Things I Learned This Semester: Three Down

nurse washuI’ve just completed the third semester of nursing school, and I’m back with some more little things I’ve learned, in no particular order.

On Maternity: The nurses in the maternity ward think they have the best job in the whole hospital! And there’s something to their opinion: the overwhelming majority of their patients are fundamentally well. No other part of the hospital can claim that.

On Level of Consciousness: It is not normal to sleep through a blood sugar check.

We All Need the Duhpartment of Research: Yes, sometimes we do need scientific proof of what seems to be perfectly obvious. That’s because sometimes the perfectly obvious gets proven right, and sometimes it gets proven wrong.

On the Passage of Time: It’s just as well I didn’t study back in the 80s or 90s. I might be one of those nurses who say things like “We’ve always done it this way!”

Sometimes Questions are Opportunities: When you can’t easily find that somebody has answered your question, there is room for you to run a study and find the answers for others.

On the NICU: When I arrived in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, I was prepared for a depressing day. Instead, I found the tiniest humans showing fierce fighting spirit and overcoming the odds every day, with help from extremely caring nurses… and of course a lot of equipment. It turned out to be a highly satisfying experience where I felt like I made a difference.

Preemies Need Coffee!: Well, not really. But a bit of caffeine does help them breathe better.

Magnetic: There is such a thing as a Magnet Hospital. Such hospitals are supposed to “promote excellence in nursing and healthcare.” Sounds very buzzword compliant, doesn’t it? However, it turns out that such hospitals do have lower mortality rates and brings in more revenue than it costs to attain. That last bit is why you’re likely to see more of them in the future.

And that just about wraps it up for my third semester of nursing school. Stay tuned for the final edition at the end of June!


Lost At Sea

Let’s start with the wreckage of Blackbeard’s ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge. Seems there were a number of interesting medical devices on board.

In the century after that ship sank, submarine warfare was born. Alas, the first “successful” sub, the Hunley, sank. Now researchers are finally able to learn more about what happened to the Hunley.

And on a lighter note, Wikipedia has a fascinating article about Ship’s Cats. It discusses ship’s cats both real and fictional, up to and including Cat from Red Dwarf. Fairly early in the discussion, it states “Cats are able to detect slight changes in the weather, as a result of their very sensitive inner ears, which also allow them to land upright when falling. Low atmospheric pressure, a common precursor of stormy weather, often makes cats nervous and restless.” Yesterday morning around 5:30 AM, I observed this phenomenon personally. Purrsonally?

In Closing: gone to the dogs; babies in boxes; Boomers; pull the plug on the NSA; how to fix inequality (if those who made the system can be talked into allowing it to be unmade); dinosaur; and your brain on food.