buckle up, who cares if it's the law? It saves lives.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008
After riding with three of my guys friends to a Blockbuster several weeks ago it came to my attention that people my age don't wear seat belts. Now, maybe I'm being sexist but I believe that the majority of them are males. This is just based on my personal experiences of the Blockbuster trip, my sister nearly pulling over her car once when her guy friend refused to put his seat belt on, and a guy riding with me last week stating that he refuses to wear his because the government tells him to do so.

It's almost no surprise to me that in 2006, 16,975 more men than women died in motor vehicle accidents (car-accidents.com).

I've worked in a Level One Trauma center's ER for a year and I am currently rotating through it again. I cannot begin to stress the important of wearing seat belts. I know its annoying, but I have to get on my soap box for a minute.

Today I sat through a three hour trauma lecture by the Registered Nurse in charge of evaluating every trauma at my hospital. She has worked in Grady's ER, been a flight nurse for many years and works hand in hand with my hospital's head of trauma surgery. Needless to say, she knows her stuff.

She shared with us that it is six times more likely for you to be ejected from a car if you are not wearing a seat belt.
She also stated that 75% of occupants ejected from cars die.

I personally have two friends that died after being ejected from cars. Neither were wearing seat belts.

Some statistics from James Madison University's website might also make you think:

Safety Belt Statistics

One out of every five drivers will be involved in a traffic crash this year.

Approximately 35,000 people die in motor vehicle crashes each year.
About 50 percent (17,000) of these people could be saved if they wore their safety belts.

More than 90 percent of all motorists believe safety belts are good idea, but less than 14 percent actually use them.

For every one percent increase in safety belt use, 172 lives and close to $100 million in annual injury and death costs could be saved.

Safety belts when used properly reduce the number of serious traffic injuries by 50 percent and fatalities by 60-70 percent.

For maximum protection safety belts should be fastened before traveling any distance or speed. Seventy-five percent of crash deaths and injuries occur within 25 miles of home. More than half of all injury-producing motor vehicle crashes involve low speeds under 40 m.p.h.

Motorists are 25 times are more likely to be killed or seriously injured when they are "thrown clear" than when remain inside their vehicle.

A common cause of death and injury to children in motor vehicles is being crushed by adults who are not wearing safety belts. On out of four serious injuries to passengers is caused by occupants being thrown into each other.

Of every 100 children who die in motor vehicle crashes at least 80 would survive if they were properly secured in an approved child safety seat or safety belts.

An estimated 80 percent of American children area immunized against contagious diseases, but less than 10 percent are properly restrained when riding in a motor vehicle.

Pretty scary huh? Amazing that 2 seconds of your time could save your life.

what's that Scarlett says?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Well sometimes it sucks.

We had a 2 month old baby girl come into the ER today in cardiac arrest. She never had a pulse. We coded her fully with no results. Her parents had left her sleeping in their bed and she suffocated in the blankets.

For those of you who have never heard of SIDS...Sudden Infant Death Syndrome...it's for real! DO NOT LET YOUR INFANT SLEEP WITH YOU! I don't care if you think it's sweet or how much they cry without you there. This happens ALL the time!!! Perfectly healthy infants die suddenly with no known cause other than that they probably weren't getting enough oxygen.

I know that that advice probably applies to very few, if any, of the people who read this. But pass it on or something. I just needed to get that off my chest.

The nurse I was working with refused to be a part of the code. She has an eight month old at home. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to survive it I guess. I'm glad that I didn't have to see the family. If I had seen that baby's mother I'm not sure if I would have wept with her or wanted to yell in her face. I hope I would have done the first.

It's interesting to see how staff reacts in situations like that. Some of them get really quiet. The ones who have kids usually talk angrily about how some people shouldn't have children. Some need to know the patient's name. Others don't care one bit. They refuse to get involved. I'm the quieter kind I guess. It do my business with God and try to go about my work. I don't want to be unaffected, but I know I'd cry for days if I let myself think about it all too much.

