Monthly Archives: January 2014

White Feminism 101

Transgender Dying Young Project

This semester, I have my community health class. I have to spend 56 hours volunteering and gathering data about a population in my community and a disease that affects that community.

I’ve thought all week about where I should focus my project on, and I’ve come to a decision.

Individuals who are trans face incredible odds, particularly if they are people of color. They also dying younger and by more violent causes than the general population.These are my friends and neighbors I am losing.

I identify as genderfluid but generally do not bring it up because to do so would invite scrutiny, accusations, and mockery. But I am saying this here because even though I have the privilege of passing, passing limits my free expression of who I am and one day I truly hope to be free in that expression. I would love to have a closet divided into thirds. One for woman. One for man. One for the days when I don’t feel like any gender expresses who I am.

Reasons for this project:

We have the horrible last days of Dr. V, now etched into a webpages walls for clickbait for all the world to see and judge and mock. (Note: link posts to @ParkerMolloy‘s eloquent synopsis and take down of how the article could have been written without outing Dr. V. and causing her and her loved ones so much distress.

We experience hate crimes all over the world. Countries where being trans is a death sentence.

We experience higher rates of STDs, especially HIV among trans individuals.

Most members of the medical community receive ZERO training on the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of the trans population. Because of this, trans individuals are often afraid to go to a hospital or doctor’s office, even in an emergency. This must stop.

I am going to make my Community Health project about death in the trans community and what could be done to prevent the early deaths of my trans friends and family. I am going to be able to present to at least 60 nurses and my professors what can be done to improve the mental and physical health of the trans community. While I am doing this, I am also going to create a presentation that can be easily emailed and blogged and shared about the healthcare needs of the trans community.

I am going to tweet about my project and the work I am doing under the hashtag #transdyingyoung.

Because I am new to this, I am going to enlist the help of anyone who would like to review my project and my posts. If you would, please email me at grimalkinrn at gmail dot com. I will not out anyone. I will not post personal, identifying information about anyone who does not want to be identified. I WILL listen to members of the trans community and solicit their instruction and advice.

I have a pretty good idea why I think trans individuals are dying so young, and of so many things that cis individuals do not, but I also know there are cultures that embrace multiple genders. We have people that embrace multiple genders.

My hope is that with this project I will bring education to more than 60 people. I am going to share my research and blog about these 56 hours of data collection and service. And by sharing this blog post, I am going to out myself to my classmates, and fellow nurses. I am genderfluid, and I am not going to be silent about it anymore.

This is not going to be a journey down a rabbit hole where things get stranger and stranger. I am going to work to put the healthcare needs of the trans community into the light of day, and move the practice of medicine FORWARD.

Care Left “Undone” During Nursing Shifts

‘Care left undone’ during nursing shifts: associations with workload and perceived quality of care

This study, performed in the UK, shows the correlation between tasks left undone during a nurse’s shift and staffing on a hospital unit. Tasks that are most often left undone include talking with and educating patients.  This affects patients far after they leave the hospital, especially if they do not receive vital instructions for maintaining their health, such as how to care for wounds, when to take (or not to take) medication, and when to call a doctor. This is yet another study that shows nurse staffing affects patients not just while they are in the hospital, but also when they have left.

On my unit we try to keep the mentality that it’s a 24 hour job and the next shift can get to things if we cannot get to them ourselves. But this primarily addresses tasks that a nurse is not able to get to, not patient education and counseling. It would be so nice to have adequate time to talk to my patients and educate them thoroughly. Currently this feels like the exception rather than the rule.  I know busy nurses everywhere are suffering from the same chronic disappointment in our jobs. We got into nursing for the patients, it is upsetting when you are forced, due to staffing, to give only the care written down on paper and not the vital care that nurses are trained to give every patient: emotional support and comfort. The ability to spend time with your patients and care for their emotions is part of what makes nursing a rewarding occupation, and the inability to do so is what causes many nurses to develop compassion fatigue, burnout, and to leave the profession.

