Avian Mum vs Human Mum

I came across this YouTube vid of a little robin hatching. The mother robin knows exactly what she’s doing, keeping a watchful eye, guarding and warming her eggs. She attends to the hatched robin like a pro and clears out the empty shells as soon as the baby robin is free from it. Next the baby bird raises its head to the sky, and opens his beak wide to receive food from its parents.

When a human baby is born, it immediately turns its head to the side if you stroke its cheek and it will open its mouth up wide, looking for the nipple. Oddly enough, I’ve met a countless number of new mothers who didn’t know what to do next. I thought humans are supposed to be the superior species? Like any animal, humans have instincts but it seems that we’ve become a lazy spoon-fed society. Mothers have suffocated, drowned, poisoned or dropped their babies by accident and very often the nurses get blamed for it. “There wasn’t enough patient education given.” they say. Yes, I do agree patient education is VITAL but I’d like to know what happened to human instincts nonetheless.

Basic common sense, anyone?

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All sounds like common sense to me. Believe it or not, I’ve had to wash babies that were covered head to toe in their own poo because the mother skipped diaper changes a few times through the night. Mothers have unwittingly suffocated their babies while they were sleeping or dropped them because they weren’t careful enough not to leave the baby on an unguarded surface. Some don’t even bother wrapping their newborns in blankets properly before going to sleep. The robin in the video, provided warmth, safety, food and hygiene (bare necessities) to its young and they didn’t need a nurse telling them what to do!

 

One RN to heal them all! “The Yoga Nurse” – Be Inspired!

coverMNmedium.com_-217x300I quit nursing in January and even though we’re now in August and the business is a whole 8 months old, it’s felt like no more than 3-4 months. Time flies when you’re having fun. I don’t like it but yeah, it’s true. We could try subscribing to the Dunbar theory of longevity. (Dunbar is a character in the brilliant book “Catch 22”, and he believes that in order to live a long life, you should spend as much time as possible being bored or experiencing unpleasant conditions.)

“A half minute before that you were stepping into high school, and an unhooked brassiere was as close as you ever hoped to get to Paradise. Only a fifth of a second before that you were a small kid with a ten-week summer vacation, that lasted a hundred thousand years and still ended too soon. Zip! They go rocketing by so fast. How the hell else are you ever going to slow down?” – Dunbar.

Though Clevinger (from Catch 22), does make a stronger point: “Maybe a long life does have to be filled with many unpleasant conditions if it’s to seem long. But in that event, who wants one?”

Anyway, the bottom line is, you have two choices.

You can have an incredibly miserable but long life or a blazingly fast and fulfilling one. I chose the latter. With the internet being what it is today, none of you have any excuse to be trapped in a job you’re no longer feeling and a burnt-out nurse is probably every patients worst nightmare. You owe it to yourself and the nursing profession to be happy. If you’ve tried it all and still find it difficult to get through to 6:45 then, try something different!

I’ve had the honor and privilege to work with a wonderful RN in the US, Annette Tersigni, better known as the YogaNurse.

She is a nurse entrepreneur or  yogapreneur and she has created a transformational new movement in health care called Yoga Nursing®. She helps nurses, yoga therapists and other care givers to learn her accredited programs so that they can relieve chronic stress, anxiety, pain and suffering for themselves, their clients and their communities worldwide. She runs her own blog, hosts retreats, learnt all the tricks and trends of the internet by herself and never lets age be a factor in determining what she can or cannot learn. Check out her website www.yoganurseacademy.com and you can be on your way to a fulfilling yoganursing career or just find a way to relieve your nursing burnout.

Theme Hospital for every hospital manager

didithemehospital2_2I’m extremely stoked to find that they’ve released an HD mod for an old game that I used to play, called “Theme hospital” by “Bullfrog”. Surprisingly it still works perfectly despite being more than ten years old and it still looks great. I used to play for hours in my teen days, before I had any idea that I was actually going to become a nurse someday, and practically live inside the walls of a hospital for a good few years! An unintentional manifestation I call it. I think I was enjoying the game a little too much!

