I wish I knew that before

2013 was the best year of my life.
Independence rang true – new apartment, new car,
new nursing career from the nursing home, to tele and ortho, to ICU.
(wow, I sound like a typical millenniallook at the table below)

My family and friends started new careers too,
life is getting sweeter.

The stats were an all-time high,
Getting emails and comments all the time,
About NYU Nursing
Advising and inspiring future nurses.
To me, there’s no greater praise.

Last year’s theme was ‘New Nurse Blog.’
But now I’m no longer a fresh fresh nurse.
I’ve got one year under my belt!

For 2014 I’m changing it to
I wish I knew that before.’
“I” can be me, a friend, or you.
Health, Food, Money and Rights are my passions

So here it goes!

—-

This table is from a Medscape Nurses article about how to manage a 4 generation gap nursing workforce. You can sign up for a free account to read the article.

Generation What They Want Strategies
Traditionalists Less demanding schedules (part-time; shorter shifts)
Reduced stress or workload
A job well done
Use a personal touch
Provide traditional rewards
Use as mentors
Offer less physically demanding positions
Boomers Recognition for experience and excellence
Positive work environment
Good pay and benefits
Continuing education
Give public recognition
Find opportunities to share expertise (precept, mentor)
Promote “gradual retirement”
Xers Career advancement
Shared governance
Autonomy and independence
Work/life balance
Provide opportunities for skill development and leadership
Involve in decision-making
Avoid micromanaging
Millennials Meaningful work;
Stimulation, engagement, involvement; multitasking
Skill development
Socializing and networking
Impatient for promotion
“Move up or out”
Encourage teamwork
Offer a supportive work environment
Begin leadership development early
Provide feedback
Provide access to social networks; build on technology strengths
Develop skill base

First Code – CPR or hospice care for terminal illness?

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This 90 something year old man was repeating, “I want to die” a couple days before. With stage 4 cancer (meaning, it spread from the source location), he should’ve been DNR (Do Not Resuscitate). But since he started to lose his mind (he couldn’t answer the 3 questions: name, location, and time), his family members began to make decisions for him (as a Heath Care Proxy). His family was in such denial that it was time for him to pass away. They believed he didn’t need morphine to ease his pain and should remain in full code in case his heart rhythm converted to v fib or v tach (at this point, you do CPR).

Throughout the night, he kept moaning. But his family would only allow him to take Tylenol. Which honestly isn’t enough if you have overgrown cells invading essential organs. And these organs allow you to breathe and circulate blood throughout your body.

After I had given out my morning meds and taken out a foley, I saw a nurse run. The next thing I heard was “999 on 1 West”. I saw 2 nurses with the crash cart wheel past me heading to a room in the next district over. When I saw them wheel the cart into that room, I knew it was him. The nurse there was already doing CPR compressions and someone else got the ambu bag ready. Though it felt like 5 minutes, about 30 seconds later, 2 critical care PAs, 3 critical care nurses, 2 MDs, respiratory therapist, nurse educator, patient care assistants, and all the nurses on the unit were there. The PAs took over the compressions. The pads were slapped on.

The EKG monitor was still on, so I watched it go in and out of v fib and v tach. Nurses made the call out to the attending and the family to tell them to come in immediately. My nurse manager told me to go the next unit over to get the Line Cart. I learned fast that’s the cart with the equipment to do a central line. Inserting a central line would allow them to bolus (or “quickly give”) fluid directly to his heart to increase blood pressure. Without a properly beating heart, the body won’t have circulating blood.

When I came back, I saw that he was also bleeding out from his rectum and abdomen. Cracked ribs and his tap sites from before may be the cause. Regardless, I primed the normal saline line to attach it to blood that we would give to him.

More epinephrine was needed. More flushes. The nurse educator asked if I knew any of the nurses in the room so she can document everything that’s happening in the room. I gave some names and then let the nurse who was taking care of him take over.

After the defibrillator delivered the shock, I heard that sound. That sound was an asystole sound. A solid beeeeeeeeeep. I looked at the EKG monitor and saw a solid line. He was gone. He got his wish.

This happened in 17 minutes.

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If only he had been DNR and was comforted, he would’ve died more peacefully. He wouldn’t have bled, have cracked ribs, have something tied to keep his tongue down in case of intubation. He died suffering from pain and misery. It could’ve been in peace in his sleep.

