Tattooed and professional

Josh Wrede: Creating Art on Skin – YouTube.

Do you know what the difference is between a tattooed person and a non-tattooed person?

The tattooed person doesn’t care that you don’t have tattoos.

I’m a professional. I’m a nurse practitioner. I’m a health care provider. And I have tattoos (yes more than one). While they are not exposed when I am wearing my work attire I have an admittedly biased, but honest belief that tattoos do not make the person. The person makes the tattoos.

I often find entertainment in reactions from people who know me through my professional life realize and maybe even see that I have tattoos.

“*GASP* YOOU have a tattoo??!!”

I’m sure I read into the reaction a bit, but it gives the impression that they’re shocked that ‘I’ have a tattoo. The ‘professional’. The health care provider. (I mean… Sean… you just don’t LOOK like a tattoo person)


What DOES a tattoo person look like then? Hmm.

Yes. I have tattoos. (not that they were some big secret)

I don’t feel it makes me any less of a professional. It doesn’t diminish the quality, nor nullify the work I do. It’s simply an expression of me. Each tattoo represents something in my life (no matter how poor or how faded the tattoo may be)

Now, I must also admit that there should be a certain balance when it comes to tattoos in the professional world. Part of being a professional is maintaining a certain level of professionalism, more specifically your appearance. I feel that tattoo sleeves, neck and hand tattoos can be a bit much for my patients. In that same respect I also think dangly earrings, over-the-top body piercings (non-traditional I guess), unkempt  facial and head hair, tattered clothing and lack of personal hygiene are also not ideal appearance qualities for the professional. So take my opinion with a grain of salt.

Like I said, I believe in balance.

— —

The above video just reminds me that I promised myself another tattoo to signify my graduation from school. I’m already 7 months late on that promise.

Working as a nurse & the holidays..

This time of the year is always a bit tougher than most working in the hospital. It’s the time of the year when everyone would rather be at home with their family instead of punching the clock at work.

I consider myself lucky this time of the year. I don’t actually mind working. Check out why here (follow the link):

Nursing over the holidays (via

Most nurses would probably tell you that working as a nurse during the holidays, quite frankly, stinks. Work takes you away from family during the most family-oriented time of the year. Most nurses don’t get to spend their holidays (in the traditional…

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Being a nurse on Thanksgiving


The holiday wouldn’t be complete without celebrating the festivities with your family. BOTH your families that is. How many of us have created elaborate dinner meal plans within our place of employment knowing we were working the holiday.
The hell with not being home. Let’s ring in the holiday the correct way. Surround ourselves with those we love, respect and honor in our place of work.
Drink and be merry – even if the drink is ‘hospital approved’.

I hope you and yours have a warm, safe, and happy thanksgiving holiday.

How I decided on my specialty of critical care nursing

How did you decide on your specialty? (self.nursing)

submitted 1 day ago by LyanroarNursing Student

Hi nurses! It\’s me, Lyanroar aka Professor Whiskers. I\’m curious how you all decided which field you wanted to work in. Did you know from the outset, or did you make your decision later? Are you happy with your decision? If you\’ve changed fields, why? How was the transition?

via How did you decide on your specialty? :nursing

I’m a lil’ late to the party (8 years late), but I’ve recently discovered reddit. Yeah, I know. Reddit is NOT new. It’s just new to me – sorry.


I read the above question the other day and I thought I’d share how I chose critical care (although I think I’ve shared this before).

The irony about me choosing critical care, is that it came out of left field. It was sort of a slap in the face realization, not a planned or thought-out decision. I had always thought I would slide right into some sort of orthopedic related nursing field simply because it was the logical transition from my previous career. I was an athletic trainer for over a decade, so it only made sense to stay ‘with the bones’.

Or so I thought.

I had approached my ‘ICU rotation’ as a nursing student like all the others that I was unfamiliar with. “Let’s just get through this”. Up until this particular rotation nothing really stood out in my new ‘nursing world’. Med-surg, ped’s, OB, ED, etc. They all sort of blended together, each having some cool features.. but for me nothing really resonated.