I used to enjoy managing the staff, hospital budget, equipment and patients in the game. It felt really satisfying when you got through a challenging level and started building a good reputation, so that you could earn more money to improve upon your hospital. Of course the games’ difficulty level could never match up to the real thing but I often found myself thinking that the management at my hospital could do with a good game of Theme Hospital because they don’t seem to have any management skills at all. Perhaps the game could reinforce some basic principles.

It teaches you that staff should be kept happy, with a relaxing staff room, a nice salary and as little overtime as possible. If you failed to budget, and couldn’t hire more staff to assist overworked staff, your hospital literally collapsed. Patient happiness depended on the quality of care and you had to keep your staff happy, to keep your patients happy. If you didn’t do proper queue management (prioritize patients), your patients died in the hallway and you’d suffer the consequence. Control of infectious disease, cleanliness, comfort, maintenance of equipment and staff education mattered hugely in the game and were the deciding factors on whether you passed or failed the level.

These were the types of things that didn’t get enough attention at the hospital that I worked for. They’re so lax on training staff you could be an LPN (staff nurse) for years before they’d allow you to train again (depending on your skin colour of course!). Staff were continuously unhappy and overworked, the patients were always complaining because they weren’t getting the attention they deserved (not enough staff). If this happened in the game, the hospital manager would have her name plastered to the hall of shame and she’d be fired. But in South Africa, criminals become presidents, so why not hire total idiots to run our hospitals?

On the lighter side, I do wish we had patients with funny illnesses like ‘Bloaty Head Syndrome’, ‘Slack Tongue disease’ and ‘Elvis Syndrome’ – at least staff would have a fun day at work.  I love this game. Try it out sometime. 🙂

What’s it like starting an online business?

It’s a new world for me, working as a full-time web developer instead of as a nurse who is always aware of the date and time. Time is everything to a nurse. It’s a very orienting routine. In contrast, running an online business doesn’t allow for a set routine. Clients hail from all parts of the world and you want to communicate with them in real time over skype or chat or at least reply to their emails quickly enough to keep them happy. You’ve got to get yourself a good reputation and it starts with good communication skills and flexibility. Time is muddled; you don’t know whether you’re eating breakfast, lunch or supper. You shower at 3 in the morning and you miss entire days, lost in endless hours of code, clicks and keystrokes. I am not complaining though, I love my job but I do find that without a routine, it’s inevitable that you will crash.

stress-and-sleepI find myself either sleeping too much or too little. At times, no matter how much I’ve slept, I can’t keep my eyes open through the night to work. At other times, I could go full days without sleep, which may have certain hallucinatory side-effects that could either be fun or maddening, depending on which side of the insanity meter you’re leaning toward (I think I’d be the laughing type if I was mentally ill *giggles hysterically*).

Your body functions best when it knows what to expect and with my crazy hours, my body is raising some complaints. Aside from the sleep issues, I tend to sit for long hours in one spot straining my shoulder and neck, as the glare of the screen attacks my eyes. When you do this sort of work, time disappears in chunks and you’re stunned half to death when you open a window, expecting a starry black sky but finding rays of sunshine blasting in instead.

The point of this post is not to whine but to put it out there that running an online business has many challenges and it’s a rocky ride while you’re still trying to find a working system but if you have a viable idea for an online business, it’s well worth a go, and it is in fact one of the best ways to make money lately. I recommend that you do your research first though. Too many people jump right into it without much foresight for what to expect and then they crash and burn, giving up on their business prematurely.

I find it a valuable source of information when other people share their experiences on starting an online business. Everyone wants to take shortcuts and no one likes to read, but you’ll find that if you do your homework, you will make less mistakes and your business will flourish faster. So drop the know-it-all attitude and pick up a book, read blogs and forums. Get involved. Ask questions. Cross-reference information. There are answers to all your questions already available to you around the web. Subscribe to my mailing list and I’ll keep you posted on the most valuable online resources I’ve come across, as well as my some of my own experiences as I develop a better system for my online business.

