Crawfish Boil and Clinic Nursing

Last weekend I went to a crawfish boil. Every May, Dr. N has his annual crawfish boil, right when it’s cool enough for the crawfish to keep but warm enough to party outside. Still, a Minnesota May is never quite as warm as you think it’ll be. It’s either too cold or too wet or both. No amount of poor weather can dampen the Minnesota enthusiasm for a party. We ate crawfish (correct spelling: crayfish), shrimp, corn, potatoes, wine, beer, and all kinds of other tasty treats.

Here is a “throwback picture” of me and Chris at this event back in 2011

And here is a slightly blurry picture of me and my friend Rachel with some live crayfish this year.

Now the reason I was able to be present at the crawfish boil was my fantastic new schedule. Yay! Yes, I started my new job last Wednesday and it is going great. 

During my first shift, my manager had me shadow different members of the care team. I never realized just how many people it takes to coordinate a practice like this; nor did I realize how much goes on behind the scene. This Monday-Wednesday I had ambulatory orientation – 8 hours of computer time and several useful classes and skill practice sessions.  I was back on the floor the last couple days, working on prescription refills and care reviews. I am slowly getting the hang of how everything works together.

Last night we had our end of the year Bell Potluck. We were supposed to bring a dish starting with the first letter of either our first or last name. So Chris and I decided to bring both Butter Chicken (tasty Indian food) and Brownies. Here is a picture of many of the ringers and our fearless director.

And today was the last day for my Bible study – a tasty potluck, a fun slideshow, and a great speaker. I think May is right up there with Christmas as far as busyness and socials go… but I’m not complaining in the least! I am so thankful for all these wonderful people, and look forward to celebrating more of them next week! And some other things as well 😉

Farewell to the Floor

As I prepare to transition to a different nursing setting, there are lots of things I will not miss about float nursing. I don’t need to detail those – I’m sure, after reading this blog, you can think of a few! I am really excited about starting in Employee Community Health next week and working with a new boss and coworkers.
 But there are things I will miss, like my favorite patients. 
 I know, I know – you shouldn’t have favorite patients. But sometimes, you just hit it off with them. Sometimes, taking care of a patient is a treat. Like “I’m getting paid to do this?!”
It doesn’t mean that you treat patients differently. All patients need to be assessed and cared for; they all deserve a parity of time and effort. But nurses are people and “click” better with some than others.
I had a patient like that the other night when I was on Ortho – the lovely and gracious Isabella. She had just had a bone in her arm removed due to cancer (her second cancer in 5 years – she has terrible luck!) but her dark eyes were as bright as if nothing had happened. Her English was inflected with an Italian lilt as she told me all about her family and her dogs. Indeed, her family when I met them were just as delightful. I told her all about my dogs and we discussed marriage and family. We could have been friends in another life…
To be honest, I very rarely have patients that I do not get along with or connect with in some way. Even if they have dementia or are extremely anxious, patients will often respond well to kindness and solicitude. When I do have interpersonal tensions, it is more often with family members, particularly if the family member is having trouble adjusting to some terrible and difficult truth. In that case, I can only be supportive, not critical. But spending an 8 hour shift with a favorite patient is a rare and wonderful thing.
I will also miss giving showers. I sometimes think showers are the best medicine. You see people go from sick, pale, sweaty patients with their hair sticking up  – to clean, warm, happy and well groomed people. Showers are transformative!
The strangest thing I will miss is emptying JP drains. I don’t know why, but those little grenade-like bulbs are fascinating.  Really, drains of all kinds are cool. I will  also miss hanging fluids – flicking the bubbles out – watching the fluids drip into the patient and make them feel better.
I will miss getting meds out of the Pyxis and punching them into med cups. (I will not miss occasionally dropping them on the floor, the dirty table, or the patient’s gown!)
I will miss navigating the twisting windowless corridors, the hidden staircases that I have just started to find, and the “back roads” of the hospital. I will miss walking through now-empty units that have been converted to offices.
I will miss the weekend potlatches that I occasisionally lucked into – cinnamon rolls and cakes and soups, oh my! And the chocolates that I occasionally enjoy when (usually recovered!) patients decide to treat the nurses. Whichever patients bought us Stam chocolates have my eternal gratitude. 
I will also miss my favorite parts of the hospital. For instance one unit has a beautiful Christian Lassen painting. I might have to go to that unit just to visit it!  Many have gorgeous flower arrangments. And of course several feature plaques with pithy sayings. I will close with one that was on my unit last night:
“It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.”