Monthly Archives

February 2016

It could be you next time.

By | Advocacy, Nursing | 6 Comments

Let’s say you are an ER Nurse.


You are an ER Nurse.  You have 5 patients.  Two are chest pain that you are ruling out. One is a Gyn.  One was a kidney stone about to be discharged.  The fifth just came in by EMS with someone riding the stretcher doing compressions.

What is your priority?

Ok, we all know that was a dumb question.  Get your butt in there and take care of the mostly dead person!

So while you are coding the new admission, a friend discharged your kidney stone patient. The patient got dressed before the nurse came in, and he thought you had taken the IV out. The patient went home with an intact 22 gauge IV catheter in their left hand.


This is not a to-go order


Good news!  You got your coding patient back! Heart started, and cath lab for PCI transfer, baby! Win win!

You ruled out your chest pain patients, your gyn was treated, you got 5 more patients.

And nobody took the IV out of that kidney stone!

When the patient comes back three hours later to have his IV taken out, you are embarrassed! Your coworker who actually discharged the patient is humiliated.  Your charge nurse says, “Sorry about that.” and removes it, then mentions it to you.

You write up an incident report, and someone may mention it to you someday, but it is unlikely.  Because these things happen. It is not ideal.  It is not policy.  It is a mistake.  And if you have never made one, look out.  You are probably next.


No, they are not sharks. You get the point, though.

Now try posting that story on Facebook.

Nurses are super mean to each other sometimes. We are a great team at work, mostly.  Then we hear about someone on a different unit or in a different hospital who makes a mistake and it is like sharks scenting blood in the water. We gather around it and enjoy the unfortunate blood bath.

It tastes good.

Like nurse bits. Crunchy nurse bits with humiliation hollandaise. Garnished with shame.

I wonder what is for dessert.

I have a friend who passes meds to over 150 people per day. Some of these patients have twenty medications.  He estimates that they have less than one medication error a month among the entire staff.  These nurses do NOTHING but pass medications.  They are never distracted.  There is no barcode scanning. And if they make a mistake, they own it.  No one is ever humiliated for it.  pills-main

That is not how it works in most facilities.  You are interrupted 30 times a med pass for your seven patients. Three of them are named John Smith, Jason Smith, and James Smith. Somebody may have gotten the wrong medication if your facility doesn’t use barcode scanning.

And the worst part about it is, you have no idea you did it.

Instead of judgemental, let us try to be supportive of our fellow nurses.  Whether they work across the hall, across the country, or across the globe, they are part of our family. We all face the same challenges.  

We are all trying to do the best we can for our patients.  Our patients might be the frail elderly, a 23 week preemie, an addict, a prisoner, developmentally disabled, acutely psychotic, having a STEMI, a diabetic 5th grader in an elementary school, a laboring mother, HIV positive, an organ transplant recipient, acutely dying, or fighting for their lives.  And we are simply trying to do the best we can for them.

Can we also do our best for each other? Please?

Safe Staffing.  You hear me say it all the time.  Sadly, you are probably bored by it, and it impacts you daily. 

You will never get it unless you unite.  You will never get anything unless you unite.

Start by being decent to each other, Nurse. Turn your compassion to your coworkers.















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Flint Michigan – Results!

By | Good Works | 2 Comments

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So, Show me Your Stethoscope has been working hard in the background for Flint, Michigan.  SMYS Ohio has collected all of this formula, and some bottled water.  Nancy NursyNurse was the facilitator and will deliver this to Betty Bennett on Monday!

We also have sent a large donation of ready made formula to a local food pantry!


Children will get less lead in their diet because of you.  You made kids healthier.

Because that is what nurses do. 






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MN Nurses Association rejects elimination of health care plans

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

(St. Paul) – Press release from MNA: February 25, 2016 – Minnesota Nurses Association nurses from Unity, United, Abbott Northwestern/Phillips Eye Institute, and Mercy hospitals overwhelmingly rejected Allina Health’s offer to eliminate MNA health plans during all-day voting today.

