WEEKEND WARRIORS

Where are my weekend warriors at? I love love love my weekend crew. A weekend warrior at the hospital works every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. My oldie nurses usually refer to this as “baylor shifts”. Back in the day they used to pay nurses a crazy differential to work just weekends. Why did we do away with this? Give me all the weekends.

As a single mom, working weekends works much better for me. I can be home with the kiddos during the week. Then home during the week to take them to school, pick them up, and everything in between. I don’t have to worry about child care during the week except for rarely if I go out of town without the kids. Majority of my weekend coworkers are single parents, have small kids, spouses that work during the week, are in school, or prefer the laid back atmosphere.

Years ago my co-sister and I had worked the weekend, then when we got off on Monday morning had breakfast and hit the beach. This younger college student came up to us and asked us what we did for a living. She was like, I was just wondering what you did that you’re able to be at the beach on a random Monday while everyone else is at work. We told her we were nurses and work the weekends in the ER. By the look on her face I think we didn’t really give her the answer she was looking for. When her response was “on purpose?”, we knew she wouldn’t be seeking a nursing career.

If you ask anyone that works weekends they will tell you it has its pros and cons. While everyone is chaotic and filled with the Monday blues, you are enjoying the start to our days off. The perks of weekends are: increased shift differential, no traffic coming to work, beer breakfast being acceptable, no management, being home during the week, and the all hands on deck culture.

All we have is each other on weekends. This is a recipe for on outstanding family atmosphere with teamwork written all over everything we do. When things get crazy and chaotic everyone jumps in to get whatever needs to be done….. done. Nobody drowns. Nobody gets left behind. We are all in. We are weekend warriors hear us roar! Ok just kidding. Being dramatic would never fly on a weekend shift. So to my fellow weekend warriors, you are for sure made of sugar and spice. Keep up the good work. May we raise our coffee cups high my friend and know we are needed/appreciated even if it’s just by each other!

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Nurse and doctor relationships…

Well July is coming to an end. For anyone that works at a teaching hospital, you know exactly what I mean. I have such a respect for residents because I’m the first to admit that I could not maintain their schedules, performance pressure, and my sanity. I would’ve just quit probably as a med student.

Nurses and physicians work so closely together that it is imperative that we have a great relationship. When doctors and nurses have good working relationships patients have better outcomes, workplace satisfaction goes up, staff turn overs decrease,  and stress levels drop.

I say this all the time but it is just like a marriage. We are both committed. We wont always like each other but we have to make it work. If you find yourself getting easily frustrated in any way then here are somethings to consider about nurse and physician relationships:

#1- Take ownership that the relationship is 50% your responsibility.

#2- Over communication beats no communication every time. Communicate about everything. All things patient care. I’ve never had a doctor tell me that I’ve told them too much. They use all the details to come up with the best plan of care for the patient.

#3- Listen to what each other is trying to communicate. I always tell my kids… God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.

#4- Respect each other. Nurses don’t always agree with physicians decisions and physicians don’t always like how a nurse is managing their patient. Speaking to each other calmly and nicely goes a long way. Body language is everything. A patient or their family should never be able to tell the nurse and physician do not agree. The bedside is never a place to disrespect each other. This makes the patient and their families lose confidence in the care being provided.

#5- Give each other kudos for a job well done. Being acknowledged for doing a good job always makes for a closer relationship. It always means a lot for a physician to recognize a good job. They need it too.

#6- Team members work together. I almost lost my mind when a resident came into another patients room to tell me to go back into the room they just came from and give them the urinal sitting on the counter…….. but all the physicians that have taken patients off bedpans or done an incentive spirometer have made up for it.

#7- Trust is earned on both sides.

#8- Always be quick to apologize for doing or saying something you shouldn’t have. This speaks volumes of your character and tells the other that you care enough to right your wrongs. Needless to say I feel like my apology game is strong. I try to be quick to apologize and in turn it has brought my relationships with physicians closer.

We have both mad the decision to be in the people business. We see the good, the bad, and the ugly. Being their for each other and having good healthy relationships is a culture that promotes success for everyone. Love the heck out of your baby doctors and nurses because goodness knows they need it for putting up with us!

Until next July……………………………………………..

Holding in the ER again…. You got this!

For many ER nurses like myself, we actually invite the constant turn over of patients. Literally there are no two nights of work that are the same…ever. I love my job and I can’t see myself doing anything else. When patients come to the emergency room they are either admitted or discharged. At least that is the case a majority of the time until there are no open rooms in the hospital. Then we are holding our patients in the ER and then we instantly become both ER and floor nurses. This sucks for patients, nurses, and doctors. The ER isn’t designed for holding since we have to be ready to take whatever comes in the door and we cant turn anyone away.

