SMYS Staff of the week: Jennifer Lombardi Story

By | SMYSStaff, Unity | 3 Comments


Jennifer (Story as we call her) has been a nurse (LPN) for 13 years. She has worked in several nursing specialties but most recently has been working in oncology for the past 4 years. She currently works in shirtsmysleukemia research at Massachusetts General. Jennifer has several roles at SMYS including but not limited to moderating the main SMYS group & serving as an SMYS for Change Ambassador for Massachusetts.

What is your favorite thing about working at SMYS?
My Favorite thing about SMYS is the people. I’ve made lots of friends and love seeing everyone come together to support each other. Plus, I love the meme wars!

Why do you volunteer your time to help SMYS?
I volunteer my time because I have seen what this group has accomplished in such a short amount of time and see the potential for what we can become. With these numbers and the passionate members and staff, there is absolutely nothing we can’t achieve.

What do you want SMYS to be when it is all grown up?
When SMYS is all grown up I would love to see it have a physical location, a group that does so much to help people and to make waves in the medical community. Known for our good works, getting safe staffing legislation passed and tackling the next project.

Jennifer is one of the treasures of the SMYS crew. She is always willing to jump in and lend a hand. For example, at the #NursesTakeDC rally she jumped into action to help get hundreds of pizzas delivered to the rally attendees. She ran the SMYS booth at the Nurse Innovation Hackathon at Northeastern University. She, along with other SMYS staff, picked up Janie from the Airport in DC, and even though they got lost, managed to get her to her destination, eventually. Most importantly, she’s a coffee drinker, and will make sure to help you get your morning dose before any SMYS event kicks off. shirt8

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The things I have been doing – I allegedly made a med error on myself.

By | Advocacy, Unity | 2 Comments

I hate packing, and I hate leaving the house.nursborn_sq

I mean, HI! So EXCITED to go to DC ūüôā

I have a love-hate relationship with traveling. ¬†The love part is when I come home; the hate part is the rest of it. ¬†I am a¬†dyed-in-the-wool homebody. ¬†Being a guest on RNFM Radio was actually a whole lot of wmhuman interaction for me. It becomes more and more obvious that Electrophysiology is the perfect specialty for Janie. ¬†Either I am sedating a patient, (and I guarantee you that anyone I sedate is not talking to me) or I am having a meaningful relationship with the Claris Workmate Recording System….. which looks like¬†a whole lot of multicolored squiggles to most people.

It is my friend, and it always tells the truth ūüôā

Yeah, so that was weird.  I know. We will not talk about that anymore.waldenu_minitype

So, in other news, I am still going to DC in the morning. ¬†My family is tiptoeing around hoping I will not decide to stay home. ¬†Only because this has happened before. ¬†What they don’t know is that wild horses nurseentrecouldn’t drag me away from DC this week. ¬†I am completely motivated to get on a plane and join my fellow NurseWarriors! (TM) in our fight for safe staffing ratios. ¬†I may even bring a dress. ¬†Maybe.

To prepare for this event, there have been people with several organizations organizing, ordering, dreaming, creating, fundraising, gathering, purchasing, networking, and cajoling all of the necessary elements into place. ¬†It is tireless, mostly thankless, and pretty darn frustrating. Organizing nurses is like herding cats, if I am honest. Keeping everyone focused on the endgame, and untangling them from the details takes up a lot of time. ¬†However, it is also the most exciting thing that nurses have done since the 90’s, and I think we all know what that was. ¬†Here we are, in 2016 with the same poor staffing, additional issues complicating our practice, and less time than ever to spend with our patients. ¬†Remember the patients? They have been lost¬†in the shuffle of for-profit healthcare, patient satisfaction, and increasingly heavy documentation.

We do remember the patients. And this is why #NursesTakeDC.INA-Official-logo204x116

Not everyone could arrange to go to DC this year. ¬†Some of you are in Texas, Arkansas, or Arizona. ¬†And some of you couldn’t leave home. ¬†Some of you were afraid of retaliation by your employer if you attended such an event. We are there for you, we will represent you, and hope you can attend next year. Be a part ¬†of the rally; ¬†watch the LiveStream <—Click ¬†of the event¬†on YouTube. ¬†Please go subscribe to our empty YouTube Channel which will soon be full of safe staffing goodness! ūüôā

Even though I am a homebody and would prefer to stay at home where I do not have to premedicate to answer the door, I am proud and grateful to be a part of this wonderful event.  I am humbled to be a part of nursing history.  I am grateful to the following people, in no particular order for the following logo

