This week, Baylor Scott & White Health live-tweeted a heart transplant via #HeartTXLive. The Twitter stream follows the story of “Jane,” a North Texas mom in her 30’s, living with cardiomyopathy since birth who found out Monday morning a donor match was found. By Monday evening, the entire country heard Jane’s story and watched as she received the gift of life through organ donation. Social media buzzed, and traditional news outlets began sharing the event, as well.

HeartTXLive

I was glued to the feed, and going back through #HeartTXlive again is just as enthralling and inspirational. Not only did Baylor Scott & White Health honor an organ donor and family giving such a precious gift, but they gave Jane a new chance at life while highlighting a complex surgery, team, and process. They pulled back the curtain on transplant surgery and showed the world what incredible care happens everyday without millions of people in concert. Individuals from all over social media chimed in with #ImADonor, and Texas organ donation organizations saw a 30% increase in residents registering as donors.

Those aren’t numbers. A 30% increase in registered organ donors means hundreds of people in need have greater chances of having a match. That’s the gift of life. And it all came from one person who registered as an organ donor and a family who chose to give through their grief. What a legacy.

Thank you to Jane and her family – for their courage in sharing their story in such a vulnerable moment; to Baylor Scott & White Health – for forward-thinking and using social media as a powerful, altruistic tool; and to Jane’s donor/donor family and organ donors and families everywhere – for giving life.

If you’re not an organ donor and want to give life to others, register with your state and let your family know your wishes.

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Valentine’s Day is Saturday. For many in healthcare celebrating at work, the celebration will happen all throughout this week and next – whenever people are together. I love a good card, and since I couldn’t really find valentines for my coworkers and team members that I adored, I decided to make my own. And now you get to share in the fun, too, because they’re all free. Happy Valentine’s Day…or Week…or whatever. Simply download, print, add an encouraging note on the back, and share the love to brighten someone’s day.

We go together like cisplatin and hydration. Download.

Vday 2015_CisplatinAndHydration

We go together like methotrexate and leukovorin. Download.

Vday 2015_MethotrexateAndLeukovorin

We go together like cold beverage and a regulatory-approved ‘drink corral’ in a non-patient care area. Or like routine distress screening and pivotal medical visits. Download.

Vday 2015_Distress Screening And Drink Corral

We go together like carboplatin and the area under the curve. Or like skin assessments and weekly treatment visits. Download.

Vday 2015_Carbo_and_Weekly Treatment Visits

 

Don’t work in oncology or have an idea for another healthcare-related Valentine card that’s a little different? Leave a comment. I just might make it and publish it here for you and others to enjoy!

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Doing Right by People

by Nursetopia on January 12, 2015

Nothing replaces the feeling of knowing you’ve done the “right thing” for people. No matter who knows or doesn’t know, it’s a reward like none other.

I am shocked at the number of people who think others don’t, can’t, or won’t do the right thing  in work and/or life.

Do right by people. They’ll do right by you. Even if they don’t, keep doing right by people.

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Looking Ahead: One Word for 2015

by Nursetopia on January 1, 2015

With much thought, my one word for 2015 is give.

Simply, I want to give more financially, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I want to give my time and energy to impactful efforts and meaningful moments. I want to give anonymously and without desire or want of return. I hope to give more thanks and donate more to my community.

Give. I’m really looking forward to 2015!

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In Retrospect: 2014’s One Word

by Nursetopia on December 31, 2014

One word has helped guide my life and work each and every year for the past decade or so. I’ve chronicled these one words ever since Nursetopia began, and it’s nice to look back and see how the single word, kept on the forefront of my mind throughout the year, really did shape my actions.

2014’s one word was relationships. After 2013’s change and newness of a different job and city, I wanted 2014 to focus on solidifying my community. And that all boils down to relationships.

I started 2014 with a race with my siblings that I ended up simply walking – and talking – with my sister; it was great. I also moved my family to a different rental property because we were going nuts in our other one; it turned out to be a really great thing for our family as a whole. I burned through handwritten notes for friends, coworkers, and clients. My birthday was an Austin Color Run team that friends and family members joined. I shared a beach vacation with 22 of my family members; took a cruise with my mom and older sisters; and worked hard to ensure date nights continued. I remembered my one word each evening as I read and sang my littles to sleep – as much as I felt pulled to clean the house or prepare for the next day, I remembered what was really important – daily relationships and moments that add up to much more. I gave more of me to the people I worked with and those who wanted to learn from me. Many times I stopped what I was doing (e.g. working, writing, playing on the computer or scrolling through social media) to spend more time with the people I love. I had the honor of caring for my grandfather, who passed away Friday from head and neck cancer; I spent a great amount of quality time with him, listening to his stories and enjoying his company. I wouldn’t have wanted to spend that time any other way.

Relationship. My one word worked exactly as I needed it.

I’m so thankful for 2014. And while it’s still the same year, I’ll put away my computer, and spend time with those that mean the most to me, welcoming 2015. Tomorrow I will share my one word for the New Year.

Thanks for reading and being a part of my “relationships.” I wish you and yours the best this evening and into 2015!

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Rain, Rain Go Away

by Nursetopia on November 4, 2014

It’s a Tuesday and raining in many parts of Central Texas. Those close to me know today is my favorite day of the week. And that it’s raining – well, that’s just icing on the Tuesday. Any other day like this I would spend checking on team members and patients, planning programs, or analyzing data for leaders and my healthcare system to show returns on investments in care.