Family members may feel guilty if they decide to make their loved ones a DNR. They may feel that they aren’t doing the right thing and that they should do everything possible to save them. But in terminal cases, the focus should switch from treatment to comfort. This increases the quality of someone’s end-of-life care.

In my mind, when I die, I would want to die in my sleep. Peacefully. No pain. Just as living is a part of life, death is too. And we should pass with dignity.

Fried Bun With Condensed Milk in NYC!! Yum!

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Manna Cafe and the Fried Bun with Condensed Milk

As a kid, I loved eating these fried buns with condensed milk! I only had it once or twice but I couldn’t forget the taste. After coming to NYC and its 3 Chinatowns, I knew I had to find it. The only places that serve it is at Hong Kong cafes! There are two locations to find this gem. And it’s only $3. Woot!

Manna Cafe (as pictured above!)– right off the 7 Train – Flushing Main St Stop
135-05 40th Rd
Flushing, NY 11354

Cha Chan Tang — in Manhattan Chinatown
45 Mott St
(between Pell St & Bayard St)
New York, NY 10013

Monkey: Journey to the West Review

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When I saw in the New York Magazine that the Monkey King: Journey to the West was showing at the Lincoln Center Festival had rave reviews, I had to see it! I bought the cheapest tickets online ($25) and saw it yesterday.

As a Chinese American, I heard about the story many times, but never knew the whole story. After watching the show, I finally get it.

It drives home the message that

no matter what, you can change it all around.

You can become powerful but if reckless, eventually you’ll be put down.

If you become obsessed with food, wine, and lust, eventually you’ll cause harm.

But you can also commit to change and persist to be different– you believe things are equal, you develop your mind, and your mind is pure and calm.

If you get the chance, go watch it! It’s the best show I’ve seen in New York.

Best Part About Working Over 4th of July

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  1. Enjoying the Macy’s fireworks with your patients on channel 4.
  2. Enjoying the NY Yankees playing… And the NY Mets.
  3. Less traffic, less patients (who wants to voluntarily go to the hospital on a holiday weekend? Um, no one!!)
  4. More downtime… In general.
  5. Time and a half pay!
  6. Less procedures.

But, you still have to be just as vigilant! Know the emergency call number by heart (no, it’s not 911 at the hospital). It will come in handy when you need it!

Off probation — what does that mean?

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I’m off probation now at the hospital.

That means I passed the series of “tests”—
doing 2 head to toe assessments,
giving out medications through different routes,
going over the chest tube, suction set up, code master (defibrillator, pacer, and cardioversion),
doing drip calculations and entering into the IV pump,
going over the telemetry monitor, and
taking the 50 question EKG exam and passing with a score greater than 90%.

It means no more checking each narcotic.
And trust me, on an ortho floor, a lot of people are in pain, pain, pain.

It means no more checking insulin units.
Yes, I know how to draw up x units of humalog, lantus, and the like.

It means I’ve been doing this for 6 months.
And that means I got 2 weeks of vacation time!

It should mean that I know what I’m doing.
Although I will keep asking questions. And questioning orders that don’t make sense.

It means that I will begin to float to other units.
I won’t be on home turf all the time anymore.
Other med-surg floors and the ER.
I have to admit, I’m a little scared.

It means that I’m ready — and mostly excited!! 🙂

First Day on my own was awesome

My first day on my own was awesome because:

    My charge nurse was awesome. Answered all of my 101 questions. Haha
    My patients were awesome. They were patient. And thankful.
    My ex-preceptor was still my preceptor (yup yup still teaching and still learning).
    All the nurses checked in on me. And answered my other 101 questions. And gave me advice. Gotta love that.
    My ancillary staff were helpful and nice. What more can you want??

I learned:

    If I don’t know about a medication interaction, call the pharmacy.
    I should look at the hemoglobin A1c. If it’s high, the patient probably has DM. And I should probably teach about it.
    Steroids increase glucose levels. I can’t believe I forgot.
    Always prep more saline flushes than you think you need. Alcohol wipes are good too.
    When in doubt, ask the charge nurse.
    Listen to the patient and be her advocate.

Ok, I gotta sleep during the day and go back for more tonight. 🙂