Ten personality traits: are you a bad nurse?

The Intensive Artist has posted a list of ten personality traits that he thinks are requirements for a good nurse. What are we to make of them? Am I a bad nurse? Let's score me one point per trait.

1. Love being busy

I don't like being busy. However, I also don't like being bored. Typically, busy is boring, but it is less boring than sitting around. I think the more operative point here is "don't be lazy." I'll give myself half a point.

2. Love meeting strangers

I hate meeting strangers. I hate small talk. And I hate learning the details of people's lives when I can't turn the chanel at will. Zero points here, but I'm not sure this is really a good personality trait. I see other nurses making pointless banter. I try to be accommodating and polite and mine for information that will make things go smoother for the patient. I think taking an interest in the details of other people's lives is one of the things that people who are like that think is important.

3. Be a great mutli-tasker

No such thing (that's research, not opinion). It is probably more important to have large RAM than large CPU, however, and to be able to maintain a queue of tasks in the back of the mind that is constantly being revised. I'm not good at this, which is one reason I prefer night shift. Zero points.

4. Be okay with body fluids

Check. Actually, I'm probably too okay. Lack of a healthy respect for micro-organisms can be made up for by revulsion. 1 point.

5. Love physical labor

I love physical labor, but I hate the physical side of nursing. Nursing is not like exercise. After a work-out, I feel great. After a shift, I feel run-down and wrung-out. Doing squats or wind sprints for 15 minutes is not the same as being on your feet for 12 hours. And neither is like construction. More operative here: "be able to take the pain." I guess, half a point for me.

6. Be thick-skinned

This is so very important for nurses. Unfortunately, I am about as thin-skinned as they come. This might explain why I feel run down after a shift. Zero.

7. Thirst for new knowledge

I get a point here, but I'm not sure how important this is for nurses. Most nurses, even ICU nurses seem to be happy to be spoon-fed information from the unit nurse-educator, and they are good or even great nurses nonetheless.

8. Hate routine

Actually, I think this wrong. Chaos is not good. I think being a good nurse involves imposing order and routine. I don't mean in the stereotypical Nurse Ratchet way, but in the sense of having enough control over a situation to stay ahead of the game.

9. Be an adrenaline junkie

Again, I think this is backwards. A good ICU nurse is not one who's going to codes all the time but one who stays ahead of the codes and prevents as many as possible.

10. Have an undying positive energy

Yes, but zero.

Okay, so I score 3 points out of possible 10, but I only agree 100% with 5 of the Artist's 10 personality traits, but I may be very wrong.

What I've been up to: now working in ICU

Having not been paying attention to my blog or RSS reader for some time, I was surprised to see recently that my Blogger profile still had my occupation listed as "GN." If you've read this blog before, you will probably note that I started it as, essentially, a coping mechanism for nursing school. But I posted on starting my first job, and then what? Here's a run-down:
  • May 2009 : graduated nursing school and got a job in late summer of 2009
  • November 2009: 1st job: the Progressive Care Unit at the ~300 bed hospital where I had been working as a ward clerk hired me. I started my initial orientation in the summer and moved off at the end of October.
  • July 2010: 1st job change: although many of my co-workers were friendly and supportive, not all were. After suffering through some personal upheavals at work, I decided to move on... cath lab, OR, some other critical care area... I was just about to decide between going back to school in fall 2010 (biochemistry) or vagabonding around the world when I got a bite from the ICU.
  • September 2010: 2nd job: the Intensive Care Unit. I was lucky to get this job. I don't know why they hired me, honestly, but here I am. A few weeks on orientation and, bam!, I'm on my own.
  • December 2010: 1st major FUBAR: things were going so well and it was suggested that I might want to take on learning SLED dialysis. Then I screwed something up. No patients were hurt in the making of this error, but I had to have a disciplinary meeting involving the union and the manager said "Do you know how many times I've ever had to call someone into my office for [FUBAR error]? Zero!" Yes, that's me: if I'm going to screw up it's likely to be a unique screw-up.
  • Today: ICU, but ready to move on if necessary: so I'm coming up on 6 months in the ICU soon, but I'm not really sure where I stand. I think the staff is split with some well-wishers and some who would like to see me go, and I don't really know where the management staff is.
The current situation is unfortunate as I'm in a relatively rural area where it is easy to take horse-back riding lessons, and I had determined to start learning mounted archery. As this would require no-hands riding skills, I think it would require quite some time to master, so I would like to have a steady job in this area. However, I've become resigned to having to move on if it comes to it. Hawaii, here I might come!

