A moment of ignorance and a lackluster apology

Earlier this week, the women of The View managed to offend millions of nurses worldwide. Their comments were offensive and hurtful. It showed a blatant disrespect for a profession that I am extremely proud to be a part of. You don’t become a nurse overnight. It takes years of preparation and a true heart for caring for others. It takes compassion, knowledge and a huge heaping of integrity which is why nurses are consistently chosen as the most ethical profession in the United States. 

When Kelley Johnson, Miss. Colorado, RN, chose to step on that stage wearing her nurse’s uniform and declare to the world that nursing is her talent, she did not do so lightly. She put a lot of thought into that decision and she did so proudly. You see, being a nurse is a talent. It takes a lot of skill, whether that be knowing how to accurately assess a patient, or more clinical skills such as how to place an NG tube so a patient may receive crucial medication and nutrition, or an abundance of critical thinking skills that enable a nurse to notice when a patient has gone into cardiac tamponade and encourage the surgeon to take them down to the OR immediately, or the skill to keep on smiling despite having just used our stethoscopes to listen to a patient’s final beat of their heart. We start our days and our nights by donning our scrubs, strapping on our comfortable shoes, wrapping our stethoscopes around our necks and mentally prepare ourselves to care for your loved ones for the next 12 hours or so. In a 12 hour shift, we go through a myriad of emotions as we celebrate our patients triumphs and secretly cry in the supply room over their failures. We walk over 10 miles a shift, assessing and reassessing, making decisions on what medications to give and keep you out of harms way. We call doctors and explain what we are seeing in our patients and make recommendations based on what we are seeing so we can keep our patients safe. We provide dignity and respect to those who have lost their sense of independence. We laugh with you, we cry with you, we pray for you and we care for each and every one of you. We are skilled at compartmentalizing our feelings. We are skilled at analyzing medications, double and triple checking and often finding errors that a physician and pharmacist may have missed. Need a bladder irrigated? No problem. Suspect a chest tube has an air leak? On it. Need someone to hold your hand and listen to you as you share your life stories so that you may be heard just one last time? It’s an honor. Nursing is our talent. To say it isn’t means that you, hosts of The View, truly don’t know what all it is that a nurse does or what it means to be a nurse. Nurses are known for being highly observant and being able to quickly and accurately determine what is being said so to say we misheard or did not understand you is just you further demeaning us. 

The View’s Mea Culpa To Nurses
So, here is where I think The View went wrong in their so called apology. 

This was not an apology. This was a deflection. When you apologize, you accept responsibility for your actions. To say you love nurses, adore nurses, respect us and then continue to deface and devalue us is not an apology nor does it fix things. You do not say to 3 million nurses, oh you misheard, if only you actually listened, if only you were paying attention… You own up to your mistakes, take accountability and say I’m sorry and learn. Nothing was learned here except they just lost millions of viewers. We heard you all loud and clear. You, the hosts of The View, don’t see nursing as a talent. We, however, respectfully disagree. I will continue to don my scrubs and stethoscope proudly. My talent is being a nurse and it just so happens to also be my career. A career I am honored to be a part of.

how to survive clinical 101

Clinical was my favorite part of nursing school. Finally, some real life patient care! It can be fun but also very stressful so here is my 10 point advice on how to survive clinical.

1. Come prepared. This means your care plans should be done, your uniform should be on (including your pen, penlight, stethoscope, sharpee  and a notebook), and your meds reviewed. 

2. Ask questions. This is your time to learn! No question is a bad one. If you don’t know something ask. It’s better to ask and learn than to never ask and end up hurting someone. 

3. Seek out opportunities. Let the nurses know that you want to observe or participate in any skills they might be doing! No skill is beneath you. Bathing a patient and learning to transfer them safely is just as important as tracheostomy care or placing a foley! Soak it all up! 

4. Get some sleep! Have you ever pulled an all nighter to study and then realized “omg… I’m not retaining anything”… The same goes for clinical. If you’re not well rested, you’re not going to retain all the cool stuff you’re learning. So catch some zzz’s. Your memory will thank you

5. Eat breakfast and bring snacks. Low blood sugar is a distraction and can make you hangry. Eat a protein filled breakfast and carry some easy to consume snacks in your scrub pockets. Trust me, no one likes a hangry nursing student and you don’t want to wake up on the floor from low blood sugar. 

6. Watch and learn during report. This is the best time to learn not only about your patient and what we are looking out, the goals, etc for but also, to learn how to give a good report. Be respectful and listen up. When they are done, then ask your questions. Disrupting them ruins their flow and can make key things be missed. 

7. Never act like you know the answer or how to do something if you don’t. This is a red flag that you aren’t safe. If you don’t know how to do something or the answer to a question, just be honest. It doesn’t mean you’re not smart, in fact, just the opposite! 

8. Time management is your best friend. Cluster your care. Think about your priorities. Always visit your most critical patient first and most chatty patient last. Have all of your supplies, medications, etc ready before you enter a room. Follow around the most efficient nurse and do what they do! Time management is key!

9.  Be nice to everyone but don’t butt kiss. Be nice to your classmates, the patients, the patient’s family, the nurses, environmental staff, and everyone else you come in contact with. You will see all of these people over and over again. The nursey world is a small world and people never forget how you make them feel. 

10. Think things through. Think about the how, the why, the reasoning behind things and why certain medications work best. This is when you get to apply what you’ve learned in class. Brain storm answers with your classmates. Think about your priorities. Ask clarifying questions. You got this!
Have any more clinical recommendations? I’d love to hear them. Comment below with your suggestions! 
Love and Scrubs!