Saturday, February 26, 2011

AWHONN Conference

Ahhh - it was a beautiful day in the bay area!
I awoke to blue skies and perfect views of San Francisco. I wish that I had been able to play the tourist...guess that will have to wait until tomorrow. For today, I had other things to do - such as talk about our perinatal hospice program. Geez how I hate having my picture taken!! So ignore my goofiness and look at the poster instead.Today's conference was good. I am always impressed with my facility when I attend conferences. We hear about what is new and should be the expected care trends and invariably those things have already been implemented on my unit. It is good to know that we practice to national standards. Not that things are perfect on my unit - there is always room for growth and new things.
Some of those practice changes that were discussed today were elective deliveries at 39 weeks only, no left behind sponges (sponges used for a vaginal delivery should be counted by two people...which we already do), documentation and use of mityvacs and having ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) as the standard for L&D nurses. So, we have a few little details to iron out but I think we are doing a great job.

Other take homes from today were...think: "benefit vs. burden". We need to look at the whole picture before we offer treatment. Will it help or will it make life harder? Where are our health care dollars spent? Are we doing the right thing for mothers and infants / children? What would you do with a pregnant brain dead mother - keep her alive to grow the fetus, deliver a severely preterm infant or allow both to die? Should we change DNAR ("do not attempt resuscitation") to AND ("allow natural death") - this could be seen as more compassionate terminology.

We learned about fetal surgery for life threatening conditions. The speaker had some amazing videos where they partially took out a 21 week fetus (5 month pregnancy), fixed a defect then placed the baby back in the uterus for it to grow to a safe age to be delivered.

Learned of some good websites, like
to name a few.

My brain is a bit saturated!

So I think I will follow the advice on this nursing school blog and go read a novel instead of doing work or school stuff!

Reposted with permission:

One great way to escape the pressures and stresses of nursing school or work is to read a great novel. These literary works, featuring nurses and health care facilities, will provide you with a much-needed dose of fun and fantasy while reminding you why you chose the profession in the first place. So if you want to re ignite your passion for nursing or just spend a wonderful evening kicking back, check out one of these amazing novels.

  1. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. This prize-winning novel was made into a prize-winning movie, but that doesn't mean the literary version still isn't worth checking out. In it, readers will find a story about four entangled lives during the last weeks of WWII. At the center of the drama is the mysterious English patient being cared for by nurse Hana, a man whose memories slowly reveal a tale of love, betrayal and redemption.
  2. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. If you've never read this literary classic, it's never too late to start. Set in WWII, the story follows a young soldier named Henry, based loosely on Hemingway's own wartime experiences. When he becomes injured he finds himself falling for the elusive nurse Catherine, a complicated and tragic figure. If you're looking for happy endings, this might not be a good choice, but if you want a moving portrayal of men and women coming to terms with life, both the good and the bad, then pick up this read.
  3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. This book is an incredibly popular read among nurses. Why? The main character, Claire Randall, is a nurse herself serving in the British Army during WWI. But this is no traditional novel, as it blends elements of fantasy, romance, historical fiction and legend to tell Claire's tale. In it, the happily married Claire finds herself suddenly transported back in time where she meets and falls in love with another man. Torn between her two loves and two centuries, Claire's story is one of passion, pain and intrigue that's sure to keep you reading page after page.
  4. The Thin White Line by Craig DiLouie. While the panic associated with avian and swine flu turned out to be overblown, the reality is that a pandemic illness could hit and wipe out entire communities at any time. This novel takes a look at what could and quite possibly would happen if such an epidemic were to hit Canada. It is a fascinating takes on both the personal and political ramifications of such a disaster and is a great read for any nurse with an interest in infectious disease.
  5. The Healer's War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. Drawing on her own experiences, Scarborough creates the fictional Kathleen McCulley in this novel, a nurse on a tour of duty at China Beach in Vietnam. Dealing with not only healing the battle wounds of soldiers but her own ambivalence towards the enemy, the racism of her charges and her own personal battles. While the novel is set on the field of battle, nurses in any profession will recognize the courage it takes to keep it together in such a stressful situation.
  6. The Glory Cloak: A Novel of Louisa May Alcott and Clara Barton by Patricia O'Brien. If you were inspired to become a nurse by historical greats like Clara Barton, you'll love this fictional take on her life and work that unites her with the author of the classic novel Little Women. The story follows Alcott and her fictional cousin Susan as they help join the war effort by becoming nurses, encountering the battlefield legend Barton in the process. Blending love, history, friendship and betrayal, the novel is at once engrossing and enlightening about life and work during the turn of the century.
  7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey. Think you've got a real piece of work for a coworker? He or she is likely nothing compared to the tyrannical Nurse Ratched in this classic novel. Kesey's portrayal of a fictional insane asylum garnered him international acclaim and numerous awards, and the book is still worth a read today. The story centers on Patrick McMurphy, a mental patient who antagonizes his nurse and upsets the daily routine of the other patients, but not without just cause. It is a frank look at the state of institutional care and a must-read for anyone working in psychiatric nursing.
  8. My Name Is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira. Set in the Civil War, a young midwife leaves home in this novel to seek out the medical experience she wants in order to help her become a doctor. Readers will find that she gets what she wished for, with vivid descriptions of medical treatments common at the time that would seem like torture or mutilation today, showing just how far we've come with medical advancements.
  9. Cherry Ames Nursing by Helen Wells. This collection of novels was geared towards young girls when it came out in the 40's through the 60's and meant to inspire them to a career in nursing. The young girl the stories center on is at first a student nurse but later becomes a full-fledged professional, all while she solves mysteries, stands up for herself and is a fully independent woman. The novels are surprisingly feminist for their early publication date, and while they contain some nursing stereotypes are still fun, inspiring and entertaining reads for anyone working in the field.
  10. No Other Medicine by Gail Ghingna Hallas, RN PhD. Titled after the quote, "the miserable have no other medicine but hope," this book takes a harsh look at the corruption, ineptitude and downright cruelty that can take place in the medical profession. The author is a nurse herself, which helped her create a nice variety of fictional characters that are richly developed and true to life. While the story was written in the early 70's, many nurses will sadly recognize that many of the issues she addresses are still prevalent in hospitals across the nation. A riveting, compelling (though depressing) novel, it's a great read for anyone with a passion for health care and patient rights.


