Thursday, December 16, 2010

We Bribed Santa with Cookies

I kid you not we had to plaster him with gingerbread men to get him in our photo.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Park Crest Play Area

Fall semester has finally just come to an end. This video details a project we completed for our community nursing project, in which we were asked to identify a health need in our community and complete a project to alleviate the need. We found that none of the mothers at this housing project would take their kids to the numerous parks just behind and across from their complex, because they were used by the local gangs and were a hub of drug use and prostitution. There had also been several kidnappings recently in the area, and many parents worried about the rampant gang activity in the area. Although there were some grassy areas within the complex, the kids were prohibited to play there (because they were expected to use the parks). They truly had nowhere safe to play!

After some long negotiations with the vice president of the property management company, and some red tape from Housing and Urban Development, we were finally able to create a designated play space. We had a wonderful time putting this together with the help of the community's Teen Council, a group of high school students who volunteer their time to the community center at Park Crest.

The day we finally were able to start laying paint, kids and parents from the center slowly filed in, sitting to watch our progress from the sidelines. The Teen Council also really took ownership of the project, and helped us greatly with the layout and all the hard work. The day after we painted, we heard that that very night a bunch of kids came out to play twister, bike ride and enjoy the space. It was a great feeling, and I was so happy to have the opportunity to be a part of the project!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Dominican Republic

In the interest of honing my assessment skills and immersing myself in a Spanish-speaking environment (whilst avoiding getting robbed again in Mexico), I'll be spending a week and a half of January working in a small community in Peravia, in the Dominican Republic.

Ah, the sacrifices we make for professional development...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Reflection at the Halfway Point

Neglected to publish this after I finished last year (half way through my nursing program)... still rings true to me now...

I have cared for over 100 patients, each with his or her own story. I've seen babies born, saved the life of a dummy, flown in a helicopter carrying a heart attack patient to hospital, cried with patients, cried for patients, and laughed harder than either of those. I've heard colleagues' stories of opening the first children's hospital in Uganda and assisting in life-changing cleft-lip surgeries in Cambodia and Vietnam. I've helped someone to smile and forget for a moment on what was the worst day of his life. I've learned what is known about how the body works, and come to appreciate the many mysteries of both the body and spirit that are beyond comprehension.

I have met some of the greatest people I have ever known- in my classmates, faculty and patients. Each of the students in my program is completely unique- bringing different insight into class and clinical each day. I'm always humbled, and frankly, always in awe that I somehow found a place in this group.

There have been risks, hard work, a few near fainting episodes... but I believe this has been the best decision I have made for myself.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


A Contemporary Fable

It was many years ago that villagers in Downstream recall spotting the first body in the river. Some old timers remember how Spartan were the facilities and procedures for managing that short of thing. Sometimes, they say, it would take hours to pull 10 people from the river, and even then only a few would survive.

Though the number of victims in the river has increased greatly in recent years, the good folks of Downstream have responded admirably to the challenge. Their rescue system is clearly second to none: most people discovered in the swirling waters are reached within twenty minutes, many in less than ten.

Only a small number drown each day before help arrives -- a big improvement from the way it used to be.

Talk to the people of Downstream and they'll speak with pride about the new hospital by the edge of the waters, the flotilla of rescue boats ready for service at a moment's notice, the comprehensive health plans for coordinating all the manpower involved, and the large number of highly trained and dedicated swimmers always ready to risk their lives to save victims from the raging currents. Sure it costs a lot but, say the Downstreamers, what else can decent people do except to provide whatever is necessary when human lives are at stake.

Oh, a few people in Downstream have raised the question now and again, but most folks show little interest in what's happening Upstream. It seems there's so much to do to help those in the river that nobody's got time to check how all those bodies are getting there in the first place.
That's the way things are, sometimes.

-- Donald Ardell
High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs and Disease

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Med-terms during Finals

Ok, Word, I'll give you esophagogastroduodenoscopy but you should have known ascites.

In other word news, my patient explained to me that she has a condition that none of her doctors have heard of: opioid-induced hyperalgia. "So you have an increase rather than decrease in pain with opiod use?" I asked. She got excited that I was familiar with the disorder, until I had to burst her bubble that I just knew the word roots. No more discussing word etiologies with patients for me- you break it down, you break a heart.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Aaaand....It's April

...I think I dangled my cliff hanger too long, so I'll sum up the story briefly. The 10am call was to transfer a patient in the midst of a heart attack from his current hospital to one with a cath lab. The cath lab is where they perform things like PCI (percutaneous coronary interventions) like widening a constricted coronary artery with a hollow tube called a stent.

The helicopters are fully equipped with all the machines you might find in an intensive care unit, only in miniature. There is barely room for the nurse, EMT (in this case an MD resident), pilot and patient. I had to sit up front once we picked up our patient to make room. As fun as the group was, once the call came they went right to work. I was thrilled to be part of such a great group, if only for a day.

In other news, school has been intensive. Each Thursday I am now getting two highly acute patients of my own. I feel like my mind never stops working those days- I'm constantly on the alert for medications interactions/adverse reactions/administering them correctly, concerned with upholding universal or other safety precautions, turning patients, fussing with IV pumps or enteral feeding machines, or completing physical assessments and interpreting and charting the results. Throughout it all, I try to put the families at ease and answer their questions without seeming stressed so as not to concern them. My hat is off to the nurses working with 4-5 patients each day. I still just don't have the experience to innately know what to look for and I inadvertently make silly mistakes from time to time. For instance, this last week I neglected to put the bed in the lowest position after I had raised it as high as I could to place an IV. I went back in with my instructor (yikes), and she chided me, "Oh, DID NOT leave your patient like this." Yes, yes I did. I look forward to the day where I truly feel like it's all under control.

In final news, I ran for Secretary of the Graduate Nursing Student Association this last week...and actually WON! I've always served in student government, but mostly in the volunteer rather than elected positions. I'm determined to leave a positive impression on this school of mine.

Back to studying!