THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Happy Nursing Week to All The Nurses on Team Nick

Over the years, we have welcomed nurses into our family.  Community and long-term care nurses are a special breed. They understand teamwork with family and how to make clinical nursing seem like normal home life.  Nicholas has had many, many hospitalizations and we became good friends with our inpatient nurses as well. Our favourites would sing ...

Defend Public Healthcare: The growing role of Practical Nurses

New Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)  data  paints a picture of rapid change in nursing in Ontario, especially for Practical Nurses (called “RPNs” in Ontario)   .  Here is a summary of the most interesting data from those charts concerning Ontario.   Note: The rapid increase in the Ontario RPN workforce (52.3% increase since 2005) The rapidly ...

Defending Public Healthcare: RPN workforce increasing in Ontario

Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) have made a modest come-back in Ontario hospitals, according to new  Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) data. After slipping back 1.8% in 2011, the RPN hospital workforce is up 6.3% in 2012, increasing from 13,126 to 13,954. Since 2008, the RPN hospital workforce has increased by 1,594, or 13%. The ...

Those Emergency Blues: Best. Comment. Ever.

Blog reader “Sarah” REALLY gave me a big old can of whoop-ass when she wrote something on my blog post “The Value of Nurses” She really schooled me! So take it away “Sarah”! Nursing is critical to patient health and recovery. Nurses are responsible for the day to day care of the patient.  Nurses are ...

Those Emergency Blues: A Blogger, Allegedly

So, it’s been awhile, eh? It was Chuck Norris who found me. To everyone who emailed and texted and Tweeted, thanks. Everything is hunky and dory. I’m not dead, ok? Let’s get that out of the way. Nor am I afflicted with a Chronic Debilitating Illness, unless you count members of my family. (That would be the topic of ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Less nursing, more medical errors

Recent Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) data indicates that Ontario has a relatively high number of “nursing-sensitive adverse events” compared to other provinces.  An “adverse event” (or “medical error”) occurs when something happens in the hospital that hurts rather than helps a patient. Over the last three reported years (ending 2011-12), nursing sensitive adverse events ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Nursing levels low and getting lower

Yesterday,  I wrote about the significant lack of nursing care in Ontario hospitals compared to the other provinces.  Even on a Canada-wide basis, there was 5.32 hours more nursing care per patient than in Ontario in 2010-11 (year end March 31).   That sounds kind of shocking. But it looks like it is getting worse. ...

Defending Public Healthcare: Major decline in nursing in Ontario hospitals

There was a sharp reduction in the number of Registered Nurses (RNs) working in Ontario hospitals in 2011, with a cut of 2,750 RNs to 58,699 according to new CIHI data.  That’s a 4.47% decrease in one year.  Community health numbers also took a very hard hit, while numbers were up very slightly in long-term care. For ...

Those Emergency Blues: Privacy, judgment and ethics aside, I have caring to do.

A few years ago I cared for an acquaintance. She was a friend of a friend who had been living out of the country for several years, but had come home to visit family friends. She was rushed in to the ED and before I even knew who she was I was delivering her 19 ...

Those Emergency Blues: Charge Mommy

A few days ago, one of my colleagues said to me after a particularly frantic day in the ED, “You guys aren’t Charge Nurses, you’re Charge Mommies.” She is right. This is what we do: tell all the kids don’t fight and play nice fix boo-boos give hugs as needed, or tissue make sure all the ...

Those Emergency Blues: Treat the Patient Not the Disease

Abscesses and wounds, and especially abscesses and wounds which are infected, suppurative, purulent, and generally awful, are embarrassing for patients and difficult for nurses. Embarrassing for patients because they are disfiguring and smell badly, and difficult for nurses for really the same reasons. Personally I don’t mind caring for and treating wounds and abscesses, but ...

Those Emergency Blues: How Nurses Practice

Working on a PowerPoint presentation, and did up this (yet to be formatted) slide: Which column do you think represents the current state of nursing practice?   Filed under: Good Nursing Practice is Practising with the Heart and Mind, Nursing Naval Gazing Tagged: good nursing practice, Nurses, Nursing

Those Emergency Blues: We Get No Respect

From Ian Miller at ImpactedNurse.com, a few thoughts on under-utilized and under-recognized senior nurses who are leaking out of the profession: Nursing has few opportunities for promotion and recognition of senior expertise within the clinical setting. How often have you watched senior (and I’m talking about years of experience here) nurses move on to non-clinical management ...

