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Nursing Leadership, Health Care Reform, Chocolate, Sleeping In, Blogs… and other random thoughts

August 16, 2009

My blog… how I have missed you… today as I write I feel guilty about all of the things I am NOT doing. I am NOT currently rewriting my Health Assessment course material that got lost in our downgrade (a downgrade after an upgrade) in ANGEL (for those of you who don’t know that is a university computerized learning platform). I am NOT currently writing on my comprehensive exam final… just thinking about that thing makes me want to vomit. I am NOT at the grocery store, cleaning my house, or helping with the finishing touches on our bathroom remodel that took place 6 weeks ago (yes… there is still more to do). I WANT (and am) to be back in bed, eating Askinosie Chocolate (, with the covers pulled over my head… trying to make all of the things I am NOT doing go away. Hiding doesn’t make things go away very well, but stepping back, resting and reevaluating does help… We have to reevaluate and rest in our own way; mine involves my bed, my pajamas and chocolate.

I AM thinking about Nursing. Nursing is my favorite profession and the light of health care in the U.S. and around the world. As I hide this morning… I wonder sometimes why, as a nurse, I am doing all these things that make me want to hide? I am writing blog posts, twittering, working on revamping my courses to make them better (something I have no time to do with my gazillion advisees and trying to finish school), leading a local nursing organization, pursuing a PhD of nursing…. Why? … I could just clock in and out of some clinic somewhere and see 40 patients a day and make twice the money I am making and come home and rest… Why don’t I do that???… (I am not telling you this to boast or brag. Please hear me honestly.)… I am seriously wondering why I don’t do that?

Then, I read two great blog post by my friend Lee Weeks on her Facebook page (yes, she is bloging there because she currently has blog difficulty)… the posts were about nursing and health care reform. I wish you could have read them. She writes so well… moves the audience… brings people to the point without showing them she is taking them there…. Anyway…

One of her posts asked for comments from nurses to give their stories of health care and why or why not they feel reform is needed. Many of her posts get comments, but this one laid silent. I wondered why? Then the thought hit me… maybe nurses (on the whole) don’t see problems with health care because we are too busy caring for all patients at the bedside and we could give a flip less about someone’s insurance status! Nurses just do it. Nurses don’t see the patient through bills, rejection for medical tests or referrals, etc. Nurses don’t see patients this way because we generally don’t bill or refer… we simply care for the patient…any patient… regardless. How nurse-like of us. If only the entire medical system worked this way… just cared for patients?

That led me back to think about why I am doing all of these insane things with my nursing career…. is it for me? For fame? For some administration position or lead research role somewhere? … I have to say no. I don’t want to be director of a program, or an administrator with lots of meetings,… I want to keep on nursing… and teaching other nurses how precious and valuable they are… to do this well requires something from me I guess… persistence. (Why did I go here? Uhg… my jammies are getting sweaty and I start to squirm… I thought this post was going to talk me out of these insane things….)

More Thinking… about nurses….When I look at the world of nursing from under my covers I see that NURSES can change health care precisely because of who we are. Thinking of this in my P.J.’s, with the covers pulled up to my chin… I yell SWEET! (and I am not talking about my Akinosie chocolate)…. Nurses provide the kind of health care our world needs every minute of every day (when they are not busy charting what administrators want in  17 different places)…Whenever a nurse encourages a laboring patient, takes the time to teach a heart attack survivor about their new medications, teaches a class of baby sitters CPR, administers a pain medication, hugs a dying patient’s spouse, … they are changing the world. Servant leadership is nursing…. and I, little old no one from the Midwest, with an average IQ and a big mouth…., I get to be a part of this… I get to call myself NURSE! What an honor!

Yet, the nurses and the nurse leaders I listen for are silent about how wonderful Nursing is. Why? I don’t think they realize how big of an impact they make every day and I think they are too busy to involve/invite the outside world and media into their profession. Nurses are all down right busy! This busyness is keeping our good secret a secret. Right now, that is not good.

Maybe it is time for nurses and the profession of nursing to step back from the chaos of overtime, understaffed, big-business model hospitals, argumentative health care debates and just hide under our covers, in our pajamas with some chocolate and think….