Calling Out Vs. Calling In: How Activist Techniques Can Be Used to Decrease Lateral Violence and Bullying in Nursing

A little while ago, I had the privilege of reading Calling IN: A Less Disposable Way of Holding Each Other Accountable by Ngọc Loan Trần. The essay is well written and thought provoking, and brought a new idea to the way I practice feminism and activism. I keep thinking back to this essay and what it could mean in my personal life. What if we brought Trần’s idea of “Calling In” to nursing? Could we find a method of speaking to each other that comes from a place of concern and love? When speaking from that place of concern, could we use language and tone in such a manner that lateral violence and bullying on our hospital units is decreased? Could we actively support one another to improve our patient care without bringing someone to tears? I think we could.

From the essay:

“Most of us know the drill. Someone says something that supports the oppression of another community, the red flags pop up and someone swoops in to call them out.

But what happens when that someone is a person we know — and love? What happens when we ourselves are that someone?

And what does it mean for our work to rely on how we have been programmed to punish people for their mistakes?

I’ll be the first person and the last person to say that anger is valid. Mistakes are mistakes; they deepen the wounds we carry. I know that for me when these mistakes are committed by people who I am in community with, it hurts even more. But these are people I care deeply about and want to see on the other side of the hurt, pain, and trauma: I am willing to offer compassion and patience as a way to build the road we are taking but have never seen before.” (Trần)

While Trần’s essay deals primarily with actions within the activist community, I see a lot of parallels with nursing. A good example is shift report. Generally, report is a smooth transition, performed by thousands of nurses each day to get one shift in and another shift out. Everyone’s goal is to get through report quickly so the oncoming nurse can get to work and the offgoing nurse can get some sleep. Report isn’t always seamless, and a big part of that comes from nurses. There are nurses who approach report aggressively, and by the time the offgoing nurse has finished, that nurse feels like they have been through a battle. This is lateral violence.

There are nurses who seem to look for mistakes and consider themselves blameless. Now, we are all going to make mistakes, and because we all make mistakes, we are all going to FIND mistakes. Some mistakes are big, and have a lot of people involved. Some mistakes are small, and are the result of action or inaction by one individual. Regardless of the level of mistake, we should never berate one another or treat one another in a hostile fashion. Rather, we should deal with the mistake, and if we are in the presence of someone who has made a mistake, we should not talk to them as if they did not have a nursing education. We should keep in mind that this is our co-worker, someone we trust and have worked with as a team member. We should tailor our language and our tone to maintain professionalism, patient confidence, and the relationship of trust we have built as members of the patient care team.

When another nurse is aggressive during a nurse to nurse interaction, it is lateral violence. When a nurse is aggressive toward a CNA or other member of ancillary staff, it is BULLYING. This happens to CNAs more often than nurses are willing to admit. It can happen as a result of stress. It can happen as a result of miscommunication, but it happens. We need to be aware, as nurses, of the potential we all hold to be bullies on our units, and to watch our tone, watch how we delegate, and to be aware when our CNAs simply cannot handle one additional task, and that we need to do something ourselves. We are ALL working hard. When viewing bullying by a nurse to ancillary staff, it is important to speak up and stop the bullying behavior. Trần’s idea of “calling in” gives us a new technique to use when we see bullying behavior in a co-worker for whom this behavior Is abnormal. What is causing the behavior today? What can we do to stop the behavior and save the relationship between the nurse and the ancillary staff?

So what is the difference between calling out and calling in?

Trần works to define (and states this is a work in progress):

1) “The first part of calling in is allowing mistakes to happen.”

(Now, in nursing, if we see a medical error about to happen, if we see a safety issue, we should always speak up. I am not advocating that we allow preventable medical or safety errors to happen. In nursing, we should be aware that mistakes will happen and we will have to deal with them, but it is how we deal with mistakes that either brings us closer together or pulls us apart)

2) Think about “what makes my relationship with this person important?”