But today is very different. Rather than caring for others or the business of oncology, I sit in a waiting room with my family, preparing to walk through an extensive cancer treatment journey alongside someone I love. I have cared for others in this exact position; I have presented and published on these emotions and this process; and today I live it and I cope by writing through my own grief. In the waiting room. As the rain falls on a Tuesday.

Rain, rain go away…

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Go Mo-Mo-Movember Pinterest Board

by Nursetopia on October 22, 2014

Movember Pinterest BoardIn one way or another, I am always raising awareness of cancer. As much as I love my job as an oncology nurse leader, I would love for there to be no need for my services.

Events are popping up left and right these days, and while it’s tough work, it is personally satisfying to create something from nothing with great people to raise awareness of site-specific cancers and help screen community members for various cancers that can be detected early per national, evidence-based screening guidelines. I always refresh my memory as I prepare for cancer awareness talks or events, and it seems I always, always, always learn something new.

November, or Movember, as it is now well-known, is quickly approaching. I’m working on a few things in my area, and before I start, I always like to brainstorm – with people and by myself, with tools (such as the Internet) or with only my big-dreaming brain. Part of my recent brainstorming for Movember developed into a Movember/Mustache Mania Pinterest board. I’m simply sharing with you, as well, because it is far too easy to get sucked into Pinterest!

Do you or does your health care system do anything for Movember or to increase the awareness of men’s cancers? I want to know; I’m still looking for ideas!

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Meneko McBeth, a 35-year-old nurse from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, submitted the winning entry into Lay’s ‘Do Us A Flavor’ Chip Contest. McBeth’s Wasabi Ginger-flavored potato chips will join the Lay’s chip line after several months of voting. Her flavor stood against other entries such as Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, Mango Salsa, and (gulp) Cappuccino, which seemed to be a social media picture favorite of confused shoppers this summer. According to Yahoo! Food, McBeth will receive the greater sum of either $1 million or a percentage of the annual chip sales.

Congrats to Meneko on her haul! I wonder if her unit or department has a plethora of the salty snacks?

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Murphy’s Laws of Nursing Leadership & Management

by Nursetopia on October 16, 2014

Oye VeyHeard the phrase “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”? Yep, Murphy’s Law is prevalent in nursing leadership and management just as it is in other areas of nursing and health care. Here are a few gold-standard Murphy’s Laws for nurse managers and leaders.

1. The day you’ve set aside and diligently blocked from meetings will be the day a stomach virus sweeps through the unit, causing severe short-staffing to the point of needing your clinical assistance for direct patient care. Good job blocking that calendar, and best wishes for “catching up!”

2. Your boss is guaranteed to call you on the one day you leave the office early. And he’ll need some numbers for a report within the hour.

3. The “Can-I-Have-5-Minutes?” conversation will take over your next scheduled meeting – that you lead – and end up with at least three action items to complete.

4. A patient will request to speak with you right as you realize you have yet to empty your bladder during the day.

5. The moment you are fully staffed, at least two team members indicate they need leaves of absence.

6. The probability of Joint Commission showing up for your organization’s unannounced survey increases with the number of days remaining until you leave for your long-awaited vacation.

7. The week after you ask team members to purge storage closets will be the one week of the decade in which something from that storage closet will be requested.

8. Minutes before your budget is due you will remember an ancillary expense that could potentially lead to a major variance.

9. The copy machine will jam and run out of toner as you try to print your presentation for the multidisciplinary board.

10. The candidate you love for the open position will be screened out of the HR system via a glitch, leading to weeks of attempted correction.

Creating these just makes me laugh. Leadership is a trip. In so many great ways.

What other Murphy’s Laws do you have in nursing leadership and management?

 

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Send Nina Pham, RN, A Note of Encouragement

by Nursetopia on October 15, 2014

Ebola is the word of the day, month, year. Honestly, before a few weeks ago, I knew very little about the disease. My, how that has changed.

As a Texas nurse, I’ve thought about healthcare professional colleagues throughout the state often over the last month. I have incredible statewide colleagues. Really. I’ve thought about the Dallas healthcare team as they took care of one of the most high-profile patients of the year. And, I’ve thought about them all as now two of their own – our own – Nina Pham, RN, and a second, yet to be identified nurse, have tested positive for Ebola.

Anyone and everyone who has ever been on the frontlines of care knows how difficult healthcare is under “normal” circumstances. It’s everyday, invisible heroics.

I keep placing myself in the other nurses’ shoes – contemplating potential thoughts and feelings during a shift. What an internal dichotomy. It’s mainly Nina Pham, RN, though, whom I have thought of lately. Reports have indicated she is spending time reading and resting; that sounds nice, for sure. But not in an isolation room that is in the proverbial spotlight of the developed world. What is she thinking? What is she reading? What will life be like after her discharge as she is on the road to recovery? How does it feel to have close colleagues care for her now? What do her day-to-day moments look like? Is she steering clear of the free-flowing media? Does she know so many people are thinking of her?

THR Facebook PostAfter a Facebook update from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital yesterday, I realized I don’t have to wonder about that last question. I can actually tell her I’m thinking of her via the hospital’s “send an email to a patient” feature. I love that. I absolutely sent her a quick note.

It’s no surprise to regular Nursetopia readers that I am an avid advocate for notes of encouragement. Because I believe there is more good in this world, this seems like a perfect opportunity for the healthcare profession to support Nina.

If you’re thinking of Nina and want to encourage her, stop what you’re doing, and send her a note now. Help brighten her day and her spirits. As soon as the second nurse is named, we can all do the same for her, as well.

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