In the mean time, I've decided to just relax and do some reading and self-education. Also, start blogging again.

Underwear sniffing

For an explanation of this post, see The Sexy Nurse Report.

The thing that bothers me most about this advertisement for JBS underwear is the idiotic way this nurse is dressed, although most people are probably primarily scandalized by the sniffing (more on that in a sec...).

Although the entire ad campaign is genius ("men don't want to see naked men"), this particular ad, produced by &Co. advertising agency for JBS is dumb, and by far the least sexy in the campaign:

As for the sniffing, nurses don't deal with patients' clothes. Here is a real photo of the typical underwear situation nurses deal with--an alcoholic patient in the ER needing adult diapers has taken them off (resulting in urine all over the floor and bed):

The smells nurses have to deal with aren't too sweet, either. C. difficile is an intestinal bacteria that can form a "pseudo-membrane" over the intestinal lining, causing massive, recurrent diarrhea with a distinctive smell like a horse stable that every nurse recognizes and dreads:

Potassium shifts and dialysis

From the "mistakes were made" file: Patient's AM potassium level came back extremely high. Albuterol and insulin were used to get the levels down in the short term (by shifting potassium into the cells). Dialysis was confirmed for that day. When the nephrologist came in, he pointed out that he was unable to dialyze out the potassium while it was stuck in the patient's cells. Ultimately, no harm done for a patient who lives at a high potassium level, but not optimal. Take-away lesson: if the patient is asymptomatic (bedside monitor necessary) and dialysis is immanent, better not to treat a high potassium level pharmacologically.


This blog covers health- and health-care-related issues. In particular, my interests trend toward:
  • critical care, with an emphasis on the heart
  • nutrition, fitness, and prevention
  • viruses and genetics
I believe the U.N. would classify me as a "Health Care Worker" (HCW) or "Health Care Professional" (HCP). I have a Bachelor of Science degree, although my first love was in the humanities and I also tried out some social sciences. I am far from an expert in anything, mostly just sort of a nerd.

Why blog? Probably vanity, although I enjoy the processes of reading and writing, and this is a good outlet.

If you use your noggin', the following image will tell you how to contact me...

...and if you are geeky enough to do some decoding, there is more information about me (and a "faux-tograph") in my Blogger profile. And I can also be found other places on the web, which I have catalogued using Del.ici.us. Off the web, I can be found in the greater Montreal area.

Sexy Nurse Report, RIP

For a short time, I kept a blog called "The Sexy Nurse Report." The point was to post lame sexualized images of nurses in skimpy outfits and juxtapose them with images and stories of real nurses. I think the only really successful post was one on underwear sniffing. Anyhow, I don't really care to continue with the blog. Carrying on this sort of PC sociological battle is not really my thing. The truth is, the blog was more about self-interest and annoyance than justice: I don't like the mental association of myself with white-skirt-wearing chicklets, and I find the whole nurse fantasy to be unmanly--a pox on dudes who have it! I mean really, what man wants to fantasize about being debilitated and dependent? Anyhow, in the coming weeks, I'm going to re-post some of the content here, and then delete the rest.

Dear Google, You are starting to suck.

Dear Google, You are starting to suck. I thought you ought to know. Your new design template for Blogger is FAIL in Linux Ubuntu. While I can use it with Firefox running on Windows, if I try to use Firefox running on Ubuntu, it won't load. Mostly, I am annoyed because Blogger's previous layout options were just fine. This seems to be a problem with you lately. I was an early adopter of Google and did so to get away from the mess of Yahoo and Netscape. Now your homepage and functionality is getting all screwy like theirs. Example: instant search results as I type? Did I ask for that? It's a pain in the ass. Between auto-completions that screw up my typing and pauses in my typing before I'm done due to instantly loading searches I don't want, "instant" search actually makes my searches take longer. You should read Google as Fat Elvis. It's a good analogy. (Better than "jump the shark," which I think may have jumped the shark.) Anyhow, please get back on track. I like my websites like I like my women: fast, lean, and competent; pretty is a nice perk, but less important, and tricks and fawning are right out. As of now, I have to leave my house and go to the library to change the font or background color on this silly blog. How stupid is that? Thanks for your time (not that you'll listen). Yours, Chris