            Are they a long time co-worker? Are they a new graduate? Are we friends? Do we know they’ve been having a rough time lately? What do we know about our co-worker that makes them valuable?

How do we start these conversations? Again, Trần has put a great deal of thought into this, and nurses do not need to stretch far to see how Trần’s model could be used to decrease lateral violence and bullying on our units:

I start “call in” conversations by identifying the behavior and defining why I am choosing to engage with them. I prioritize my values and invite them to think about theirs and where we share them. And then we talk about it. We talk about it together, like people who genuinely care about each other.”


“I picture “calling in” as a practice of pulling folks back in who have strayed from us… Calling in as a practice of loving each other enough to allow each other to make mistakes; a practice of loving ourselves enough to know that what we’re trying to do here is a radical unlearning of everything we have been configured to believe is normal.”( Trần)

Trần discusses how we have “configured to believe it’s normal to punish each other and ourselves without a way to reconcile hurt.” This is where nursing needs to look up and examine itself closely as a profession. Too often do we see a mistake and rather than deal with it quietly, we mention it to our co-workers. We say “someone was having a bad day” or make comments that lead others to believe our fellow nurses are now not as trustworthy as they might be. Comments like these undermine nursing as a profession. They undermine the teamwork on our units, and they break down the relationships among nurses.

It should not be “normal to punish each other.” Instead, when a mistake is noted, deal with it. If the mistake needs to be reported, do so quietly and efficiently without involving others, if possible. If you need to involve someone, involve someone who will also be discreet. Offer your fellow nurse a shoulder, support them if they need to take a moment for self-care. Be aware of the signs of compassion fatigue or burnout.

By incorporating the idea of “calling in” rather than calling out, we can decrease the incidence of lateral violence and bullying on our units. We can make our workplace more professional, and less stressful. We can encourage each other to participate in self-care to stay mentally and physically healthy. We can be better nurses, and we can elevate the nursing profession.

I would like to address the issue of “calling in vs. calling out” as it relates to ancillary staff. If a nurse finds an error made by a CNA, “calling in” can still be very useful, but nurses need to remember the potential for bullying in these situations. There are different power dynamics involved with nurse-CNA interactions than with nurse-nurse interactions, and the potential for harm here must be acknowledged. Remember how humiliating it can be to be “called out” at the nurse’s station, in a patient’s room, and afford all of your co-workers the same respect, and do not use these power dynamics to better yourself, but to better all staff.

Raising an urban Native kid in a white bubble

Righting Red

I fancy my husband and I as purposeful parents. In addition to the basic necessities (you know, tons of books), we try hard to ensure our child has well-rounded access to her traditional Lakota/Ojibwe cultures, feminist teachings, and spirituality. She picks herself up when she falls, has clear concepts of right and wrong, and – especially because she is an only child – is encouraged to grow her creativity and independence as much as possible utilizing a combination of modern technology, craft projects, and the outdoors. Her teenage self may throw shade my way for using her so often in my blogs, but I think most people who know her would agree my 5-year-old is a well-adjusted child.

But this kind of purposeful parenting is hard and actually pretty tough to keep up on top of all of life’s other stuff (jobs, writing, and Harry Potter marathons, among other things)…

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Afterthoughts and Aftershocks: Why a Dozen Different Editors Failed Dr V

Fake Controversy Alert: Hitler’s Mein Kampf Was Not A Digital Bestseller

Allies and alliances

The shame we feel as women

Left at the Lights

It creeps up suddenly; self-consciously you adjust your posture to close in a little on yourself. Your eyes drop downwards. Suddenly you feel very exposed. This happens frequently; whether in a meeting at work or walking into a bar and almost certainly when walking home late at night. By slouching, we hope to divert attention away from our breasts, by avoiding eye contact, we can hope they won’t think we brought it on ourselves. We are reminded everywhere we turn, of the temptations we promise, and if we don’t fit the bill, we can be stuffed and pumped up with man-made fillers and human bum fat. If we’re healthy, we’re “starting to waddle”, a timely reminder we shouldn’t eat so much else who will fancy us?