According to the Center for Disease Control, based on 2015 results emergency rooms across the country are seeing approx 136.9 million patients a year. Among those patients, 12.3 million are admitted to the hospital. There isn’t an Emergency Room in the world that is exempt from holding patients at some point. There is good news though. It doesn’t have to be miserable and it’s up to us to make it better! We can’t control holding patients but we can take responsibility for what we can control.

Every time I have a patient that is admitted and know they will not be getting a bed anytime soon I make a quick reference sheet. I get a sheet of printer paper and place a patient label at the top and fill the paper out accordingly. I just make note of  the patients allergies, brief history, diagnosis, systems review, things to do, IV, medications, and family. If the patient is progressive it’s not as detailed as if the patient is ICU status. If the patient is ICU then I also jot down things I need to make sure I chart. For example, hourly assessments, I&O’s , and restraints. Pictured are the differences between the two (excuse the man handwriting). A quick reference sheet makes it is easy to keep track of what I need to do and makes giving report very easy. You have it all at one glance what you’ve done and what needs to be done.

When I orient a nurse to the ER, I always tell them there are three things you focus on when you have an admitted patient. Those three things are: bathroom, medication, and comfort in that order!  If you address these things right off the bat then I promise you it will save you ALOT of running around.

Bathroom:

  • Clean your incontinent patient. Even if they do not appear soiled. Provide peri-care and a new brief. (Make sure you document it.) That way you know for sure that the patient was dry and all the linens are not bunched up underneath them.
  • If they can ambulate  without assistance, then make sure they go to the bathroom so they know where it is.
  • If they need assistance to and from, encourage them to go to get it out of the way. Then make sure you communicate with them to let you know as soon as possible because it is the ER and it can chaotic at any given time.
  • Provide urinals if the setting is appropriate.

Medication:

  • Make sure home medications are reconciled if possible.
  • Whatever medications are scheduled then work with pharmacy to get the medication so you can give it. Yes even the stool softner….
  • If pain medications are due then give them.
  • When you look through orders if the patient needs pain meds, muscle relaxants, tylenol/motrin, anti-coagulants, anti-reflux, or anti-nausea meds then be proactive in asking for them from admitting physician.

Comfort:

  • Make sure they’re in a gown and socks.
  • Provide warm blankets and pillows. (If your facility does not provide pillows in the ER or notoriously runs out, then you keep asking management for them. This is a cheap and easy way to make the beds comfortable and aid against skin break down like floating heels.)
  • Check their diet status and if they can eat and drink then make sure they have something available.

It is VERY easy for nurses to do the bare minimum for admitted patients but you don’t want to be that nurse. You want to be better than that. You want the patient to go to the floor and ask to go back to the ER because the nurses took such good care of them. Communicating with them about what is going on will help decrease their anxiety of wondering what is going on. Make sure you are updating them and the family. Holding patients isn’t ideal but it is doable. It’s what you make it!

 

 

 

Tapped out! Surviving 2018….

As the new year came, I’ve had so many “new year, new you” conversations with friends and co-workers. A few years ago I was taking care of a patient on New Years Eve and they said, “Honey don’t you know what you do for the new year is what you will be doing all year?”. I haven’t worked another New Years Eve shift since!

Last year was such a tough year. I have been through some crap in my life but last year was one for the books. One of my sweet co-workers asked me why I had not blogged about all the craziness. I laughed and replied, “Because nobody would believe it!”. It’s literally been one thing after another as if being a single mom was not chaotic enough. The truth is there is something so vulnerable about putting yourself out there. My sweet daughter said, “Mommy maybe there is someone out there that is crying about the same thing but when you stop crying they keep crying.”. Out of the mouth of babes.

When you don’t have the words to say many times tears do the talking. There have been lots of tears shed in 2018 and now I feel like I’m so soft I can cry at the littlest thing that has me in my feelings. No really, have you watched a YouTube video on dachshund puppies? All the sniffles. When I was going through my first divorce I was so broken, I asked God for a favor. I asked Him to help me not have a hard heart. To turn my hard heart into tears. Well He answered my prayers in abundance.

After this past year, I will never be the same. I’m absolutely not going to rehash everything here but the following is a recap of 2018:

  • Unexpected break up with someone I really thought I was going to grow old with.
  • The death of my best friends husband.
  • My son decided to go live with his dad. (Ok started tearing up just typing that).
  • Found out my other son was involved with the wrong crowd and had his hand in drugs. (NEVER trust a teenager).
  • My other other son was arrested for fighting his brothers bullies at school. (Oh the repercussions such as court hearings, community service, therapy, alternative school).
  • Then on top of all of that, I had to have a hysterectomy and went into instant menopause.

Can we just say holy anxiety attack? Any number of these things piled on top of all the day-to-day stuff like Kelby breaking her wrist or having to pay for braces could be enough to send someone over the edge……………………… well it almost did. Something I have never experienced in my life until about 4 months ago is anxiety attacks. Mental health is such a touchy topic and nobody wants to really talk about what they’re really feeling, including me. However, here we are. Hitting your max of what you can handle is a very unsettling feeling. I was already at the point of “I cant handle anything else” and then boom. The cops show up to take my son away in handcuffs.