Who knows maybe you could actually quit your nursing job if you’re burnt out with a broken back and a faulty bladder or maybe you could simply supplement your nursing salary and retire whenever you want. The truth is that if you’re truly interested in making extra money and you’re excited about the idea of clicks and keystrokes turning into a gold mine, and most importantly, if you’re willing to dedicate enough time and energy into it, then you’re probably a good fit. My interest falls in web design but there are many other fields you could get into, from selling cookies to affiliate marketing. Subscribe to my mailing list to get free books and guidelines on starting your own online business.

Joplin Missouri Tornado destroys hospital – medical staff Heroes

joplin-hospital-chopper-300x225As you probably already heard, 116 people died on 22 May 2011, in Joplin Missouri as an enormous tornado unleashed its wrath upon the town. Buildings including the local hospital were ripped apart and destroyed. The Joplin hospital crisis is of particular interest to me, simply because having worked in a hospital, I imagine the staff and patients of St. Johns Regional Medical Center were not having an easy day.

Windows were blown out; equipment was blown 5 blocks away. The parking lot was like a junk pile of mangled cars and a medical helicopter lay damaged on the ground. 183 patients and about 200 staffers were evacuated from the hospital. Apparently 5 others died. The tornado left Joplin residents shaken.

I remember going through evacuation procedures and drills almost every other day at the hospitals I’ve worked for, but I’ve never been in a real emergency evacuation situation before so I can’t picture the scenario at Joplin (St. Johns) hospital to its full extent.  But I do know this, there were people who went the extra mile to lend a helping hand to a stranger and barely any of them will ever be named. Hospital staff loaded patients on pickup trucks and did whatever they could to get them to safety. In just 90 minutes, the hospital was evacuated. While they were taking patients to safety, many of them were likely worried about their own family members, but still put their patients first, making them nothing less than heroes. They are no doubt still working around the clock to get the situation under control.

We once had a staged bomb threat at a hospital I previously worked for. No one was informed that it was just a drill, they even had a bomb squad present to sell the story to the staff. I happened to be off that day so I missed the action (and was actually glad for it). The staff were ordered to evacuate the building immediately. In any evacuation they tell you to help as many people as you possibly can without endangering yourself. Obviously some patients would be difficult to move around. The staff carried out the evacuation well but I was particularly impressed with a senior RN I’ve had the privilege to work with.  She decided that she was going to stay in the building with any patients that couldn’t be moved on time. She was fully aware that the longer she stayed in the building, the higher the risk was that she may die, but she refused to abandon her patients. While I don’t necessarily encourage nurses to sacrifice their lives for their patients (you’re more useful alive than dead), I am comforted to know that superheroes don’t just feature in comic books. They could be standing right next to you and you wouldn’t know it until a crisis arose.

Joplin, Missouri is devastated by this monstrous tornado but if you try to look for a little light in a dark place, it’s usually found in ordinary human beings, doing extraordinary things to help their fellow man. You can help too by donating to any of the organizations as listed on CNN – click here.

Let’s do it like they do on the discovery channel!

Creativity is a form of expression and releasing it naturally feels great. Nothing feels more satisfying than something you’ve created with your own hands. When you create something, it doesn’t matter what form or shape it takes, it doesn’t matter if you’re the only one who understands its meaning. What matters is that it expresses feelings from within yourself (be it pain, happiness, anger, excitement, sorrow or anything in between) and that it serves to either relax or invigorate you, often giving birth to new ideas that could very realistically change your life for the better.

I understand we all live busy lives but if you’re really honest with yourself, you could make room for some creativity. If you refuse to let your creative side express itself, you’re limiting your potential for growth. The only real way for you to understand just how much creativity could improve your life (at work, home and socially), is by trying it out!