The shaming begins early. They make mini-skirts and boob tubes for 3 year olds. I will always feel sick to the stomach remembering the…

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I can’t tell you about this

But last night was one of the best nights of my nursing career. Right up there with the night I saved a baby’s life and the moment a patient had a stroke in front of me and left the hospital with minimal residual effect. Right up with the night I started my first IV. my first, hell, the first time I did anything, last night was up there with that night. Adequate staffing, manageable patient loads, and something I can only say a great once in a while “Just this once, Rose, EVERYBODY LIVES!!!). To say more than that would risk identifications. But damn, I had a good night. I gave good care. My patient got good news and I’m writing this down now to remember on all the nights where we’re nurse poor patient rich, when my healthy patient suddenly gets ill, when I have to work thirteen and a half hours without a break, I’m going to remember last night and find energy in that memory to keep going.


(Quote from Doctor Who)

Curried Lentil Vegetable Soup

curried lentil vegetable soup

Whatever veggies you have on hand. Today I had:

Carrots – 3
Celery – 3
Red potatoes -4
Mushrooms – 9
Can of corn
Can of green beans
Half clove of garlic, chopped.
Olive oil
1 ½ cups green lentils.
Curry powder
Poultry seasoning
Cayenne pepper (because John has a cold)
1 carton vegetable stock
Mustard seeds
Brown Sugar
Ginger powder



Chop vegetables, except for mushrooms and lentils, throw in a large pot and add garlic, salt, pepper, curry powder and turmeric. Be generous with the curry powder and turmeric. Saute with olive oil for about 10 minutes, until vegetables are well coated with spices.

Add vegetable stock, bay leaves, mustard seeds (however many you want), additional curry powder, ginger powder, fennel, large amount of poultry seasoning, dash of cayenne. Bring to a boil.

Boil for 10 minutes.

Add lentils and mushrooms (if you are using mushrooms)

Simmer for 15 minutes. Add brown sugar and cinnamon to taste.

Simmer 5 more minutes.

Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, a nice gravy will form.

Goes great on its own, would also go great with basmati rice. Would probably also go nicely with coconut milk or plain yogurt. Lots of possibilities.

What About the: Respiratory Therapists?

Ready for a happy story?

Respiratory therapists are responsible for a lot of things all over the hospital. When they are on our floor, I can hear their phones ringing to call them to another floor. We see them doing treatments frequently, we call for help occasionally, and they are always included in a rapid response (a team effort to get to a deteriorating patient and avoid a code).

I am good with trachs, due to extensive training while I was a tech, and later homecare experience. So I am very comfortable with suctioning and trach care. Often, if the RT is very busy, I’ll do as much as possible to make their night smoother. I also volunteer to take the trach patients as often as I can because I know most of the nurses on my floor don’t like trachs. These patients often request for me to be their nurse again and again, and I do. It helps that I’m an excellent lip readers and intuitive. I rarely feel fear with a trach.. it’s a stable airway.

Recently at work, I felt helpless. It was a busy night, I had a 6 patient load with some really heavy patients.  My patient was deteriorating and a call to the resident was fruitless. I suctioned, but it was like tar. It was bad. My patient was grey. The oxygen level was okay so far but  could get worse at any moment.

For the next 1-1 1/2 hours, two incredibly knowledgeable  RTs worked over my patient, performing procedures I’d never even heard of. They told me what medications to get from the doctor. I phoned and phoned and phoned. I brought the meds in. I medicated the patient for pain. Other respiratory therapists in the hospital started to pick up their work, but I know they got behind.

It’s the middle of the night in the hospital. We ran out of suction catheters. The house supervisor went to central supply and when she couldn’t find what we needed, so she called floor after floor and suction catheters start to appear. We were good.

I was so impressed by the variety of the things they could do, and within that hour to hour and a half, my patient began to breath better. Partially from pain medication, but mostly from sheer force of will. We are all very bonded to this patient and he to us.

