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Archive for December, 2010
To: All Nurses
RE: Special Holiday Directives
As the holiday season draws near, we’d like to take this opportunity to clarify hospital policy on the following points:
“Silent Night” is indeed a lovely carol. It is not, however, a directive to disconnect all the call lights.
Playing Jingle Bells on the phone system is strictly forbidden.
Restrain yourself from making wreaths out of gloves to decorate the nurses station. If you must do so, use the extra large gloves. Extra small, small, medium, and large are all on back order, and we have a limited supply remaining.
Physician and patient requests are NEVER to be answered with “Bah humbug.”
Page on-call physicians and staff only when it is medically necessary. Confirming Santa sighting reports is not medically necessary.
Ambulances are not to be used to go over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house.
Anyone identifying themselves as a member of a “Cookie and Eggnog Quality Assurance Team” will be severely reprimanded — particularly if found while ‘testing’ patient’s snacks and beverages.
In spite of all this, the staff is encouraged to have a Happy Holiday!!!
Dear Nurse Marge,
On our unit, we’re doing Secret Santas for the holiday. I don’t really know my ‘secret Santa’ all that well; she’s relatively new. It’s making it really hard for me to figure out what to get. What would YOU give her if you were her Secret Santa?
Dear Stumped Santa,
Holiday gift exchanges are GREAT! You can free up all that closet space you used storing the things you got LAST year from your Secret Santa. Experienced nurses will tell you tales, if you ask them on a slow, slow night, of Secret Santa gifts that have gone from one nurse the next for years and years.
Legends come from gifts like these. It was 1973 when the famous Pink Flamingo Print Scrub Top entered our hospital’s Secret Santa cycle and never once has that garment been unfolded! The original ribbon fell off from sheer exhaustion in the early 90′s, but that’s okay. None of us look as good as we used to.
It is your mission, should you choose to accept it, to present your Secret Santa with a gift that she will be tempted — no, compelled! — to regift. You can never go wrong with neon or sparkles; anything with feathers or that sings cheerful songs while wiggling is a safe bet. Throw in some googly eyes and essence of fruitcake and you’ve practically guaranteed to see that little bit of holiday cheer appearing again next year!
Or you could get her chocolates. Everyone loves chocolates.
“What a wimp.”
It must be bad when you recognize it in yourself.
Why is it the older I get, the wimpier I am when it comes to – of all things – needles?
Sitting in the lab technician’s chair recently, I found I was distracting myself from her preparations. The rubbery tourniquet thingy, the vials, the – ugh –needles. I was looking everywhere but at the tools of the trade. What’s with that?
I’ve noticed over the years I’ve gradually become less comfortable sitting in that hot seat. I never used to give it a thought.
For the last couple decades, I’ve typically only had blood drawn once a year. No big deal, you’d think, yet there’s a squirminess going on that didn’t used to be a part of the equation.
It’s the complete opposite of life eons ago.
My first two decades with this body required a decided lack of the wimpies. Pin pricks, arm sticks, and tourniquets were as common as changing underwear. These years, they bring on the need for an extra pair. Well, almost.
All through my school years, including college, I received regular injections of myochrysine. ‘Regular’ being anywhere from weekly to every six weeks depending on the then-current condition of my Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Beginning in first grade, these gold shots quickly became a regular part of my routine.
The shots stung a bit and for my most of my childhood, purply green bruises covered a good portion of my thigh. But the fact that they had bits of real gold in them added a cool ‘wow’ factor. Ooh aah. Yessiree, ripe stuff for the “Believe it or not” crowd.
The more frequent the gold shots, the more frequent the blood draws. All systems needed to be ‘Go’ to continue the injections. Dr. Hunter and his nurses, Pat and Jan, and the lab techs got me through those early years at the clinic. Dr. Hunter made me laugh before sticking me. Jan and Pat followed up with soothing words and trinkets. The lab technicians were as quick and gentle as possible, even on repeated attempts.
As often as needles were flying at me in those days, I seldom had an issue with them. No sense getting worked up over necessary evils.
That was then; this is now. Along with the disappearance of regular prickings, my tolerance has also disappeared. The wimpiness factor has filled its place.
I don’t get it.
This coming from someone who has had eight surgeries with all the accompanying tubings and needles. Heck, I’ve had a good portion of my skeleton sawed out and replaced with someone else’s and with metal and plastic parts. How does such a person lose her courage for procedures medical, large or small? I dunno.
That courage must be out there floating around somewhere. I’m hoping to not require it ever again. If I do, I’ll need to kick out the wimp in me and toughen up again. Sheesh. The lessons we learn from our seven-year-old selves.
Holiday craziness taking its toll? You’re only weeks away from the antidote. Ok, maybe not THE antidote, but a darn good start to feeling better soon. Watch for Kris Harty’s upcoming book in early 2011: “StickPeople; How to Beat Burnout, Stop Stressing, and Combat Compassion Fatigue; Healthcare and Mental Health Professionals Stick to It – No Matter What!” Her unique perspective and gratitude for healthcare providers inspires them to keep going. Kris helps healthcare teams, particularly nurses, combat Compassion Fatigue, while helping their managers reduce turnover. Her message is content-rich, relevant, engaging – and sporadically funny. She is a keynote speaker, author and small group facilitator. Kris Harty is the Stickabilities Specialist at Strong Spirit Unlimited. Clients say her message is life changing. If increasing employee engagement is on your agenda for 2011, take a look at your calendar and book Kris now. Call 877.711.STIC(K), e-mail StrongSpirit@StrongSpiritUnlimited.com, or visit www.StrongSpiritUnlimited.com
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