The offer would have ended four different health insurance plans for nurses, which have been part of the MNA contracts for 20 years.  Allina offered to keep one of those plans for one year.

“I have very good insurance now.  I don’t want to lose that insurance,” said Valerie Johnson, RN at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.  “I would have to spend so much on my healthcare if I got injured on the job, it wouldn’t be worth it for me to continue being a nurse.” (Emphasis made by SMYS’ editor.)

Nurses voted from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. at MNA offices.  The employer’s offer came as a result of negotiations that took place on February 10, 17, and 19 of this year.  The two sides left the bargaining table without any agreement.  The nurses’ negotiating team recommended MNA members reject the offer by Allina.

For more info:

Contact:  Rick Fuentes

(o) 651-414-2863
(c) 612-741-0662

Barbara Brady

(o) 651-414-2849
(c) 651-202-0845
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We do not Practice Nursing in a Vacuum. Are you a member of your profession or not?

By | Advocacy, Nursing, Workplace Safety | One Comment

Remember what I said about trips to DC, local safe staffing rallies at your State Capital and such things?

They are important.  For real.  This is what you need to be doing.  You complain a LOT about your working conditions.  I read the message boards.  And for that matter, I have never once in my life met a nurse, CNA, MA, ETC who did not complain about their staffing.  Never.  243c095760309bf3fa5da26efe52056d

So, essentially if you sit there and scowl….and do nothing… You are a whiner.

If you become involved and make a difference, you are an advocate.

Advocate is a harder title to achieve than whiner, but it looks better on a resume.  I am just saying.

So, tell me what it is going to take to get you involved. Are you willing to travel to your State Capital? Are you going to DC on May 12? Are you tweeting for safe staffing on February 27? <-click

OR are you going to sit there and complain, while healthcare organizations use and abuse you? Do you not realize that you hold ALL of the cards here? We are numerous, intelligent, responsible, trusted and DRIVEN.  So drive yourself to the location you need to attend on May 12.

If you live anywhere near DC, that is where I want you.  I will be there, and I will fight for you.  You have to show up to fight for me.  We do not operate in a vacuum.  Everything we do impacts the rest of our profession.  Bring your nurse coworkers, CNA’s, MA’s, imagesNURSING STUDENTS, and all interested parties with you.  We need change, nurses.  Advocate for your patients by advocating for yourselves.  Bring your enthusiasm, your brain, your organization, your passion….

And Your Stethoscope.  

We are here because at the bottom of it all, nurses stand up for other nurses.  We fight like siblings, have awfully strong personalities, and opinions as large as all outdoors.  But we know we only have each other, don’t we? We will never change our working conditions and the dangerous staffing situation our patients are living with every single day unless we stand together.

So, come out on May 12, 2016.  Show the world your Stethoscope.

Show ME Your Stethoscope.

I think you may be surprised how important your voice is.  You matter so much.



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Twitter Party Instructions

By | Advocacy, Healthcare Policy | No Comments
**********Twitter Party 2/27/16*************
Nurses Across America are pushing back against unsafe staffing. We invite you to join them, for a 24 hour Twitter Party, 2/27/16 to bring awareness to this movement. Starting 2/27/16 8am – 2/28/16 8am If you decide to Tweet @ to your local state reps Go here
for a list of your local Twitter state reps and their twitter contacts.
Suggested Tweets to join Twitter party:
1. @INAAction Thank you for taking a stand and supporting your nurses & safe staffing Safe staffing rally 5/12/16 Please retweet TY #NursesTakeDC #SMYSOfficial
2. Thank you Nurse Champion and author Sandy Jacobs Summers for speaking at safe Staffing rally 5/12/16 Please retweet TY #NursesTakeDC #SMYSOfficial
3. @(insert your state rep twitter handle) safe staffing saves lives. Washington DC & State Capitol Rallies 5/12/16 Please retweet TY #NursesTakeDC #SMYSOfficial
4. @ (insert your professional organization twitter name) Support your nurses & safe staffing Safe staffing rally 5/12/16 Please retweet TY #NursesTakeDC #SMYS Official
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