  • David Miller for photographing what will be a piece of our history
  • Jalil Johnson for doing everything I hate to do. Also, for being a tireless advocate for nurses and nursing.
  • Kelley Rieger for getting money to buy signs, fund scholarships, serve appetizers, and such things
  • “Phillip and The J’s” (Jen, Jen, Joan, Jen, and Jay) for doing tons of message board moderating so I can do other stuff (Annie, Sarah, Tommy, etc) ūüôā
  • ZDoggMD (Zubin Damania, MD) for supporting nurses in word, in deed, and in song.
  • PJ Allen-Thomas for creating all of the beautiful graphics, and designing all of the T-shirts. ¬†If something¬†was awful, I did it. ¬†(and she cringed)ste
  • Rebecca Love, for sharing her technology and believing in all of us.
  • Sharon Reynolds and Annie Chartrand for managing the joins lobby…say no more.
  • Cathy, Pam, Melissa, and Doris, for everything Rally.
  • Sarah Evans for going to the Rally with me so I cannot cancel.
  • Kelsey Rowell for all of the RAW ENTHUSIASM!
  • Alley S. for pointing us in the right direction and advocating for us, always.
  • Mica Frey-Harris for being an awesome leader, and also for the sweet digs ūüôā
  • Vanessa, Nichole and Tama for getting those state rallies DONE.
  • Andrew Lopez for all of the social media advice. ¬†He is the hashtag master.
  • All of the speakers and legislators who are attending.
  • Alex Hopper, Webmaster for tirelessly dealing with my nonstop¬†demands. ¬†And for being pretty.
  • Pat
  • Linda Kirk for Cake Duty, present wrapping, and all kinds of other stuff.
  • The Rally group for awesome discussion, troubleshooting, critical thinking, and BEING THERE!
  • RNFM Radio (Kevin, Keith, and Elizabeth) for somehow making me sound ok.
  • All of the people I forgot who hopefully will not be mortally offended.
  • The Cast of the View for being clueless about what nurses do.
  • All of the businesses who have sponsored this event and given donations for the raffles. (logos in post)
  • Every single solitary person who decided to show me their stethoscope.¬†

I know I forgot lots of important people.  I am exhausted and I may possibly have made a med error on myself last night.  I know you guys love it when bad things happen to me.

Just FYI, when you mean to give a patient 2 colace, do not give them 2 bisacodyl.











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Spreading the Gospel of Ratios

By | Advocacy, Events, Healthcare Policy, Nursing, professional, Unity, Workplace Safety | 4 Comments

ZDoggMD, representin’.

Huh. Who knew staffing ratios were a big deal?
Oh, right. WE DID.

Nurses everywhere have taken up the call—staffing ratios impact the care and safety of our patients, and keep the profession from burning out and getting hurt on the job. Even a certain Dogg knows it. (See Z-DoggMD’s AMA here.)

(ZdoggMD is on fleek in our Staffing Ratios Matter shirt. Get one here.)

We’re waking up and ready to destroy the current paradigm: doing more with less. SHENANIGANS, Y’ALL. All chronic understaffing has done is increase the rates of morbidity and mortality, and decreased professional satisfaction—which means fewer nurses stay at their jobs…which means fewer nurses are at work…which leads to more injury and infection. Instead of the Circle of Life, it’s the Spiral of Disaster.

Let’s tell our administrators, CEOs and legislators what we know to be true. Are we cool with staffing ratios that endanger patients, decimate the health care worker population and and ultimately increase cost of care? NOPE.


Kelsey R. of She knows what’s up!

Here’s what you can do:

  • Tell your health care friends, teachers and students about how unsafe staffing levels increase the number of adverse patient events, up to and including death
  • Also mention that it can increase the number of workplace injuries
  • Invite them to join us in Washington on May 12, 2016
  • Or, attend a state capitol event on the same day
  • Share this press release with your colleagues, coworkers and friends:
  • Get the Staffing Ratios Matter Shirt & rock that thang! It’s the Little Shirt that Could. It’s everywhere, and it’s back on sale. Order here.
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Let’s talk about stereotypes, and double standards. The ‘sexy nurse’

By | Nursing, professional, Unity | 6 Comments

Sexy Nurse Basketball Cheerleaders.

We ran into a little double standard today on SMYS, and I would love to talk about it. A guy complained about a picture of barechested guys, identifying as nurses.

Ok, everyone knows I hate the sexy nurse thing. ¬†I. Hate. It. ¬†I try to swallow my feelings because others (non-nurses mostly) think I am very sensitive about it, and I do not like to force my beliefs on¬†anyone. ¬†I had to go on autopilot last Halloween. ¬†The sexy nurse costumes actually cost this group hundreds and maybe thousands of good members, but I didn’t want to add another restriction to the list.

