Monthly Archives

March 2016

SMYS Partnerships

By | Uncategorized | One Comment

partnershipsSMYS is dedicated to our community of health care workers the world over. Because we wish to promote goodwill, education and assistance to our community members, we’ve partnered with several companies that:

a) offer our members exclusive deals and specials;
b) that helps the admin team cover overhead costs for missions, education, events and website management; and
c) are just plain community-friendly.

We’d like you to meet:

  • Walden University, an accredited institution, has been serving the higher education needs of adult learners.
    The cool thing they’re doing for us: Walden now offers an incredible savings on degree advancement to SMYS members ONLY (email for more info here).
  • Nurse Born Products, which was founded by a nurse, features nurse-developed products
    The cool thing they’re doing for us: Nurse Born is donating part of the profits from choice items to SMYS.
  • akesso shoes, which offers high-quality footwear to the “athlete in scrubs”.
    The cool thing they’re doing for us: SMYS members at great discounts (20-30% off) and donates funds per pair of shoes sold. Use SMYS20 for any product on the site, or SMYS30 for any white shoes on the site.
  • HireNurses, which seeks to promote nurses looking for that perfect position—as well as helping families match up with health care providers.
    The cool thing they’re doing for us: They’re collaborating on a mission to Bangladesh with SMYS, and offering two (2) $500.00 scholarships to nursing students.
  • NurseBuzz, a sister community of SMYS—discussion, opinions and and professional wisdom are welcome here!
    The cool thing they’re doing for us: spreading the good word of unity in nursing!
  • Telenurse Network, a nurse-founded company specializing in remote-access care for patients with both acute and chronic diseases.
    The cool thing they’re doing for us: for every scheduled consult, Telenurse is donating $6.00—so they increase access to health care, and give back to the SMYS community!
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An Adoption Story.

By | Advocacy, Good Works | One Comment

Meet Kennedy Rose.

Little Miss Kennedy Rose was just adopted. Let me tell you about her journey. It’s a long one but worth it…adoption

In September 2015, the Miss America pageant was being held. Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson, shed the norm by performing a monologue for the talent portion of the show, and came out on stage wearing her nurse’s scrubs and a stethoscope. She spoke eloquently about her love of nursing, and the patient that she would never forget. Her patient, Joe, reminded her that her “talent” was nursing. Nurses who heard her speak related to remembering “that ONE patient” that you will never forget, that reminded you of why you do the things you do, why you lose sleep, sacrifice family time, go above and beyond to comfort and care those that need it.The response the next day?  On The View, a daily talk show, the clip of Miss Colorado in scrubs and stethoscope was played, to the derogatory comments of the TV personalities. “Can you believe she did THAT? Is she wearing a costume? And “Why is she wearing a DOCTOR’S stethoscope” Nurses across the US and the globe reacted the comments like they were slapped across the face.

A Costume? A Doctor’s stethoscope? 3 million nurses in the US alone- were aghast at those comments. Worldwide outrage. The reaction of nurses, and all healthcare providers who wore stethoscopes, was swift and strong. Support from other stethoscope wearing professions joined in- EMTs, RRTs, Paramedics, even Doctors and Surgeons, defending the dignity of nurses everywhere.

Janie Harvey Garner, a nurse in St. Louis Missouri, was just as shocked as the rest of the nursing world about the treatment of Miss Colorado and decided to start a response on Facebook. Since she was from Missouri, The Show Me State, she titled her group “Show Me Your Stethoscope, encouraging nurses and all who wore them to boldly, proudly wear their “costume” and “doctors stethoscope” in response to the criticism.