I was also impressed by the nurses and CNAs who left their floors running with the equipment we so desperately needed.

When I left that morning, the patient put out a hand. Thanked me for all I did. I said
You’re welcome, but it was a team effort and you are the most valuable player in the team.”

A lot of times, you’ll have a bad shift and you’ll feel you didn’t give the best care, and you’ll say to the oncoming nurse “well, they’re all breathing.” It’s nurse code for “I could only do the bare minimum, but we all survived, can I go home now please?

That night, I learned more about what respiratory therapists do. Like nurses, they run hard, unlike nurses, they are spread throughout the hospital covering several floors at a time. I knew they were smart, good in a crisis, but I am so moved by gratitude.

When I left work, everyone was breathing. And that is because the respiratory therapists I work with put their feet down and said “no.” It was a rough night, but we gave excellent care. And honestly, I don’t begrudge that patient my break (I did manage to eat). In a perfect world, nurses could get breaks everyday but medicine is by its own nature an imperfect science, and while I complain if I don’t consistently get breaks, it is absolutely worth missing a break to improve your patient’s health.

I plan on writing a series of blog entries about my interactions with other medical professionals. As with my patients, I will not name names or identifying features. The only person’s privacy I am giving up is my own.


“You’re Pretty for a Dark-Skinned Girl”

Media Diversified


The Continuing Significance of Skin Tone in “the Black Community”


“There’s a rapper, I’ve forgotten his name, he just did a video recently and on the call sheet for auditions, he literally stated “no dark-skinned women need apply.” Isn’t that something?” — Bill Duke,Bill Duke airs dirty laundryof skin prejudice in Dark Girls”

“Here was an ugly little girl asking for beauty. A surge of love and understanding swept through him, but was quickly replaced by anger. Anger that he was powerless to help her. Of all the wishes people had brought him — money, love, revenge — this seemed to him the most poignant and the one most deserving of fulfillment. A little black girl who wanted to rise up out of the pit of her blackness and see the world with blue eyes.” — Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

During a recent dinner…

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The Difference Between “Cutting Down” and “Calling Out”

I’ve been very public about my feelings regarding Ani DiFranco, her “Righteous Retreat,” its cancellation and her short apology she made earlier this week.  I have been going through my own process while I try to decide if DiFranco’s apology was sincere, if she is living her words, and if I can continue to support her label.

Tonight, at the New Orleans House of Blues, DiFranco made the comment “”It’s an upside down world, when your sisters cut you down and Fox News defends you.”

It’s making the rounds and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see another apology from DiFranco in another couple of days. Maybe the quote is out of context, but it’s hard to imagine what context it could be in that didn’t involve some sort of self righteous anger. It’s a sign of the times. A decade ago, a statement like this would have gone unnoticed. Thanks to social media, it is everywhere.

I am a white woman. I have a lot of interracial friends. This doesn’t mean I don’t screw up. I am very lucky to have friends who will call me out when I say something racist. It’s not always gentle, but it is always needed, and when I look beyond my initial shock, I always learn something. I try never to make that mistake again.

Ani DiFranco didn’t get “cut down.” She got called out. Fans of all backgrounds called to her and asked that she cancel the retreat and apologize. When she cancelled the retreat and offered and explanation but not an apology, we continued to tell her, Ani, it’s not enough. Finally, she issued a short apology, stating she was “digging deeper.”

Getting “cut down,” “dragged,” and other terms are when people put you down without reason. Without caring about you.

Getting called out is different. When you say or do something racist and your friends of a different race call you out on it, they are taking the time to offer you education. It’s not their job to educate you, but if someone is taking the time to do it, you should appreciate it and reciprocate by trying to learn the lesson they are trying to teach you. Getting called out can hurt, sure, it can hurt like hell, but we have to ask, do I hurt because I’ve been wronged or do I hurt because my ego is wounded?

Ani DiFranco is many things. A songwriter, an activist, a feminist. She has this image of a kind, crunchy, kick ass artist. I don’t believe she is a racist at heart but I do believe a person who is not a racist can do racist things. This is when the people who love you call  you on your shit.

