Honoring the Hospice Nurse

November is Hospice and Palliative Care month in the U.S.  It is a month to recognize those caring for dying patients and their families.  I have such admiration for hospice nurses.  I have heard many times it takes a special kind of nurse to work with babies, but I think the same can be said of a hospice nurse.

In this month’s nurse feature, I interviewed Patty, a native New Yorker.  She, like many New Yorkers (including my family), migrated to Florida many years ago.  I worked with Patty when I was a new grad.  I looked up to her and her skill-she was smart, organized, and confident-all the qualities I admired and wanted to emulate as a nurse.

Where are you from?

I am from Colonie, NY. It is a suburb of Albany, NY.

In what area of nursing do you work?

Presently I am a Hospice Nurse (for 6 years)

What inspired you to become a nurse?

My great Aunt was an RN back in the 50’s and my mother would take me to visit her at the hospital. She was a very professional RN, in Charge of a whole floor. Her appearance was impeccable.  She had a starched white cap on her neatly pinned up hair, a starched white uniform with 3/4 sleeves and the hem below her knees, white hose and polished white clinic shoes with a small heel.  She always stood very straight with her shoulders back and when she walked, she walked with a purpose in mind.  Back then there were “wards.”  These were multi-bed large rooms with curtains dividing the beds for privacy. I remember watching her walk into the room.  All the patients were so glad to see her. She would attend to each one with kindness and skill and when she was finished, the patients were so grateful and felt so much better. I knew at a very young age that was what I wanted to do, care for people and become an Registered Nurse like her.

What advice would you give to a new nurse?

Always remember that you are taking care of someone’s loved one and you must do your very best always. Also, realize that your patients and their family are scared, hurting and worried. Don’t take unpleasant actions or words from them personally.

What advice would you give to a tired (burned out) nurse?

Change to another area of nursing. Sometimes a fresh new transfer can do wonders. Nursing is a wonderful profession and you can bring knowledge and expertise to another area that needs you. Seriously, try this you may like your new area!

What do you do in your spare time?

I make belly bands, diapers, toys, chew toys and blankets for animal rescues. I belong to .  We are all over the world but very active in the USA.  Each adoptive pet gets a homemade blanket before they get adopted so when they adopt their human, the transition to their new home is smoother and less stressful.  I also make name cards for newborn cribs when I’m not too busy with WIL.

Thanks for sharing, Patty!!  You are a shining example of a nurse ❤  For those of you contemplating hospice nursing, check out my interview with Patty for Mighty nurse……

Coffee Talk with a Mighty Nurse: Hospice Nursing

Dinner With a Nurse

img_0348My boyfriend is an engineer which means he knows about as much about the medical profession as I do convolutional codes.  Over dinner the conversation often starts with, “how was your day?”  Most of you can probably relate here.  The non-medical partner talks about the meeting that never ended or the inundation with emails.  When the conversation is then turned to the nurse, an unfiltered play by play is given of the previous shift or memory.  It is a raw recollection that is sometimes neither welcomed nor stomached entirely.  Sometimes it borders on too much information, but it is all in a day’s work for a nurse…..

Dinner With a Nurse

4 Reasons Why Every Nurse Should Vote


The election is exactly 3 weeks away and while it feels like one of the most absurd campaigns in our country’s history, it is our civic duty to vote. Every single vote matters. I am not writing this to try to sway those of you who have already decided on a candidate. While I certainly have my opinions, I have learned that this a pointless battle that can divide families, friends, and coworkers. This post is for those of you who do not exercise your right to be heard or believe it is futile.  In my latest for Mighty Nurse, I give a few reasons why every nurse should vote.  Thanks for reading ❤

4 Reasons Why Every Nurse Should Vote

4Ways to Be a More Mindful Nurse

FullSizeRender-47In this week’s post for Mighty Nurse, I offer a few simple steps to practicing mindfulness.  Mindfulness teaches us to be more conscious of our thoughts, feelings, environment, and sensations.  We have all heard the phrase, you are your own worst enemy.  Learning to tame the monkey mind by simple observations and detachment can lead to a happier, less stressed you.  All it takes is practice ❤

4 Ways to Be a More Mindful Nurse 

American Nurse Today

american-nurse-todaySo excited to share my first post with American Nurse Today, the official journal of the American Nurses Association.  With the election near, it’s hard not to have an opinion about the future of our country.  With immigration at the center of the argument, it is painful to sit back and watch as one candidate bullies his way through a campaign tainted with  hatred, bigotry, misogyny,and total disrespect for anyone that disagrees with him.  Is this the direction our country is headed?  Is this going to be the voice of the people?  What happened to “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore?”

A Nursing Perpective on the Refugee Crisis

Signs & Symptoms of Nurse Burnout

cropped-img_4226.jpgNurse burnout is an epidemic not just in the U.S.  It happens here in Sweden as well, the world over for that matter.  It’s called “hitting the wall” in Sweden and fortunate for any individual living here, there is both financial and emotional support for those suffering.  According to a 2010 study, “the hospital nurse workforce is experiencing greater workloads resulting from shorter hospital stays, rising average patient acuity, fewer support resources, and a national nurse shortage. Higher nurse workloads are associated with burnout and job dissatisfaction, precursors to voluntary turnover that contribute to the understaffing of nurses in hospitals and poorer patient outcomes.  Indeed, more than 40% of hospital staff nurses score in the high range for job-related burnout, and more than 1 in 5 hospital staff nurses say they intend to leave their hospital jobs within 1 year.”

Burnout is a very personal story for me.  It is a story I have not shared with anyone but my closest friends and family.  Until now.  Moving to another country, learning to communicate in another language, and working in intensive care in said language threw me over the edge and became my downfall.  I then lost someone dear to me, a support I had counted on most of my life.  I felt hopeless.  I would drive to work holding on to some hope that I would make it through my shift and regain what little confidence in myself as a nurse I had left.  I left most mornings with doubt, tears, and a feeling of hopelessness.  I couldn’t sleep at night.  I would toss and turn.  On my days off I was so consumed with a lack of self confidence and worry.  Something had to give.

Why share this extremely personal story?  Because I was in denial for a long time.  Because I thought it would never happen to me.  Because it did happen to me and I want to give those experiencing burnout some sense that their is hope.  Burnout does not mean the end of your career.  It is not a reflection of you the individual.  It is a series of misfortunate circumstances.

Are you headed in that direction?  The following are a few signs and symptoms to be aware of ❤

Signs & Symptoms of Nurse Burnout

6 Ingredients for a Succesful Shift


“It is a simple fact that working with your tribe of people can sometimes make all the difference in the world. You know that no matter what, you have one another’s backs unconditionally. No matter how difficult the day, you have a second pair of eyes, ears, and another trustworthy opinion. Somewhere, in the calmer moments, you can have a laugh.”

A shout out to the amazing nurses, nursing assistants, and docs in the NICU at Queen Silvia’s Hospital for Children in Gothenburg, Sweden.  Here is my latest for Mighty Nurse…

6 Ingredients for a Succesful Shift

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