Show me your stethoscope (SMYS) inspired many responses from nurses, RN’s, LPN’s, CNA’s, etc. They posted alone,  in groups, with classmates, with their team of doctors, nurses, aides. Commenting on how much they were proud of their stethoscopes and the nursing profession. Regular people, family members of nurses posted, patients posted who described the amazing nurse that cared for them. Some posts were amusing- “I hope someone comes to show me how to use my doctors stethoscope”, with nurses absurdly auscultating each other’s foreheads instead of hearts. “I couldn’t find a nurse’s stethoscope, so I hope I can use this Doctors stethoscope ok”. One amazing surgeon posted about how his nurses needed stethoscopes more than he did. Another wrote beautifully about nurses being the extension of his arm, part of his team, working together. Nurses from around the world posted photos and comments with their support, from Arabia, the Philippines, Australia, the UK, Africa- from all 6 continents, countless countries, all rallying in support of nurses.

Janie’s SMYS Facebook group grew quickly- 50,000 members in a day, 100,000 the next. In 5 days the group reached 800,000 members.

The backlash towards the View was strong- companies suspended advertising during the show. Johnson and Johnson, Kimberly Clark, and many more, to support nurses. The View apologized… or tried to. And then apologized again. After all was said and done, SMYS was still standing, with 800,000 members. International members. Representing all levels of nursing practice.

This may not seem like a big deal- nurses are pretty united, right? Surprisingly, the different levels and roles of nurses are not so united. RNs and LPNs have separate associations. Long term Care Nurses are often looked down on by Hospital floor nurses. Nurse’s Aides often don’t feel respected. Advanced Practice Nurses have their own issues and associations as well. So none of these different groups of nurses have ever been united before supporting ONE issue. And the View gave them that issue.

Many nurses have never felt the pride and support that they received from reading the posts on that page. LPNs, RNs, CNAs. EMTs, RRTs, MDs, all united for a common cause- to support nurses. They had never seen anything like it. Everyone put the political and inter-nursing disputes away for a beautiful moment. And we all remembered that above all, we were nurses. Since September, SMYS has continued to build on that enthusiasm and strength, that cohesiveness that the nursing community has never had. They didn’t align with any one union or association. They developed a mission statement that was for ALL Nurses. Accepting and inclusive. That isn’t to say there weren’t bumps along the way.

Janie managed to find amazing volunteer admins to moderate the incredibly busy group, keep the spam and bots under control, and meld the group into something cohesive and powerful. She build a Board of Directors, and then a nationwide group of representatives, and global reps as well.

But let me tell you about Janie. Janie was a longtime nurse who experienced devastation 5 years ago when her 17 year old son Alex was hit by a truck. She received that late night phone call that no parent ever wants to receive. Since Alex’s death, Janie withdrew from the world, battled depression, was suicidal, and was only a shell of a person. For 5 years she went through the motions of life, of living.

That day in September that Janie heard the comments on the View, something happened. She created a group about nurses. And nursing saved her. Janie began to feel alive again, passionate about a cause, and really began LIVING again. Who brought who to life you ask?


I say both.

But to get back to Baby Kennedy….

In Michigan, a nurse named Brian and his fiancee Brad, bought a house and decided to try to adopt to build their family. Private adoption costs seemed overwhelming, so they began looking into Foster Care. They went through the evaluation process, and were approved to be Foster Parents. In May 2015, they brought home 5 month old Little Miss. They were assured by the Agency that her parents were terminating their rights, and Brian and Brad thought their family was finally created. But just one day later, they learned that the biological parents were going to work their plan for reunification of the family, and Little Miss would not be a permanent part of their family, and in fact would be only with them for a few months.

The roller coaster ride to build their family that Brian and Brad rode was giving more twists and turns. Realizing that adoption may be their best option, they began fundraising and started a Facebook page about their journey to become a family. There were a few false alarms that didn’t work out- a miscarriage, a change of plans…

In February it occurred to  Brian that this amazing Nursing group he was in, SMYS, may be helpful- maybe one of these nurses knew of a baby being put up for adoption. So they posted their story in SMYS.

They received some negative responses, but persevered- thinking if this helps them to find their baby, they could handle it. Administrators for the group reached out to them to help monitor the post and delete any negative comments. The decision to allow their call to action was made by the group of Administrators, as a gesture of love and inclusiveness.