The littlest thing would feel so overwhelming. Like what do you mean you’re out of Publix fried chicken? What are my kids going to eat for dinner? I wasn’t planning on cooking and now this?! PANIC! Sounds crazy to even say but when your anxiety is at an all time high things that seem so easy feel like road blocks. I knew something had to give because my poor kids were freaked out. My oldest son said, “Mom I don’t know what’s going on with you but I really need you to chill out”. I needed to hear that. So I had to lean in and dig deep and get through this.

So here is how I survived the hardest year to date:

  • COUCH TIME! Snuggling up on the couch with my comfy comforter and just laying there. Sometimes the girls would snuggle up and we would watch You Tube videos about slime or painting squishes. Other times were when the boys would hang out and watch a movie, or two, or three. Being still and being together was everything right. (Disclaimer: single moms usually get little to no couch time ever).
  • Journaling. Writing out my feelings has always been something I’ve turned to in hard times. There is something about it that helps you clear your head and leave whatever it is on the paper.
  • Music. I always try to have music on because is calming and can set the mood.
  • My dogs. I don’t feel like a crazy dog lady but I might be. img_5575Even after a long shift I will snuggle up and pet the dogs til I fall asleep.
  • My soul sisters. I can’t put into words what it means when your best friend shows up with cake and flowers. Then another one shows up with dinner and cookies. One of the worst anxiety attacks my sweet love stayed on the phone with me until I calmed down enough to fall asleep. The unconditional love received by my friends has always seen me through but this past year meant everything.

I’m so thankful to be out of such a dark time. Everything that I was met with and had to go through was hard but looking back all of it made me stronger. Break ups are tough but you always learn from them. Losing someone to death only made me stronger in my faith. My son deciding to go live with his dad was hard but was an opportunity for my son to go to a better school and now our time together is even sweeter. Showing my other son tough love and seeing him through making better choices than a lifestyle of drugs made our bond even closer and taught him a lot about self-worth. My other other son has learned that being arrested doesn’t define you and has taken away so much from therapy. The time home recovering from surgery helped me have time off from work to deal with everything.

If you are going through something hard find what calms you and do ALOT of that!!

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Must have girls weekend….. it’s a must…

Welp…. As a single mom of 5 kids going away without kids is next to impossible. It requires ALOT of pre-planning and re-planning down to the last detail. Anybody who knows me knows that I absolutely suck at both planning and details so I have to work extra hard to make a girls weekend happen. I can count on one hand how many times in 15 years since I became a mother that I left the kids to have some time for myself. However, girls weekend is officially a must and I’m not going to be making any apologies for my new found MUST!

My sweet co-sisters from work convinced me months ago that I needed to get-a-way. Maybe it’s all my new wrinkles or the constant stressed out look I’ve had or all the weight I’ve gained. Whatever the reason they were right! I was locked into going from the first Venmo of paying my portion for the room. Which surprisingly ladies when you split a room between friends you really cant beat the price. Leading up to the trip I experienced some health issues. I went to the doctor and he was like ok well we need to schedule your hysterectomy within the next couple weeks. I of course cried talking to the surgery scheduler. Im like… “Listen lady I have a girls trip paid for and I really want to go. I deserve a weekend.”. Without hesitation she said “No problem. I totally get it. How about the day after you get home from your trip? He would prefer a different day but he will understand.”. PERFECT! She clearly knows the importance of girl time!

I had an amazing weekend filled with my favorite tequila and the best co-sisters. We laughed. We danced. We shared Ubers and country concerts. We swam. We sunbathed. We napped. We took the stairs (at least once). We encouraged each other. We celebrated us. We already started planning for next year. We deserved time away from our everyday chaotic lives to refocus, recenter, and take a breath of fresh air. I never felt bad about it for one second.

Why don’t we take more time for ourselves? My mom is a selfless woman. She always has been dedicated to her job. Nights and weekends are spent keeping up with the house, running errands, and now helping with all of her grand kids. She never took girls weekends when I was growing up. When the kids were younger I felt like I needed them with me at all times if I wasn’t at work. I see the error of my ways. Mommy needs a minute….. or two. Good gracious I am only one person and can only do so much. My friend Gina vacations with her mom and sister a few times a year. I want that for my girls more than anything! Permission to get-a-way and just be.

On my drive home I started thinking about self love and what that looks like and means. I’m interested to hear and learn more from other mothers and full time bread winners what self love means to them and how they find time for themselves through the chaos!

