Nurses: Tattoos at work, a do or do not…?

This one sparked a fire in my belly. I’m a nurse, have been for over a decade. And I have Tattoos. In fact I have three of them, and still have plans to get one more.

Does that make me a bad nurse? This topic has a ba-zillion applications. But ultimately how do my tattoos have anything to do with the care I give?

I mean I’ve saved thousands of lives in my short tenure as a nurse.

Oh, I’m now a Nurse Practitioner. So do my tattoos make me less of a provider? Less of a proffesional?


Like I said, it lit a fire in my belly.


By the way, here was my response to the question:

Tattoos do not reflect ability. Dress professional. Period. The only difference between the tattooed and non-tattooed person, is that the tattooed person doesn’t care if you don’t have a tattoo.

#YoTambienMeDormi I guess a well rested physician is now a crime?

Doctors Post Pics Where They Sleep At Work To Defend Med Resident Caught Asleep.

I saw this post a while ago. According to the article:

After a Mexican blog posted a picture of a medical resident sleeping behind a desk at a hospital in Monterrey, Mexico, and attacked her for not doing her job, doctors around the world lept to her defense by posting pictures of themselves caught napping during some of their most grueling shifts. These images are going viral under the hashtag #YoTambienMeDormi (“I’ve also fallen asleep” in Spanish).

In the 1980s, a high-profile case involving the death of a girl named Libby Zion at a hospital staffed by exhausted doctors led to the drafting of the Libby Zion Law. This law limits NY physicians’ work hours per week to “only” 80, showing just how overworked some of our doctors are.

The writer criticized the young resident, saying that “doctors are obliged to do their work”

There were “dozens of patients who need care,” the blogger continued

via Doctors Post Pics Where They Sleep At Work To Defend Med Resident Caught Asleep | Bored Panda.

I then saw social media streams explode with banter. Specifically I saw how my fellow professionals responded…


I saw nurse after nurse repeatedly lashing out on social media about how dare that resident sleep and the unfairness of it being ok for a physician to sleep while on shift, but a nurse can’t:

“What do you think Nurses, would a Nurse be treated the same way?”

“If I was caught sleeping on the job, I’d be fired”

I was a bit shell-shocked. I was upset.

Ok, I was fuming with emotions. Which is why I had to let it marinate before I said something I would regret.

I let it “marinate for a second”.. (queue the video – to lighten my mood)

I have a hard time understanding how any nurse out there can compare themselves, their profession or their job and responsibilities to that of a resident and/or a physician. I’ve been lucky enough to walk on both sides of that line that seems to be drawn in the sand. And I’m here to tell you these are two totally different worlds when it comes to worked hours, shift length and manpower.

Hands down nurses physically have a tougher job. Always on the go, little to no rest both physically, mentally and emotionally. Getting shit on, quite literally and metaphorically, day in and day out. Nurses work anywhere from 8hr to 12 hr scheduled shifts, which can easily get extended to a double 16hr shift. They can vary from 3 up to 6 days/ per week depending on many variables, but on average they get more time away, than at the bedside (keep in mind I’m only referring to shift workers, most of which work in the hospital setting) And depending on the acuity, nurses can be directly responsible for 3 up to 12 or 15 patients. The higher the acuity the less patient assignments. It seems that the average ICU assignment can be 2 (sometimes 3).

As for physicians, more specifically residents, their job is less physically demanding. Meaning they don’t do the physical labor of moving patients, lifting, transferring, etc. While I’m sure we can agree that job where your on your feet more than off your feet takes a toll on your  body, even if your just standing still, residents don’t have the physical exhaust that Nurses have to endure. Now here’s the rub. Residents work long hours. I mean long hours. They can work 24, 36 or 48hr shift – straight.

Doctors before and after 24h shift

Doctors before and after 24h shift

They can work every day of the week with no breaks other than getting an 8hr ‘scheduled rest shift’ in-between their long worked hours. They will flip flop night and days with very little rest. They’ll get no days off away from the hospital for sometimes 20-30day stretches. Not to mention they are responsible for anywhere from 7 up to 20+ patients at any given time. And after all those worked hours, they still have to find time to study for their boards, continue to conduct research, oh and more often than not have to lead one or two ‘sub-committees’.

Now lets talk semantics. The jobs themselves are completely different. Let’s not even compare the apples to the oranges. I’m not going down that rabbit hole of doctors versus nurses. Two different professions that require to very specific skill sets. We all know that docs make horrible nurses and nurses make horrible docs, yet both professions claim they can do the others’ job better. And both continue to claim unfairness.


Would a nurse get fired for sleeping on the job? Damn right. It’s your job to be the watchful eye overseeing your patient(s). It’s your job to keep them safe during your watch.

Does a physician deserve some restful sleep when working a 20+hr shift stretch? Damn right. Because when they receive a phone call in the middle of the day/night from the nurse wanting to know the why about the patient’s medical diagnosis, or lab result, or test findings, etc, etc, that physician needs to have a clear and sharp mind to continue to save lives.

