gentleman who was of a different race than I. I was his primary nurse on nights and picked up shifts to take care of him. He was VERY sick, and would ultimately die. However, we got along well and I cared a lot for him. His son who had not seen dad in a while came in at 8pm on a Sunday for the first time. He proceeded to abuse me verbally. When I politely asked why it seemed he and I were not connecting, he told me that I would not take care of his father properly because I was not a ______ nurse. He demanded a change in staff.

Victoria Conlu When I was still in nursing school, there were some floors where other nurses would look at me and roll their eyes. “Of course you want to be a nurse,” one said. “That’s what all good Filipino girls do, isn’t it?”I have often been treated like me becoming a nurse was a foregone conclusion, that nursing was simply the default route for all Filipina women. While most people have been welcoming and spoke highly of their Filipino peers, some had very negative attitudes. This was a large part of the reason why I decided to pursue nursing away from the acute care/bedside setting.

Tiffiny True I’ve mostly had patients refuse care from my techs or a nurse because of color. Sometimes they try to be discreet about it but we all know what they’re talking about. Last week one older lady wouldn’t even let my tech go over legal paperwork and get her signature.

Brenda Wentorf I witnessed racism against a Muslim co-worker. While he wasn’t the best RT around he was an incredibly sweet person. A RN whose husband was deployed at the start of the war in Iraq was constantly making racial slurs behind his back and would turn him into the RT supervisor whenever she had a chance. Instead of showing him where he went wrong she kept trying to get him fired. When management found out about the slurs, she was the one who got the reprimand.

Alysha M Wilson I work in management in home health and we routinely get requests for “a white girl” or “a black girl” specifically. Have heard such nonsense as “those _______ girls don’t know how to wash a _______ person” like race changes anatomy.

Taryn Hybeck I was the charge RN and I had a CNA go in a pt room to help him get up, he threw her out saying he want not being “cared for by that boy”…she was a lesbian. So I sent her wife in to care for him; the first wife’s hair was shorter, but her wife had long hair so this pt decided she was fine. We still felt like we won that battle.

Emily Darras I was a brand new CNA going through nursing school. Worked nights at the local hospital and one night went to start my rounds when a patient’s family of a different race told me they wanted a CNA of their race and were very rude to me. I was originally from a metropolitan area and never experienced racism before or witnessed it. It was very eye opening and sad to me.

Candi Reign As a nursing student I had a few patients request a different nurse because “That n—- isn’t allowed to touch me”  I took it on the chin with a smile, but inside I felt horrible. I prayed that they didn’t code and need me to save them. Although I surely would have, it would have been a daunting task.

<redacted> To make a long story short, I was called up on a “customer complaint” that was basically bogus. I had to write a reply. I addressed it honestly and completely. The DON expressed her surprise that I could “write and speak so well.” Of course it could have just been because I am short, right? But after a time, my friend who was charge nurse (our friendship was not common knowledge) told me that the unit manager had spoken very plainly and made it clear that she was going to get rid of me. My friend told me to make sure I dotted every “I” and crossed every “t” because she would be looking at everything that I did to find reason to dismiss me. I got injured at one point and she even went so far as to pull out the job description and note that it said I had to be able to lift 100 lbs in order to go back to work. At the time, there was a nurse with a back injury who did minimal lifting, and a couple of pregnant nurses who did no lifting. NO ONE on the unit could lift 100 lbs but i had to have a doctor sign that I could safely do that or I would not be able to keep my job. I got past that one because the doctor stated it was ridiculous and signed it anyway. But I was a basket case with the pressure of knowing I was constantly being watched for a mistake. Eventually, I did get fired, but fortunately a lawyer was able to get them to agree that they had better give me a clean reference if they didn’t want a law suit, so at least I was able to move on. I’d never experienced anything like that before and I didn’t want to believe it at first, but being targeted like that makes a believer out of you very quickly.

steSo, it’s alive and well, isn’t it? Every damn day.  Every race.  Every combination of races.  Every facility.  Every State. See that picture? I have no idea what races any of those people are, but they are united behind ONE thing.  Healthcare.

Please do not allow this to continue in your facility.  Can we make a 97 year old demented woman accept a caregiver of a different race? Probably not, but we can refuse to play ‘select-a-caregiver’ with racists who are alert and oriented.  Join the diversity committee in your facility. Pressure your management team to make policy addressing this and DAMN patient satisfaction.   It starts with US, and we must be the change we want to see in the world.  

I know you are ready to start this revolution.  Keep me posted.









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Injured Nurses – Does your facility care?

By | Nursing | 7 Comments

Some years ago, I tore my trapezius.

I had a patient who was, quite frankly….wider than she was tall.  She was very ill and had a trach, and was on a vent.  She had pneumonia.

She developed CDiff. Naturally, this meant she was constantly incontinent.  Her family refused to let us insert a fecal management system. Reason stated:  “You should just clean her up, because that is your job”.  