Those Emergency Blues: When the Police Come Calling

The police are more-or-less a permanent fixture in every Emergency department. They bring in the drunks, the suicidal, the psychotic, the homeless and yes, the criminal, who have either sustained injuries as a result of their activities, or else have developed sudden (and convenient) cardiac symptoms upon their arrest. Most of us in Acme Regional’s ED ...

Those Emergency Blues: Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate the Nurse

An unpleasant, no, ugly and unfortunate situation at Victoria General Hospital is preventing a woman from seeing her son. From the National Post article: A 73-year-old woman who travelled to Victoria from South Africa to care for her seriously ill son has been banned from Victoria General Hospital after she says she tapped a nurse ...

Those Emergency Blues: Epic Hitler Emergency Department Charge Nurse Rant

I never thought I’d use the words “Epic” and “Hitler” and “Emergency Department” and “Charge Nurse” and “Rant” as a blog title, but what the hell. I was bored one night and thought it would be fun to make a Hitler rant parody. Filed under: What Passes for Humour Around Here Tagged: emergency department, emergency ...

Those Emergency Blues: A Nurse Contemplates Leaving the Profession

Dinner last night with an old friend who toils in the mines of Labour and Delivery. She has worked there for four years. She told me of an incident not too long ago working the night shift, faced with a post-partum patient who was bleeding, hypotensive, and tachycardic, in short, showing all the signs of ...

Those Emergency Blues: Guest Post: How We Can Fix the Malaise in the Nursing Profession

Nurse Practitioner (Photo credit: ekea7) by Amanda Trujillo If the newer generations of nurses out there are more confused than ever about their roles in healthcare  —   they should be. I’m one of the newer generations of nurses and I — AM — CONFUSED. Seriously. Think about it. We are taught all of the idyllic, pretty ...

Those Emergency Blues: Fat Nurses Need Not Apply Revisited

More on the Texas hospital, Citizens Medical Center, which banned fat people from being hired. Citizens Medical Center, you might remember, made it policy to exclude new hires with a body mass index >35, and explicitly stated employees appearance should “fit with a representational image or specific mental projection of the job of a healthcare professional ...

Those Emergency Blues: Nursing Week Ain’t What It Used to Be

My Nurses Week joy was shattered last night when the son of a patient reamed me out for discussing the patient’s condition and treatment plan — wait for it — with the patient. He thought his father, who was a rather elderly but very independent and shrewd man who still lived in his own house ...

Those Emergency Blues: Nurses Practice Beyond Their Scope — And It’s Not a Bad Thing

A very good, if obvious, idea on the use of RNs: nurses should be used to the full extent of their abilities. From the Toronto Star (and kudos to the paper for their Nursing Week insert in Saturday’s edition): “The bottom line is that we’re wasting valuable resources with our RNs,” says Doris Grinspun, the ...

Those Emergency Blues: If You See a Teddy Bear, Shoot It

That would be the taste of barf in my throat Nurses Week is fast approaching. I am steeling myself  mentally for the steady drizzle of syrupy tributes from various health care apparatchiks and functionaries, who will inevitably make some reference to nurses as “angels” and the “beating heart of health care” or some such tripe. I have ...

Those Emergency Blues: Nurses Grieve Too

An underexplored or ignored aspect of nursing professional life: how nurses working in a Labour and Delivery unit grieve over the loss of their patients, and how this grief affects care and support of survivors. What is really striking about the film is the culture of mutual support and respect among the nurses working in ...

Those Emergency Blues: How Nurses View Themselves

A selection of “What I Actually Do” meme posters” related to nursing, which have been making the rounds on the Interwebs. Some of them, I guess, are funny and clever, and they’re meant (I suppose) to educate the public at large about the realities of nursing. But what I think is interesting is the way ...

Those Emergency Blues: What I Have Learned from Nursing

The world of nursing on a couple of dozen flash cards. From The Nursing Channel on YouTube. While I don’t agree necessarily with every card — some of them, I think, play into some old stereotypes on how nurses behave —  it’s still  a fresh perspective on nursing. What do you think? Filed under: Good ...