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.

 

Innovative Nurse (Kevin Ross) Reviews The Adventures of Nurse Niki

Last week, I had the pleasure of being a guest of nurse bloggers Keith Carlson and Kevin Ross (or, as I refer to them, ) on RNFM Radio. We spent a fast hour discussing the lifestyle of nurses, and The Adventures of Nurse Niki. I had a fabulous time, and one of the take-homes I went away with is the idea to hash tag forthcoming episodes of The Adventures of Nurse Niki on Twitter #NurseNiki, so regulars readers can discuss them on Twitter. Great idea, Kevin & Keith, thanks!

The Adventures of Nurse Niki

The Adventures of Nurse Niki

Following the interview, Kevin (who turns out is a huge Nurse Niki fan) wrote this awesome essay The Adventures of Nurse Niki: The Daytime Drama You’re Not Reading. The title doesn’t reflect Kevin’s wonderful review of Nurse Niki, or his thoughtful expose of the life of nurses, which is actually the most important part of the review. Here’s an excerpt from Kevin’s post:

Julianna has embarked on something special for the nursing community. The Adventures Of Nurse Niki is one of the most intelligent perspectives of life as a nurse. These are the experiences of a “real nurse” if you ask me. Nurse Niki is a smart and dynamic character who works night shift in the PICU at a California hospital. A good television show or fiction novel could certainly draw out the sexiness of working in the ICU, but with Niki’s story we quickly discover that this dynamic character is also struggling to cope with life at the bedside, and as a mother and wife. Hidden within each chapter the discovery is that Nurse Niki is in fact you. She’s me. Well that is of course if I was a woman.

Niki’s struggles are really no different than yours. She’s trying to find work-life balance and has the same inner turbulence that never seems to allow for the seat belt sign to be turned off. Niki’s hope was to work for awhile as a nurse and then be able to stay home with her daughter when she was born. She so desperately wants to feel that same connection with her husband that she had with him in college, but how can she possibly put her day in perspective for someone who isn’t exposed to the same emotional trauma that a nurse endures day in and day out? Sound familiar?

Our well laid out plans rarely seem to work out in the way we picture them, and so far it certainly hasn’t for Niki as she deals with the conflict of the same characters we all try to play each day in our own lives. What we believe work-life balance should be is really what I like to call controlled chaos. With a house full of boys around here we often find ourselves having to put up barricades and call in the crowd control teams to herd what seems like a bunch of cats out the door for their next soccer practice or school performance.

Just like many of us either currently or in the past, it’s never just a 12-hour shift and only 3 days a week. Nursing is not a part-time job by any stretch. When you work in high acuity settings like these it seems as if you never leave, even with a couple of days off in between your shifts. It’s really a constant you can depend on. Your co-workers become your family. The frightening difference is that they are the ones who understand you the best, and so the plot thickens.

In case you missed it, The Adventures of Nurse Niki Chapter 16 posted last Thursday. I don’t want to spoil it for new readers, but this is a chapter you’ve waited for.

If you haven’t discovered The Adventures of Nurse Niki, the blog is formatted with the most recent episodes first. However, you can conveniently begin at Chapter One by clicking here. Previous episodes are also archived by month on the main menu.

Don’t forget to Like The Adventures of Nurse Niki on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter @NurseNikiAdven #NurseNiki. Let’s do this!

Listen to JParadisiRN Interview on RNFMRadio!

 Keith Carlson (@NurseKeith) and Kevin Ross (@InnovativeNurse) invited me to guest on their internet radio show, RNFMRadio.com. In case you missed it, you can listen to the interview by clicking on this link. It was my second appearance on the show.
I had no idea Kevin is a Nurse Niki fan! We tried hard to avoid any spoilers, both for potential new readers, and for Keith, who’s only caught up to chapter 7.
Besides discussing The Adventures of Nurse Niki, the interview includes our thoughts on night shift, the attachment ICU nurses sometimes feel towards their patients or their families, Kevin’s love of daytime dramas, and me being asked to do CPR compressions in a strapless dress at a Christmas party. Oh, I read chapter 11, Beer for Breakfast from The Adventures of Nurse Niki on air too.
If you aren’t listening to RNFMRadio.com, you should. Keith and Kevin are not only entertaining, with an expansive choice of nurse guests; they provide a dynamic medium for the online nursing community to share news, ideas, and ventures in a collaborative spirit. If you’re not listening, you’re missing out!