And then, a message came- a midwife in SMYS had a pregnant mom who wanted to give her baby up for adoption. Brian and Brad gave their adoption agency’s info, but didn’t want to get their hopes up again- they had been dashed so often. The adoption agency never contacted them, so they thought, another chance that didn’t work out. Another turn on the roller coaster their lives had become.

A few weeks later, in early March, just 4 weeks after they posted in SMYS. Little Miss’s time with Brian and Brad was coming to an end, she was returning to her biological parents that weekend. Feeling down, and visiting his mother, Brian was asked about the SMYS midwife contact. He thought the pregnant mother would be approaching her due date any day now and wondered about her. Then his phone rang– it was the midwife from SMYS. The pregnant mom went into labor, but didn’t have an adoptive family picked out for the baby. It turns out, she contacted the Agency but never heard back. The midwife and pregnant mom remembered Brian and Brad, and reached out to see if there was a possibility of making this connection happen.kr1

Brian remembers sitting in his mom’s house in a daze- needing to make split second decisions and figure out what to do. He contacted an adoption attorney and he and Brad made the scariest decision of their lives. Brad remained behind to transition Little Miss back to her parents, and say a tearful and devastated goodbye to her. Brian jumped in the car at 7pm at night and drove 12 hours straight to meet this potential new family member. When he arrived, he met the midwife, mother, and new little baby Kennedy Rose. After 48 hours, the papers were signed and it was official. Kennedy Rose was the newest member of their family. They had a daughter.  Brad flew down and they spent 2 weeks finalizing details. The midwife and new family grew so close, that Brad, Brian and Kennedy stayed with her for the remainder of their time

They packed up to return home to Michigan, the 3 of them. Papers signed, adoption finalized, and began to drive home. One of the first cities they passed through- St. Louis Missouri, home of Jane Harvey Garner.

When the news broke on SMYS about their adoption, the joy was shared around the group, many felt as if they were 800,000 honorary aunties and uncles for little Kennedy.

Even Miss Colorado heard the news and sent her congratulations to the happy family. Who knew such divisive statements by naive TV hosts could bring together 800,000 nurses, revive a broken nurse who had lost her son, and create one beautiful family.

Miss Kennedy Rose will be 6 months old at the wedding of Brian and Brad in October. Her final court date for the adoption will be the week before the wedding. Sounds like there will be much to celebrate this fall.

We were honored to be a small part of the construction of their new, lovely family.  Best wishes, Dads.  Enjoy this beautiful new light in your life.




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Men in Nursing – The Stigma and the history.

By | Nursing | 6 Comments
  • When I was a little girl, I thought all nurses were women.  Women who wore white and stuck me with needles, to be exact.  Obviously, I had several surgeries as a kid.
  • When I joined the Navy, my instructors in Hospital Corpsman A School were two male Hospital Corpsmen and a female Nurse Corps officer named Lieutenant Bonney. (If you know her, I would love to get back in touch)
  • At my first duty station, I finally met a male nurse. He was my charge nurse on 7A, medicine/oncology.  He was a bit of an oddity, but not an original.  There were several male nurses at Portsmouth Naval Hospital in 1990; however, the lion’s share were women. Very often, extremely young women – maybe new graduate nurses.  I still considered nursing a female profession; not consciously, but when I thought of nurses they were always women.
  • When I started nursing school, there were a few men in my class.  I think I still considered nursing a female profession.  It’s amazing how long I held on to that stereotype.  When I worked PICU during nursing school, there were three or four male nurses, and they were great! However….. stereotypes die hard.
  • And happily, I now consider nursing a profession……. which easily crosses gender lines.  It is exactly like being an accountant, but with more stool and (slightly) fewer meetings.  But it took a long time.  🙂

The stereotypes for men in nursing are pretty amazing, since the first nurses were actually men.  Women came on the scene much later.  As a matter of fact, the word ‘nosocomial’ (hospital acquired) comes from the ‘nosocomi’, who were the men who provided nursing care in ancient Rome. The very first nursing school was in India, and only men were considered pure enough to be nurses (Bruce Wilson, Ph.D., RN,).  Male religious orders founded hospitals and cared for the sick, such as the Alexian Brothers, and the Benedictines.  Juan Ciudad, founded what would become known as the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God. 

