Monday, May 20, 2019

Not so Basic EKG

Since 2002, I have been teaching Basic Cardiac Monitoring, which is essentially basic EKG. Since some of our students might go on to acquire a Monitor Tech position, we differentiate the actions for the RN and the Monitor Tech. Essentially, we take into account only 2-Leads, of the standard EKG.
There are a couple more advanced classes in our curriculum, but unfortunately, they are not well attended. Perhaps the Critical Care Educators at the hospitals, offer classes of this sort; I don't know.

I'm not on the job
But I am teaching,
Basic EKG
That's what we're preaching,
Laying a strong foundation
Of the standard beginners stuff,
Although, for some of our students
Even the basics are tough.

Our class is comprised
Of new nurses and old,
Echo techs and Sleep Lab
Housekeepers who are bold,
Because they want to change jobs
And Monitor Tech sure looks fun,
Understand, this is a new language
And it will feel like a hit-and-run.

Most of the students
Do pass the exam,
It's comprehensive and detailed
Without a hint of spam,
Phones are not allowed
And calipers are advised,
And the ones that fail
We are sometimes surprised.

They get a second chance
To do it over,
This class was all RN's
A new Tele Unit, fresh as clover,
Enthusiastic students
For most, a review,
They have to be certified
To be a part of the crew.

Almost a Trauma Victim

Retirement: more time for biking; that was what I was thinking. But wait, although the city leaders here claim they are trying to help make biking safe, their traffic calming measures are anything but calming. Anyway, just like my almost terrible accident of three years ago, when I was biking to work, an almost identical event happened yesterday. Yup, a driver staring directly at me, yet not seeing me. Look, I wasn't wearing my Zebra suit this time, OK? Time seemed to slow down, unlike that driver gunning the engine. I ditched and chose the pavement and although I get to grow new skin, I didn't become a Trauma patient with multiple broken bones. Whoopee!

Uncle Razmus

I've really been a slug today
I freely admit it,
Because I crashed my bike yesterday
And that’s what did it.

Uncle Razmus, and his wife
Sure, they looked both ways,
Then he gunned the engine
And I saw the end of my days,
I slammed on my brakes
Because they did not,
I took a header to the pavement
And I’m glad it wasn’t hot

I landed on my left side
In the usual fashion,
That’s my modus operandi
Whenever I’m crashin’,
It’s like I’m on a three year cycle
Where I end up on the street,
Lose some skin and bruise some muscles
Wait another three years; then repeat.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Isn't there some section in the grocery store for nuts?

Well, I'm not certain regarding the inspiration on this one (25 years back), but lots of nutty people do just fine in general society, and then they come to the hospital. I don't remember for sure, but I do know I had fun writing it. It has a pretty good 3-line rhyme.

A Special Kind of Ism

She went into the clinic
For elective surgery
To regulate the flow of her ureters,
It was a simple operation
That had never been performed
To implant some tiny microscopic meters,
See, she had a fascination
You might call it an obsession
For the inner workings of her organism,
She had made it her career
More precisely her crusade
Yes, specifically her special kind of ism,
She calls herself a mystic
Her return, a tidy profit
As she leads a modest crowd of imbeciles,
As a faithful testimonial
They visit doctors frequently
And take a million different kind of pills.

Upon awakening from surgery
She had a bold new vision
It involved uniting people on this planet,
So she called a special meeting
With a couple close advisers
Two old friends, whose names are Sven and Janet,
Now, the couple I just mentioned
Were consultants in brave ventures
Their reputation went before them, broadly speaking,
They had recently returned
From a trip out in the ozone
To discover why the atmosphere was leaking,
But that’s another story
That deserves a later telling
Let’s review the facts before us on the table,
It would be easy to identify
This woman as a nutcase
But as professionals, it’s best if we don’t label.

Now, with surgery behind her
More specifically below her
She relished the attention she was getting,
Her followers convinced
That their leader was a Goddess
Divine rapture and ascension, they were betting,
In cases such as this
When we cater to the weirdo’s
We don’t treat them any differently than others,
Because we follow a basic tenet
That our bottom line is care
We treat everyone as though they were our Mother,
And, so spirited was she
That she blessed in groups of three
And cast a good vibration in the air,
Now all who come in through our doors
Will walk upon our blessed floors
And will bear witness to a special kind of care.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Critical Awareness

In Nursing School, and then in practice, we hear a lot about Critical Thinking. It is a tool that develops over time, as the practitioner gains experience, and acquires a deeper knowledge base.
Furthermore, the more experienced Nurse, will eventually attain Critical Awareness, whereby, very subtle cues exhibited by a patient, or even a situation, alerts that Nurse, about impending trouble.

I used to work at night
I have a great respect for the dark,
Getting homeostasis balanced
Is not a walk in the park,
We night-time nurses needed to be watchful
Apprehending subtle cues,
Explosions take time to develop
Better keep an eye out for the fuse.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Accidental Doctor

An Emergency Room draws in the most unusual players; each one must be viewed with a cautious eye.

I had an accident today
I cut my hand while in the yard,
I was taken to Emergency
Down on Stockton Boulevard,
I saw bloody people everywhere
Children screaming in the halls,
Quite an experience, that’s for sure
So different from the shopping malls.

I lost quite a bit of blood
And forgot who I was,
I hit a doctor on the head
Why I did it?, just because,
I put his body in a closet
And placed his name-tag on my collar,
Just a simple street thug
Looking for an easy dollar.

With such an air of dignity
I drew everyone's respect,
I basked in all the glory
When I saw them bow and genuflect,
So involved with saving lives
I didn’t hear the sirens wail,
Till they took me away to raise the dead
Down at the county jail.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Nursing Collaboration

What greater example of genius can be found, than a group of nurses brainstorming ideas, to solve an apparently insurmountable situation. No names mentioned, but factually true; and I remember who my comrades were, what room the patient was in, which poems are memory keepers.