 

Ladies do yourself a favor a plan a girls trip right now! Text your friends and get the date on the books! We aren’t getting any younger and we only live once! Your family and job will survive a weekend without you… promise…

Good Grief

After writing this post, I deleted it at least three times. Something about grief makes me feel very vulnerable. Grief comes from a broken heart over someone that once was part of the glue keeping your heart pieces together. There are many people in my life that I have lost or love from a distance. There is a pinterest saying that says something along the lines of “grief comes in waves”. That could not be more true. Sometimes it is so strong that it hurts to breathe but nobody can see how much pain you’re in just that looking at you. We can grieve those that have passed and those that for whatever reason are not in our lives the way they once were……….. or the way that we want them to be.

Recently my dear friend asked her closest friends to go to the beach and celebrate what would of been her and her beloved husbands 9th wedding anniversary. This spoke volumes to me for a couple of reasons. For starters she knew that it would be a very hard “first” for her to face without support. She knew she didn’t want to face their first wedding anniversary apart by herself. She never dreamed that last years anniversary would’ve been their last together. When she mentioned it to me a month in advance (she is very much so a planner), I knew in her voice she needed us there. Secondly she invited us to grieve with her. She opened herself up to others during a very vulnerable time. That takes some serious strength. I couldn’t even post this before deleting three times and breaking out in a cold sweat when hitting the “publish” icon.

As we made plans to meet, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s been very hard for me to watch my friend miss her husband so much. On bad days I want to jump in and save the day but their isn’t anything I can do. I just let her talk and we cry. On good days I enjoy seeing that beautiful smile again. Her husband loved to make her smile. They were so in tuned that a glance across the room would put these goofy grins on both their faces. I’ve always wanted that kind of love.

So, the day came and we all gathered at the beach. She picked a hotel on the beach where she and her husband had made some precious memories together in years before. The day was beautiful. We shared smiles and laughs. Told stories of our beloved friend. Ate chicken wings in his honor. Even if we all would’ve been there and not said one word we were their in one accord. We miss him. Nothing changes that. For the first few months after he passed the shock felt like it wasn’t real. Like he was going to come back at anytime. Now eight months later we grieve. I cant explain to you exactly why it was so comforting to have us together to celebrate their anniversary, but it was comforting, beautiful, and needed.

Giving ourselves permission to grieve gives us freedom. Freedom from suppressed emotions that make clouds our thoughts. Everything doesn’t stop just because we’ve lost someone regardless of how we lost them. There is still laundry to be done, groceries to get, work to clock in and out of, and for many kids to raise. There is something about losing the ones that love you unconditionally. Some uncertainty about the future. You have to keep going and allow yourself to time to miss them. Overtime you’re still going to miss them and grief is going to come in waves. You take those moments to remember them. Take as many as you want or need to remember them and what they mean to you.

As far as watching someone you love grieve. All you can do is be there for them. Most people don’t because they don’t know what to say. Just listen to them. Let them tell as many stories as they need to. Never tell them to get over it because they’re never coming back. Don’t you think they know that? It’s a process. We are never going to get over it. Our hearts wont let us. We will continue to move on and press through. The waves of grief are sometimes like a hurricane and sometimes they’re like a two foot surf. Nobody controls the weather. Nobody.

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I love you my sweet friend and I’m going to weather this storm with you as you have done for me….

The Keys on a budget!

Raising five kid’s aint cheap. After my divorce I committed to making memories for my kids. I made it a priority. With that being said when you’re broke you don’t have a lot to work with and requires lots of planning ahead. People have asked so I wanted to share my tricks on how to get out of town and have complete down time with your kids. Uninterrupted, focused on them, down time. Priceless.

 

#1 Go over the money rules BEFORE you arrive!

  • “Mommy is NOT buying a bunch of crap from the gas station so don’t even ask.”! Literally kept coolers full of cold drinks and snacks from the time we pulled out of the drive way to prevent dropping a fortune at the gas station.
  • Told them we would only be eating out one meal a day and the other meals we would be eating in. Never once did anyone complain.. (WIN!)
  • Planned meals and shopped all the bogo of the week deals at Publix. Then of course loaded up on deli meat and cheese to make sandwiches ready to eat.
  • No souvenirs. You must find shells or sea glass. However, ended up having extra money from saving they did get to pick out something. I got a wine bottle koozie that I’m SO happy about!

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#2 Airbnb Baby!

  • Soooooooo easy to navigate the app and use the filters to find exactly what you want within your price range.
  • They have this very unique feature that if you book far enough out from your trip your payments are split into two. Literally the best thing. Pay half at the time of book and then the other closer to your trip.
  • We rented an awesome RV located in a gated RV park with its own down and community pool. Also came with kayaks! Literally the most peaceful set up!

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#3 Plan activities!