It could be anything that interests you! Scrapbooking, writing, drawing, knitting, singing, dancing, music, gardening, cooking, whatever it is, as long as you’re using your imagination.

In my case web design served as a form of creative release and kept me sane during my nursing days. It became such a huge influence in my life that it became a full-time career and I was able to walk away from nursing completely, unlike most burnt out nurses who believe they have little choice but to stay in a career that’s no longer doing it for them.

Perhaps if I can’t convince you that being creative is a vital part of your very nature, nature itself could convince you…check out these creative creatures!

If that doesn’t inspire you to get off the couch and do something creative, then I don’t know what will!

Scroll down for more art by elephants:

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue,
Go to www.ExoticWorldGifts.com
Support an Elephant near You!
Elephant porn? lol – This was done by a 16 year old male elephant.
Better than any drawing I’ve ever done of a tree!
painting done by elephants
Now, if they can do this with their trunks!
What the hell is your excuse?!
Go get Creative!!! 🙂

Demon Granny Reborn!

When I served my "internship" at the old age home, one of the grannies I took care of was always distressed about her children wanting to get rid of her so badly, that they dumped her at an old age home miles away from her hometown and never visited her again. She would call me into her little room full of cigarette smoke, cry her broken heart out and tell me how much she longed to go back to her hometown. Her voice was raspy from all the smoking she did. I understand that certain circumstances don't allow you the time and resources it takes to take care of your frail family members but at least admit your parents into an old age home that's close enough for you to make a Sunday visit!

Mrs. Nel died a very unhappy woman and if there is such a thing as hell, then her kids are going to get to know the devil very well.  The unfortunate reality is that justice will never be served, and like all the assholes of our world, her kids are sleeping easy at night and living happily ever after…or perhaps they are about to receive their comeuppance?

I think I just discovered her rebirth on YouTube! This baby talks exactly like Mrs. Nel used to speak and she has the same square facial features! I'd like to imagine that this is her, returning for revenge! Bwahahahahahaha! (When there is no happy ending, make one up!)

"Why you do this to me, Dimmy?" – Demon from The Exorcist

Nurses – the unacknowledged heroes!

g_493972045When I was 16, I needed to have my wisdom teeth removed. The surgery was not available in my hometown, so I set out on a road trip to Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg. I was admitted next to a woman who seemed to be in her thirties. I don’t know what she was admitted for (I’m awkward with small talk), but I do know that she was unable to walk to the toilet, so the nurses would bring her a bedpan. Somehow she always managed to feel natures call just before lunch time and the smell would brutally violate my nostrils every time, killing my appetite! She had no problem eating though and she gladly ate my lunch too.

I’d watch the nurses bustling about, doctors scribbling orders, patients walking about with their booty exposed through their hospital gowns (the hospital gown made little sense to my teenage mind).  The nurses’ routine seemed a bit excessive to me. I wondered why they spent so much time tidying up the beds, only to find that the patient ruffles it up again in a matter of seconds. Checking vital signs every 4 hours also seemed a bit much since I was a healthy 16 year old just trying to get my teeth removed. The anaesthetist came to ask me “pre-op-like” questions and the doctor ordered blood tests.

It is quite a stimulating experience getting a front row seat in a hospital ward. The wonderful thing about the nurses was that even though they were always visibly stressed out, they always smiled when they spoke to me and they frequently checked in on me. Even though I didn’t think they should be spending any time worrying about me, it did make me feel much more at ease. When the doctor did his rounds, it was always intimidating; he would mumble foreign words to the nurse and he always seemed too busy to be bothered with little things like translating medical mumbo jumbo into simple English. The nurse would explain things to me and in effect, I would imagine her as my friend and the doctor as an evil villain (I’ve always had an overactive imagination).