Nurses and doctors each have a specific job and a specific part to play. If you continue to feel the need to bark unfairness, then maybe you should go back to school and work towards the degree you don’t have and work towards the job you’re not doing. Don’t harp on someone’s skill set, job requirements or stress level unless you have literally walked in their shoes. Working side by side with them doesn’t afford you the right to judge their path.

I was one of those nurses. Prior to NP school. Prior to becoming a CRNP, I was one of those nurses. That nurse that thinks they know more than the physician. Thinks that most docs are “dumber than a box of rocks”. I was that nurse that got tired of “saving the docs ass” every time they screwed up. I was the nurse that rolled their eyes every month of July, because I have to teach the new doctors how to “doctor”. I was the nurse that felt residents needed to go back to medical school. I was the nurse that scoffed at a resident denying me a verbal order request for my patients, because I mean, seriously, “What do they know?”

Then I ‘visited’ the same path that 1st or 2nd year residents walk. I was scared (shitless I might add) into the realization that being the primary care provider for another human life form requires an insurmountable amount of education, training and endless hours of making mistake after mistake trying to do your best every time you sign your name as the provider for that human life. Your decisions dictate the fate of another life. Physicians, NP’s, PA’s and other providers don’t get to say it was someone else decision that caused such pain and suffering. They have to bear the burden of death just as much as life. When those “why” questions get asked by the nurse, the physician (and/or provider) is the one who is supposed to have the answer.

And if that means falling asleep on the counter of a nursing station from utter exhaustion just so you can awaken to learn how to better provide for the next human life, then so be it.

Whatever happened to supporting one another? I know one thing. I want a semi-well-rested physician caring for me, not someone who was require to stay awake for 24+ hrs prior to caring for me. How well do you function on no sleep?




Work hard.. play hard..

Nurses are infamous for working hard. It’s what we do. We do it so well, we often volunteer for more work (can you say overtime?) Even though we should do just the opposite.

I’m a firm believer that nurse burn out, nurse job dissatisfaction and nurse’s leaving our profession have to do with not taking enough time for ourselves. We have to try playing just as hard as we work. And demanding that you don’t bring your job stress home.

Take time to smell the roses (yes, I know it’s cliche’) Find a lil’ “me” time in the chaos. Help your mind and your body reset before you tackle the hum of your job again and again.

Even if it’s only for a short time. A couple hours, or dedicating an entire day to you and yours. Make sure YOU matter in your life.

I’m married to a wonderful women who is also a nurse. We do our very best to make “we” time. Even if it’s just a simple leisure walk in the park. Breathing in the air, soaking up the sun and stretching our legs. It’s this time, where we reset. So that we have the strength to keep doing what we do.

Find your “me” time. You’ll be happier and healthier for it.

I discovered a quick and efficient way to lose all of my ‘holiday weight gain’

Influenza virus

The week of Christmas I randomly weighed myself. I was curious about my weight, because I threw caution to the wind this past holiday season and ate any and every sweet treat that crossed my path.

I was the heaviest I’ve  been in a long time.

I finished my 15th worked shift over the past 18 days. We drove home to visit the family, and I  enjoyed my Christmas holiday with my family

We visited with both sides of our family, stayed overnight then headed back home. Arrived home, did some cleaning up and I headed to the gym to workout and work off all that darn crap.

I had only made it to the gym once in over a week due to my last stretch of shifts. I had worked 9 straight, so I was achy sore from work, from traveling and needed to move.

As per my usual, I decided to push the limits a bit. Did some sound barbell work and then did some tough mid-line ‘abs’ work. By the time I was done, my gut was feelin’.. a bit blegh.

I chalked it up to being away from training.

I made it home and that blegh feeling got progressively worse. By the time I was home, I was flat out nauseated. It took everything in me not to hurl. Within the first 30 minutes of getting home that Friday night I was in the bathroom. And I stayed in the bathroom for hours. In fact I spent more time in the bathroom that night than I did my bed.

Over the next 36 hrs (from what I’m told) I laid on the couch shuffling from sitting up to lying and sleeping. I would awaken long enough to crawl to the bathroom and come back out to the couch.

I don’t remember Saturday after Christmas at all.

It took me all the w2014-12-29 07.52.07ay until Tuesday of this week to feel… uhhmm.. ?normal? Tuesday was the first day I did more than shower. I didn’t brush my teeth for days.


I found out at the end of my weekend, that my lil’ nephew and niece were sick on Christmas morning and they had so very kindly passed on their germs to me and half my family.

I weighed myself yesterday. I lost seven pounds since the days before Christmas.


This has been my hangout for the past 72 hours… Gotta love the flu. Finally up and moving today.

A photo posted by Sean (@sean_dent) on


So much for that holiday weight gain.