Friday, February 25, 2011


A bit of a vacation...albeit a working one.
We drove up to Berkeley yesterday so that I could do a poster presentation at the California Sectional AWHONN (Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses) Conference.
I am doing a presentation on our comfort care program.
Buzz came along so that we could take a little vacation at the same time.
We are staying at an old hotel ~ The Claremont Hotel Resort and Spa. It is absolutely beautiful. Built back in the early 1900's with lots of old pictures and history.
I have been stuck inside, attending the conference but I have been able to look around the place. Here is a photo of the lobby. We just sat in here last night watching the people and listening to the piano. There are fresh flowers everywhere. The flowers are so pretty (even if the smell reminds me a bit of a funeral home...)

The hallways to the room are wide and have sitting areas - though I haven't seen anyone sitting in any of the chairs.
This is our room
The bathroom
Now, who needs a phone in the bathroom? Guess if you get hungry you can order room service??
The view today from the room where my poster is hanging. Way back in the distance is the Golden Gate bridge. I could see it but you can't really tell in my picture. It was a lovely day...wish I could have been out and about!
Buzz was to find us a place to go to dinner tonight. He decided we would just drive along College Ave and find a trendy place to eat. So we drove around, not much was open which was weird for a Friday night, then some how we ended up on the Bay Bridge. Since we were on the bridge we decided to just head over to San Francisco and we ended up here:
Where I got a yummy, sourdough bowl of clam chowder.
We took a little walk along the pier. It was freezing cold so we did not stay out very long. (snow is forcast for tonight in San Francisco!!) The only people out were totally bundled up. I had my heavy coat and gloves on and I was still cold! We saw the seals and decided to call it a night.
It is wonderful to get away. Even if I do have to work while I am here. Two of my friends from work are up here also. I've made some new friends and reconnected with colleagues that I have know for a long time. I have a full day of conference activities tomorrow, so will update you on that later.

My take away from today:
"Birth is not about babies. Birth is about making mothers ~ strong, competent, capable mothers, who trust themselves and know their inner strength"
Dodi Gauthier.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Think

I passed my EKG test - I think.

I rocked my poster presentation - I think.

I passed my first BSN class - I think.

I got the rest of my errands done that I needed to get done before I leave for Berkeley - I think.

I know that I like the lyrics of this song by Chris Sligh.
I want to live my life this way ~ to purpose to live a life that loves because Christ loves...

"I wanna love because You loved

I wanna give because You gave

I wanna reach my hand out to the lost

'Cause I know Your hand will save

Have to wonder if I really want to know

The struggle and the pain that others feel

Do I want to hear the stories I see echoed in their eyes?

Or is this love I say that I'm reflecting even real?

