100% nurse. Mark it.

Just a quick hello to say that three weeks of nose-in-book, no time to talk or hang out or write, singular focus on besting the nursing licensing exam (NCLEX) was TOTALLY WORTH IT. I am a Real Nurse (or Registered Nurse, your choice).

Sometimes I look up at the sky and wonder:  Who am I? What is my purpose? Am I going to die soon? And now the answer is You are a NURSE. You are going to do work like a calling. Maybe, but not before you passed your boards!

I am elated.

The thank yous I owe abound.

(GOOD NEWS AFTER THE ARTICLE) This study shows so much of what’s wrong with medical research today | The Incidental Economist

This study shows so much of what’s wrong with medical research today | The Incidental Economist.

I won’t wade too deeply into this pool right now. Every moment I spend is borrowed time from NCLEX studying. But it’s worth mentioning that despite the incredibly difficult environment of academic research I see all around me nurse researchers doing what nurses are known to do–finding a way to make it work. They are making efforts to conduct unit-based research and if appropriate expand evidence based practice to other units and through professional networks to outside health systems. This research focuses on patient safety, quality improvement, and money savings to patient and health care system. Simple, cheap, and effective are markers of success. The example of using the blood pressure cuff to reduce kidney damage in cardiac surgery is right up the alley of unit-based nursing research.

Recognizing bedside nurses as professionals with the capacity to contribute in this essential way to the improvement of care (and bottom line) is mandatory for health systems moving forward. We are endlessly capable when given the time, the tools, and the support to make positive changes. It’s a super bonus that we aren’t stuck with the difficulties ($$$, popularity contests) of grant-dependent research.

At the health system I trained in a nurse is championing Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocols. Unit by unit she is getting buy in and rolling it out. I’ve seen her data: it is significant. Patients are going home sooner and healthier.

So my plea to my fellow nurses is publish your work! Read each other’s studies! Let’s flex our skills. Let’s brag on each other. There’s a lot to be proud of.

Waiting for NCLEX.

Good news: I graduated! Along with the smartest, finest looking group of nurses this side of anywhere. We are all pretty sure we’re going to fix health care. Be on the lookout.

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Bad news: I hurt my back moving boxes and carrying around my 45 pound child.

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Good news: It’s you and me laptop stuck in a supine position!

I’ve been meaning to blog you this: my short piece of writing was published as an editorial in the Washington Post and then recorded for airing on local NPR affiliate WVTF. I AM LIKE FAMOUS. In all seriousness I am very humbled at how a wee handful of words caused a number of wonderful people to go out on a limb for me and support what I’ve done. My school values writing and reflection as a part of creating resiliency in nurses. My clinical faculty encouraged me to submit my writing. And a very awesome former journalist current writer went out of her way to help get my piece published. You people get a round of applause.

Now that I’m 95% RN I’m waiting for the boards to make it official. I’ve been transcripted, fingerprinted, background checked, notarized, certified by mail, and written many checks. So now I anxiously thumb through NCLEX licensing exam study guides as I wait for the Board of Nursing to approve me for an opportunity to sit for the big test. I secretly love it.