Wednesday, October 29, 2008

California Nurses Ask What You Could Do With $150,000

The California Nurses Association is asking what you could do with the $150,000 the Republican National Committee recently spent on Gov. Sarah Palin's wardrobe and makeup. "Spending $150,000 for a one month wardrobe while painting yourself as a 'hockey mom' or the voice of 'Joe Six Pack' is an insult," said CNA/NNOC Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro.

The CNA/NNOC points out that the $22,800 the RNC spent on Palin's makeup would pay for 224 mammograms, or 651 flu shots or would provide nearly 14 years worth of Lipitor for one person to lower his/her cholesterol.

To illustrate their point, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC)has set up a website,, to show how $150,000 could have been better spent, "at a time when Americans are struggling to pay their medial bills or keep their homes," according to Geri Jenkins, co-President of CNA/NNOC.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Refelctions on Doctors from Kaplan Books

Kaplan Books recently published the latest anthology in their Kaplan Voices Nurses series Reflections on Doctors. I was asked to contribute to this book and you'll find my story, Rants to Raves, on page 85. Other contributors you may recognize include Emily McGee RN and Terry Ratner, RN, MFA who also served as editor for the book.

The New York Times published a review of the book today and Terri Polick RN reviewed it on

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

West Virginia Nurses: Renew Licenses NOW

There are approximately 8000 nurses in West Virginia who have not yet renewed their licenses this year. The deadline is October 31, 2008. This is a change from previous years when the deadline was the end of the year. Nurses were all notified, but officials are becoming concerned.

Nurses face fines of $500 for November and $100 per month thereafter if they continue to practice without renewing their license. Facilities can be fined as well for allowing the nurses to continue to practice.

Nurses can renew licenses online at the West Virginia Board of Nursing. Payment by credit card is accepted. The cost of renewal is $35.

Some nurses have expressed difficulty in completing the required ceus in time to renew early. There are many options for ceus online. Most allow you to print your certificate immediately upon successful completion of the test. West Virginia requires 12 contact hours each year.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vote in the Poll

I just added a poll in the sidebar. You can only vote once, but give us your opinion who should become the next US President and VP. It's totally unscientific, just for fun, and anyone is allowed to voice their opinion whether they are a U.S. citizen or not.

If you are a U.S. citizen, please remember to register and vote on Nov. 4!!

Thanks for participating.

Be an INFORMED voter! Information on the Health Care Plans for each candidate is available here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. All of the pink ribbons are meant to remind women everywhere to get a mammogram, and to learn and practice regular self-exams of their breasts. Getting to know your own body gives you the best advantage of finding an abnormality early. Early detection is a huge factor in the successful treatment of any cancer but especially breast cancer.

Remind your patients that not all lumps are cancerous. If they find one, don't panic, schedule an appointment and check it out to be sure. As nurses we need to set the example by doing. Schedule your mammogram today! Or remind your wife and other loved ones.

For information about breast cancer, symptoms, treatments and exams, see The Breast Cancer Learning Center.

Help pay for free mammograms for those who have no insurance coverage at The Breast Cancer Site. All you have to do is click on the button. Do it often!

graphic from J. Crosby

Monday, October 6, 2008

Register and VOTE!!!

Today is the last day to register to vote in many states and territories. Nurses represent a huge faction of one of the largest industries in the U.S. (health care). The state of health care and the economy are something that effects all of us. No matter what your political beliefs and affiliations, please be sure you are registered and VOTE in this historic election!

You can register online in most states by accessing your state government's website. You can search by entering the phrase "register to vote in Ohio." Of course, you'll substitute your state's name for Ohio. Or go to Rock the Vote and fill in the form.

Travel nurses and those who may be away from home or unable to get to the polls can access absentee voting information here.

Photo: Steve Woods

Friday, October 3, 2008

ANA Website Explains Choice of Obama Biden Ticket

The American Nurses Association has endorsed the Obama Biden ticket for President and VP in the 2008 election.

To find out more about why the ANA believes Obama and Biden will be a better choice to help nurses, see the new website they have created to help voters make an informed choice. Information and materials are available from this site for nurses to educate others.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Having a Boring Student Rotation?

So you're bored with your Post Partum rotation. Well let this be your first lesson that nursing is not about YOU; it's about the patients and the excellent level of care you are giving them!

This rotation may not give you the adrenalin surge that you get in the ER or the ICU, but these patients are just as important. They need your help, understanding, education and caring. So rise to the occasion and meet this challenge.

Not every patient will present you with a specific set of tasks or procedures to perform. You need to figure out what kind of care they need. If nothing else... where are their knowledge deficits about their present condition?

The biggest problem with being "bored" is that you are likely to become complacent. These patients aren't "sick" but they are recovering from a tremendous effort their bodies have gone through in the last few hours or days. They need your care and guidance.

Here are just a few things to consider:
  • Have you assessed that fundus adequately? Is it firm or boggy?
  • Have you instructed the new mom in pushing fluids to replace the vast amount of fluids she lost during her labor and delivery?
  • Are you encouraging her to rest now and to understand what her body has gone through? Does she understand the recovery process, and the need for rest?
  • Is her nutritional intake adequate or is she desperately trying to lose all of the baby weight already?
  • Are her bowels working or is she going to go home severely constipated?
  • Have you instructed her in the need for protein and vitamin C for wound healing if she had an episiotomy or C-section?
  • Have you instructed her in the necessary food and fluid intake to produce milk?
  • Have you discussed breast engorgement, nipple soreness and how to avoid or treat sore or cracked nipples?
  • If she's not going to breast feed, does she understand about formula safety, i.e. not making eight ounces at a time and feeding from that bottle all day?
  • Have you discussed care of the baby including feeding, burping, and diapering?
  • Does the new mom know how to care for the cord and that it will dry up and fall off in a few days?
  • Does mom know to lay the baby on its back and not on its stomach?
  • Does she know how to dress the baby appropriately according to the weather or temperature?
  • If baby is jaundiced, do the parents understand the light therapy they'll receive at home?
  • Do they know how to clean their baby boy's circumcision, or under his foreskin if he's not circumcised?
  • Do they know how to clean their baby girl's bottom from front to back?
  • Do these new parents need some parenting classes or other community resources?
Have you reported your findings to your preceptor and documented carefully?

Post partum may not be your ideal niche, but understand that not everyday will be filled with excitement and challenging patients. There will be times when you are bored and times that you risk becoming complacent.

Don't ever assume that patients who aren't "sick" or don't appear to need much care have everything under control, or are doing "OK." Sometimes they turn out to be your most challenging patients because they catch you off guard and don't know it all and they don't even know enough to know that they don't know that they don't! Or they know just enough to get themselves into big trouble.

The biggest lesson you can learn from a boring rotation is that as a nurse you need to treat all patients with the same level of excellence regardless of their diagnosis, gender, race, or creed.