Sleeping in a hospital is a bit freaky. Patients started screaming in the middle of the night, some of them were crying, some were vomiting and if I’m not mistaken one of the patients died but I can’t be too sure, because the nurses did a great job of keeping me sheltered from it. I could smell my neighbours’ bedpan deposits while I watched the nurses creeping around silently in their ghostly white uniforms. I just couldn’t wait to go back home.

At about 5AM, just when I finally nodded off to sleep, the lights went on and the nurses cheerily said “good morning”. I was taken by surprise; 5AM was still NIGHT TIME as far as I was concerned! They started distributing thermometers and checking blood pressures, helping patients bath, tidying up beds, prepping patients for surgery and writing reports. They all look exhausted, like they had been through hell and back and while I could sympathize with them quiet easily, I had absolutely no idea what they actually went through until I myself became a nurse.

I frequently complained to my friends and family about the woes of nursing but none of them understood it the way a nurse would understand it. To put it simply, nurses are the true heroes in any hospital (the hardworking ones that is) and they truly hold everything together even though they don’t get recognition for all their efforts. The public in general tend to recognize bad nurses more easily than they would recognize a good nurse but if you do meet a good nurse, do your best to show some gratitude (a little gratitude goes a long way), because he/she is doing far more than you know to keep everything in place.

Happy Nurses week to all the wonderful, strong, hard-working nurses out there, I may have quit nursing but I take with me everything you guys taught me about what it takes to be a truly outstanding human being.

If you know a nurse, do something nice for her during Nurses Week, she rarely gets anything back for everything she gives – and she gives a lot more than you could ever know!
(I am not a nurse anymore, so no I’m not hinting to anyone that I want something nice done for me!)

There is nothing worse than a sleeping nurse!

sleepEvery profession has their slackers but I think everyone can agree that hospitals should have little to no room for slackers. It’s unfortunate then, that in South Africa it seems the slackers outnumber the worker bees and it’s one of the biggest problems in our hospitals.

This brings to mind all the terribly lazy nurses I’ve met during my nursing days. One RN in particular took slacking to a whole new level. She had this strange idea that sleeping on duty was her right.

We would be on nightshift and she would take a mattress from one of the unoccupied hospital beds lay it down in the break room, dress it with sheets and blankets, and on top of it, she’d change into a nightdress, turn off the lights, disconnect the phone and sleep solidly through the night! She was my senior and I was reluctant about reporting her. It seemed like an accepted habit in the ward, the other nurses didn’t mind because they also slept at night. Still, it was cowardly of me not to stand against it, but many good nurses have blown the whistle on the slackers only to find that the managers are lax in taking action…then you’re labelled a snitch and everybody hates you. To make up for my cowardice, I’d take it upon myself to keep a close eye on the patients and I’d wake the senior RN whenever I was concerned about a patient. She would wave off my concerns saying that I was overreacting and disturbing her. I was not allowed to give schedule drugs to patients without her supervision, so I would give the patients paracetamol and placebos to soothe their pain and get them through the night. It was only when the patient was in imminent danger that I would insist she get up off her lazy butt to help. Even in those cases, she’d do the bare minimum, showing her disdain as the patients “inconvenienced” her. She’d often yell at them in zulu and tell them to “stop being stupid and just sleep”, then she’d snuggle up to her pillow again.

To make matters worse, whenever I did sit down for a coffee break in one of the offices, she’d phone me from the break room to tell me that someone was shouting for a nurse. “I am in my nighties, so please tend to that stupid patient.” she would say. Infuriated, I would oblige (yes, I’m a submissive idiot). In the morning she would get up lazily, messy hair, sleep wrinkles and morning breathe, and she’d sit and write the morning reports and leave me to do the bed baths, observations, and tidying of the ward by myself. I was always exhausted at the end of my shift and often still finishing up my tasks when the day staff arrived. It’s crazily time-consuming and tiring bathing bedridden adults! Keep in mind that these patients were ill and unable to move, plus they’d all have soiled diapers in the morning – there’s nothing sexy about nursing…oh no sir, nothing at all.

