Posted on

Send Nina Pham, RN, A Note of Encouragement

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.

Posted on

The Sacredness of Tears

A sweet friend shared this quote with me several years ago. I often think about it, and I most certainly thought about it a lot this week as people within my organization – people I love working alongside – learned of my move to another healthcare system and we shared conversations of the past, present, and future.


Posted on

Pick A Way, Any Way to Honor Your Favorite Nurse

It’s the season for nursing award nominations. Some of the previously mentioned 2013 awards and contests are still accepting nominations, so be sure to check back on those for excellent opportunities to honor the nurse in your life who is just downright amazing. 

In addition, there are other fun awards to celebrate nurses, whatever they do to rock care.

And while not an award nominated by others, Walden University is awarding over $200,000 in Nurses of the Year Scholarships to new students entering their BSN, MSN, or DNP program.

Oh, yes! Spread the love!

Posted on

Blessed Hands

I work in a faith-based healthcare system that very much lives a mission rooted and growing in faith. I enjoy that. Nurses Week carries a stronger significance as chaplains throughout my healthcare system host special, voluntary services or even one-on-one moments to bless the hands of nurses who, as one chaplain explained, “were blessed by Someone far greater than I long before this moment of blessing.”

I had the privilege of participating in a blessing-of-the-hands ceremony this week alongside some of the very nurses I work with. It was a humbling moment – a sacred moment – as the chaplain physically touched, anointed, and prayed over our hands.

It meant a lot to me as I embraced the care another professional was giving to me, acknowledging hands that make the intangible – care, knowledge, and experience  – tangible.

Posted on

Breaking Down Real Walls while Celebrating Fake Ones

National Cubicle Day was April 28, 2013. That fell on the weekend, so I decided to celebrate the national day among my team, which “offices” in cubes – modular workstations, rather – today. Below is the invite I created, and all of our food was cubed, rectangle, or boxed-themed in some way. It was great fun making fun of working in a cube and all the “special joy” it brings. It brought us closer together for a small moment during our busy workday, which is always a good thing.

If you and your coworkers live worklife in the box, feel free to download and use the invite, overlaying a textbox with your party date and location in the white space.



Posted on

Happy Doctors’ Day, Docs!

Happy Doctors’ Day to all our healthcare colleagues and partners!

We have some amazing physicians surrounding us, so be sure to reach out and thank a doctor today or this week. Thanks goes a long way!

Posted on

Honor Your LMSW, LBSW, RD, and LD Colleagues in March

CelebrateA little bit of alphabet soup, I know. If you’re in healthcare, those credentials still may not be familiar to you.

March propels us into Spring. It also gives us a chance to recognize and honor several team members, specifically social workers and dietitians. March is Social Worker Appreciation Month as well as National Nutrition Month.

If you’re not familiar with what these healthcare professionals do beyond documenting albumin levels and securing transportation, you should definitely sit down with them and have a little chat. You might be surprised at how demanding their roles are, the depth of their professions’ evidence, and the empathy required to provide great patient care.

Celebrate these vital team members with me in March. I’d love to know how you’re planning to par-tay!

Posted on

Limiting in Moderation

Each New Year seems to have an abundance of limitations – on food, on choice words, on habits. For me, even though it is not a “resolution,” I do try to limit certain parts of my life at the beginning of each year. The losing helps me regain control and sets a certain tone and pace for the rest of the year.

Social media is one of those “things” I tend to limit at the start of each year. This year is no different; I am limiting my social media involvement. However, I’ve decided to limit my moderation, even, and the reason – to me – is simple: relationships.

I’ve formed too many wonderful relationships to just plainly walk away and leave unattended for a month or longer. While I won’t spend each free moment scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, The ONC, and more, I will spend my select free time conversing with the people I enjoy, cultivating the relationships I want to see develop.

I thought long and hard about this “limiting in moderation,” and the people that kept coming back to my mind were Julianna Paradisi, Keith Carlson, Gypsy Nurse, and Kevin Ross. You see, these colleagues, separated by thousands of miles and nursing specialties, helped share a post I was passionate about with their circles of influence. (You can still act on that post’s action.) They certainly did not have to, but they chose to, and they’re the ones I know about; there certainly may be other colleagues who shared the message with others.

It’s these kind of relationships that matter to me. Seemingly strangers but connected with growing, invisible ties. If you don’t know any of those folks, you certainly need to check them out on their personal sites and blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. They have valuable information, and you never know – they just might become a connection you never thought you’d have.

So, while limiting myself is good…everything is better in moderation – even limits.

Posted on

Letters to Newtown

NursetopiaByMailThe US Postal Service has made it easier to send letters of support and encouragement to the Newtown, Connecticut community. You can send your letter, postcard, picture, whatever to whomever – teachers, parents, first-responders – to P.O. Box 3700, Newtown, CT 06470.

Me? I will definitely write a note of encouragement, yes – to a colleague – Sandy Hook School Nurse Sally Cox, who hid underneath her desk while the gunman came into her office, called 911 – along with the school secretary – after the gunman left her space, and then spent the next four hours in her supply closet. Do I personally know her? No. Does that matter? No. She is my colleague, and I will support her and encourage her because that’s what we do for one another.

I have purposefully avoided listening or reading about Newtown. With a 2-, 6-, and 7-year-old, it’s a little too close to home for me. My heart aches for Sally Cox and so many others in Newtown. One small note is the least I can do – even if it’s just to let her and others know I am thinking of and praying for them.

Will you please join me today? Will you take five minutes of your time to write a note of encouragement to Sally? I imagine you and I would both love to hear from others if the roles were reversed. Let’s honor Sally together. And, if you have school-aged children, pause and thank your school nurse before the holiday break.

Posted on

Soak it Up; Squeeze it Out

Each day brings learning experiences. In nursing school we’re taught to “seek out” all the learning experiences we can to diversify our education and understanding. It’s no different after nursing school. The best way to learn is to “jump right in,” and soak up every moment like a sponge. And, once full, you need to squeeze out the sponge. Share the education and experience with others so they can soak it up, too.

Download this reminder.