Header Image source: Flickr




I am a creature of habit

2013-12-14 19.07.20Today I had a finite amount of time to squeeze in a workout due to scheduling. My schedule opened up last minute and I had a window of time to fit in a workout.

The problem I have is I’ve become so set in my ways when it comes to my workout that I don’t know how to act or move when my time is limited. You see, I tend to spend a lot of time warming up. Some say I spend too much time (OK, most would say it). I’ve admitted on more than one occasion that mobility is my crutch. I mobilize every part of my body, every time I step into the gym.

Well today was the first day I didn’t. Instead of spending 20-30 minutes warming up with stretching, mobility and flexibility. I spent 7 whole minutes mobilizing what felt tight and jumping right into movement specific warm-ups with the barbell before adding the weight and diving into my workout.

I was nervous and quite honestly convinced that I wouldn’t be able to complete the workout due to time, or due to inability from not being ‘properly warmed up’.

I was pleasantly proven wrong. I got through my workout with time to spare! Talk about being released from the mobility shackles!!! Heh heh

Chalk this up to a lesson learned… I can survive on minimal time warming up. There is still hope for this 40+ body.


My blog name: My Strong Medicine

strong heart - stock vector


I’ve been blogging for…uhh… wow. I’ve been blogging for ~10 years. Officially have been blogging with a separate ‘dedicated’ blog for 8 of them and spent about a year-plus-or-so blogging on the old Yahoo 360 social network (which, in my humble opinion, is where the Facebook juggernaut got their inspiration and ideas) as well as tinkering with good ole’ Blogger (back when it was one a handful of blogging platforms) dating back to 2004-2005 era.

When I first created my blog ‘space’ back then I had intended to blog about health/wellness/fitness. In fact I did that for approx 18months (or so) under a different  blog name : 2bestrong.  I’m not quite sure why I chose that name.  Way back then I wanted to promote all-things health with the mental toughness to go along with it. Even back then I was all about mental ‘strength’.

As a new blogger I realized quickly how many fitness blogs were out there.. but not many nursing blogs. I wanted to find my niche’, but I wanted to keep blogging about my original topics. I thought, why not do both? I’ll blog about all-things health AND I’ll blog about all-things nursing. More specifically my journey as a nurse, and of course me being a MALE nurse (even back then I hated that connotation).

My topics of interest were all about the physical toughness, mental strength, metaphysical fortitude and of course my love for all-things nursing.

I’m pretty sure I took weeks, heck months to figure a name that was unique, had a ring to it, and of course had some good metadata draw for my blog’s SEO! (bet you didn’t think I knew or cared about SEO, did ya?!)

I wanted and loved the work ‘Strong’, but I just couldn’t find the ‘hook’ that I wanted for my blog. I started using domain name generator websites that would take keywords and mash them up into a ‘name’ for your website/blog. After A LOT of wasted hours I stumbled upon the phrase ‘Strong Medicine’. Ironically there was a TV show named ‘Strong Medicine’ that literally had just ended around the time I was creating this blog – not that the TV show has any application or relationship to my blog – just a fun fact for ya.

Needless to say, Strong Medicine, the domain name was taken (back then).

*sidebar – just did a quick Google search and that particular domain is no longer active. Weird?

But a little trick that many websites were utilizing back then (and still do to this day) was to ‘personalize’ your website’s name by adding ‘my’ to the front of the name.

Presto-chango… and POOF…

MY STRONG MEDICINE was born, circa 2008.

I liked it because the name could apply and be an umbrella to all the above words, terms and intentions of my blog: physical toughness, mental strength, metaphysical fortitude and of course my love for all-things nursing.

The only stretch of the imagination is the play on words between my world of nursing and the term medicine. Ehh, splitting hairs if you ask me. Medicine is nursing and nursing is medicine. But my life is more than nursing, and the term medicine can encapsulate so much about my life:

-medication, medicament, drug, prescription, pharmaceutical, dose, treatment, remedy, cure; nostrum, panacea, cure-all; informal meds; archaic physic.

-the science or practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease (in technical use often taken to exclude surgery).

-a compound or preparation used for the treatment or prevention of disease

-a spell, charm, or fetish believed to have healing, protective, or other power:

Six years later, and I’m still pretty happy with the name.


Image source:


Who needs an alarm clock…??


More than once this week I’ve woken up before my alarm clock. I’m talking 10-20 minutes earlier than the alarm setting.


Not 5 minutes.

Not 30 minutes.

That gawd-awful time frame that is too short to lay back down and fall back asleep, and it’s too long of time frame because you could very well just fall back to sleep to be jarred awake by the actual alarm clock.

I’m not sure what’s worse? Taking the chance, laying back down and being jarred awake… or just getting up and losing out on that 10-20 minutes of needed sleep. I’ve made both choices.. and they both sort of stink… LOL

Does anyone else regret fighting ‘nap time’ as a kid?


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