So we did.  Constantly, on a bariatric bed, with her fighting us because she did not wish to be turned.  However, she was laying in her own excrement and her power of attorney authorized us to clean her up.  The bed was very wide, and it was hard to turn her even when she was not fighting us. She was also very short, and slid down in the bed every 5 minutes.

We used a piece of equipment at the time called a ‘Maxi-Slide’. We would roll her to clean her up, then place a new maxi-slide and a pad underneath her. The maxi-slide ALWAYS became soiled because she was short and slid, moving the pads out of position.move

So, try this 20 times a night.  Talk about an exhausting assignment.  I had her for three days in a row, and we eventually ran out of Maxi-slides.  In the whole hospital.  When I realized we were running low on night two, I asked for more.  They were not provided.

So when she had the same issues on night three, I tore my trapezius moving her with no safety equipment.  There we no lifts or other equipment available. She was literally five hundred pounds.  I reported to Employee Health per policy. It became immediately obvious that they didn’t give a damn that I was hurt.

I was grilled about why I didn’t use the provided safety equipment.  I explained the situation to the Employee Health department and I was told that I should have found another solution.  I was also told that they did not ‘pay for injuries for employees who failed to follow policy’. 

Yes, this happened.

They sent me to an urgent care and I was examined by a physician who diagnosed me with a torn trapezius.  I was given medications and sent home, to follow up with a specialist the following day.  I did not QUITE need surgery, thank goodness.  But I lost wages, and spent a great deal of time in pain.  When I returned to work, the company wanted me to pay for and take a FOUR HOUR PATIENT MOVEMENT CLASS.

I told them to piss off, and soon after found a new job.

I now work for the VA, and I help with the Safe Patient Handling and Mobility program.  It is a passion for me.  And the VA does this very well.

Please comment and tell me about your experiences with being injured at work.








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The Nursing Cap – No, Really.

By | Uncategorized | 11 Comments

From Wikipedia:

capsThe nurse’s cap originated from a group of women in the early Christian era, called “deaconesses.” Deaconesses are now recognized as religious order nuns. These women were distinguished from other women during this time by white coverings worn on their heads. This particular head covering was worn to show that this group of women worked in the service of caring for the sick. Originally, this head covering was more of a veil, but it later evolved into a white cap during the Victorian era. It was during this era that proper women were required to keep their heads covered. The cap worn was hood-shaped with a ruffle around the face and tied under the chin, similar to cleaning ladies of that day. Long hair was fashionable during the Victorian era, so the cap kept the nurse’s hair up and out of her face, as well as keeping it from becoming soiled.

So, Nursing Caps became tradition because some antiquated society thought that proper women should keep their heads covered.  Let’s get that one straight.

I love the symbol of the nursing cap because it is something we all recognize as ‘ours’.  However, that does not mean that it is a good or HEALTHY symbol for our profession.

Today, a seasoned nurse posted this:

Nurses, please, I am begging you. Don’t wear your hair down when you wear your nursing cap! It could not be more unprofessional! If you want to show off graduation pictures, or capping ceremony pictures, get that hair UP!

Give me some credit.  I tried to save her.  

However, it degenerated into exactly what you might think.  However, the ‘are you crazy?’ responses disturbed me less than the “Honor the Cap” responses.  Indignant honor the cap responses.  Like…seriously…. Also, a nurse who says she wears a cap to work every single day.  Who essentially said that we would all be much better off if nursing traditions were followed…

What nursing traditions? You mean the ones where we followed the Doc around with the chart rack, lit his cigarette, stood when he arrived at the nurse’s station, and offered him our chairs?  Because, we had just worked all night and a man taking a chair from a lady isn’t acceptable in any OTHER situation I know of.  Except for this one……would you like to know why?

That cap identified you as a servant.  

They told you it was to serve sick people, which was fine.  however, skip back a paragraph and read that scenario again. You have a degree, you can be sued for malpractice.  You are responsible for the lives of your patients.  You do not juggle bedpans and light physician’s cigarettes.  You are not a ‘TV’ nurse.  And women in this society do not have to keep their heads covered so they are not considered a harlot. Also……MEN are nurses now. 

My Response to the cap wearer:

Enjoy your cap. We are not going to agree. However, Nurses do not wear the cap anymore. I am not sure what setting you work in, but my hospital would have a nervous breakdown if I were to show up in a cap. Because they are an infection control issue. Also, I would poke my eyes out first, because they are a symbol NOT of a great tradition, but of the doctor’s handmaiden stereotype that we must rid ourselves of if we are going to be taken seriously as a profession. Peace.

And that, my friends….is that.

There are really important issues that we have to work on in nursing, and they sure as hell are not nursing traditions.  Safe Staffing.  Workplace Violence. No Psych Beds. You know….real things that have an impact on our patients.  Not our pretty hats. Nursing has changed, fashion is not what it once was, and insurance companies are running the place.

Focus, damnit.






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