Five Things That Can Make You A Great Coworker


1) Be Willing To Do The Work – Some shifts will be busier than others, and time management skills will always get tested.  However, the work still needs to be done. You are likely to get more sympathy from coworkers, and perhaps even help, if you are actively trying to get your work done.  Of course, some work environments are more supportive than others.  Assess and prioritize the tasks you have left, then do your best. 

2) Be Approachable –  Show a willingness to help out, and make time to help coworkers when you can. This applies to other nurses, as well as support staff.  If you are in the middle of some important task (med pass with a patient, for example), tell the coworker that as soon as you are finished that you will be right there.  Even if you are held up or delayed, check in on them.  You can offer to get supplies that may have been forgotten, which if the room is in isolation, that can be really helpful.

3) Admit when you are not sure – This is true, especially when you are a newer nurse.  If you are to do a particular procedure or task, and you are not ABSOLUTELY clear on how to do it; ASK FOR HELP!  Giving a new med? Use the research tools available, then ask another nurse if something isn’t clear (maybe, you noticed a conflict on the amount given, or the dose seems high, or it is incompatible with something the patient has, etc.) It is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength.  Show some critical thinking skills and bounce your questions off an experienced nurse (or even the charge nurse).  Ask for clarification if things don’t quite make sense.  Boldly charging into situations where you are not critically thinking can generate some serious consequences. Read labels. Confirm your patient with two unique identifiers. Re-read Doctor Orders. Clarify vague orders. Be thorough.

4) Reach out to your coworkers – Everyone is part of the treatment team. You are all providing care for your patients to help them heal.  One of the best ways to lighten anyone’s worries is knowing that help is available. However, this functions under the assumption that you are able to get your own work done. If you have a free moment, ask others if they need help.  Being willing to roll up your sleeves to help with a complete bed strip, or even answer other nurses callbells…maybe even address a beeping IV or feeding pump will go a long way. Keep in mind that Rule #3 applies here, too. If you don’t know about a patient’s routine, just tell the nurse who is managing that patient about the beeping pump.  You can even get clarification from them, and still take care of the issue – if that nurse is busy in another room.

5) Be grateful – Thank anyone and everyone who provides help, answers a question, shares a resource, gives you a helpful tip or otherwise makes your life easier. Give credit where it is due.  Use words like : please, thank you, and you’re welcome.

Research: Drinking Coffee Tied To Lower Risk of Death

Today is a good day.

(Reuters Health) – In a 10-year U.S. study, people who drank coffee regularly were less likely to die of many causes, including heart disease and diabetes, than those who didn’t drink coffee at all.

The more coffee study participants consumed, the lower their risk of dying, and decaf drinkers showed a similar pattern.

“Coffee contains numerous biologically active compounds, including phenolic acids, potassium, and caffeine,” said lead author Dr. Erikka Loftfield of the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland.

Many studies have found that coffee consumption is associated with lower risk of overall and heart-related mortality, Loftfield told Reuters Health by email.

Drinking Coffee Tied to Lower Risk of Death

Blog: Nurses That Vaccinate

Nurses That Vaccinate: An Open Letter To Jenny McCarthy

I found this blog post while surfing. I am sharing it because it is something that vaccinations are something that I support….and that I am annoyed how people let celebrities trump science.  There are many other television celebs that really need to step off screen and shut up.

One of my research papers in nursing school included this topic, specifically, on the topic of Thimerisol (a mercury compound that used to be used as a preservative in vaccinations).  This topic was made visible to the masses when Jenny McCarthy presented her son as being autistic as a side effect of receiving vaccinations with Thimerisol.  Her desire to champion a cause led her to becoming a mouthpiece to a group of people who do not support vaccinations (sometimes called “anti-vaxxers”)  One of the main sources against vaccinations was an English study done by a Dr. Andrew Wakefield.  His study was published, presented to the scientific community, and spent about 10 years in the public eye. However, the scientific community questioned the study. A subsequent investigation found that Dr. Wakefield had distorted the data and the study was discredited – even retracted by the British Medicine Journal that originally published the paper.  Unfortunately, many decided to continue to embrace the emotion to allow them to ignore the data to continue to vilify vaccinations.  As it turns out, Jenny McCarthy has also retracted her stance against vaccinations.

The Thimerisol issue, by the way, was created when the pharmaceutical industry came up with a solution to preserving vaccinations.  Early vaccinations, when they were first becoming mass produced, would spoil and either lose efficacy and/or become toxic with contaminants.  Thimerisol was discovered to nearly wipe out spoilage, and make vaccinations more stable with a longer shelf life. They were used for decades, but came under scrutiny in the 1970s.  Studies were done to see if there was any effect. The research done my many countries, using wide demographic populations, over many years yielded answers. There was either no effect or no direct correlation between the use of Thimerisol and any illnesses/disease (including autism). When I have time later, I will create a resource page to show the articles I found on this (and many other issues).

Yes, Thimerisol is a mercury compound.  However, mercury comes in three forms: elemental (think: early thermometers), methyl mercury (see: Minimata disease), and ethyl mercury (does not bioaccumulate, does not share toxicity as other forms of mercury, and has even been shown to be excreted from the body, babies included). Thimerisol, a member in the ethyl mercury group, was still phased out of vaccinations as a precaution. By the time Jenny McCarthy brought this issues to the public, Thimerisol had already been taken out of nearly all vaccines.

Science may not lie, but it can be presented by people who have their own agendas. Even without celebrities like Jenny McCarthy (a nursing school drop-out, btw) muddying the discussion waters, scientists who let either emotion or funding source determine the conclusion of their results is just as damaging. One of the saddest things about this (and related issues) is that there seems to  be no shortage of people who do not grasp the value of science.  I fear that we are returning to an intellectual age much like that found in the Middle Ages.  Messhugganuh.


Wading Into The (Nursing) Thick Of Things….

I know I have posted quite a bit of creative (perhaps, even entertaining) fluff, but I am seriously thinking of opening up discussions about nursing issues.  Like staffing ratios and ‘Nurses eating their young,’ which unfortunately, has been far too visible in my career to this point. I have been inspired by blogs, such as Florence Is Dead . I encourage my visitors to stop by there, too.

There are also nursing topics that get kicked around that I might share some of my research on.  Occasionally, I learn some new tricks that might help newer nurses….although, I know that I am far from an expert. I wouldn’t pretend to be so pompous…..and I don’t plan on letting the amount of initials after my name change that. I have found that some, even outside of nursing, can start to believe they have acquired all knowledge. Learning is, and will always remain, a process….not a destination.  People who believe they know everything will eventually utter the phrase, ” Do you know who I am?”  Those people, I like to describe as “being high on their own fumes.”

Anyway, I think I may come up with more intellectually challenging posts. I can’t promise I can completely stifle the creative silliness, but give me a chance. Any questions/concerns/ideas for me? Shoot me an e-mail, and rock my tiny world.