I’ve talked about white privilege and the fact that while white people may not be aware of its existence, they sure as hell get mad when people refuse to extend it. I think DiFranco is unaware of the amount of privilege she is currently demanding.

I don’t know Ani personally, though like many of her fans, I have always felt a connection through music. This connection is why I’m writing tonight. I know she’ll never see this, but I feel the need to write about my feelings. This entire week has been a process of learning to let go of someone I always saw as a role model. I know she’s not perfect. It’s not a lack of perfection that is making me angry. It’s the clear abuse of privilege. DiFranco has a lot of privilege, built from years of hard work, and I think she believes she deserves to be sheltered.

DiFranco may have apologized, but she appears angry. Statements like the one from tonight make it seem like she personally thinks she did nothing wrong.  From her statement tonight about living in an “upside down world,” she is not taking the change in her status very well. DiFranco has always been someone who has managed to not do racist things in the public arena. That changed. She made a mistake. I feel like a lot of us wanted to forgive that mistake, but we cannot accept her apology if she is not going to live her apology. She could have said “I fucked up, I was wrong. I could tell I was wrong because Fox News was defending me but my own sisters weren’t.” There are a lot of things DiFranco could have said, but what she did say tonight shows me she is not living her words.

It’s not enough to apologize when you are called out. You have to make a conscious effort to change the behavior that got you called out in the first place. Perhaps DiFranco needs more time to change, but for now, the effort she has made is simply not enough.


Trolls and Patience

I’m really happy my post “The Effects of Nursing on Nurses” is still generating commentary and discussion among nurses and other individuals. Unfortunately, there are a few trolls who have latched onto the post, attacking people in order to get more attention for themselves.

When I think of a troll, I don’t think of a hairy little dude under a bridge. Rather I think of a fisherman, slowly making his way around the water, with several baited lines, waiting for a bite.

That’s all trolls are. They drop aggressions, make offensive commentary, and hope they get a rise out of us.

Because I want discussion to continue, but I want to limit the amount of trolls on my blog, I have placed comments back under moderation on all posts. I have generally approved all comments, as anyone can tell by the number of “quit your job, you lazy nurse” comments I have received. As long as you are not attacking other users, comments will be approved.

I will continue to check the blog several times a day to approve comments. I appreciate your patience and understanding.

In addition, I have gotten a lot of new followers. I like to follow people for conversation, if you’d like me to follow you back, please post something here about the theme of your blog.

Who Stole all the Black Women from Britain?

“I Don’t See Race.”

Les Reveries de Rowena

“I don’t see race; I’m completely colourblind.”

The above is an unhelpful statement that is thrown around way too often. When people say this I often wonder why. Could it really be true that they don’t watch the news? Yes, race is a social construct but the implications of race are something that affects many of us. Race is a reality; the more pigmentation one has in their skin, the more difficult it can be to navigate society without a headache and much stress.

The “I don’t see race” comment doesn’t need to be stated to prove that one isn’t racist, or that one is open-minded or liberal. I acknowledge that we members of the human race are a diverse bunch but because of colonialism and other issues we have all had our minds colonized; we believe things about ourselves and about others that just aren’t true. And our beliefs…

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Measuring Privilege

Nurses as Housekeepers at Vanderbilt Medical Center: An Untold Story Behind the Story

Ani DiFranco Apologizes

On December 29, Ani DiFranco cancelled her “Righteous Retreat” at Nottoway Plantation, but did not apologize.

Today, she posted this to her Facebook page:

it has taken me a few days but i have been thinking and feeling very intensely and i would like to say i am sincerely sorry. it is obvious to me now that you were right; all those who said we can’t in good conscience go to that place and support it or look past for one moment what it deeply represents. i needed a wake up call and you gave it to me.
it was a great oversight on my part to not request a change of venue immediately from the promoter. you tried to tell me about that oversight and i wasn’t available to you. i’m sorry for that too.
know that i am digging deeper.