  • We brought all of fishing stuff because of course that was the kid’s main goal. I told him I was only going to buy bait when we got there. Ended up buying a bag of hooks to but I let it slide.
  • The boys brought their xbox for down time at night. In preparation for rainy days we brought cards and board games. It never rained during the day but one night we all were exhausted and played board games for an hour or so and crashed.
  • There is a ton of stuff to drop your money on for experience purposes. We didn’t charter a boat, swim with dolphins, or ride in a helicopter. However, we did pack our lunch, went to two state parks, and a beautiful secluded beach that we couldn’t get enough of. We did make a lot of memories and had some precious quality time together.
  • If you know me then you know that Im actually a horrible planner. I usually have a general idea of what I would like to do but that is as far as I go. Well ideas need more than just a thought. So things went very smoothly when I was like ok we are going to go to this beach today and that beach tomorrow. Kids do better when they’re in the know.

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So there you have it folks. That’s the science behind this broke mommy taking her gaggle to The Keys. I’m already planning next year but I want to go for WAY longer. My heart is SO full and happy from the sweet quality time we had together<3

Father’s Day bliss

As Father’s day comes to an end, I can’t help but think of so many people. I’ve thought about my own kids and how I never wanted them to be raised in a broken home. I struggled with this for many years but then I let it go. It’s better that they have two homes then two parents living in the same home that don’t love each other. I’ve thought about all the step dads and how being a step parent must be a hard job but truly driven by love. I’ve thought about the ones that have lost their dads. My best-friend recently lost her husband and father to her children. I typed out 3 different text to send her but none seemed like the right thing to say. I ended up just sending her a heart emoji tonight hoping she got it at the right time. I’ve thought about the men that are father figures and set the example because it’s the right thing to do. Being a father isn’t an easy job in this day and age. I’m not a father but I see the devil working hard on the men that are trying to do the right thing.

Now that I’m in my mid 30’s, I see how life seems to come full circle. I hung out with my dad and his amazing wife Vicky. They organized an entire cookout on the beach with all the family. If you know me you know this is my love language. Food, beach, and everyone together just makes me so happy. I watched my dad make his way around and make sure everyone had something to drink and was taken care of. He and Vicky were joking and laughing. I’m so thankful to see him so happy. He deserves it. You see my dad haven’t always been close. Just life happens sometimes but everything happens for a reason. He was really put through the ringer by his 2nd wife. God totally shielded me from her in so many ways and for that I’m thankful. Its ok that I say that because he would probably say the same. We’ve misunderstood each other 1000 times but it’s the 1000 times that we have chosen love. Every last time love always always wins. Instead of giving up, we both keep reaching for better. Better ways to communicate and become closer. Relationships are messy. People aren’t always going to be what you want, say what you want, or do what you want. Just like you aren’t going to be everything you need to be to them. It’s a two way street. Choosing to love each other pushes your relationship in the right direction. We have shown each other grace, love, and mercy. The most precious of these is that I know that my dad loves me. Regardless of anything that has happened. We are here. We are happy. We are family. We chose each other.

img_2126Dad, I love you SO much. I’m so thankful for all ways you love me. I’m truly blessed to call you dad. Thank you for all the times you put up with me and for that one time you let me borrow your truck and crashed it. I look forward to many more sunny days!

Mommy Meltdown

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My daughter said it best when she said that “sometimes we have bad moments but that doesn’t mean we are bad”. This past week was a doozy! The end of the school year pressure got to me and I’m not even enrolled in school! My less than motivated pre-teen son attempted….wait…..He did in fact write a book report about a book he obviously did not read and turned it into his teacher. I mean he literally read the introduction, the first page, and the last three pages. There was so much that led up to this moment. Like chores that needed to be done that the kids didn’t do, getting ready for my 4th overnight at work, feeling overwhelmed about so much to do in such little time, but of course in usual fashion it was something seemingly ridiculous that was the straw that broke the camel’s back…… the match in the powder barrel….last lick…down for the count…… turning into The not-so-incredible HULK moment.

I had worked the night before and was preparing to go back to work when I had enough. When I read his book report that made absolutely no sense and realized he had literally made up something just to get me off his back. I began to do the normal mom thing and ask him questions I already knew the answers to. However, when he told me to “chill” mid speech I literally threw my hands in the air and began screaming. I screamed the entire rest of my speech while I angrily put on my scrubs and bushed my teeth. I’m surprised I didn’t aspirate from the amount of yelling I was doing while having a mouth full of toothpaste suds. I’m sure at that point my kids weren’t sure if I was brushing my teeth or foaming at the mouth. With my uniform on I stomped around the house gathering everything I needed for work like I was 9-1-1 leaving the station for a fire however I was the fire. Then I announced to the kids, that had all taken cover by now, that I was leaving for work and that nobody cares anyway. Grabbed my stuff, stormed out, and slammed the front door and off to work I went. I drove away not even caring if I locked the front door behind me.

