Journal of Nursing Jocularity

Journal of Nursing Jocularity

Archive for September, 2010

The In ‘N Out Patient by Kris Harty

The eyes have it.

As in, the signs of aging. Or should that be the sighs of aging?  *sigh*

Looking in the mirror, I wonder where my old face went. Rather, my young face. I see where my present face is going – South. Along with the rest of my parts.

Eventually, I expect them collectively to gather and party at the South Pole. No invitation needed. They seem to instinctively gravitate to that end of the world, and at the same time.

Sigh. I miss my collagen.

I remember sitting at a bar with a friend 16 years ago. Doug used to guess people’s ages at carnivals. He guessed mine to the year. Of course, there were far fewer years to guess from at that time.

Doug didn’t know me that well. Even at 30, most people guessed me to be much younger than I was. What was his trick?

The eyes. More specifically, the skin around the eyes. It told him everything he needed to know.

I don’t recall that there were all that many telltale signs embedded in my ocular tissues back then. Nonetheless, he saw enough to know.

He’d have a heyday now with all the signage, blinking away in neon green.

At a yearly exam a handful of years ago, my ophthalmologist dared mention the ‘b’ word. That’s right. Bifocals.

I stared at him – creases, wrinkles, line-age and all. “No.”

“Suit yourself. Your eyes aren’t too bad yet, but eventually you’ll need them.”

“And if I don’t get them? Am I damaging my eyes?”

Laughs. “No. Apparently, just your pride, if you do get them. When you get tired of inconveniencing yourself, let me know. We’ll get you set up.”

He couldn’t let the age thing go.

“A lot of my patients your age struggle, mentally, with going into bifocals. The progressive lenses these days make it fairly seamless. But then, for my patients who color their hair…”

He leans in closer for a good look…

“…hmmm, they struggle with bifocals more, too. You’ve got a nice crop of grey hairs coming in up top.”

He was relishing this conversation far too much. “Do you antagonize all your female patients, or am I special?”

Laughs, again. “I’m equal opportunity. And they keep coming back.”

“It’s definitely not because of your charm.”

About the same time, my hairdresser got in on the act. Did I have a sign hanging from one of my forehead furrows?

“Honey, you can try plucking out all your greys, like you said, but then there won’t be any hair left for me to cut.”

Rude, rude, I tell ya. What is it about the world reminding a woman that she’s turning 40, when she’s trying so hard to be content in her denial?

I’m a few years past that now, well settled into my progressives, and happily choosing the next shade of color. In honor of Fall, I think a rich auburn will do nicely.

It’ll compliment my crow’s feet beautifully.

Stickability Specialist Kris Harty helps healthcare teams persevere through Compassion Fatigue. Kris is Chief Inspiration Officer of Strong Spirit Unlimited. By sharing Stickabilities, or tools, she learned from her own medically challenging life requiring a Walking Stick, Kris encourages healthcare professionals to Stick to it – no matter what! Diagnosed at age seven with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, she draws on 40 years of insight, research and stories as a healthcare recipient. She is the patient who now returns to say “You make a difference. Thank you.” Her message is content-rich, practical, engaging and inspiring – and sporadically funny. Kris reduces burnout, turnover, and Compassion Fatigue by re-engaging healthcare professionals, particularly nurses. Kris Harty is an inspirational keynote speaker, author and small group facilitator who helps people overcome challenges by creating unstoppable momentum in life and work. Clients say her message is life changing. Call 877.711.STICK, e-mail, or visit

Posted in: The In 'N Out Patient

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I Remember Mama…Really!

Family member, “ How’s my mama doing?”

Nurse, “ What is your mother’s name?”

Family member, “ I don’t remember. She just got married again and I can’t recall her new last name. She should be easy to find. She is a little old lady with chest pain. Can I just walk down the hall calling for mama until she answers me?”

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Remembering Your Manners

Working as a pediatric nurse, I had the difficult assignment of giving immunization shots to children.

One day, I entered the examining room to give four-year-old Lizzie her needle. “No, no, no!” she screamed.

“Lizzie,'” scolded her mother, “that’s not polite behavior.'”

With that, the girl yelled even louder, “No, thank you! No, thank you!”

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Nurse Marge in Charge

Dear Nurse  Marge,
I’ve got a real problem, and I don’t know what to do!  I’ve got a student nurse I’m precepting and this girl is just absolutely horrible.  Mistake after mistake after mistake — nothing serious yet, Thank God, but it’s the ‘yet’ I’m worried about.  I’ve talked to her about how important it is to check and double check everything, and to make sure she KNOWS what she’s supposed to be doing before she starts doing it, but I’m just not getting through to her.

What do I do? I’m living in terror of the moment her careless incompetence goes from ‘uh-oh’ to “OH  NO!”


Stressed Over Student

Dear Stressed,

Oh, what fun it is to be a preceptor.  I fondly remember those days…oh, wait.  I didn’t really like it, either.  Being there to help another nurse learn the ropes is obviously valuable to the nurse doing the learning, but it can be rough on the nurse doing the teaching.

One thing that helped me is realizing that my student nurses could teach me things I would otherwise never know.  For example, did you know that there’s an iPhone application you can use to assess jaundice?  In my day, we’d just squint and say, “Little guy’s kind of yellow…” but now, I can get the same information from my iPhone.

Another thing that helps is to access your facility’s standing pharmaceutical order for preceptors.  Generally, this is Ativan, .5mg q15min or PRN.  (This is for YOU, not for your student!)

If neither of those help, and you’re not snoring like a poleaxed ox from all the Ativan, try remembering these three things:

1. You were a student nurse once.  This is just payback for how you  broke your preceptor’s heart and stole their sanity.

2. Making mistakes are how we learn: even though it’s making you nuts, this process is essential for your student to someday be a great nurse.

3. There’s always the NCLEX.

Good Luck!

Nurse Marge

Posted in: Enjoying Humor, Jokes

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