We were all in agreement about the sexy nurse toddler shirt, as it was pretty disgusting. Because making CHILDREN sex objects is just not ok on any level.

At the very beginning of the “Show Me Your Stethoscope” phenomenon, we lost perhaps MORE members than that because of the guy nurse ‘beefcake’ pictures. ¬†There was a nurse¬†who got¬†so many likes on a barechested picture of himself that he imploded when I deleted it (because I felt it was marginalizing male nurses as sex objects, and him in particular). ¬†He was horrified that I deleted his picture, because it got so much attention.¬† Quite honestly, I am sure he got a lot of attention in his real life, based on that picture. I had a hard time relating. ¬†It is possible that I was insensitive.


Washington DC Party with SMYS. Flo Approves.

But here is the thing…. There IS a ‘sexy nurse’ stereotype. ¬†I have had patients and physicians mention it. ¬†It is kind of icky. ¬†I feel like it robs our profession of the respect we deserve. ¬†The short vinyl skirt and nurse’s cap are insulting. ¬†It is someone pretending to be a nurse and sexualizing the profession. ¬†We go INSANE when someone impersonates a nurse, but we are not bothered at all when it is accompanied by sexualization? Weird.

A member who we will call R.B. recently posted a ‘shower’ picture showing his safe staffing bracelet. ¬†I found it hysterical, but was that because he was a guy, or because only the back of his shoulder and his hair were¬†visible?

So, is it ok to post barechested pictures of yourself in a healthcare group, identifying as a nurse? I don’t mean ‘is it morally ok?’ or ‘is it ok according to my religion?’ or ‘is it ok with me aesthetically?’. ¬†I mean, is it ok for the profession? Does it perpetuate a stereotype? Does it marginalize nurses? Does your action actually impact the way nurses are seen by the general public?

I know, right? A lot to think about. ¬†You thought you were just showing us the awesome muscles you got at the gym, folks! ūüôā Why is it ok to sexualize MEN in nursing, and not women?

Discuss. Halloween is coming around again.











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Harriet Tubman, and why we should be proud to have her on the $20 bill

By | Unity | 2 Comments

Harriet Tubman is to be honored with a spot on the $20 bill.  We should be honored and humbled that she will grace it;  I hope we have her approval, posthumously.

She was born to enslaved parents as Araminta (‘Minty’) Ross around 1822. The exact date is not known. She was later married to John Tubman, who was a free black man. ¬†She changed her name to Harriet sometime around her marriage. ¬†harriet-tubman

This courageous visionary was a cook and a nurse for the Union Army before becoming a spy, and an armed scout. ¬†She guided a raid that freed seven hundred slaves. She was the first woman to lead an armed mission in the war. ¬†She saved seventy families from slavery, and transported them first to the ‘north’ and then into Canada when the Fugitive Slave Act became law. ¬†She was a suffragette later in life

Harriet Tubman accomplished all of that with a traumatic brain injury, long lasting injuries from repeated beatings, and the life she lived as chattel.  Property. She was regarded as no better than livestock. Her head injury occurred when she was in a shop, and an overseer demanded she help him restrain a slave who had left the fields without permission.  She refused.  The overseer threw a heavy weight at the man, and it struck the adolescent Harriet in the head, nearly killing her. She was unconscious for two days, at which point she was unceremoniously ordered to the fields for work, while bleeding and in great pain. She had seizures, headaches and hypersomnia for the rest of her life.  It is suspected that she suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy. 

She didn’t let that stop her.

When Harriet made her run for freedom, she was assisted by kind people, mostly Quakers.  She describes crossing the line into Pennsylvania for the first time:

When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven

harrietShe made that return journey many times to rescue other slaves. First her family, then friends and strangers. One of her last missions was to rescue her parents.  Harriet floated families up rivers on rafts, and used risky disguises and tricks to get them to safety. There is evidence that she and Frederick Douglass worked together to bring some slaves to freedom. It is suspected that she brought eleven escaped slaves to his home, here is the quote from Douglass:

Douglass wrote: “On one occasion I had eleven fugitives at the same time under my roof, and it was necessary for them to remain with me until I could collect sufficient money to get them on to Canada. It was the largest number I ever had at any one time, and I had some difficulty in providing so many with food and shelter…

I could tell you Harriet’s entire history, but I won’t. ¬†It is available everywhere. ¬†She was¬†the embodiment of American courage and spirit, while she was fighting unjust laws in America. I am so grateful¬†that she will be the first woman and first African-American to grace our currency (Other than coins). ¬†And remember, she served as a nurse. ¬†I am doubly proud of her.






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