Journal of Nursing Jocularity

Journal of Nursing Jocularity

Archive for February, 2011

XXX Assessment

While I was accompanying a senior student on her morning assessment rounds, I heard her questioning an elderly gentleman about his bowel movements.

“Did you have a bowel movement yesterday?”

“Yes, ma’m, I did,” he replied.

“And was it good for you?” she went on.

He did not miss a beat.  “Why, yes, it was.”

Not how I learned to assess bowel movements, but I gave her points for creativity!

Fran Janowich, RN, MSN

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Nurse Marge in Charge

Dear  Nurse Marge,

Lately I’ve been getting ‘helpful’ comments from other nurses and patients about how tired and dragged out I’m looking (generally 10 hours into a 12 hour shift!) And now my NM has gotten into the act.  I don’t want my less-than-stellar-looks to count against me – especially when my annual review is just around the corner.  What are your beauty tips for looking bright eyed and fresh after a 12 hour shift?


Too Pooped to Primp

Dear Pooped,

Looking fresh after a 12 hour shift? I’m generally thrilled if I look upright and mobile after a 12 hour shift!  Perhaps your expectations are too high: it’s amazing how lowering our standards makes success so much more attainable.

Of course, that might not be the approach you want to take with your NM!  I can’t promise you the secrets of attractiveness, but if you want that look of wide-eyed, slightly nauseated shock that many people confuse with attentiveness, try the following:

  • Enter a patient’s room without knocking.  Particularly if the patient’s wife/girlfriend/baby momma/husband/boyfriend/baby daddy (or any combination thereof) is visiting.  Even if it’s the middle of the day and you’ve told the patient you’ll be back in ten minutes to take vitals.
  • Find a patient who actually has lupus.  Introduce them to your new resident, who is not-so-secretly convinced he’s the next Dr. House.  Tell the resident of your patient’s complaints, making up a few esoteric symptoms, such as “hallucinates the voice of her long-dead grandmother speaking Italian poetry” and “prone to suddenly dancing the tango”.  Wait for the diagnosis and the patient’s inevitable, “Duh!”
  • Call Dr. Crankypants at 2 am and ask him if he’d like to buy Girl Scout cookies.  This works much better if he’s not on call.  If he does say he’d like some cookies (stranger things have happened!) ask him if he knows any Girl Scouts.
  • Respond to a Code Brown as if it were a regular Code.  Round up everyone on the unit, bring in the crash cart, full speed ahead…and watch something hit the fan!

Now it’s to be admitted that these techniques might not win you any friends – but no one will say you look tired!

Good Luck!

Nurse Marge

Posted in: Jokes

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The In ‘N Outpatient by Kris Harty

“So let me get this straight…”

My friend Miranda didn’t need this extra bit of ridiculousness in her week. A contract she’d been pursuing for a business project fell through amidst voicemail- nightmare, the guy she thought might be more than ‘just a guy’ unexpectedly left the job where they’d met, the workplace aftermath was nasty, she didn’t have his home contact info, and her bottle of Xanax was empty.

So it was that Miranda found herself at the pharmacist’s window. “I got this prescription for panic attacks a long time ago; haven’t used it in ages. But I like to have a few on hand, just in case. I got through the week, but still…

“Yes, I have insurance. I’d like to pay for this refill out of my own pocket, though. I don’t want any record of this medication on my insurance. I don’t need to give them any reason to raise my rates or deny me coverage. Can you help me out?”

Miranda’s pharmacist was always willing to assist her clients. A bit of a character herself, her name tag simply read “The Queen.” “I didn’t realize they might do that, but let me see what we can do.”

Queenie always went the extra step for customers. “Yes, I can charge it to you directly. FYI, here’s the cost for insurance to refill it (showing Miranda the charge) and here’s the cost out of pocket.”

Miranda, lover of words, was speechless – for a moment. “So let me get this straight. I pay insurance premiums to reduce the cost of healthcare to myself. Yet for this prescription, it’s cheaper for me to pick up the entire tab than to pay the insurance co-pay?”

Queenie, ever the diplomat, confirmed, explaining, “I can’t say that’s the usual, but yes, in this case, that’s correct.”

The tidbits we learn in this, February’s Wise Health Care Consumer Month.

From then on, Miranda’s week improved and her heart lifted. What, or who, was responsible? None other than an unexpected email from the potential more-than-just-a-guy.

Miranda’s re-telling on the phone caused me co-butterflies. The ‘he’ of the email said he was thinking of her, and the thought of her always made him nervous and giddy, all at the same time.

And that made Miranda swoon. “I’m blushing! Isn’t that impossible after a certain age? He makes me nervous, too. I have butterflies!  Seriously, I feel like a schoolgirl again. I haven’t felt this way in decades. It’s kinda nice!”

I could feel her glowing over the phone. Her friend Ginger’s sing-songy text, serenaded. “You make him nervous. He makes you nervous. You got the butterflies! He wants to keeees you!!

Nothing like the spark of a potential love. We never outgrow those heart palpitations.

Miranda’s entire outlook improved. Who needs artificial chemicals when the real ones course through our veins?

“So let me get this straight. When it comes to the fluttering of the heart, we’re perpetually 16. And ain’t it totally grand?!”


The Short Chick with the Walking Stick’s upcoming book celebrates professional caregivers as the StickSpirits they are. For four decades, they’ve helped Kris Harty Stick to It – No Matter What! She provides a patient’s perspective that is educational, inspirational, and insightful. Part memoir, part application, Kris helps student nurses, newer nurses and not-so-newer nurses remember why they joined their amazing profession in the first place. She shares how they positively impact patients’ lives, with minimal time and effort. Little things matter. Kris is the Thought Leader on People Helping People Persevere. She leads the conversation through writing, speaking, coaching, and small group discussions. A 40-year veteran of the medical industry – on the receiving end, Kris Harty is the Stickabilities Specialist at Strong Spirit Unlimited. If you’re looking for an effortless and meaningful way to lead your team toward continued quality caregiving, contact Kris. Call 877.711.STIC(K), email, or visit

Posted in: The In 'N Out Patient

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