My Blog, Nursingstories.org, was selected by Nurse Buff: Nursing Humor & Lifestyle Blog as one of the best 100 Nursing Blogs and/or Websites in 2020. While I am honored with this selection, I am also so impressed that we nurses are now publishing our stories on the internet in impressive numbers.
Rather than add an URL I am listing all 100 on my site for your review.
Why It Matters: The Nursing Site specializes in posting about the latest topics regarding the nursing profession, boasting a wealth of content available for multiple different audiences such as newly licensed nurses, student nurses, and even seasoned or veteran nurses.
Great Read: “Healthy Eating for Nurses Who Work Long Hours” is a great article for nurses who may be neglecting a healthy diet because of their long work hours or erratic schedules. It also talks about how nurses should also prioritize taking care of themselves in addition to taking care of others.
Why It Matters: Elizabeth Scala is a nurse who is confident in her knowledge regarding nurse burnout. She is also a Nurse’s Week online program host as well as a bestselling author who often partners with nursing schools and associations in order to help bring about a positive change in the nursing field.
Great Read:“The Physical Benefits of Positive Thinking” talks about how important it is for nurses to think positively and the various tangible benefits that could come as a result of that. Some examples of this are patient pill compliance, appreciative inquiry, and other general physical benefits such as lower stress levels and better cardiovascular health.
In blue scrubs and a floral fanny pack, UNC nurse Grace Cindric has become the hero we need right now.
In late March, News & Observer photographer Robert Willett snapped a photo of Cindric screening visitors heading into the UNC Medical Center Emergency Department, separating those complaining of coronavirus-related symptoms and everyone else.
In the photo, there’s a swagger in Cindric’s stride, a steely resolve in her sunglasses and respirator mask. In a sleeve of tattoos, there’s a friendly-looking panda staring out from her arm.
“I woke up the next morning, and it was everywhere,” Cindric said. “I first heard from my friend who posted it on Reddit; they said, ‘Fair warning, this got bigger than I expected. … You’re a meme now.’”
Since it was published, the photo has made the rounds on Reddit and Twitter, inspiring dozens of Photoshopped images depicting Cindric in heroic poses. In one a red cape billows behind her, in another she appears on the cover of a fictional video game called COVID-19.
“It was very strange at first. I was like ‘This is too much attention,’” Cindric said. “But I’ve accepted it, and I’m just rolling with it.”
A SYMBOL FOR OUR TIMES
She is the Badass Nurse. A meme, yes, but also a symbol, a face of the nurses and doctors fighting on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak. As coronavirus cases mount in North Carolina and across the nation, as citizens panic-buy groceries and avoid their neighbors, Cindric wears scrubs like body armor, with a walkie-talkie on her belt.
To many commenting on the photo online, Cindric represents the heroism of medical professionals putting themselves between the public and the pandemic.
“I think it represents something bigger,” Cindric said. “It’s good that people are starting to see doctors and nurses out here in the middle of everything, doing this work. It’s a fun picture, it’s not terribly serious, but it represents what we’re doing. We’re all putting ourselves in harm’s way to stop this.”
Battling a pandemic is not exactly what Cindric imagined nursing would be like. The UNC-Greensboro grad has been a nurse for four years, the last two spent in UNC’s emergency room. She said she got into nursing to help the community and jumped in the emergency room for its variety.
“As an emergency room nurse, you’ve signed up to do anything,” Cindric said. “The task changes all the time, you never know what you’re walking into. … It’s a little bit of everything, and you have to kind of be a jack of all trades.”
‘COMMUNITY RALLYING BEHIND US’
Cindric said the coronavirus outbreak has escalated everything, that guidelines and roles are constantly changing, that the job she thought she knew feels like it changes by the hour. But she said she feels the community supporting their work, that people send meals and well wishes.
With the photo, Cindric said she’s feeling love and support flowing in from around the world.
“We feel the community rallying behind us,” Cindric said. “We knew the work we’re doing was important before, but we feel the respect from the community. They bring us food and send us messages. The outpouring really makes you appreciate the work you’re doing.”
The last day of Nurses Week ends today on Florence Nightingale’s Birthday: May 12.