01:09

Julianna Paradisi, Nurse Writer and Artist

Please join us for the second RN.FM Radio appearance of Julianna Paradisi, an accomplished nurse, writer and visual artist. Julianna’s paintings have been featured in the American Journal of Nursing and Scrubs Magazine, and she is… more

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rnfmradio/2013/10/15/julianna-paradisi-nurse-writer-and-artist

JParadisiRN Guests on RNFMRadio Tonight Oct 14 9pmEST/6pm PST

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

JParadisiRN’s 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 writing a fictional nursing blog.

JParadisiRN

JParadisiRN

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!

The Adventures of Nurse Niki Chapter 15: Two Separate Worlds is posted. If you’re a new reader, the chapters are short, so it’s easy to catch up. New chapters are posted weekly on Thursdays.

 Please Like Nurse Niki on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter @NurseNikiAdven

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

Why Nurses Need to Make Art

The first thing people usually say to me when they find out I’m an artist is, “Gosh, I can’t even draw a straight line.” My response to that statement is, “Nobody can. That’s what straight edges are for.”

Detail of oil painting by jparadisi

Detail of oil painting by jparadisi

When these same people discover I am also an oncology nurse, the second thing they say is, “Painting must be so therapeutic, after dealing with so much death.” My response to this statement is more complex than the first.

First, there’s not really “so much death” in oncology, as treatments improve and many cancers are managed as chronic conditions, which is great. There is still sad sorrow, however. Ironically, when I’m most engaged in a real life human drama, that’s when I find it the most difficult to unleash my creativity. On those days, I’m more likely to calm myself by going for a long run, or knitting, which I consider hobbies.

For me, the creative act of painting is often as uncomfortable as a difficult day of patient care. This is because, I believe the difference between art as therapy, and art as art, is that art as art usually begins with a question or inquiry, and most importantly, results in an insight. Art as therapy requires neither. However, if art as therapy results in an insight, it can also meet the status of art as art. Simply speaking, strong works of art, like strong nursing, involves critical thinking, not simply performing rote skills.

Attaining insight is the reason I believe it is so important for nurses to open up to creativity. Insight leads to an understanding of motivation, our own, and that of others. When we understand our motivations, we are better able to communicate with others. In this dynamic time of The Affordable Health Care Act, nurses need to publicly communicate our role in health care now more than ever.

For instance, the nurse blogosphere is full of posts championing Advanced Practice Nurses as primary care providers. Proponents focus on filling the gap created by a shortage of Family Practice physicians, and reducing the cost of care. While these goals are admirable, the time is now to take creative control of the Nurse Practitioner image by promoting the characteristics differentiating medical science from nursing science: an emphasis on preventive care, in-depth patient teaching, and patient-centered care, which are in some ways superior to that offered by medical science. By creating an image, or branding, if you will, for APRNs, they are appreciated as a unique profession, not as a watered down brand of medicine, or “doctor lite.”

Unflattering, and inaccurate images of nurses are created through tradition, novelists, and outside observers, but rarely by nurses themselves. In order to dispel the nursing stereotypes we despise, nurses will need to rise up and create new ones through visual art, novels, screenplays, and films of such quality that our vision of ourselves transcends into mainstream culture.

Note: This post originally appeared in March 14 2013 on RNFM Radio: Nursing Unleashed!

Poll: The White That Binds Ornament

Readers, I’m doing some marketing research, and I need your input.

Last week during my interview on RNFMRadio, Keith, Kevin and I discussed creating an ornament with the image of my painting, The White That Binds (Pinning Ceremony).  I believe Kevin’s suggested I consider doing this in time for Nurses’ Day, in May, and June graduations. The ornaments would be available to buy on-line. What do you think? You can leave further suggestions in comments. Thanks for your help!

The White That binds (Pinning Ceremony) mixed media by jparadisi. )

The White That binds (Pinning Ceremony) mixed media by jparadisi.

JParadisiRN Guest Post for RNFM Radio. Live Interview Monday March 18 at 9pm EST/6 pm PST

The Bride by jparadisi

The Bride by jparadisi

In preparation for the live interview with nurse co-hosts Keith Carlson and Kevin Ross on RNFM Radio: Nursing Unleashed! I’ve contributed a guest post Why Nurses Should Make Art.

We’ll discuss incorporating art into nursing practice. By the miracle of technology, the guys plan to Tweet images of my painting series From Cradle to Grave: The Color White. You can see them on Twitter after the hashtag #RNFMRadio.
If you aren’t able to listen during the live show, each episode is archived on the site for listening at your convenience.

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!

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!