Posts Tagged Nursing school

Good News from Kansas after a Spectacularly Awful Day

Your humble charge nurse had an awesomely bad day, in a week of similarly nasty days, so crappy in fact that I’m too tired and fed up even for my usual upper-management-idiocy snarkiness. The only slight consolation is that I understand nearly every hospital in the Greater Toronto region has been overwhelmed with patients. Superior Hills General, our bigger neighbour down the road, I’m told, had an 36 admitted patients boarding the ED, and an unbelievable 61 patients held for consult.

The good news is that a judge has ruled against Johnson Community College in the placenta Facebook case. To say the court spanked the College would be an understatement. Some more details on the events leading to the expulsion:

Byrnes said the picture was on her Facebook profile for about 3 hours, until Delphia [Byrnes’ lab instructor] called her and requested she remove it, which she did. Byrnes says Delphia told her she wasn’t in trouble during the conversation.

But the next day, Byrnes said, Johnson County Community College Nursing Director Jeanne Walsh blasted her and the other students by screaming and crying at them.

“During the meeting, Director Walsh’s emotional conduct precluded the students from defending themselves and adequately explaining the reasons for engaging in the conduct in question,” the complaint states.

“Director Walsh summarily dismissed Plaintiff Byrnes and three other members of the lab group from the nursing program, and exclaimed, ‘I don’t know if I would want you back.'”

Is this how we want nurse educators to act? I don’t want to flog a dead horse, but again it strikes me the true professionals were the students, not the Nursing Director. In its press release, JCCC was typically gracious towards the students in admitting defeat, as it has been in this whole process. Okay, maybe not so much.

“We are disappointed with the court’s decision today,” said Terry Calaway, JCCC president. “Of course we’ll abide by the judge’s decision and readmit the student to the nursing program.

“The JCCC nursing program is widely known and respected for the quality of its instruction and its graduates. Sensitivity to patients and confidentiality of patient care is at the heart of what we teach. We took what we believed to be appropriate action, but the court saw the situation differently, so the student will be readmitted to the program.”

The students who took the photos were never expelled from the college, as has been reported, but were temporarily dismissed from the program.

Three other students who had been dismissed from the program will also be readmitted.

Classy to the bitter end, eh? (See, I’m so tired even my sarcasm bone is exhausted.)

To Doyle Bynes and colleagues: congratulations and well done. You do us proud, and you’re a credit to our profession.


*JCCC needs to give up on the “temporarily dismissed not expelled” spin. It’s a distinction without a difference, and it’s silly.


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“Hugs and Kleenex”

[One of the many great submissions to the Those Emergency Blues Prize for Writing. Posted here with permission.]

Author: rnraquel

Blog: The Doctor Stole My Stethoscope

Hugs And Kleenex

When I was working as an ER Tech during nursing school, I had the pleasure of meeting a great nurse named Johnny. Johnny had immigrated from Laos as a child and had a great perspective on life. The night I met him we were struggling with an elderly lady who had a severe reaction to Phenergan. She was post fall and having nausea, so the Dr gave her Phenergan, which immediately made her totally crazy and extremely strong. My job was to take the combative patient to CT, put on a lead apron, and make sure she stayed still for the scan. In addition, I was charged with keeping her grown daughter calm. Johnny watched me and talked to me about it during a smoke break: he smoked and I listened to him talk. He said that he could train a chimpanzee to put in a Foley or start an IV, but compassion was not so easily taught. He told me he thought I would make a good nurse, precious words for a nursing student discouraged by intimidating professors.

At times I think compassion is underrated, sometimes even disdained. Nurses can often be sarcastic and snarky when we talk about supporting patients emotionally or bonding with patients. I’ve gotten the “Well…I wish I had time to just sit and listen to patients talk, but I’m busy actually giving care” from other nurses, as if all I do is sit around and chat and neglect my other duties. We are of course encouraged to be nice and empathetic in nursing school, but also to keep a professional distance. As NurseXY mentioned in a recent blog, this professional distance is taught early on in order to ensure that our decision making abilities are not clouded by our closeness to the patient. I can see the point, but I think, as he wrote as well,  for many nurses it is sometimes impossible not to get emotionally close to a patient, especially if you are dealing with them in a setting where they are with you for weeks or months.