Would Flo be surprised that a special day, May 6, had been dedicated to nurses in 1982, and in 1990, that day grew into a full week that ended on her birthday? Would she be pleased that the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as “The Year of the Nurse and Midwife” in honor of her 200th birth anniversary? Would she be happy to learn that this 2020 designation is significant because WHO is promoting nursing education that will increase the numbers of nurses and midwives in order to strengthen Universal Health Coverage?
What would Flo think of the modern nurses’ role in this Pandemic? Would she be reminded how she, during the Crimean War, campaigned for better care of the sick and wounded soldiers and for a higher standard of hygiene, which saved countless lives? I bet she would be proud to see that nurses are still campaigning for better conditions for their patients. And that they are speaking out for safe working conditions for all health care workers.
The story that I wrote almost thirty years ago was chosen as a finalist from 200 submissions to Carolina Woman Writing Contest. Debra Simon, editor and publisher of Carolina Woman magazine, decided that this year she would include a list of finalists. Lucky for me.
Thank you, Debra Simon and Carolina Woman magazine, for selecting my story to be included in the list of finalists. I am honored.
Unfortunately, as of May 1, the print magazine was suspended due to COVID-19. You can read the prizewinning submissions on the Carolina Woman web site but there is only a list of the finalists by name and title of the work.
I have printed a copy of my story below.
I lounge on the back deck of my new home sipping a glass of Chardonnay. The October sun is still warm here in the South. No one is hassling me about drinking a good wine with taco chips. I’m not being hassled because I’m alone.
But I’m not really alone. The cat is here. She has wandered down to the brook and is sitting on her furry, black haunches staring at the bubbling stream. This commands her full attention. She doesn’t know brooks. Brooks weren’t common in Chicago where she lived all eleven years of her life. She knows alleys, cement sidewalks and chain link fences.
She was not totally citified, however. She ran around with a family of possums who ravaged the garbage cans in the alley behind our house and made their home under the steps of our old wooden porch. In the evenings’ blue haze, I would see the cat’s silhouette surrounded by pairs of red slits that darted away when I threw open the kitchen window to call her inside.
She hasn’t, as yet, met the beaver that lives in the brook since this is her second exploration outside. Like me, she has left familiar places and faces behind. She’s trying to make sense of this terrain with its newness and unpredictability.
Yesterday, on her first venture outside, I watched like an anxious mother while she delicately descended the steps off the back deck that lead to the grassy slope. Suddenly three, shiny black crows perched in the tulip trees began to make menacing, croaking calls. The crows swooped over the cat, one after the other. She crouched low and crept back to the deck, up the stairs and through the French doors I had opened.
No sooner had I shut the doors behind her, saving her life I am sure, she began to meow to go back outside. No way, I thought. I no longer need to experience that kind of the excitement: dealing with daily disasters, stretching my imagination while awaiting unmentionable accidents. Those worries I abandoned when my children, now grown and free spirited, decided to stay in Chicago when I moved to another state.
The cat rolls happily in the dry dirt by the brook sending up dust clouds. Back in Chicago, she often welcomed me from work by rolling about on the concrete path leading to the back door of our house. I would bend down and rub her soft belly until my work worries dissolved.
I wonder if the cat misses her familiar haunts: the chain link fence she scaled, the alley she explored, or the familiar wooden porch with its family of possums living underneath the steps. Does she miss the variety of laps she could choose to sit on, or the warm hands that reached down to scrub her black and white head, or the beds she shared? Does she miss her life companions, who like her, are testing their freedom?
The cat is gone from the side of the brook. I stay seated. I remind myself that I no longer need to be the mother-worrier.
I go back to my book and try to concentrate. Time passes. The wine and the taco chips are gone. The sun drops behind the tulip trees casting long shadows across the deck. I feel a warm, furry body rubbing against my leg.
Anthony Langley contacted me to ask if he could send me a copy of his book to review and possibly discuss on my Blog. I am always happy to support a fellow nurse who takes the plunge and writes a book about nursing, so I said sure.
About the Author
Anthony Langley has been a registered nurse for twenty-nine years. He also has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. His interest in nursing started after getting a job as a security officer in the emergency room of a hospital. A male nurse who worked in the emergency room showed him the things that nurses did, which got him interested in nursing.