The most infuriating part of it all was that she’d put on a show for the day staff, telling them that she had a rough night and she actually looked exhausted, only because she was still rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. It was disgusting to know that she’d go home to a sympathetic family after a “hard nights work”, come back to work at night, eat, sleep, piggyback on others to get her pay check and think nothing of it. The scary thing is that this is not an isolated incident; there are slacker nurses all over the place, creatively putting together their own makeshift beds. Some of them line 3 chairs up together, soften it up with pillows and cover themselves with hospital blankets, others use mattresses and some just occupy empty beds. There are some wards staffed only with slackers, with no one patrolling the ward at night like I did. There are of course good nurses that keep the hospital afloat but you can only pull the weight of the lazy nurses for so long before you’re burnt out.  If it were a disease, I’m sure it’d be the deadliest disease within the walls of any hospital, there is nothing worse than a sleeping nurse.

Naked with Nurses

Someone asked me what nurses think about when their patients undress. For the most part, we’re thinking, “damnit, when’s my coffee break?” We never really look for anything on your body except abnormalities, scars, bruises etc. – this is required for our notes. Basically, if you look like the picture in the anatomy and physiology book, then there is nothing to see and we eagerly move along. Female nurses have an easier time dealing with female patients than they do with males. In fact I felt anxiety when I was assigned to the male ward in the hospital I worked for. They called it the snake park. It was difficult to work there as a new nurse. I didn’t want to deal with that. It was when I had to put on a condom catheter for a patient that I realized that it’s twice as uncomfortable for the patient as it is for the nurse. I didn’t want to be there but at least I was allowed to keep my clothes on! The patient swatted my hand away as I was about to put the catheter on for him. I left him alone until I could find a male nurse to help him. It’s unfortunate that nursing is female dominated and it’s not always possible to find a male nurse. I was actually grateful that he refused to let me help him. It’s acceptable for the patient to refuse a procedure but it is unacceptable for the nurse to refuse to perform her duties unless she has a really good reason to refuse.

As time passed I felt less and less awkward about it. Though I much preferred working in a female-only ward.

Then there are the freakishly obese, absurdly skinny and deformed people – I admit to gasping inwardly at the sight of some of these bodies. Especially those who’ve lost limbs to gangrene and other diseases. It’s shocking to see what a disease can do. It’s however in our nature to quickly look the person in the eye, smile and go on to performing your duties.

To answer the question simply, for me, it was never about how sexy or unsexy a person is. I can’t speak for all nurses but I felt the need to rush through the procedures as quickly as possible and have the patient get dressed as quickly as possible. If you can pick, choose a nurse that’s of a gender you feel comfortable undressing in front of. If you don’t have a choice because there are no male nurses available (as is often the case), don’t let your anxiety prevent you from seeking the medical help you require. You most likely look just as normal as a clothed person to the nurse that probably saw hundreds of naked people before you and still has hundreds more to come after you. Also we are taught in nursing school to do our best to preserve the dignity of the patient. That includes, keeping the patient dressed or at least partially dressed most of the time. We are taught to cover the patient and expose only the necessary parts of the body for the procedure at hand. If you don’t feel it’s necessary to be completely naked, speak up instead of getting upset about it. The medical staff will respect your wishes and find a way to make you feel comfortable. If your never-nude policy prevents you from getting the treatment you need, you really need to figure out your priorities.

Seeing so many naked people has its side effects on nurses though. While people often say you can never see too many naked people, I have a feeling I am not the only nurse that would disagree on that sentiment. Nurses become desensitized to the sexiness of a naked body. I was walking on the beach, amused at the look of awe on my friends face as he stared at the half naked people on the beach. To me there was nothing hot about it. Basic anatomy intact – nothing special. Oh well, at least I am one of the few people who go to the beach just to be on the beach…FML…