Just let me be Your hands

(Only You can save)

Let me be Your eyes

(Only you can save)

Help me understand

(Only you can save)

That I'm Your hands and feet

Hidden behind this frail human disguise"

To listen to the whole song....scroll down to my playlist on the right hand column and turn that off / pause that for a moment. Then click on the link below. I just heard this song tonight for the first time and the lyrics spoke to me. Enjoy

Monday, February 21, 2011


Today, I received an unexpected day off of work...what a nice surprise. I was hoping that it would be slow enough that I could leave early. Every day at work has just been so busy lately so when the phone rang this morning, I was caught a little off guard. At first, I said,"No, better just come in" , but when they said they only had a couple of patients, I took my chances. Chances that paid off for I did not get called in and had the whole day off!

It ended up being a really good day.

I am getting ready to head up to Berkeley, (to present at a conference), then to Ohio, so I felt that I had so many things to accomplish before I could head out of town. I was beginning to stress a bit that I'd never get things done before we leave. Today I was able to get some of those things crossed of my list...

I finished all three of our FASFA's! For those of you who don't have college age students, these are forms that you have to fill out each year in order to get any financial aid,
including loans. They have to be done before March 1st and you need to have all of your tax information before you fill out the forms also. So that was weighing heavily on me. I knew that I could not head out of town with those left undone. We never get any grants or free money...but it does help us to get the loans we need for both girls and myself to go to school.

I filed Erika's taxes.

I ran by the mall to get a new purse. I needed a new travel purse - one that crosses over the body and leaves my hands just feels safer to me for some reason. It is roomy enough for the things I need to take - including the great pockets on the front for my iphone. Plus it has two zippered pockets on the inside. I sort-of can't wait to use it :)
I went to the grocery store to stock up on some things for the kids while I am gone. I even cooked dinner ~ which I don't do very often. It was actually sort of relaxing...

I studied for my EKG class for skills day tomorrow. That test always gives me palpitations!!

My last project for my current class is done....Can't believe I have finished one class of the BSN program already. (Excuse the color - I should have taken a photo of it during the day when it was light looks better in person.) I'm glad that I have stuck with the program so far. It is a challenge, but I think that I have proven to myself that I can do it! I'm hoping that my presentation goes well tomorrow night.

I've a few more things to get done before we drive up north later in the week. Having a surprise day off today though sure has helped!

Friday, February 18, 2011


Sometimes I come home from work, wondering how I ever ended up in a job like this?!?!

Today was on of those days ~

People in pain.
Fetal heart rates dropping.
High blood pressures.
Mom's bleeding.
Art lines being placed.
Babies being born early.
Baptisms being done at birth.
Patients transferred to the ICU.
Grandparents crying.
MD's not cooperating.
Families suffering.
MD's being very understanding.
Babies dying.
Staff cursing.
Developing photos of babies now gone.
Patients being thankful.
Patients being not so thankful.
Father's sobbing in the hallway.
Charge nurse asking for help (of which I have to say - "I can't)
Calls to coroners.
no lunch until after 2 pm.
aching feet.
Old tired body.

I come from such humble beginnings. From a long line of farmer's. What the heck am I doing in such an important, high stress position?!?! I should be on a farm ~ birthing cows and horses, not little human beings.

Yet, the amazing thing is...I will rest tonight and go right back to it. To the craziness and real life stuff.

The one who never dreamed I might make a difference for someone.
The one who only wanted to stay home and raise her own children.
The one who just wants to read a good novel and forget this 'real life stuff'.
The one who believes in good and right.
The one who always thought "dreams come true" just like in the fairy tales.

I talked with another nurse today - we tried to figure out another job that we could do that would preserve our sanity....we came up with...nothing...Being a nurse is just a part of who I am.

Somedays are good, others are not so good.

Today was just 'one of those days'.
Yet, one of those days where I would like to think that God has me where He wants me. One of those days where I want to think that bad things don't happen to good people ~ even though it certainly didn't "feel" that way today.
I need to trust in God's ultimate plan for things and be there in some of that.

Hope I made a difference for at least one person today.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

100 percent Perfect

We recently did a group project in school ~
A power point presentation to a pretend board of trustees.
Tonight we got our grade back and the instructor said ours was "100% perfect" !!

I've been contemplating quitting school for I am having a hard time managing work, the hospice program, family life and homework. I spent all day Sunday writing a paper. Even skipped church and I don't want to miss out on living life...yet, I really want this degree too.

Guess after tonight's grade I will stick it out. I only have one more week in this class any ways.