I am glad to see Ani reach this point within herself and find the strength to admit she was wrong. She additionally posted a link to this article: 5 Ways White Women Can Address Our Own Racism.

I still feel that if she wants to hold a retreat to encourage growth and music creation, that she should offer one or two scholarships to the retreat, as reparation to the black community, and as a recollection of her own roots. With camping tickets to the original retreat starting at $1100, such an experience is far out of the range of independent artists who could really use such an event.

I still feel upset on a deep level about the initial choice of a plantation for a retreat, but I believe DiFranco’s words to be sincere. You cannot live your life and be a perfect person. When you are famous, your mistakes are going to get a lot more attention. My decision on whether or not buy DiFranco’s music in the future will be based on the black community’s response to her apology, as well as future actions.

I think Julian Assange is a rapist. I still like Wikileaks.

Another angry woman

Trigger warning for rape

If what his own defence lawyers say is true, Julian Assange is a rapist.

He described Assange as penetrating one woman while she slept without a condom, in defiance of her previously expressed wishes, before arguing that because she subsequently “consented to … continuation” of the act of intercourse, the incident as a whole must be taken as consensual.

In the other incident, in which Assange is alleged to have held a woman down against her will during a sexual encounter, Emmerson offered this summary: “[The complainant] was lying on her back and Assange was on top of her … [she] felt that Assange wanted to insert his penis into her vagina directly, which she did not want since he was not wearing a condom … she therefore tried to turn her hips and squeeze her legs together in order to avoid a penetration ……

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TERFs/SWERFs/Bigots are not intersectionalists

My Mother’s Body

Lifting As We Climb

My mother is in a nursing home, out-of-state. I’m trying to move her to me or move to her. With insurance and health concerns, it has been a daunting task.

But for the holidays, I am spending precious moments with her. Doing, doing. Getting the promised occupational and physical therapy going. Requesting barber services. Checking on meds. And on and on, the work of it.

Today when I went to visit, the nursing staff was in a bit of an uproar. “She’s refusing to let us bathe or change her. She says that you’re going to do it.” 

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Update on – The Effects of Nursing on Nurses

I’m going to address a few things I read repeatedly in the comments of my original post:

What about the CNAs/PCTs/Aids/etc? I was a tech prior to becoming an RN, while I went through nursing school. I personally know how exhausting and backbreaking the job of a tech can be. But this post wasn’t about CNAs, it was specifically about nurses. CNAs do not have the same responsibilities nurses carry, although we share many of the same tasks. The RN is ultimately responsible for the task to be completed, and will be held responsible if it is not.  I do recommend CNAs take time to practice self care and realize when they are overly stressed, or if a patient is being abusive . I have personally seen patients abuse a CNA who would not abuse a nurse. CNAs are not mindless automatons, they are living, breathing people with a lot of their own responsibilities, and deserve to be treated with respect by nurses, doctors, and patients. Ultimately, my blog post was about nursing, and because I was not dealing with a  CNA at the time, CNAs were not mentioned in my post.

If I don’t like my job, I should quit it. Also, I should have known nursing was hard when I went into nursing school. – I’m not going to quit my job. I’m very good at my job. My blog post was about encouraging all nurses, including myself, to practice self care techniques to avoid the effects of compassion fatigue. For those who are unaware, compassion fatigue is not the same as burnout. Compassion fatigue is the result of repeated exposures to extreme stress over time. When units have high levels of compassion fatigue, they have higher incidents of falls, medication errors, and infections. Nurses suffering from compassion fatigue do not answer call lights and alarms as quickly. Compassion fatigue is a real issue among healthcare providers. The recommended treatment for compassion fatigue is time away from the source.

If every nurse who suffered from compassion fatigue, stress, frustration or burn out left nursing, healthcare as we know it would be irrevocably changed.

I’m a nurse. I’ve never called in sick, taken a mental health day, or complained about the long hours and working holidays.