Friar Juan de Mena was the first Nurse in America.  He was a Mexican nurse and a lay brother of the Order of Santo Domingo, shipwrecked decades before America was settled at Plymouth Rock.

Walt Whitman served as a nurse during the Civil War, and in fact wrote a poem called The Wound Dresser about his experience.

And then the Crimean War happened, and there was Flo.  However, she notes that the male ‘orderlies’ provided nursing care.

The Army Nurse Corps in the US was formed in 1901, and men were excluded from serving until 1955.

Some nursing programs specifically excluded males as recently as 1982.

And here we are.  The profession is still only about 10% men, but I see this changing rapidly.  Indeed, since 1970 the number of men in nursing has tripled.

25So how do men fit in nursing? Perfectly in my mind, but some patients have been slow to change their minds.  I find this disturbing. It is as if some patients consider a male nurse’s contact with their body ‘wrong’. This might indicate some feeling of sexual inappropriateness with a male providing their care as opposed to a female, and it makes absolutely no sense to me.  I remember a guy in my nursing school class who was crushed because no laboring mothers would allow him to participate in their births based on his gender. If he had been a Medical Student, not a word would have been said.  He went on to become a fabulous NICU nurse.15413-a-male-nurse-taking-the-blood-pressure-of-a-woman-pv

Of course, I am sure the reason for refusal of a male caregiver is not always a feeling of sexual inappropriateness.  Some women just do not feel comfortable with any male ‘seeing’ the more intimate parts of their body. It is simply outside of their comfort zone.  These women often see a female physician for the same reason.  I have never seen a male patient refuse a female nurse, or insist on a male physician; but I understand it happens occasionally.  I have been asked by many male coworkers to place a foley catheter in a female patient, because they care so much about how the female patient will feel about a male performing the procedure.  Male nurses are probably way more sensitive to their patient’s needs in this regard than female nurses, if I am honest.  I have never asked a patient if they would prefer that a male nurse place a urinary catheter.  That may be a failing on my part, but it is more likely related to the fact that no one has ever asked me to get a nurse of the opposite sex.

I try to respect my patient’s wishes, but it seems that the stigma lives on.  What will it take for the general public to see male nurses as equally caring and competent professionals who have no designs on their person? We are not interested in your body beyond your medical problems.  We have no desire to see you naked, except for what needs to come off to conduct a proper assessment.  As a matter of fact, female nurses can be a little too nonchalant about modesty at times, because we simply do not even notice that you are exposed.  It doesn’t register, because it is a normal part of the job.  It is also a normal part of the job to respect your modesty, so we do our best not to forget.

This crazy website indicates in extremely straight language that women should never allow a male provider to do an ‘intimate’ exam, because they could be sexually assaulted.  It is mind boggling.

Until these stigmas go away, we will simply have to make our patients comfortable, and abide by their wishes.  However, I encourage you to share this blog with others to raise awareness that nurses of both genders are equally competent and sensitive to the needs of their patients.

Thanks to all of my male colleagues for everything you do.

Discussion? Comment!








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Wear your convictions during the entire month of May! Safe Staffing Bracelets! Cheap! (to support the Staffing Rallies on May 12)

By | Healthcare Policy | No Comments

We ordered these bracelets so you can wear your Safe Staffing Pride!

Just use the button in the post and get a cool red bracelet to wear every day in May to show your support.

You need these. Because, COOL



You may want to get a few for your friends! You can order up to 20 at a time. They will ship by April 25. Domestic shipping only.