Ring Around The Collar

She attacked my poor olfactory nerves
When I checked beneath the covers,
She had colonized a host of creatures
Left by thirty lovers,
In the dark, warm, damp environment
Those bacteria and yeasts
Synergized and incubated
Awesome, unknown beasts.

The Epidemiologist
Was unsure, what to do,
He ordered standard culture sets
On the exudative goo,
And quite frankly, like the rest of us
He was grossed out to the max,
So he didn't even notice
When the slime jumped on his slacks.

A fomite under power
This sad fellow was a dupe,
He should have tossed his clothes right then
Inside the linen hoop,
Instead he took that colony
On rounds with him, that day,
Contaminating everything
In an epidemic way.

Within the fortress of the unit
The nurses launched their fight,
They wrote a mighty care-plan
It was an awe inspiring sight,
The list of interventions
Would win a Nobel prize,
As sure as fresh made cow chips
Will attract three dozen flies.

But none the less, they knew the tricks
To eradicate this beast,
They called the local chaplaincy
To get a Catholic priest,
We need an exorcism
Before we gather by that bed,
Please come and do your demon dance
Or I'm sure we'll be dead.

The Catholic guy, said, my, oh my
Of course, I'll help those nurses,
I'll get a chance to practice
All of my anti-demon curses,
Because it isn't very often
Within the confines of my role,
That I have the opportunity
To really save a soul.

With the exorcism finished
Their job took on some meaning,
It was just another nasty site
Of excretory cleaning,
Engarbed in isolation robes
They were covered head to toe,
And if you turned the lights down
You would see those nurses glow.

Together they approached
Their formation, it was tight,
They stripped back all the bedclothes
And assaulted her with light,
They attacked with four point suction
To vacuum up the slime,
While taking notes in narrative
About the scenery of the crime.

In the background several nurses
Were at work in preparation,
To concoct some deadly mixture
For slime eradication,
And they finally reached consensus
About exactly what to do,
They would mix a triple portion
Of the hospital coffee brew.

It was well known information
That the stuff was nearly toxic,
It could revitalize a Resident
Who by appearance, seemed anoxic,
And the triple dose delivery
Would cause culture overdrive,
This seeping, weeping monster
Would no longer be alive.

The smell was overpowering
When they sprayed the caffeine flux,
It didn't touch the linen
Because they padded her with Chux,
And when the treatment was successful
You could hear those nurses holler,
I wonder if this stuff will work
On ring around the collar.


Monday, April 08, 2019

Personal Space in the Community Place

The President of the hospital where I most recently worked, is very much a touchy-feely kind of guy. It's probably a cultural thing, or maybe some psychological personal space nonsense, but he makes a habit of reaching out & touching, without permission. One time, I was concentrating on a computer screen (charting); he came up behind me and placed his hand on my shoulder without warning. I was startled and spun around, only to find his leering face, asking me, how I was, and could he do anything for me. "Ya dude, keep yer paws offa me, Ok?"

Hug & Touch

What's up with those people
Who feel they need to hug and touch,
With complete strangers
They don't know very much.

And maybe they want
To look me straight in the eye,
And other things
I wish they wouldn't try,
If you engage my eyes
You don't know what I'm thinking,
Are you a body language reader?
What's it mean if I'm blinking.

If I cross my arms on my chest
Is it a sign of strength or fear,
Whatever it is
I don't need you near,
If your circle of influence
Crosses my personal space,
You’re way too close to me
If I feel your breath on my face,

If you want to touch my shoulder
My arm or my hand,
You better ask for permission
Why don't you understand?,
Don't sneak up behind me
And put your hand on my shoulder,
There's no telling how I'll react
And as such, you might not grow older.


Wednesday, April 03, 2019


Coming up, my Charge Nurse Mary was my preceptor;
and I memorized her words. And though I had 5 years
of ICU and ED experience as an RT, I was still a Nursing novice.
Therefore, I went to the trenches for 4 years.
During those years, I had many memorable mentors.

Preceptor, Old Friend

He was a brave and experienced warrior
Winging it in the usual fashion,
Along with study, practice and diligence
And applying new knowledge with passion,
Never once, was there anger displayed
Though frustration, was part of the work,
Not one to be seeking the limelight
And he taught me, be kind to the Clerk.

Never say, "No, I don't have enough time"
Seek compromise, ask for directions,
If you don't have the skill, just ask for help
There are laws that will give you protections,
Do the best that you can and never give up
Don't lie about what you don't know,
Do what others won't do and you will go far
Some day you will master this show.

Now, it's twenty years later
And novice has become master,
Sure, it took a long time
But you can't do it any faster,
Like the marathon runner
Keeps entering more races,
Just keep doing what is necessary
And cover all the bases.



Was I describing myself?
No, I wrote about many others,
The ones that encouraged me
Sisters and brothers,
Inspired me to try
For lofty achievements and more,
They said, Educate yourself
And then, Knock on the door.

Now, with the knowledge I have
It's free, for even you,
$25 per hour
Covers gas and and my favorite brew,
We always meet at coffee
The one nearest your house,
Come learn from an expert
To become the smartest darn mouse.

...... ............   .............. ...................

Don't be offended.
I respect the Mouse; they are clever, learn the shortcuts quickly, and shy away from confrontation.
My advice: Be one who compromises,
not one that participates in arguments (they standout).
Most of all, you can't be too smart.

Now, if you're a "know it all" and
act in an arrogant way...hit the road.
No one will like you.
If you educate yourself to a broad spectrum and specialize in your departmental uniqueness;
you will become the "go-to" person.

That achievement will build your legend.