I had the music blaring my mind was racing. How can he write such a horrible book report and lie as if he read the book? What was going to happen next? Was this going to lead up to him becoming a criminal and selling drugs? About halfway to work the tears started pouring. I broke out into the ugliest of ugly Oprah cries. Which is like reason #56 why I need to get my windows tinted. At one point I looked over and saw this guy steady looking over at me, trying to Im sure guess what tragedy I was crying over. What his didn’t know is that I was crying over my tragic self.

You see Logan is a boy for starters and secondly a pre-teen that doesn’t really know what he is supposed to take seriously. He was pretty proud of himself for coming up with such an intelligent plan to complete the book report and not actually having to read the book. Im the parent. The adult. I had failed in more ways than one. Mommy had a complete meltdown when in his own pre-teen boy way was trying to tell me to calm down. I’m so not making exceptions or excuses for the disrespect in telling me to chill. Instead of using that moment to talk to him or send him to his room. I had a temper tantrum. I wanted to turn the car around and go home and hug and kiss him. Hug all my kids and tell them how much they mean to me. I’m sure I made every one of them feel like they weren’t enough. BUT… I had to keep driving to work because they like to eat and if mommy doesn’t get paid then they can’t eat!

Work felt like the shift that was never going to end. When I got home in the morning I was very quick to apologize to the kids. Hugging each of them and apologizing for my anger and how I should’ve handled it and that I love them very much. I was greeted with an apology from my pre-teen for not reading the book and upsetting me. The other kids apologized for contributing to the stress. There is something so absolutely beautiful about giving yourself some grace, mercy, and forgiveness. There is something even more beautiful about teaching your kids to show grace, mercy, and forgiveness in a situation that was hurtful. When you don’t just talk about it but you show them what grace, mercy, and forgiveness looks like it will never leave them. Do we knock it out of the park all the time? No. Will I probably have another meltdown? Yes. We were given the emotion of anger by our Creator. It is what we do with that anger that counts. So as the story goes, mommy had a meltdown but sometimes we have bad moments but that doesn’t mean we are bad.

Now pass the wine!

Dear Nurse Preceptor……. #ihateyou #iloveyou

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By definition a nurse preceptor is an experienced nurse that is enthusiastic and wants to teach others. According to a majority of the preceptor stories I have heard, there was not one preceptor described as an enthusiastic nurse angel that wanted to sprinkle her fairy dust of knowledge on the yellow brick road of orientation that leads you to Kansas. Hospitals spend lots of money to find, hire, orient, and try to keep staff. Its really a lot like dating. Trying to find a match to meet your staffing needs and do work with long term. Except its more like swiping right, meeting once, and saying your vows, then introducing them to the family. Talk about sink or swim and nerve racking!!! No pressure…….

So here is the thing about precepting. Ohhhh you’re not going to like this at all. I already know. However, here it is…… precepting is our responsibility as a team member of our unit. Response + ability= responsibility. So you know how we always seem to complain about being short staffed,  or weekends and holidays never being fully staffed adequately, or about the nurse that you always have to pull their weight……. Well unless you’re respond-ing to the call of building up your team then you really don’t have a valid reason to complain about something you have the ability to change. So let’s take RESPONSIBLITY for precepting our new staff so that they want a long term relationship with us. So that we don’t have to complain about not having staff or pulling someone else’s weight. See how that works?!

Here are the Do’s and Dont’s of being a nurse preceptor that you could probably apply to your dating life:

Don’t

  • Don’t be a hag. Many nurses I talked to inserted an explicit word but you get the drift.
  • Don’t eat your young. There is no need to haz or throw your orientee out to sink or swim and then throw them a life vest like you’re some amazing nurse. You’re just a jerk.
  • Don’t act inconvenienced. When your orientee sees you actually roll your eyes to the fact they’re going to be following you around, you shouldn’t get your feelings hurt when they ask for a new preceptor.
  • Don’t belittle them or try to make them feel stupid. Openly criticizing your orientee or being snarky to them to get a giggle from your co-workers or some nursing unit hallway credit only shows everyone about your own small mindedness.
  • Don’t use the time to talk negatively about management or another nurse. They will learn it on their own. Not your place.
  • Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know something.  A good orientee  will ask a lot of questions and if you don’t know the answer tell them you don’t and help them find the right answer. We are all always learning.
  • Don’t assume your orientee knows. It’s ok to preface your time together by saying,  “I will probably cover many things that you already know but I want to cover everything just in case you have questions.”. Then cover even those little things that don’t seem like a big deal.

 

DO’s

  • Do be kind and friendly. Kindness goes a long way.
  • Do introduce your orientee to everyone. Other nurses, doctors, house keeping, radiology, lab, EVERYONE. Your introduction will help them be connected.
  • Do be approachable. You want to be a resource not just for your orientee but your co-workers as well.
  • Do take ownership in the success of your orientee.
  • Do have a plan and be organized. Setting a learning goal for every shift together helps you to stay on track and for them to feel like they’re gaining knowledge about their work area.
  • Be positive. Good vibes always make everything better. Being positive in a negative situation is leadership.
  • Be yourself and do what you do best. Precepting helps you and your orientee grow. There is a reason why you are where you are. Own it.

