Not going to say that any more

Jackie Vance
Jackie Vance

With Thanksgiving just past, I realize how thankful I am that there have been both people and situations in my life that have helped me adjust my attitude, and views on what's really important. 

For example, over the last 20 years every time I see a certain physician, I tease him about an order he once wrote for an end-stage resident on comfort/palliative care in a nursing facility where I was director of nursing. The order was “Patient may have lollypops orally.”  Well, if you know me, you know I had to tease, “Where do you think my nurses are going to try and stick that lollypop?”

So when I see still him now and then, I say, “Still writing for those oral lollypops doc?” and we laugh. (Please note this doctor is a friend of mine, and I am not being disrespectful.)

Well, recently I was at a meeting and a few of us got into a discussion about odd orders at end of life so I mentioned the one above. Boy, was I in for an attitude adjustment.

It turns out that a physician at the meeting (let's call him Dr. Great) shared something, um, out of the ordinary that he experienced. He had been at a picnic in a very rural area when someone started screaming for help. The woman screaming said her husband was a diabetic and had taken his insulin but had not eaten much and was now unconscious. 

It would take over 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, so a doctor (who was with Dr. Great) took the lollypop out of his mouth and inserted it into the unconscious guy's rectum. After all, the rectum is a highly vascular area and the glucose can be absorbed rapidly. By the time the ambulance arrived, the man with diabetes was conscious.

So, I'm definitely not going to tease, “Still writing for those oral lollypops doc?” ever again as I have had quite an attitude adjustment. (And an education, to boot.)

Another stark look at attitude adjusting: A few months ago, I was hiking in Grafton Notch State park in Maine. I had drank two bottles of water when, yup, Mother Nature decided to come calling. Now, I am not what you would call a hardy girl. Tinkling in the woods in not my thing.

So eventually I came across a “comfort station.” OK, let me describe the situation to you: It is about 30 degrees but colder yet with the wind chill, and there's a light snow falling. In other words, it's cold!

The comfort station is basically a porcelain seat over a hole, fenced in with an overhang, yet still exposed to the elements. But due to my about-to-burst bladder, I'm all in. However, when my hind end hit that ice-cold porcelain, I made a sound I cannot describe (but I am pretty sure a moose answered!). 

Suffice it to say, I will never say, “I'm freezing my butt off,” again unless I truly mean it!  My attitude has been adjusted.

So how about the phrase “worst day ever”?  Do you ever come home and say that?

This is the one we all have the power to adjust our attitudes and change our outlook by ourselves. Maybe you wanted to use the phrase when your boss or manager decided that leading by yelling or being snarky, instead of helping you learn and become empowered, was the way to go.

OK, trust your Real Nurse Jackie here. If the above happens, adjust your attitude. Don't let that person rob you of your purpose. Instead, say, “OK, it wasn't a great day, but I don't do this job to please my boss. I am in the healthcare because ______.” (Fill in your “why” here.)

Or maybe your favorite resident passed. Instead of saying “worst day ever”, say, “At least I got to love and be there for this resident and support her at her end of life. I was able to make a difference.”  What a blessing, right? 

And if you make this your habit — which will happen when you do it time and time again — then one day if you're told, “You have cancer,” instead of saying “worst day ever,” you'll say, “It will be OK. I'm going to fight like a girl!”

The next thing you know, after the doctors do their amazing thing and the nurses do their incredible caring thing, you really are OK. Attitude is everything.

I'm very thankful for all of the people in my life who help shape my attitude!

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, a 2012 APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. She has not starred in her own national television series — yet. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.

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The Real Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, a 2012 APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.

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