I’m an oncology nurse. I’m passionate about many things – including cancer survivorship. I’m pretty vocal about testicular cancer. Why? It’s simple – I have many males in my life that I hold dear. I bet you do, too – no matter your gender. It’s important for all of us to know about testicular cancer and the impact it makes on men and their entire lives.

I had the pleasure of meeting Nick O’Hara Smith of Checkemlads several years ago at the LIVESTRONG Global Summit in Ireland. It was not hard to miss Nick; he carried a giant, stuffed testicle and spread education about testosterone deficiency after testicular cancer. Needless to say, that man is not only changing the UK but the world through his awareness messages.

Nick and other testicular cancer survivors are once again shining a light on the stigmatized disease of testicular cancer. They’re talking about it with authentic tenacity. I’m not going to lie – I shed some tears listening to the stories of men advocating for their health and quality of life. And I love that the film team included discussions with an oncology clinical nurse specialist.

Take some time; watch the video; share the video.


Are you part of a nursing organization? No, are you really a part of a nursing organization – not just on paper? Do you volunteer on committees and provide feedback and attend meetings?

At this moment, I’m in Pennsylvania with other members of the Oncology Nursing Society. I am working alongside some brilliant oncology nurses on a project. And I do mean brilliant nurses. For example, much of my current work in practice revolves around the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s (NCCN) Distress Management Guidelines. I had dinner last night with one of the nurses serving on that advisory panel. At the end of the evening I realized my ongoing work with the Oncology Nursing Society afforded me that great opportunity.

Now that’s cool.

Are you putting the work into your nursing association and reaping the benefits?



Do you know or work with a healthcare professional who goes above and beyond in patient care?

Of course you do!

I bet you know more than one person that fits in this category. Whoever it is – an RN, Advanced Practice Nurse, LVN/LPN, Nursing Student, or other Non-physician Healthcare Professional – nominate him or her for Cherokee Uniform’s 2013 Inspired Comfort Award by August 1, 2013.

Not only does this award have some serious professional credibility and can highlight that nurse or other colleague that flies below the radar on his or her excellence, but this award has some serious winners-circle perks:

Cherokee Inspired Comfort AwardGrand Prize winners in each category will receive an all-expenses-paid Caribbean cruise for two.  All other winners will receive:

  • An all-expenses-paid trip to a 2014 U.S. medical conference of each winner’s choice; and
  • An annual membership to their preferred clinical association.

All winners receive:

  • A wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear worth more than $1,000;
  • A crystal Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award, a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin;
  • A year’s subscription to Scrubs – the nation’s first lifestyle magazine for nurses; and
  • A $500 donation in their name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation.

Wowza! Who wouldn’t love a nomination for the Cherokee 2013 Inspired Comfort Award? You only have a few days left, so nominate away, check out the official Cherokee Inspired Comfort Facebook page, and follow @InspiredComfort on Twitter.


I’m currently doing some additional work to educate nurses on colorectal cancer. It’s a topic I’m passionate about not only in work but also in my personal life as my family has felt the effects of colon cancer. I’ve even blogged about my own experiences with fecal occult blood test, or FOBT, stool collection. Maybe a little TMI, but hey…nurses have these issues, too, and that’s important for people to know!

My mind keeps drifting back to a conversation I had with a sweet friend not too long ago…about why in the world is the urine/stool collection container called a “hat.” I can’t help but laugh each time I think of the conversation because it is a bit ludicrous. Yes, it kind of resembles a hat – maybe one that has been chopped in half? Nurses and other healthcare providers nonchalantly tell patients about “the hat,” but I’ve never had anyone mention that verbiage aversion to me until my friend brought it up.

I’ve tried – unsuccessfully – looking for the origin of this jargon. Does anyone know or have a guess? Are there any other created terms you think we use in healthcare that we use in “normal” conversations that might be a wee bit odd to non-healthcare providers?


