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Archive for January, 2010
Or at least thinking about it (because we all know nurses have bladders the size of Winnebago water tanks, right?) take a moment to think about your fellow nurses who are in the military. Tammy Swofford is a nurse in the Naval Reserve, and on her blog shares her thoughts about many things pertaining to military service, political policy, and what it’s like to be a nurse in the service.
We know it’s hard to get a bathroom break here — but this is what you’d face if you were in the service:
This photo shows the female head (latrine) within the enclosed building, and the field latrine built by one of the men on the Advance Party of WATC02 (Ghana, W. Africa) I was also Advance Party and was one of the first to use the enclosed female latrine. Did I mention that when I sat on the toilet I heard a “swish” and caught sight of a snake in the bowl and ran in terror with my pants around my ankles?
Basically, the male latrine required digging a pit, popping a pipe down into the pit and filling the pit with gravel, placing a screen over the top of the urinal. In the field there is really no complete privacy, and so it is up to the individual to either allow a measure of dignity in the latrine or…. have a sense of humor and take a few pictures.
Worst field latrine was during an exercise which went far into the night. The “enemy” had cut our generators and we were working in the medical tents in the dark. Feeling nature’s call, a male Naval officer escorted me through the brush and “enemy fire” to the latrine. (more…)
I recently read an article in the New York Times on “How to Train the Aging Brain”. I am fascinated with these types of articles because my brain is definitely aging and I want to do everything I can to deter it from becoming older than it needs to be.
Jack Mezirow, a professor emeritus at Columbia Teachers College, has proposed that adults learn best if presented with what he calls a “disorienting dilemma” or something that “helps you critically reflect on the assumptions you’ve acquired.”
Easier said than done. How often do we dig our heels in and defend our positions about what we think about.
I have found over the years when I am teaching a workshop on stress management that most people find it incredibly difficult to change their assumptions. Most of us like the comfort of our perspectives. Staying wrapped in a cocoon of thoughts that feel familiar helps us stay stuck in the status quo.
How many times have you heard someone say, “Don’t rock the boat”, “Don’t make waves”, “Leave it alone”? Certainly all those phrases have merit when the occasion calls for it.
But more often than not we need to stop and listen to how we really feel about a situation rather than accepting it at face value. A friend of mine always takes me to task for reviewing how I handled certain situations. Her modus operandi is more devoted to standing in the wings and waiting for someone else to make the decision for her. She would never question her thinking process because she might have to do things differently.
Once we go down that path a whole tsunami of issues might crop up. Individuals around you might start to think that you have a mind of your own and then they might have to question how they relate to you.
I spent a great deal of my younger years staying on the safe side. If I never questioned my assumptions then I would never have to mature and grow. My career choice threw me into models of thinking that have consistently challenged my thinking patterns.
Stop and listen occasionally to how and what you’re thinking about. Become the witness to your thoughts, you may be surprised and delighted or you may be horrified.
Either way you may just discover that you have much more control over your mind then you ever imagined.
Loretta LaRoche writes the Get A Life Column for the Patriot Ledger.
Dear Nurse Marge,
I’m a new nurse, and as new nurses are wont to do, asked my preceptor how I could be doing better. She told me I could try moving a little faster, which floored me — it seems like I NEVER stop moving! How can I speed it up?
Slow Poke in Philly
Dear Slow Poke,
Ah, the classic question from new nurses everywhere — how do I go faster? There’s so much to do, and it all has to be right, and that’s enough stress without the speed.
Efficiency experts will tell you that you can have two out of any three of the following qualities: fast, accurate, and inexpensive. Now, take a look at your paycheck. With what they’re paying you, you’re already committed to the inexpensive portion of the equation! That means you have to choose between right and fast.
Choose right. Speed will come in time.
Of course, if you’re impatient — and of course you’re impatient, this is a question about needing to go faster — may I recommend taking a trip to the local skate park for inspiration? Roller blades will fix all of your problems. You simply glide from call to call, zooming along at a million miles an hour, and if someone complains, you refocus them on the nifty new trick you’ve just learned. I’ve personally found that a great grind along the edge of the crash cart will leave even my most ardent critics speechless.
You may not be able to go faster. The trick then becomes LOOKING like you’re going faster. Some nurses call this multi-tasking, and I’ve noticed that it works best for them (as a diversionary tactic, I don’t know how well it works when it comes to actually getting things done) if they narrate everything they do as they do it. “And now, I’ve got to go pour Mr. X’s meds but first I have to check 224 and call Dr. J to clarify that order and sign up to cover the holiday and also schedule an appointment to have Wilbur, my prized Maltese Sheepherding Dog, trained to appear in the next Westminster show, which I’m fitting in after volunteering at the medic’s tent at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.”
If you trip them, they’ll fall down and create clearance in the hallway, allowing you to move past them. I guarantee it’ll look like you’re getting things done faster once you’re IN FRONT of these multi-tasking nurses. You’ll be traveling faster than the speed of sound, and who can complain about that?