Remember that leaders are people that help you to believe in  yourself. When you encourage and believe in others, their accomplishments become yours as well. I hope this helps you think about things the next time you are asked to precept the new orientee. You never ever know what will become of your experience together. I usually always start out by telling mine the reason they are with me is to show them what NOT to do! I always know how to approach them by if they get my jokes or not:)

 

 

Give yourself some grace…

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Let’s just be honest…… I need a week to catch up on sleep. I haven’t been “well rested” in 15 years since my son was born. Seeing as my youngest is going on 9 years old, I only have 9 years to go until I can get some sleep! Last week I was given the job of picking up my aunt flying in from Oregon from the airport. I got up early, got coffee, arrived 45 minutes before her flight landed. When it came time to circle through the arrivals to pick her up, we very quickly realized I was at the wrong airport two hours away from the airport she was waiting at. She was so nice and told me she would just rent a car. As for myself, I had a complete meltdown. AKA adult pity party. I’ve been going nonstop. The kids ball games, school, work, and the occasional hair appt. (My hair dresser no longer takes it personal if I sit in her chair and say nothing.) So what did I do? I cried and cried. My tears were bigger than just being at the wrong the airport. They were tears of feeling like a failure.

I learned a long time ago that the devil isn’t in the family business. He wants me to feel defeated, burned out, and like a failure. See there is this thing called grace. Grace changes EVERYTHING! It is vital to our existence. I often repeat a quote I learned while doing some soul searching. “I will hold myself to a standard of grace not perfection” by Life Coach Jaclyn Costello. If you’re from the south you have heard women say you need both grit and grace. Grit= determines that life challenges will never defeat or define us. Grace=gives kindness to ourselves and others even when its hard. Ladies….. we do not have enough grit or give ourselves enough grace.

I have some of the most amazing friends. I know at any given time I could call on them for help and they can call me. Helping with kids, cleaning house, moving, needing meals, picking up something, it doesn’t matter we know we cant do it all without each other. We know that we all have crazy lives and getting a happy birthday text 3 days late would never in 1000 years upset any of us. Ladies…. if you’re finding yourself having frequent cry sessions of feeling like a failure, it is time to take a step back. Get on pinterest and read some grace quotes. If you don’t have a group of lady friends that you can call on and do life with then you need to work on making friends! My mom always taught me you have to be a friend to have a friend. Its not all about you and what you need. I saw someone totally disregard a neighbor once because the neighbor didn’t say hi to her, the neighbor said hi to the person she was standing with. Really? Get over yourself. Throw your hand up and say “Hey neighbor!”. Be friendly. Be kind. You reap what you sow. Do I knock the friend thing out of the park? No. I have to apologize for breaking plans, saying something I shouldn’t have, hurting feelings, etc. This is what relationships are about. I recently went through a friend break up because she thought I somehow got her kicked off a team. This pains me that she would think that at all. There is nothing I can say or do she will just have to find out herself one day that I had no part in it. Relationships are messy. We have to love each other through the messiness and give each other grace otherwise we will end up bitter. Bitter isn’t cute.

Love and be loved ladies. We are tired moms. We need each other!

#keepyourmouthshut #work #conflict #highstress #nightshift #professional

Well well well……… There are some of us nurses that chose to work in chaotic areas known to the nursing world as “critical care areas”. This means that you can go from 0-100 in seconds at any given time and stay that way even after dayshift arrives. Because I work in this area there are things that I just know.

#1 Marriage

I view my job as a marriage. Although in real life I have really sucked at marriage and have two failed ones under my belt. I am committed to my job. I want my job to like me and to keep me around. How they show their love to me is by paying me every two weeks and once a year in May they treat me to an ice cream sundae. There are things I don’t necessarily like about my job but if I have to reassess a patients pain level then that’s what I do. There are things I’m sure they don’t necessarily like about me, like when I ask to take 3 weeks in a row off in summer. I just do it every summer because I know one day I will get a yes:) Back to my original point. My co-workers aren’t going to always like me and I’m not always going to like them but for the sake of staying married I just do what I need to keep the peace. They know I’m committed.

#2 People who eat together stay together

Unfortunately this motto has contributed to my weight gain…. but I always try to bring in food or organize potlucks. People connected on a personal level when they share a meal together. I’ve had annoying co-workers and after a few potlucks my feelings towards them turned to nothing but likes.