I have the best group to work with :)
We must be doing something right!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Character Hunt

It was a wonderful day to spend a bit of time at the happiest place on earth.

One of the best things about getting in for free is you know you can just do whatever you want to do ~ you don't have to rush around, waiting in lines for rides. (rushing / those go together?) You know you can come back again and do the things you missed the last time.

Lily and I went to Disneyland to sign in my good friend, Diane. She had not been to Disneyland in 10 years or so. She knew she'd be staying all day and trying to fit in as many things as she possibly could.

Lily and I, on the other hand, decided to stay for just a couple of hours....our find some princesses...

So these aren't quite princesses, but they are pretty famous characters!
Mickey and his girlfriend, Minnie celebrating the Chinese New Year.
Then we ran in to these guys. I can never remember which one is Chip and which one is Dale. Lily doesn't care - she loves them both!
Next thing you know we see these guys...Woody and Jesse. About this time Lily asked for paper as she saw other kids getting autographs. Guess I need to get her one of those autograph books.

We took a break from our hunt and rode the teacups. Lily had been talking about this ride since our last visit at Disneyland. Actually though, she doesn't really like the ride. She'd rather watch people on it than spin around herself.
Off to the princess area we went. Lily asked to have her face painted. She wanted a 'sea crown' like the little Mermaid. She loved checking herself out after the work was completed.
The finished can't see it but it was all glittery too.
Finally we found a princess or two. Ariel from the little mermaid.
And Tiana from A Princess and a frog. The picture is a bit blurry - but she was so pretty!
Lastly~ Princess Minnie!
That was a nice way to spend the afternoon!
We are already making plans for our next adventure~

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Work was crazy busy today...and to top it off, I was working antepartum (remember that I have a love/hate relationship with that part of my job).

I only had two patients and thank God the one was very low maintenance because my other one was quite ill.
Can you imagine being pregnant and so very ill that you have to be hospitalized??
I spent well over two hours with the one patient before I even was able to make morning rounds on the stable patient. I kept telling myself that she would call if she needed something. I told myself that I was, 'letting her sleep in"....right!! I couldn't get enough done fast enough with the sickee to get to the stable one. I felt behind all day long...
Sometimes you just need to prioritize and stay with the one who really needs you.

I couldn't wait to get home and shower off all of the influenza A virus (flu)...and I better not get sick!!

At least I have had both the flu shot and an H1N1 vaccination.It was recommended that all of us that were exposed to the patient take a prevention dose of Tamiflu.
My doctor didn't want to order any Tamiflu for me. He said he would rather wait until I have symptoms, then order it to help shorten the duration of any flu. Oh well, I hear it is really expensive anyways.

Guess I will just take my chances,cross my fingers, and hope I showered all of the 'yuckies' away!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hume Lake

We went to a Hume Lake Vision Dinner this week.

We went with a couple of friends from church and made some new friends while we there.

Hume is very special to us...
I have spent many a summer there.
Buzz went there as a highschooler.
My girls went when they were in junior high and high school.
It is up in the Sequioa's, it is nature at it's finest - but even more than the natural beauty is the impact that the camp makes on many lives.

There is just something special about Hume Lake Christian Camp.

They have summer camps, winter camps, family camps, adult camps, couples camps, and even places you can just rent out for a get-a-way. They also have a camp now down in San Diego and are looking to open one on the east coast.

I have been on the per-diem staff there for many years. Camp nursing sure is different than hospital nursing!! When I work up there I often think harder than I do at my regular job and sometimes I have to really improvise and think fast. Like the night I got a knock on my door at 2 am with a sweet little lady saying, "I think my husband is having a heart attack". Now if that isn't enough to send an L&D nurse in to a frenzy, I don't know what is. (Actually, I maintained my calm, used my ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) skills and got the patient to the hospital in a timely fashion).

But this isn't about the work I do when I am up there, rather it is a chance for you to watch a video about the camp and get a glimpse of how they impact kids for Christ.
Click here to watch the Hume Lake Video - and if you ever have the chance to go to Hume, I would highly recommend it!

Friday, February 4, 2011

This Guy

I was in the NICU this week touring a family...and guess who I got to see??

He is special
He is strong
He is two weeks old now
He is making strides everyday
And his mommy and daddy love him very much...

This sweet little guy...Baby Douglas
He is starting to wean off of some of his medications so he was even awake!

You can check out Dougies blog to get the latest news on how he is doing. It was good to see him and to see his parents. Keep praying for him ~ he still has a ways to go before he can get home.