I can remember worrying that I had made a mistake entering nursing school. I was just going through the motions. Nothing had excited me.

My first day in the ICU I was scared outta my mind. Monitors beeping, people with tubes coming out of every orifice, gadgets and medications that required some serious brain power. WOAH.

Thankfully our instructors eased us into our responsibilities. By the end of my experience I wasn’t nearly as scared. I got to calculate drip rates, give cardio-reacitve medications, participate in a real ‘CODE’, watch a bronchoscopy, watch an intubation, see how quickly interventions in the ICU gave tangible and palpable results, etc. The list was endless.

I was hooked.

I was excited.

I was anxious to go back.

I wanted to learn more.

I wanted to do more.

I wanted to be more.

I wanted to be like those nurses. How smoothly they reacted to some of the scariest things. And how their reactions and subsequent actions and interventions mattered – almost immediately.

I can remember walking out of my patient’s room one of the last days I was on the unit. I had just given some IV lopressor. As we nurses know,  you’re supposed to watch the monitor for rebound bradycardia and hypotension.  You don’t want to give the med to fast.

It may sound crazy but I was fascinated by the concept that a medication that I was pushing through an IV could have such an immediate impact on my patient’s hemodynamics. I sat and chatted with my patient while keeping the monitor in view.

When I walked out of the patient’s room, my instructor pointed out that I looked very ‘comfortable’ and ‘in my element’.

He couldn’t have been more right.

I never looked back after that. I jumped head first into the ICU fresh out of graduation from my diploma program and 8 years later here I am practicing as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner in the ICU.

Yep, I’m ‘in my element’.

Image Source:

The ON/OFF switch of shift work


There’s a good and bad side to shift work. The supposed (unspoken, but very well known) ON/OFF switch.

I’ve been a shift worker for most of my adult life. My first round of college (yes I said first round) I worked shifts. I was a steady PM shift worker. Ahh, the good ole’ days. As a college student it was the ideal shift. Classes all day, work from 3-11p and then ‘party-time’.

My post-collegiate pre-nurse life involved some weird combination of shifts. Although at one point I think I was working 6 days a week. (The life of an Athletic Trainer was not ‘ideal’ to say the least)

Then came my life as a nurse. Shift work and more shift work. In fact I only DIDN’T  work shifts as a nurse for a short 5 months when I worked in an office (which was dreadful I might add).

The beauty of working shift work is that most of the time you get this parallax-view of having more time off. While you may work less days in the week, you have a tendency to work odd days. And most of us shift workers like to string our shifts together to get a longer chunk of time ‘off’ and away from work.

The side-effect of stringing shifts together is having the life sucked out of you. After that last shift, you rejoice in your time off. But if you’re like me, that first day off is nothing but a recovery day. I spend most of that first day sleeping and sharpening my ‘couch potato’ skills. I literally do nothing. It’s a chore just to breathe… LOL.

The dreaded ON/OFF switch.

I just finished up a 7-day stretch of shifts.

Today the switch was in the OFF position.

I have intentions of turning the switch ON tomorrow, but until then, it’s time for more sleep.

Image Source:

I was THAT nurse


The know it all.

The so-called ‘seasoned veteran’.

The ‘I’ve taken care of one of these patients (Diabetic, Heart Failure, Atrial Fibrillation, etc.), so there all the same’.



Tunnel visoned

Yep. I was one of them. I had been a nurse a whopping14 months and I thought I had learned all there was to learn. I had seen it all. I had done it all.

Pffffttttt! I’m and EXPERIENCED  critical care nurse – don’t ask me if i know how to do that, or know how to treat that.


Seriously. All joking aside, I really was that nurse. It took a swift kick in the rear from a few knowledgeable and smarter nurses before I started to listen. And even then I stomped my foot like a temper-tantrumed child.