Congratulations. Maybe you should write your own blog post about the stressors you experience on the job, and how you deal with them so the rest of us can learn. Maybe you are one of these nurses who practices lateral violence, and are part of the problem.

Other healthcare professions experience the same thing. Why weren’t we included in this post?

I’ve said it repeatedly in the comments: this post was about a specific interaction between nurses. Other healthcare professions certainly experience stress, compassion fatigue, and lateral violence. We all have a lot of responsibilities. I cannot write about problems experienced by respiratory therapists, paramedics, EMTs or other healthcare workers because I have only been a secretary, a tech, and a nurse. I write what I know. If you would like to write a blog entry about your specific profession, I would be happy to link to it on my blog.

Since last August, I have taken several steps to improve my personal stress level and mental and physical health. Because I am attending a BSN program that has clinicals, and am very fortunate to have a very supportive spouse, I have decreased my work hours for the next several months while I have nursing clinicals. This will also allow me an opportunity to help my feet heal, as the pain during work is quite significant. I realize not everyone can do this, and that I am very fortunate. I will still be spending 36+ hours a week on the hospital floor, as well as time in classes, so I will remain pretty busy.

I would like to recommend some reading for those interested in the problems facing nurses

From Silence to Voice: What Nurses Know and Must Communicate to the Public – Bernice Buresh and Suzanne Gordon

Nursing Against the Odds: How Health Care Cost Cutting, Media Stereotypes and Medical Hubris Undermine Nurses and Patient Care – Suzanne Gordon

Obligitary New Year’s Resolution Post

In 2012, I lost 30 pounds with diet and intense exercise and the help of a personal trainer. I don’t lose weight unless I exercise a lot.

Then I developed Morton’s Neuroma’s between my toes. Extremely painful and they made work, let alone exercising, hell. The treatment? Either surgery that would immobilize me for weeks (not an option while working and attending college) or cortisone injections between my toes. They were excruciating. With my doctor’s encouragement, I purchased a $400 pair of orthotics, only to have them blister and bruise my feet. I had them adjusted multiple times and they never fit right.

An effect of the neuromas is that they can cause the muscles of your inner foot to break down, so now I have severe plantar fasciitis, another problem that plagues any population of people who work on their feet.

After multiple treatments by a podiatrist, I was only getting worse. I also had some issues with the doctor, who pushed surgery on me heavily, even when I told him it was really not an option for me. It would take me a year to save the sick time needed for such a procedure, and I do not want to delay my BSN any further.

I switched podiatrist’s and went to one recommended by my primary care doctor. I really trust my primary care. We have a good relationship and I trust him. My new podiatrist is really nice and much more gentle. He prescribed physical therapy and I’m shelling out even more money for new orthotics. I really hope they work. I also got cortisone shots in my heels, OW, and that has helped the pain somewhat.

Tomorrow, while a large part of the country is waking up, I’m going to my first visit with a new personal trainer, as my beloved trainer left my gym. I only have 8 sessions left, but I’m going to use it to kick start exercising again. I want that weight back off and I want to feel good in my body again. Ultimately, it will also help my feet.

Weight loss seems like such a lame goal for a New Year’s Resolution, but I also want to get back into the shape I was before my feet gave up on me.

Other resolutions: Read more books. I read about 20 non school related books last year, and I want to read about 30 this year. I have 4 new books on feminist history and current feminist theory to kickstart me.

Next Resolution: Graduate. I’m due to graduate in August with my BSN, which will grant me a WHOPPING raise. *sarcasm* But if I want to move on to study for my NP, it’s a necessary step.

Additional goals: After Graduation, I’m going to learn to play the guitar and apply to the NP program to start in 2015. I’m going to keep my house cleaner (if possible) and I’m going to work on being kinder to others and being kinder to myself.
Last, I’m going to write more. It is a good coping mechanism that helps me deal with my stress without unloading too much on my husband, friends or coworkers. I’m going to write a few more poems, maybe a story, but I’m going to write.

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