It’s the aftermath…

I can ‘survive’ the actual worked shift. I can pry my eyes to stay open after midnight. Especially when I’m busy at work.

I can even make a valiant attempt at ignoring the ‘low lights’ on the nursing units once the visiting hours are over.

What I have trouble is the aftermath. I finish my NOC shift (or my pseudo-NOC shift called the twilight shift) and I head home in the middle of night. I make a horrid attempt at catching some shut eye, but I toss and turn for hours on end.

I crawl out of bed and do my best to stay vertical. Try to be productive and ‘normal’. But by the end of the afternoon the fog creeps back in. That fog in my brain just starts to make things ‘fuzzy’ and slow. My skin sort of tingles and I start acting like a darn zombie.

I ache like I have the flu, my eyes start to itch, burn and get completely out of focus. And at some point the synapses in my brain start to fizzle.


I now have to make another pitiful attempt at sleeping. My body and it’s regimented schedule are already way off kilter. Now I spend a couple days finding some sense of balance.

Insomnia really does suck.


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Today I…


Today I punched a time clock so others didn’t have to.
Today I cared for those who spent their holiday feeling unwell and battling illness.
Today I was thankful for being able to do my job.
Today I was reminded of how lucky I am.
Today I celebrated my holiday the best way I could.
Today I was a Nurse Practitioner, a friend, a colleague, and a husband.
Today I listened a lot.
Today I learned even more.
Today I lived life thankfully.

Happy Easter everyone. May your cup runneth over….

Just as mine does.

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.

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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’.

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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.

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