Rolling through the Passion-Apathy Cycle

by Nursetopia on July 9, 2013

If you’re passionate about something, chances are you’ll find yourself somewhere on the Passion-Apathy Cycle. For all intents and purposes, this cycle is purely fabricated. It’s simply how feel at times about my work. I work passionately 95% of the time. I am exhausted 4% of the time, especially if I have to keep working around and against barriers. And then, I’m apathetic for a bit. Until that apathy subsequently fuels my fire even more after I think, “I can’t stop caring about this…If I don’t care about it, who will?”

Passion-Apathy Cycle by Nursetopia

If you don’t work for a change, who will? If you don’t care about it, who will? It’s okay to sit down during exhaustion. It’s even okay to walk away for a moment in apathy. Renew your passion. And then keep on keeping on.


The “Good ‘Ole Days” of Nursing

by Nursetopia on July 2, 2013

Do you ever find yourself reminiscing about work years ago or maybe even a few weeks ago? I don’t do that too often, but every once in a while, I think about the “good ‘ole days” when I never took work home. When my shift was done, my work was done. I may have carried thoughts about patients or other events home with me, or “worked” to get sleep during the day, but I never took any work away from the unit.

Now, it feels like work finds me (or can find me) everywhere. I’ve taken conference calls and sent emails in some very unlikely places and times. That is, until I re-evaluate my boundaries. It’s a cyclical learning process for me…

I find myself thinking about people, too, though…those that made a difference in my life or those that educated me or those that made me laugh and kept me sane during the crazy-hectic shifts. Ahhhhhh. Yep, those were the good ‘ole days!

I’m sure, in a few years, I’ll look back at these moments and think similarly.

What are some of the things you wish for or think of from the “good ‘ole days” of your nursing?

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#BCSM: Like Epinephrine at 2100

by Nursetopia on June 18, 2013

Sure, you might be reading this at any hour of the day, but at my present writing time, I just finished an invigorating discussion with the amazing #BCSM community via Twitter. We specifically discussed nurses’ role in oncology care, and it was lovely to see the diversity of thought and the perspectives on nurses and nursing.

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 9.53.42 PM

My. Head. Is. Swimming. I’m dreaming up dreams and thinking about people and ideas and patient care and…The chat ended at 9 PM Central Time, which is 2100 in military time, which is what we use in healthcare, as well, for all the non-clinical Nursetopia readers.

Adrenaline is pumping through my veins. I feel it. I’m invigorated. That’s the power of connection with like-minded people, passionate people, world-changers, dreamers, and doers. It’s like a jolt of epinephrine at 2100.

I think I need a run or something. Thanks, #BCSM!

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My dad made me a better nurse. He still makes me a better nurse and leader. He just so happens to have done the same for my three other siblings, as well, but we all know I’m the favorite.

I’m fortunate to still have my dad physically in my life, and I never take it for granted. He’s the most humble man I know, and he leads as a servant. Truer than true, he taught me to take control of my own education through reading book after book – and mainly one Book with countless wisdom and applications.

His encouragement is soft and persistent, like good rain. His presence is easy and inviting. His laughter is sweet melody, like the guitar he can strum for hours. He’s a morning person. And if he’s ever hospitalized, I will be that person bringing a box of herb bottles to the admit nurse because he’ll take his garlic, vitamin C, and umpteenth other herbs forever but will never consider them “medicine.” He laughed as I used his medicine cabinet as a first-year nursing student pharmacology project. It was rough. And hysterical now that I really think about it.

Happy Father’s Day to my dad and all the dads and other gentlemen who’ve made fabulous nurses and other professionals! Mwwwwaaaaah!

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Cremation and Sugar: Death Cafes Stir Discussion

by Nursetopia on June 14, 2013

Austin, Texas, will soon be home to one of the newest Death Cafes in the world.

That’s right – Death Cafe.

To get a better understanding of the concept and purpose (and Austin details), check out my recent article, Dying, Tea, and Pastries: Death Cafes Invite Often-Shunned Discussions, on the Oncology Nursing Society Blog.

Copyright Marco Arment, Copyright Marco Arment,

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With all the “latest and greatest” in health care today, the industry stands to learn a lot from other areas of business. Here’s what the Institute of Medicine recommends.