Then I had the life scared out of me by some pretty sick patients. Realizing the fate of one’s life can rest on your ability to ‘bring your A game’ wakens you.

And finally I learned the real difference between saving a life and clinging to a life.

My responsibility to care for the ill supersedes any crazy thoughts of me winning an argument (always wanting to be right). Humility is a great teacher. The minute you think you have it all figured out, our patients make sure you lose your footing.

Don’t be that nurse.

Don’t ever be that nurse.



Also, don’t let anyone else be that nurse either.


Post inspired by:
Daily Prompt: Sad But True
by michelle w.

Tell us about the harshest, most difficult to hear — but accurate — criticism you’e ever gotten. Does it still apply?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us HARSH.

Daily Prompt: Sad But True | The Daily Post.

Men in nursing: Treated equally or just a hired hand?

I thought I’d chat a bit on the whole gender inequality debate with male nurses (again). The topic surfaced somewhere in my world recently. The questions remain: Do we get treated differently simply because we’re men? More specifically, am I simply the hired hand? Are male nurses just needed for there muscles?

I always enjoy this urban legend because I bought into the concept early on in my career.  I bashfully admit, I don’t think it helped that I have a semi-athletic build.

As a brand-spankin new green-behind-the-ears nurse, when I was still learning everything there is to know about the basics, I got asked to help with the ‘lifting’ tasks and anything that required you “putting your back into it” quite often. I thought I was being treated as the dumb-jock, but I came to find out later it was just me being the new nurse.

It wasn’t that I was only needed for the manual labor, it was simply the progression of the learning curve. I was not very proficient at many skills right out of school. Cannulating IV’s were way down the road on my journey to being on my own. I mean, I was still trying to master the language let alone be in charge of sick patients. And contrary to popular belief there is a right and wrong way to ‘lift’ and ‘move’ your patients. So I was being introduced to my new world and career in a step-wise manner.

As time progressed, and my learning and skills progressed I was asked to do more than just help with a ‘lift’.

In my opinion, I am (was) treated equally for my knowledge, critical thinking skills and clinical expertise that has developed over the years. I however personally feel that men and women cannot be completely “equal” in the work place perse’, when it comes to physically laboring tasks.

Let me be clear. It’s not an intentional or bigoted approach to the task, it’s just simple physiology. All things being relatively equal, men are stronger than women. It’s not that men are better or worse than women, it’s just physiology. In that respect, me being the ‘guy’ on the floor, I still do (did) get asked to help more than most of my female co-workes for team-lifts, and patient care that requires a degree of physical labor.

The truth of the matter is, when having to turn, lift or transfer a patient who can weigh in excess of 500lbs some times, you’ll always choose a team member who is strong, or at least stronger than others. And in most cases, men are stronger than women.

No bias, or inequality, just simply exercising safe work practices.

P.S. I know I sound like a broken record, but I have to say it once again. I REALLY hate the connotation ‘Male Nurse’. It’s almost as intelligent as saying ‘Female Doctor’. Grr.

Image Source: Deviant Art

Heard on the unit… or not…


Via Cartoon: Did you ever had one of those moments… – About A Nurse – Nursing Cartoon Series

If you’re not answering your home (or cell) phone in your automated “ICU… this is Sean” greeting, then you’re hearing ‘alarms’ and the noises of the unit outside of work in the normal world. I swear sometimes I hear the beeping of the monitors when I’m in the grocery store.

What’s worse is I’m working in a new hospital, and more than one ICU which has different monitoring systems. Oh, and each ICU is upgrading to different bedside monitoring systems and upgrading their computer systems. So I have all kinds of new noises to process and filter. LOL

Life Lately: IRL Became More Important Than URL


Is this thing still on?

Yep. I’m still around. It’s been equal parts busy, personal choice and laziness. Most days I just haven’t had the time to sit down and blog. Other days when I did have some time away from IRL, I simply didn’t have the desire to type or post a blog entry. When my desire to blog became less and less, I became quite complacent and just down right lazy.

