Interacting with patients and their families can be very rewarding. Most are kind, grateful for the care we provide, and responsive to our instructions. Effectively communicating with patients can sometimes be challenging, and patients may say and do things that add to these challenges. Here are six […]
I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for ways to make things simpler, especially with all the challenges of managing surgery. Life is rough enough. Our brains are already saturated with to do lists, passcodes and deadlines. With my dark nursing humor brain, I have sometimes considered that my major challenges if I had a medical emergency in which I lost my memory would be unlocking my phone, getting my e mail, voice mail and getting into my computer! I guess we should all consider making a secret squirrel paper password cheat sheet and give it to a trusted person in the event of a potential amnesia crisis or desert island stranding.
As you may know, I was honored to be invited to speak at OR Excellence last year on “Ideas that Work”, or as I like to call them, surgical hacks, the everyday awesome ideas that make surgery easier. I guess I didn’t embarrass the folks at Outpatient Surgery Magazine too terribly, as they have asked me to return this year and share some more great ideas. To gear up for the very cool meeting this year, I thought I would share some of my faves from last year, of which I can take no credit. So here are three ideas that you may find cool (in no particular order):
- Use the plastic outer bag from your surgical pack to cover your foot pedals. At the end of the day, toss the plastic bag, and your pedal is still shiny and new. No additional cost, and the foot pedal lasts longer!
- Time your prep dry time with a kitchen timer or the timer on your phone. Leaves no question that the prep is appropriately dry, reducing the risk of a surgical fire.
- Make a donate box for your PACU for surgical socks, and coordinate with a shelter, nursing home or other group in need.
I’ll have a whole new list of great ideas that work this year at the conference. Would love to meet you there! The conference is on the beach in Florida this year, so if you miss my talk, you can find me on the sand at sunset. If you want the details, click here.
If you have some great surgical hacks or ideas that work, I’d love to hear them! e mail me at: email@example.com, and good luck with that paper give to a trusted friend password list….unless the desert island rescue isn’t required. 🙂
I am writing my blog this week as I sit in an old friend’s breakfast restaurant drinking coffee in the town where I grew up. I came here for a long weekend to visit some great friends. It has been nostalgic driving down the streets where I learned to drive, passing the house where I grew up and my old high school, remembering all the experiences that brought me to today.
Many things have changed here. The bridge we used to jump into the river from is gone, now just an overpass.
The orange groves where we would gather on Saturday nights is now a subdivision. The Drive In is now a Home Depot. I’m grateful that the warm gulf breeze is the same, and the gulf sunsets are as amazing as ever.
The town is where I became a nurse, and started in my first surgery center. I began in the PACU, crossed the red line and learned how to circulate, learned Risk and Quality, then became Nurse Manager almost 20 years ago. I considered all the things I have learned in that time, and how I would mentor my new nurse self if I could.
Here are some of my reminiscent brain musings:
Ask for help. When I was new in my role, I thought that asking for help would mean I didn’t know my job well enough. Now I recognize it as a strength, and key to being a successful leader. As a great friend recently told me, the best advice she recieved was don’t be afraid to ask why.
Don’t feel intimidated. When I started my career, I remember how some of the seasoned nurses made me feel. I will never understand why some nurses aren’t nurturing to their peers, but it is a cultural reality. Had my young nurse self not taken it personally, it would have allowed for better learning and less struggle.
Don’t assume. So often, I find that people hang on to “sacred cow” processes. My more mature self has learned to identify this, but, when younger, I trusted the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” or “those are the rules”.
Write stuff down. Update preference cards, write down processes, and update policies as things happen. You never know what will be remembered or who will leave.
Trust your gut. The best advice ever. When less experienced, it is easy to be swayed by others based on their experience or training when making critical decisions. If there are doubts, get some advice or do some homework. Often, your first instincts will be right on track. I’ve always done the…would I be comfortable with this decision if scrutinized? You will be alone in defending a decision made despite the influencers.
Find a mentor. There are several key people that were my go to’s as I was learning. I still rely on great people when I need to make key decisions, and am grateful for the great support and advice they provide. On those days when things get rough, having someone you can trust with experience is key.
I’ll finish this week’s post to return to chasing the ghosts of my past, wondering what my fresh scrubbed new nurse self would think of the now me. I hope she’d approve.
I have a confession…I am a car girl. I love cars, especially muscle cars. If I win the lottery, I will buy a 60’s model GTO. My current car isn’t my dream car, but it is a beautiful color blue, and I treat it lovingly.
You can imagine my dismay when my teenage stepson, while backing out of the garage, scraped his truck down the whole back left side of my car while I was parked in the driveway a morning this week in a rush to get to school….and didn’t tell me. (more…)