Nurse's Watch: Conversations on contemporary nursing,
nursing education, leadership, spirituality and blogging.
~Start date February 2010~

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A death occurred...

A Death Occurred...
A death occurred on the unit today. I had just given my brand new students' their assignments and the code rang out eerily close to where we were standing. I took them to the break room which unfortunately was right across the hall from the code, so the inconsolable cries of the loved one's mother were unavoidable. 

I tried to explain in teacher language what was going on, who responds in a code, the different duties and about the debriefing that will occur. Finally, I hurried them off to care for the other patients but not before the students' eyes were filling with tears. How callous I must have seemed...

As I entered my office this afternoon, my mind wanders back to the floor. I hear the wails of the poor mother, the hustle of nurses, doctors, pharmacists. The wheels of the crash cart. The overhead intercom announcing the code... and I am alone and silent, facing the death of a child I did not know, bearing the sorrow of a mother I did not know, trying to make sense of this moment in life with student's I did not know. 

This is the harsh reality of nursing and caring for people. We step into their life for a moment to minister to them and their loved ones and no matter how smart we are or prepared, there will always be those moments that no matter what happens, we feel so inadequate. But really, who could be adequate for such a situation?

My thoughts and prayers go up for this mother... As nurses we often encounter the extremes in life. The highs and the lows, and we are programmed to handle it and we do, or so we think. Often it is when we are alone that the realization of what has just happened hits us. The realization that a mother just lost her child and it is sad, very sad. 

So, how is it that nurses are able to work under these conditions and still show back up the next day? A friend and mentor once told me that in an emergency, "it is the patient's 'crisis'; we can help them through it with our skills, knowledge and caring or participate in it." 

So, I choose to try and help. At that moment we are their best earthly hope; God has placed us there, then, for a reason. And I am left with the realization that I am thankful for my faith, which guides my thoughts, heart and mind because sometimes there just are no answers....

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

~Teachers who inspire realize there will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping-stones; it all depends on how we use them. ~Author Unknown

As a nurse, I have often had to comfort patients and their families when life is difficult to understand. I have tried to help patients grapple with the difficulties of an illness or loss. I have comforted people and often, yes, very often simply been there when words are not possible or seemingly appropriate.

As a nursing instructor, I have found that this element of nursing is still essential. Life continues to be difficult and hard to understand. Students are left reeling from illnesses, accidents, family difficulties and failures. Words seem to stick in my throat. My heart breaks for them. I too have struggled. I have felt the anger, betrayal, sorrow and heartbreak. I too have questioned my sovereign Lord's intentions and purposes.

The Bible tells us we are to comfort as we have been comforted, offering hope and encouragement... I hope to be found faithful...

Fortunately, our school also offers counseling services for students.
This is vital.
Though I try to comfort, guide and support, the most important thing I can do is try and steer them in the right direction. I try to provide them with the resources they will need to survive the current crisis and move into the future. This is where the experts come in...

Ultimately, though, they have my prayers and a reminder:

Sometimes God says yes,
sometimes God says no
and sometimes He says wait...

Waiting is hard but prayer can reveal the stepping stones to His plan for your life...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

'If you can't say something nice, write it!

As I look back on the blog which I wrote after graduating, I see an idealistic and appreciative new instructor. I see optimism and hope in the words I wrote; and I sense the trepidation I felt.

Today, however,  I quite possibly shot myself in the foot... or fell on a sword as a kind mentor once cautioned me. "Deanna you can not fall on every sword, as you think about it, was this issue so important..?" At the time, I concluded yes, yes it was. It involved an unkindness toward someone else that was defenseless, I would do it again I concluded.

Well, today I spoke my mind. I am still pondering the wisdom of this but I believe that it was worth the sacrifice. I love the school where I teach because this is my alma mater, twice over. Each time I had excellent teachers who came along side me and taught me to be a great nurse...if I do say so myself ;-) I have been dismayed over the last year to see lateral violence toward students and even more disconcerting, incivility toward each other among the faculty.

Lateral violence in nursing is not new and we love to blame it on being a suppressed group working under dominating physicians. Well, there are no physicians here on this campus, so I feel that we must place the blame squarely upon our own insecure and haughty shoulders. Where does it come from?

Why do instructors belittle students and treat each other in less than professional ways. The back biting and catty chatter is disruptive and demeaning. I do not know the answer to these questions but I do know that if God allows I hope to be active in nursing education for quite sometime and I for one refuse to tolerate it. So I hope that as I reminded everyone of the great instructors I had enjoyed and concluded that while I am so proud of my school the display of incivility is disappointing, hopefully it will encourage others to refuse to be a part of this type of behavior. What would happen if we all refused to participate and tolerate this type of behavior? Would those bitter, angry souls wither away?

No, I know that they would not and I know fair well that I fell on another sword but I don't care. At least as they meet, confer, gossip and engage in their intellectual snobbery they know in the depths of their souls that their deeds are known. And it is my belief that no great person ever had a mind so small.

Oops, in the back of my mind I hear my Mama calling, 'Deanna, ... If you can't say something nice, just don't say anything at all...'

Well, alright then; I'll write it!

 I'm done.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

A good dose of reality...

Well, it has been quite some time since I have posted. This first full year of teaching has been incredible and insightful in so many ways. I am pleased to have survived!

While, there have been many highs and lows, lots of work, laughter and tears, I remain hopeful and inspired. It is funny as I look back on what I 'thought' teaching would entail and compare it to what I have found. There are huge differences!

As a floor nurse, I often would observe teachers and think they had such a 'cushy' job. Seriously. They were not actually responsible for patient care. They simply surpervised students. How hard could this be?

Well, first of all, as I address my misconceptions, I apologize to all educators. What I thought was a 'cushy' job is actually quite grueling... fulfilling and invigorating, but grueling.

I have been reticent to divulge much about this first year as I have struggled through it, however, I am now ready to offer insight into the world of nursing education, doctoral applications, programs, grants, research and the like.

This has been an amazing year. It is clear that God has directed my paths and I look forward to His plans for the future. I wonder what is in store?