#3 Sorry for what I said during a stressful moment

Sometimes when you are working in a critical care area and you have a patient that is very sick or you get multiple patients in, there is no time for please and thank you. You start just yelling out what you need. “Ambu bag! pressure bag! fluids! A-line set up!”. Your team will recognize this voice and start coming together and getting what is needed to resuscitate your patient. Many times after a stressful situation I’ve gone to every person on my team or openly said at the nurses station “Thank you so much team for helping me. I’m sorry if I seemed bossy.”. When you work with people over time and you kind of bond over the chaos you and you never take personal what they say in their time of stress.

#4 What to do when someone writes and email about you

First of all let me preface by saying,  if you have an attitude or are normally ratchet or if your coworkers never know what mood you will be coming to work in. You need a refresher in professionalism and how to act. For the majority of us that always try to act appropriately and professionally at work, when someone takes what you said during a stressful moment as being a b#$%@ and they send your boss an email. I wanted to go up to them and apologize but I’m just not that good with words. I look at what I could’ve said or done differently. Then I make it a point to be very nice to them. I don’t need to confront them. I don’t need to post something and then everyone ask me about it. I just take it as a teaching moment to better myself and move along.

 

There will always be that person at your job that you don’t like or doesn’t like you. Moving jobs doesn’t make it go away. You learn how to work with them. Showing love rights wrong every time. Sometimes you love them by not provoking them and always being professional. Now get back to work!

 

 

 

 

 

ex-Nurse Ratchet

Im not even sure where the past few months have gone. Im sort of living my own version of Ground Hogs Day….. I haven’t been on facebook nearly as much as I once was. I haven’t really spent any time out for girls night. The kids have been busy with baseball, soccer, lacrosse, and something they call school. Watching someone I love lose the love of their life/father to their children/best friend/lover/provider/rock has hands down rocked me to my core. I find myself thinking about death a lot more. The “what if” scenarios.

It has changed me as a nurse. I have taken care of many patients that have had traumatic things happen to them. I’ve greeted friends and families of these patients in the hallway and escorted them to the bedside of their loved one. There is nothing that could’ve prepared me for the day my co-worker escorted me to the bedside of someone I loved. We both knew his outcome. We both knew it would be my last time seeing him on this side of Heaven. She held my hand. She had no words only her presence. Since that day I have been a different nurse.

Different in my perspective. I make it a point to make contact with the family as soon as I can and tell them what I can. I keep reminding my busy physicians that they need to update the family until the family is updated. I HUG PEOPLE! Yep. I actually reach out and bring in a family member close. Let them cry on my shoulder if they need to. Im kind of ashamed to admit it but before I would just run and page the chaplain to handle crying family members. Like “Are those tears? Ok wait right here the chaplain will be here to help you with those.”! Taking care of a patient means so much more than just that patients physical body.

Recently I had this sweet mother stop me in the cafeteria to tell me how her daughter was doing and how thankful she was for me. She said, “I was freaking out and you just talked me through it.”. I just put myself in her shoes. Im a mother of 5 kids. I cant imagine being woken up to a phone call that you need to go the hospital because your child has been injured. Some how being able to be apart of these peoples lives during the time of tragedy helps me heal. The woman that stopped me in the cafeteria most certainly made up for the other patient that just cussed me out……

To all my nurses out there. I encourage you to try and connect with your patients and their families. You may never know the impact you may have on someone’s life during a very tragic time for them….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#byefriend

For the first time in three and a half weeks, it feels like I’m slowly getting blood flow back to my heart. NOTHING in this life can prepare you for the loss of a friend. A friend that you loved more than just a friend but like a sibling that has the same Father. It doesn’t seem real. “Grief” is this word that we slap on an emotional rollercoaster that we didn’t buy a ticket for. You feel like crying/yelling/sleeping/running/vomiting all at the same time. The week leading up to his funeral everyone said all the right things, brought all the right food, signed all the right cards, but why is nobody wanting to talk about him? Today I unpacked the candle holders that I snagged the day of he and my best friends wedding reception. I’ve always loved these candle holders but today I just buried them in my chest and sob as they were a sweet reminder of a true love story. I wanted to drive to my best friends house and when she opened the door, I wanted to hug her and not let go until it was awkward. I know that he is with our Father and one day I will see him again. My heart literally is in my throat when I look at my best friend and see something I’ve never seen before……. broken, uneasy eyes. She is beyond grief-stricken and devastated but God and the love for her husband has given her exactly what she’s needed to get through this day. The sadness has been overwhelming and people have been down right insensitive. The truth is life does go on but its just never the same as it once was. Bye my sweet friend. Say hello to everyone for me and hold my baby I never had the opportunity to meet. I look forward to seeing you again and tasting Heaven’s hottest chicken wings:) img_0377

#bloglife

Well folks, its happening. This lady in the shoe has embraced the blog life! I have a few friends in my life that always tell me “You should really blog this”. I always say, “You are crazy and nobody would read it!”. So this is for you ladies:) Just sharing some of life’s crazy twist and turns. Sooooooooo here is to my new 2018 blog adventure!!!

Happy new year!