I have worked in ER, Preop, and PACU, places where we are with patients for a matter of hours, not days. However, we are with them at such a vulnerable time, where emotions are heightened considerably. We have interactions that I will certainly never forget.

Just this past Friday I was present when an elderly woman had a conversation with her daughter, son, and pastor debating whether to have surgery or if it was time to just stop fighting. All I did was provide the Kleenex and some hugs, but it was a privilege to witness the love and strength of this family.

That same day I took care of a man who came directly from his family doctor’s office to the hospital to have major stomach and colon surgery, definitely not how he had been planning to spend his day. He was keeping up a stoic appearance. His wife walked over to the side of the room to use her phone to notify family members of the situation. I noticed that she had stepped over to the entrance of the unit to where the curtains were blocking her from her husband’s sight. She was quietly crying. I went to her with Kleenex (again). She told me that she was just in shock and could not imagine losing her husband. I hugged her and just listened. It is an honor to help hold people up in their time of crisis and need. I am in awe of the fortitude of so many of these patients and their families. If I can provide just a tiny bit of support, just a little bit of warmth to help fuel them through this incredibly challenging time, I am privileged beyond belief.

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Hildegarde Peplau’s Yearbook

Vernon Dutton (Twitter ~ Flickr) this morning sent me photos of Hildegarde Peplau’s yearbook, which he describes as a “lucky find”. I won’t pretend omniscience; I remembered her from school as a theorist who proposed a paradigm of nursing care, and that was about all. Callow youth: I didn’t pay enough attention.  She was, of course, much more.

Hildegarde Peplau graduated from the Pottstown — a small city in Pennsylvania — Hospital School of Nursing in 1931. With some condescension, we now tend to think the middle years of the last century as the dark ages of nursing: think outlandish (to our eyes) caps, starched dresses, white hose and white patent-leather shoes — with heels! The vast majority of nurses were “hospital trained” in one or two years, i.e. as trainees, they lived on hospital grounds under a regimen second only to convents for rigidity and discipline, and their education, with a strong emphasis on practical nursing, was entirely within hospital walls.

From modest beginnings, however, Peplau went on to obtain her bachelor’s degree, then a master’s and doctorate; she became a certified psychoanalyst and expert on psychiatric nursing. Her greatest achievement was the publication of her work, Interpersonal Relations in Nursing (1952), which established a firm theoretical basis for nursing practice,  profoundly influenced the practice of generations of nurses to the present day, and made possible the establishment of nursing as a profession.* She held numerous chairs in nursing at universities around the world, acted as consultant to several agencies of the U.S. government, and was awarded eleven honorary degrees. Towards the end of her life, she said with some prescience:

Nursing has made great progress from being an occupation to becoming a profession in the 20th. Century. As the 21st Century approaches, further progress will be reported and recorded in Cyberspace — the Internet being one conduit for that. Linking nurses and their information and knowledge across borders — around the world — will surely advance the profession of nursing much more rapidly in the next century.

In looking over the photos from this long-lost age, we can scarcely sense the potentiality of these new graduates and of Peplau in particular. Friendly and eager faces, yes and kind, but not ones, you might think, who would run out of Pottstown, Pa. and change the world. But that is exactly what she did. Under Peplau’s picture, though, is the comment which just hints: “All she needs is a soapbox to make her arguments forceful.” When I reviewed her theories, dragging out an old textbook or two, I was quite surprised how much her work — consciously or not — has influenced my own practice and the way I look at nursing, that is, seeing nursing as a collaborative, learning process between the nurse and patient, in order to restore health, and how in this process nurses take on a multi-faceted roles.

We — nurses and patients — all owe her more than we know.

[Photos used with permission.]


*Incredibly, publication of her book was delayed four years because it was though inappropriate for a nurse to publish without having a physician as co-author.

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