Things I Learned This Semester: Summer Nursing School

Another semester has ended, and that means it’s time for another set of interesting things I learned.

On Google Maps: When you notice Google suggesting a “short” route to an off-campus event that cuts through an historically bad neighborhood, it’s a good idea to assume that some of your classmates aren’t aware of that.

On Psych: I learned something important about myself: I am not cut out to work on a psych ward. However, mental health nursing does teach important skills that are needed in any nursing practice. There will always be patients and/or family members experiencing anxiety, grief, depression, or using ineffective coping mechanisms such as denial.

On Suicide Watch: Someone will tell the nurse almost anything if they think it will get them out of the legal hold. Oh, and these guys do important work.

On Assigned Groups: This semester I had the opportunity to work with people I would not have chosen. It was a good experience. You don’t get to pick your co-workers either.

On Florence Nightingale: Your brain is the most important tool you can bring onto your shift. Don’t forget to not only do your job, but leave the next nurse with the information she needs to do hers (please forgive my pronouns; most Med-Surg* nurses are still women).

On Alert: It is mentally exhausting to be paying close attention for long periods of time, even if you are mostly observing.

On Social Media: we say so much we shouldn’t online, that the Department of Health and Human Services can use Twitter to track potential emerging outbreaks.

On Nursing Specialties: Most people know there are jobs for nurses on hospital floors (Med-Surg = Medical-Surgical) and doctors offices. There are also nurses who provide home health, nurses who try to figure out how to reduce infections and other complications, nurses who work with the IT guys to make more effective hospital computing systems, and of course nurses who work in specialized areas of the hospital such as the emergency department, the operating room, or the catheterization lab.

More another day!


Missing the Point

It is absolutely a tragedy what happened at the Empire State Building. Who can possibly predict that a guy who was laid off almost a year ago would come back and start shooting? Nevertheless, I’d like to digress for a moment to point out that it’s a lot safer to never hire a nutcase than to have to fire one. Screen your employees before you hire them, people.

So then let’s get into the nitty gritty, starting with this opinion piece talking about how NYPD officers use great restraint:

As a rule, it takes a lot to get NYPD officers to fire their guns at anyone. Despite a handful of isolated, but highly publicized, exceptions to this rule when officers have shot unarmed individuals over the past decade and a half, New York’s 35,000-officer force remains a worldwide model of firearms restraint and veneration for human life.


In rapidly unfolding and completely unpredictable situations, assessing the need to use firearms is often a split-second decision. It can mean the difference between life and death. Officers have to sift through confusion, fear and fragmented information.

In the incident outside of the Empire State Building, it is made more difficult because the street is one of the busiest in America. The officers had to take into account the risk of the gunman hurting potentially many people in the vicinity were he not stopped.

Look, nobody sane is disputing that they had to make sure this guy didn’t hurt anybody else. The man pulled his gun out and was clearly intending to shoot at the cops. This wasn’t a place to experiment with a taser.  What were they supposed to do, offer to buy him a latte and talk for a while??

The problem is not that NYPD had to shoot this guy. The problem is that out of the 16 shots fired, 3 hit the perp. All 9 innocent bystanders were shot by the cops trying to “protect” them.

Take aim at the real problem: aim.

In Closing: It’s the jobs, stupid; the important question is the one about whether his mom was born in Kansas; if no blacks support Romney and a minority of women and Hispanics and people under 35 support him, how can the polls possibly be as close as they’ve been? Are there really that many angry old racist men?; school internet safety; yep (so why are these guys still married?); if Republicans get their way, be ready for $10,000 per ounce gold; abused by the system; fake world leaders; can’t make this up; trash can babies; ok, but Goldman didn’t make the drought happen; over 20 serial rapists in Detroit so far; scary; probably not what life is like in Russia; and the old man speaks the truth.

The Last Straw: Google Found It.

This week, you may have heard that Google introduced something called Buzz. If you are a Gmail user, you are probably signed up without even knowing it.

Before we go any further, a bit of background. I started being a dedicated Google user in 2000, when I was working as a research analyst for a small dotcom company I will not name here. It was at the time the best search engine available. Time progressed. I signed up for Orkut. I think I have two profiles there and I can’t figure out how to merge them, but I stopped caring some time ago. I have been part of blogging projects that required the use of Blogger. For over 2 years I have run my email through Gmail because it is convenient to access remotely via the web and my G1 Android phone (which I bought in the first few weeks it was available), and until recently the spam filtering of Gmail had been excellent. And about my G1, it does so much stuff that once I had a client surprised that it was also a phone!

Now about Gmail’s spam filtering. At some point in the last 6 months, it started to decide that I didn’t need certain emails. It decided that my electronic fax service was spam — thankfully this service stores faxes for 30 days so no permanent harm. It has at various points decided that some communications from my clients were spam. I have been reduced to going through the spam folder and trying to make sure it doesn’t get rid of things I need. This wastes my time every day, and I am still likely to miss an important email. Moreover, I think I am being punished for correcting the spam filter. “Oh, that’s not spam, is it? How about this one from an approved online drugstore? Is that not spam? How about this Russian bride wanting to meet you, surely you want to read that??” Pain. In. The. Butt.

Some people think Buzz is going to be a huge hit, a terrific win, a Twitter Killer with a side order of Facebook. Strangely enough, Orkut wasn’t enough to dislodge any of the various online communities, but hey. But here’s the killer part:

Google Buzz certainly isn’t groundbreaking, but it will achieve critical mass virtually overnight. Thanks to integration with Gmail, the new tool is in the eye-line of the millions of users who obsessively check their inboxes for new mail. ComScore pegged Gmail at 176.5 million unique visitors in December.

What’s more, Google Buzz uses data about those you frequently e-mail to automatically build a social network for you. Gone are the challenges of critical mass faced by virtually every new social networking service. In Google Buzz, your address book is your network.

That’s the benefit, but that’s also a huge problem. In fact, it’s a privacy nightmare for every Gmail user, especially for anyone who has someone they would like to avoid, perhaps someone they keep in the address book specifically so they know not to answer the phone if he/she calls. Even if the privacy concerns weren’t enough, there’s more reasons to want nothing whatsoever to do with this “service,” including the fact that it is yet another distraction from Getting Stuff Done.

Thanks to some Twitter friends (I’ve already thanked them online), I have found the way to disable Buzz. It’s non-obvious. From Gmail, if you click on the obnoxious multi-color Buzz icon, you end up on the Buzz page and have the option to, well, select your options. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page. Further. There, at the very bottom there’s a link to turn off Buzz and another option to turn off Chat.

Over the next 6 months, I will be migrating off Google products wherever possible. My sites are already WordPress and hosted elsewhere. I will in-source my email and use something like SpamAssassin to filter it. I never used Google Apps, so no migration is required there. I will buy an iPhone and stop griping about my crappy battery life (girl at the T-mobile store suggested turning off GPS, but I need that feature on for safety while I am out with clients). I may even use Bing.

Google, thanks for nothing. Or rather, thanks for blowing off a loyal customer of 10 years.

In Closing: I wouldn’t let you go without some obligatory health insurance reform items, now would I?; on bureaucracy and government; checklists prevent mistakes whether you are planning a trip or a major surgery; thanks fo AmericaBlog for putting us on the quiet bus; with the money lobbyists have spent they could have bought us all a pony, or actually done something useful; PayGo is back but will it work; the Euro may well be doomed; and Computer Engineer Barbie may have a laptop, smart phone, bluetooth headset, quirky geeky fashions, and cool librarian-type glasses, but if she’s going to make a living in the computer room, she needs a lot more caffeine.