Today while I was at the eye doctors waiting to start my glaucoma screening recheck, I picked up a copy of Reader's Digest. The small “hand held” magazine made me feel a bit nostalgic because the primary magazine we had around the house when I was growing up was RD. I always felt that I was somehow missing something by just reading the “digest” version of the latest news and updates. Little did I know at the time, that RD was way ahead of its time. Today in our hyper stimulated digital age, all we can truly consume is the digest (facebook) and sometimes the best we can do is take in digest of the digest (twitter).
But what really caught my attention this morning was the lead RD story,“50 Secrets Nurses Won't Tell You.” Here's my digest of this great digest story
Top 10 Secrets Nurses Won't Tell You (from “50 Secrets Nurses Won't Tell You”, Reader's Digest, November 2011):
#10 “When you tell me how much you eat or drink or smoke or how often you do drugs I automatically double or triple it” (I am so guilty of this “under-reporting matter.)
#9 “Your life is in our hands---literally. We question physicians' orders more often than you might think. Some of the the mistakes I've headed off: a physician who forgot to order a medication that the patient was taking at home, a doctor who ordered the incorrect diet for a diabetic, and one who tried to perform a treatment on the wrong patient.” (Nurses who head off mistakes are the “secret weapons” to Smarter Healthcare.)
#8 “If you have a choice, don't go the hospital in July. That's when the new crop of residents starts and they're pretty clueless.” (Although this didn't make #1 on on my Top 10 list, it's definitely one of my favorites.)
#7 “Now that medical records are computerized, a lot of nurses or doctors read the screen while you're trying to talk to them. If you feel like you're not being heard, say 'I need you're undivided attention for a moment.'” (An advisable technique for requesting personal attention during business meetings too.)
#6 “Despite nurses' best efforts, hospitals are still filthy and full of drug resistant germs. I don't even bring my shoes into the house when I get home.” (I've never been a germ-a-phobe before...but after hearing this I may need to reconsider my position.)
#5 “The No. 1 thing you should never say to me: 'You're too smart to be a nurse.” I went to nursing because I wanted to be a nurse, not because I wanted to be a doctor and didn't make it.” (I love this one!)
#4 “We aren't going to tell you your doctor is incompetent, but if we say “'You have the right to a second opinion”, that can be code for 'I don't trust your doctor.'” (A really good tip on how to use “code words”...a technique that can be easily translated into any profession.)
#3 “When your provider asks for a list of the medications you're taking, make sure you include over-the-counter drugs and herbals. People think that if an herb is 'all natural' and 'organic,' it's not a medication. But that's not true. Herbals can interact with other medications and cause serious complications." (I've heard the same advice from one of my wife's favorite National Public Radio (NPR) shows, “The People's Pharmacy.)
#2 "When a patient is terminally ill, sometimes the doctor won't order enough pain medication. If the patient is suffering, we'll sometimes give more than what the doctor said and ask him later to change the order. People will probably howl now that I've said it out loud, but you have to take care of your patient." (I sure hope if I am every terminally ill, my nurse does this for me!)
#1 “The doctors don't save you; we do. We're the ones keeping an eye on your electrolytes, your fluids, whether you're running a fever. We're often the one who decide whether you need a feeding tube or a central line for your IV. And we're the ones who yell and scream when something goes wrong.” (I think this one says it all!)
By 2025, the United States is expected to be short about a quarter-million registered nurses. I for one sure like the sound of those odds which is why I've started my nursing education at Wake Technical Community College here in Raleigh, North Carolina.
For all the terrific nurses out there working hard to deliver SMARTER HEALTHCARE.....THANK YOU!
Oh by the way, thanks to some very cool new eye imaging tools, my eye doctor determined that my elevated pressures were NOT an early indication of future glaucoma concerns. WHEW!