He got his bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1990. At his first job, he started on a medical-surgical unit. He has worked in many areas of the hospital, which include surgical stepdown unit, surgical intensive care, same-day surgery, and the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) recovery room.
I’m reblogging Suzanne Gordon’s post: Why Does It Take a Pandemic to Recognize Nurses?
I have long followed Suzanne Gordon who is not a nurse but has been a relentless advocate of nursing over the years. She is a journalist and author of many books about the health care system. She co-authored Silence to Voice: What Nurses Know and Must Communicate to the Public.
Reading her post gives me hope that nurses finally find themselves strategically placed in the current COVID-19 pandemic to call attention to the importance of their expertise and place in the hierarchy of health care providers.
Over the past few weeks, as the coronavirus has whipped through the country, the press, policy makers and the public have finally recognized the value of the largest profession in healthcare. Every media outlet reporting on the crisis now includes comments from nurses, reports on the risks nurses face as they care for patients, discussions of nursing shortages, and the complex work nurses do. It’s about time.
My question is why has it taken this long. And why aren’t policy makers and hospital administrators giving nurses what they need. NOW!!!
For years, nurses have tried to explain their work to the public. I have been honored to help with this work. As I have written in my bookSafety in Numbers, unions, like the California Nurses Association, have fought to get safe nurse to patient ratios. Other unions, like the Massachusetts Nurses Association, have fought for the kind of safe staffing legislation, that if enacted in every state except for only one – California – would have encouraged safer nurse to patient ratios and ensured that there would be enough nurses to take care of patients in hospitals all over the country in a time of national emergency. Hospital associations have derailed this kind of legislation whenever and wherever it has been proposed.
Nurses have asked for the lift equipment that would pay for itself and make their work safer. Hospital associations have fought this wherever and whenever it has been proposed. Now nurses are asking for personal protective equipment to make their work safe and hospital associations, legislators, governors, and the President are not supporting this request.
And so nurses are speaking out to the media about the risks of their work and what is the response of their employers? To issue disciplinary warnings, fire them, threaten them, silence them.
Well nurses are rejecting this and must be even more vocal in doing so. And we the public must add our voices to support them.
Not only should nurses be recognized and their insights, concerns and demands solicited, honored, and effectively addressed, so should the needs of all other healthcare workers. Nurses know that healthcare is delivered by a team and that it takes a literal village to care for a patient. We need to listen to nurses and also to nursing assistants, to housekeepers, to dietary workers and transport workers and many others. It takes a team to care for patients with COVID-19 and those team members need our help, support and action now!!!
I have had pandemic on my mind since last April. I can assure you that I am not a prophet or clairvoyant. The reason is quite personal: my grandmother died in the Great Spanish Influenza pandemic in October 1918.
My father had told me his mother died when he was only 5 years old; she was in her 30s. But he never told me how she died and I never asked. But last April I begin doing ancestry research and discovered the cause of her death. Having learned how she died, I continued to wonder about the circumstances in her family and her community in 1918.
Actually, I have been mourning the loss of a relationship I might have had with my grandmother. And imagine my surprise when I found out during that search that her birthplace and home were in Westfield, NC – the place…
I am happy to pass along a gift from my publisher, She Writes Press, plus SparkPress. Together they are offering free She Writes University classes. Timely since we, writers/authors, are sequestered in our homes because of COVID-19. I, for one, will be happy to learn something new while taking a break from thinning out my files, learning how to digitalize hundreds of old photos and chaining myself to my desk to work on book #2, and last but not least, snacking most of the day.
Thanks Crystal, Brooke and the digital team.
I hope you enjoy the following classes.
Last week we notified you that we’d be offering several She Writes University classes at zero cost. A dozen of these classes are now up and available—for you and to share with your friends and networks.
These classes will be free for 60 days, until May 31. They can be viewed by entering your email address, and you can browse the offerings here: http://shewritesuniversity.com/free
We hope you’re all staying healthy and strong. We’re thinking about all of you every day.
—Crystal, Brooke, and our amazing digital team who put this offer together.
FREE UNTIL MAY 31
Usually $197, these courses span hours of materials that breakdown how to edit, prep and publish your book like a pro.
These She Writes University classes are coming out of the vault and are available only until May 31, 2020.