The Adventures of Nurse Niki: Nurse Characters Doing Nurses’ Work

This post was originally published on RNFM Radio‘s blog October 2013

JParadisiRN

JParadisiRN

I’m one of those nurses other people hate watching TV medical dramas with. I shout out: “Intubate her now!” or congratulate myself on guessing a diagnosis from a minimal amount of script information. People watching these programs with me say, “It’s just a TV show.”

But the truth is, it’s not.

When the same nurse characters are recreated over and over for public consumption by the entertainment industry they become woven into public awareness, and accepted as fact. I wrote about this in a previous post for RNFM Radio.

After my appearance on RNFM Radio earlier this year, I realized I want to create nurse characters closer to the truth, struggling with feelings of social isolation caused by intimate association to the trauma of others, and the accountability to act on it.

Nurses do not only witness the suffering of others, nor do we only hold the hands of patients in pain, or their hair out of their faces while they puke. We assess their needs, get them the treatment needed to alleviate their symptoms, and administer it. Other times, we cover their profuse bleeding with our gloved hands, yell for help, and initiate the ministrations designed to help them hang on.

Except on TV. On TV, physicians do all of this work. In real life, I have had the pleasure of working with doctors who actually did hold the basin while a patient puked, and I’ve even had one assist with cleaning a code brown. These are special people, performing outside of the work doctors are usually expected to do, not because doctors wouldn’t necessarily do so, so much as because doctors are not usually present when these things happen, and nurses usually are.

Anyway, in The Adventures of Nurse Niki, nurses do the work of nurses. Physician characters appear proportionately to how they normally do in real hospital units: during rounds, when summoned from the call room, during codes, procedures, and for admissions and discharges. Doctors are not constantly at the hospital coordinating and administering patient care, because that is not their job. It’s the job of nurses.

None of this information is new to either nurses or anyone who has spent a lengthy time hospitalized, but it appears to be new information for producers and TV writers who continue to populate TV hospitals with doctors doing patient care, while the nurses stand by waiting to, or asking for, help. Some TV nurse characters enter medical school, I suspect, so they too can get a starring role.

The Adventures of Nurse Niki is an attempt to make a 3-dimensional main character whose life is interesting because she is a nurse, not because she works in the proximity of doctors.

 

Are You a Morning Person?

Forgive me, nurses, for I have sinned. I thought I had the day off, when in fact I was scheduled to work. Has this ever happened to you?

I was still in my jammies drinking coffee when the phone rang. It was my colleague from work, the charge nurse.

Late for Work (Oh No!) by jparadisi

Late for Work (Oh No!) by jparadisi

“Are you alright?” she asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine, why?” I responded.

“Because we were expecting you here 20 minutes ago.”

Holy carp! I checked my schedule while still on the phone. It indicated I had the day off, but with all the changes taking place in our unit it was quite possible I picked up an incomplete schedule in error. Whatever, it didn’t matter. I was missing in action. I got there ASAP.

My co-workers generously chose to laugh about my mistake. The schedule was full, and they would have been short-staffed without me.

As I’ve previously written, as of September 2013, my coworkers and I have a new employer. During the transition we were assigned new employee training classes and team building meetings, besides working our regularly scheduled shifts. Some of the classes or meetings were held at our workplace; others on the campus of our new employer.

The week following my schedule error,  I was slated for a third Electronic Health Record (EHR) training class at 8:00 a.m. on the other campus. This time I arrived early, and waited for the classroom to be unlocked. At 7:54, no one had opened the door. No classmates had arrived either. Worried, I called work to find out if something had changed.

“The class is at 9:00,” I was informed by the charge nurse.

“Oh.”

In my defense, the two previous EHR classes had started at 8 am.

I am optimistic about the job change, but clearly it shook my routine, highlighting the ironic humor I found in one of the team-building meetings I attended.

The meeting’s facilitator taped colored pieces of paper on a wall of the conference room. On each piece was written one of the phrases below:

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Unsure
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree.

This particular meeting started at 7:00 a.m.

The facilitator instructed everyone to stand under the piece of paper describing his or her answer to the questions she asked.

The first question was, “Are you a morning person?”

I ran to take my place under the piece of paper reading Strongly Disagree, while thinking, “You’re asking me this at 7:00 in the morning? Couldn’t I have phoned in my answer?” After this past week, I’m pretty sure my co-workers already know I’m not a morning person.

How about you? Have you ever accidentally missed a shift? Does significant change to routine increase your mistakes, too? Any tips for managing?

Nurse Characters Doing Nurses’ Work: JParadisiRN Returns to RNFM Radio October 14 2013

The Adventures of Nurse Niki

The Adventures of Nurse Niki

The Adventures of Nurse Niki Chapter 15: Two Separate Worlds has posted this morning. As if this alone were not enough to brighten your day (wait for it:)

Great news!  I’m being interviewed on “RN.FM Radio: Nursing Unleashed!”, the newest

internet radio station for nurses:

My LIVE interview is on Monday, 10/14/13  at 9pm EST / 6pm PST. You can listen in here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rnfmradio

In my LIVE interview, I plan on discussing The Adventures of Nurse Niki, authentic nurse characters, and the challenges of writing a fictional nursing blog.

In preparation for the interview, I wrote a guest post for RNFM Radio:

The Adventures of Nurse Niki: Nurse Characters Doing Nurses’ Work.

If you can’t listen in, bear in mind that the show will be immediately archived and available for listening on Blog Talk Radio (http://blogtalkradio.com/rnfmradio), and will also be quickly available as a free downloadable podcast on iTunes.

Call-in # is: (347) 308-8064.

The link to listen in on Monday, 10/14/13   at 9pm EST / 6pm PST again is: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rnfmradio

I look forward to connecting with you then!

You can Like and interact with Nurse Niki on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter @NurseNikiAdven

JParadisiRN Guests (Live) on RNFM Radio: Nursing Unleashed March 18 9pmEST/6pm PST

Sometimes a Surgical Mask feels like a Gag by jparadisi

Sometimes a Surgical Mask feels like a Gag by jparadisi

I’m honored to have received an invitation from fellow nurses and radio talk show hosts Keith Carlson and Kevin Ross to interview live on their internet radio program, RNFM Radio: Nursing Unleashed!
We’ll discuss incorporating art into nursing practice.
If you aren’t able to listen during the live show, each episode is archived on the site for listening at your convenience. We’ll discuss ways to incorporate art into nursing practice.
Here’s the details:
  • JParadisiRN guests (live) on “RN.FM Radio: Nursing Unleashed!”, the newest internet radio station for nurses.
  • The LIVE interview is on Monday, 3/18/13 at 9pm EST / 6pm PST. You can listen in here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rnfmradio
  •  Even better – CALL IN with your questions, comments, thoughts, or just to say “hi!”
  • If you can’t listen in, bear in mind that the show will be immediately archived and available for listening on Blog Talk Radio (http://blogtalkradio.com/rnfmradio), and will also be quickly available as a free downloadable podcast on iTunes.
  • Call-in # is: (347) 308-8064.
  • The link to listen in on Monday, 3/18/13 at 9pm EST / 6pm PST again is: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rnfmradio

I look forward to connecting with you then!