For the first time in 4+ years I didn’t have an additional agenda. I could simply live life. Earn a living (or at least try to) and enjoy the fruits of my labor with those I’ve neglected over the past 4+ years. I’ve been spending good quality time with my wife. I’ve tried to spend more time with my family, although the distance has become a challenge. And recently I’m spending some fun times with new friends that I’ve met in our new place of residence.

The transition from student Nurse Practitioner to Acute Care Nurse Practitioner-Certified (ACNP-BC) continues to be a long, educational and enlightening experience. I don’t think my wife and I were prepared for its Tsunami-like effect on our lives, both personally and professionally. You won’t hear me complain, it’s just been challenging at times.

My focus ever since this past school year has started was to graduate and pass my boards. I (including passing my comprehensive exam) accomplished both of those tasks, but had to ride a roller coaster of a journey along the way. I was offered an amazing job opportunity as my first job out of Graduate school, but it would take us 90+ miles away from where we were currently living.

Here have been the past 3.5 months for us:


  • Put our house (of 8 years) on the market to sell
  • finished last of my classes and clinicals
  • planned & arranged graduation activities
  • began packing the house
  • Entire month of April had an average of 2 showings a day for greater than 4 / 7 days of the week
  • each house showing we had to arrange for someone to be present and available
  • declined two separate offers on the house
  • began studying for my board exam


  • accepted an offer on the house
  • made numerous arrangements to iron out final financial terms as well as inspections and surveys on house
  • Graduated from Graduate school
  • continued to study for boards


  • final OK that offer and sale of house would be confirmed
  • signed final sale of house and had a 13 day turnaround to be completely moved out of our home of 8 years
  • spent almost a full month arranging our new home and settling in
  • got lost many, many times in our new city we called home
  • made additional long commutes home for holiday and birthday celebrations with family
  • traveled to future city of residence numerous times to look at possible places to live
  • signed lease to rent a town house
  • Had a medical emergency in the family that required immediate surgery
  • successfully moved to new home, but still were employed at old city of residence
  • both of us began commuting to work 90 miles one way 3+ days a week to work
  • continued to study for boards
  • took board exam last of the month and PASSED


  • realized almost too late that the process of gaining licensure as an ACNP in my state was not an automated process (unlike licensure as an RN)
  • jump through numerous hoops to streamline the licensure process as well as the credentialing process at my new soon-to-be employer
  • both of us continued the long commute
  • almost had to wait an additional 2-4 weeks to start new job due to paperwork and red-taped document logistics (whew)


  • successfully started the new job
  • the credentialing process continues with more paperwork, committee approvals and applications
  • my wife finally found and accepted a new job within our new area of residence

This is just a snap shot of my life recently. I can’t even begin to explain the financial strain this move created for us, but we’re getting by OK. Even after all of the roller-coastering, things are turning out pretty darn good.

Along the way I joined a real CrossFit box (gym), which has been an amazing experience (I still want to blog about that). Social media took the back burner. I had more important things to take care of.

Lastly, a good friend and fellow social media hound influenced my recent non-blogging actions. Dr. Mike Sevilla took a bit of a sabbatical from his on-line life. While he thought he was leaving permanently, he’s returned with some great insight on social media practices, thoughts on branding and just the general purpose and functionality of what social media is and how we horribly misuse, abuse and over-utilize its service(s).

His actions and words greatly influenced my lack of interest in blogging recently (not sure he knows that) as well as me taking a step back and really observing what the heck is going on out there.

I realized I didn’t like it much. And I realized I was part of the problem. I whole-heartedly agreed with Mike. There was far too much negativity, blaming, complaining and accusing out there. Everybody continues to pick sides, point fingers and just basically yell out there. I see and read little to no meaningful communication anymore.

I want to get back to enjoying the act of blogging, the concept of sharing and the pleasure of having some quality dialogue with those that want to have it.

In closing here’s been my life in pictures recently (still love my iPhone):


Let’s just see where this thing takes me.