Recently I had a bone density scan. And, yup, I am at the age where, sure enough, I have osteopenia (reduced bone mass of lesser severity than osteoporosis). And my doctor said if I don’t take steps now, it could eventually turn into osteoporosis. 

I already take calcium and vitamin D daily, so she said she really meant steps — literally. Weight bearing exercises and a minimum of 30 minutes of walking on a hard surface a day. Now, I live in Florida where it’s Earth-melting hot by 7 a.m. Like 15 minutes in, you think you are wading through a swamp! But I don’t want osteoporosis, so off I go on a daily morning walk. Do I want to do this? Nope. However, I know it’s worth the effort or I will suffer the consequences. 

So, what in the heck has this got to do with our profession you ask? Or is Nurse Jackie just going on another rant? (Maybe both!)

OK, here’s the thing. Often, we have to do stuff we really don’t want to do at work, but if we don’t, the consequences will cause us a bunch of regulatory pain (and probably poor outcomes as well for our residents).

Take audits, for example. I have yet to meet a person who says, “Yippee, I get to run around and add doing audits to my mountain of tasks today!” But if we do them right, we see what we need to fix, and we fix it. Like all that stuff in the medication fridge: Is it labeled, expired? How about the med cart? Oh, horrors! Is oxygen stored correctly, tubing labeled, and are assessments completed in your EHR? Was everything done correctly on those admissions yesterday?

No one loves looking at all of this stuff, but it makes a difference.

So go ahead, do the hard stuff, prevent a poor outcome and be proud of yourself for the effort. It’s worth the sweat!

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, Senior Director of Clinical Innovation and Education for Mission Health Communities, LLC and an 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. 

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.