Sometimes it sucks.
"But tomorrow is another day."

can someone please tell me what to do with my life??

Friday, September 12, 2008
Okay, not really...I mean, I LOVE being a nurse. It's the greatest thing I can imagine doing right now. But honestly I am ridiculously indecisive in this area of my life and have NO IDEA what department I am supposed to work in. I wish someone would just tell me.

I know that I want to do critical care, I am too young and get bored too easily to be on a general Medical Surgical floor and I don't do kids or babies...no really, kids are cool but holding them down while sticking them with needless and telling them "this won't hurt" when you know you're lying through your teeth is no fun. I'm also not very sympathetic towards whinners....yeah, not sure where I got that...mom. Oh, and yeah. I don't do pregnant women either. Nope. Not gonna happen.

Anyway, I know that I want to work in the Intensive Care Unit or the Emergency Room. I've worked in the ER for over a year as a student nurse and I LOVED it. I did my practicum in the Surgical Trauma ICU and loved that too. And for all of those that don't know...I am currently in a program where they rotate you through our four ICU's (Surgical Trauma, Medical Surgical, Neurological, and Cardiovascular) as well as the ER and then you get to choose who you are gonna sign a contract with.

Besides completely wigging out about the contract anyway, I cannot decide where I fit in this hospital! I think the best and worst part is that I've enjoyed everywhere I've been! I haven't hated anything, by any means...I guess that's just confirmation that I'm in the right profession.

But I feel like I should have some direction after being in this program for two months. And I don't.
"They" say that ER nursing is wide...you have to know a LITTLE bit about LOTS of things, everything in fact. While ICU nursing is much deeper. You know ALOT about a FEW things. I'm just not sure where I fit. The ICU is also very structured. You operate within a somewhat restricting time table of when drugs are to be given, when labs must be drawn, how often you turn your patient and at what times you feed, bath, talk to family, and meet with doctors.

There is much more freedom in the ER. Although lately mine has been fighting to try to structure a bunch of creative personality types...and failing miserably. In the ER you never know what is going to walk through the door. You might be treating a migraine, a nursing home patient with a broken hip, a spider bite, a schizophrenic with suicidal ideations, a pregnant lady who is scared out of her mind, a kid who broke her arm when she wrecked her golf cart, or a man who got T-boned...I saw all of those last week. You never know.

And there is something about that that makes you look forward to going to work everyday. But at the same time, most days I leave wondering if I made a difference at all.

I was talking with one of the Surgery Residents yesterday and he told me that a guy I took care of for four weeks in the STICU was about to be discharged home. Now that's exciting. This guy was in a motorcycle wreck and over a period of three weeks I saw him go from respiratory failure to talking and even walking. Through those weeks he threw up on me and I had to clean him up numerous times, his wife called me about three times a day to see how he was doing, and his 4 and 7 year old girls stared at me while I gave him his medicine. He had to be restrained because he kept trying to get out of bed, he was given a trach and had a feeding tube, he even coded and was resuscitated. This dude had been through hell and back and he's gonna be discharged next week! The ICU is slowly, but steadily rewarding.

Usually. I also had to assist in taking six patient off of life support in four weeks. Three of whom I had gotten to know their families pretty well. It's never easy...

And so the indecision continues. I welcome any advice.

No Greater Love

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I'm finally reading a book about and by Mother Teresa. It was given to me my first senior year by a friend and professor who lost her son to AIDS. I want to be like Mother Teresa in a lot of ways. It was said about her that "rather than avoiding suffering, she became intimate with it. Rather than heroically trying to overcome death, in the style of modern Western medical philosophy, she focused her attention on a person's emotional state and sense of meaning in their last moments." America needs more healthcare professionals like that.

"I believe if God finds a person more useless than me,
He will do even greater things through her, because this work is His."
~Mother Teresa