Safe Staffing Saves Lives.  





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The CDC tells doctors how to prescribe. How Quaint.

By | Healthcare Policy | 6 Comments

In a startling show of brilliance, The CDC has decided that Physicians are to blame for the prescription painkiller addiction epidemic. They have published ‘guidelines’ for opioid prescription that will serve no end but helping people win lawsuits because their family members died of opioid overdoses.  Usually because they didn’t take their meds as prescribed by their physician.  

When are we going to put all of the pieces together and realize that the changing climate in healthcare rainbowis responsible for these deaths, not individual physicians? We had to keep the patients ‘satisfied’ and started over prescribing to the squeakiest wheels. There are ‘pill mills’ in every state.  We just shut one down in a neighboring county in my home state of Missouri.  The doctor was prosecuted.  I am quite sure that the physician began by trying to help people control their pain, and then just kept prescribing.  It was an error in judgement, and a serious one.  However, most physicians do not prescribe opioids like skittles.  And most physicians are just trying to keep their patients comfortable.  And this will cause more people to be in pain.

I personally have a chronic pain condition.  I was hit by a car at 14 years old.  The growth plate in my left mandible was damaged, but unfortunately, it was not detected.  It left me with a cross bite, bad teeth, and a misalignment that causes spasms constantly for weeks and causes me absolutely debilitating pain. Like, fetal position pain.  Pain that has had my husband calling my Physician’s exchange to get a prescription for low-dose valium and vicodin to relieve the spasms, as well as the steroids for the inflammation that caused the problem.  I was on Vioxx for years, and I had an amazing relief of my symptoms.  And then we took it off the market, and people like me were back to opioids and muscle relaxers. And now my doctor cannot even call in a prescription for opiate pain relief, because the laws in my state prohibit anything but a paper prescription.  Thankfully, my pain has been managed by tolerance.  The low-dose vicodin I was on stopped working.  I muscled through, and it was horrible. It’s still horrible sometimes, but I cannot live on these medications while I am practicing as a nurse. However, that does not mean I am not in pain.  I am. Every single moment.  It is exhausting. 

Andrew Kolodny, executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, called the recommendations a “game changer” that doctors are likely to follow.

“For the first time, the federal government is communicating clearly that the widespread practice of treating common pain conditions with long-term opioids is inappropriate,” Kolodny said. “The CDC is making it perfectly clear that medical practice needs to change because we’re harming pain patients and fueling a public health crisis.”

So, insurance companies require 6 sessions of physical therapy while you are in excruciating back pain before you are allowed an MRI to determine if you need surgery, but we need to tell physicians to do what? Stop prescribing opiates to people with debilitating pain? Three weeks of agony while you do the PT, no diagnostic films, and no effective medication? You will also have to continue working while you are doing this, because we live in the US and adequate sick time or short-term disability is not always available. In their guidelines they actually state that insurance companies do not cover many of the non-opioid therapies they suggest.  Yet, they wrote these guidelines as if these people would be able to pay for them out of pocket.

This is barbaric.

Maybe we should stop prescribing heroin too..... oh....wait...

Maybe we should stop prescribing heroin too….. oh….wait…

This is what is going to happen.  Physicians will soon stop prescribing opioids – period, because they will not want to get sued for every person who decides they like the way vicodin makes them feel.  The CDC now has published ‘guidelines’ like you can shove every patient into the same-sized box, and give them three to seven days of opioids and all will be well. So Physicians who prescribe these drugs outside of the guidelines will be at risk for lawsuit, because they tried to help their patients.

Oh…and as for teenagers getting high off of their leftover prescriptions and overdosing themselves….I have kids.  We throw the medication out when they no longer need it.  Parents must parent.

Do I think doctors should prescribe opioids to only those who need them? Yes.  Do I think we need to ask about pain control on satisfaction surveys?


CDC….go back to Ebola and the Zika Virus, please.  Let doctors be doctors.  They’ve got this.




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