From my spot in my bed I see that health care reform is nothing to be feared, it is a golden opportunity for all of us… particularly nursing. From my comfortable nest among my covers I see that NURSING is how  health care reform should be viewed…. a paradigm for how to do it… with hard work, determination and our patients in mind (all of our patients… no matter their ability to pay or not)…. Nurses have seen the best and the worst of what access to care can cause in/do to patients, yet we still care for the patients no mater what brought them to us; changing one life at a time and doing it for everyone that is assigned to us.  So, nurses are silent in the health care reform debate because we are busy taking care of what we have to take care of… patients and bringing up new nurses to help us in our work…. also because mostly we are the quiet unassuming ones in the back ground who don’t get asked to the big dance because we are too busy working.

My advice to leaders everywhere… First of all, get your own nurse and make friends with them... you will want one when you go to the hospital… THEN, step back from health reform and take a day off, under your covers, with chocolate (or whatever) and with the people you love around you, and rest. Then….(People out there in health care reform meetings)…. get some nurses off of work for a day and invite them to your meeting and ask them about the work they do every day…. or better yet, follow them around for a day (wow what an eye opener that would be)…

My advice to nurses… take the day off, in your jammies, under the covers and then think about who you can show/share your career with that is not a nurse. Then, just like your work…. do it.

My advice to myself.… keep plugging along…. these things I do… are because I love nursing, because I have the honor of being a nurse. Through all of the patients I have watched be born, die, be healed, learn about themselves and their uniqueness…. through all of the nurses I have been HONORED to teach and now call peers….. I promise to keep doing my job as a nurse, a nurse educator, a nurse practitioner, to ensure that nurses know how precious they are and so patients continue to have access to good care. To the people I know who are nurses… THANK YOU! You inspire me and you are the reason I am going to get out of my bed and start working on rewriting my health assessment class and my comprehensive exams…. I think I am going to keep on the pajamas though!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. August 16, 2009 4:29 pm

    Nice site. Theres some good information on here. Ill be checking back regularly.

  2. August 16, 2009 5:40 pm

    I am crying and laughing at the same time. YES!! Right there with you, girlfriend. Thank you for saying so eloquently what many of us know, feel, and think . . . but don’t take time to write or say.

  3. August 16, 2009 6:33 pm

    It is always good to make someone laugh! Cry? about nursing??? You are honest and inspiring. Thanks for the vote of confidence Dr. Eldridge!

  4. Dana Hunt permalink
    August 16, 2009 8:05 pm

    Terri- great blog!! You are so honest, so brave, and so inspiring to many. Thanks for sharing with us and for reminding us all about the power and honor of being a nurse. You are a terrific nurse AND writer!

    • August 16, 2009 8:23 pm

      You obviously don’t know me that well….. tee hee… thanks for the compliments but you must be thinking of someone else…. Honest I am…. brave and inspiring…. well… not really. (Funny – I would say the same things about you that you wrote.)

  5. August 17, 2009 12:49 am

    Terri – I read your blog and laughed out loud and then read it to my wife. The thought of eating Askinosie Chocolate under the covers just made me laugh and appreciate the fact that we can be part of your feeling like you want to get away from it all. I also loved reading about your Ecuador trip. My wife is a nurse – although she has not practiced for awhile except on our family the experience and servant nature remains. As a nurse – she put me through law school and I am thankful for that. I have great great respect for your profession. I do believe that there will be a special place in heaven for you caregivers! Anyway – thanks again for the “shout out.”

    • August 17, 2009 3:26 am

      Thanks Shawn! Your chocolate is the best and because Ecuador is near and dear to my heart it is my favorite. I am glad you have your own family nurse! Excellent choice! My hubby will be searching for your hidden chocolate bar again this next week. Thanks for keeping him cleverly entertained. I will give your excellent product a shout out any time. (it seriously is good for escaping….)

  6. August 17, 2009 7:59 pm

    Terri – While I’m not a nurse, you make me wish I was! I happen to be a licensed professional counselor so I can relate to a lot of the same joys and frustrations you talk about. Even though we question our sanity at times, I think we ultimately chose our professions to help people and to make a positive difference in the world. Thank you for the inspiring post!

    Renee Ludwigs, M.Ed., LPC

  7. N. Lee Weeks permalink
    August 19, 2009 11:11 pm

    Oh dear girl, friend, nurse . . . you are totally awesome in print and in person. Keep writing! The blog is as good as your soapbox and I don’t have to worry about you falling off your blog and breaking one of your body parts that would keep you from our presence. 🙂

    • August 20, 2009 6:37 pm

      Lee – I love ya! Thanks for fear of my breaking bones on physical boxes :)…. Its true I might.

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