Author Archives: accidentallybernie

Get to know your kid’s friends, and their Mum’s. Before schoolies week!

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girlsnightoutimageAs I am planning an end of year dinner with my “mum friends” from my daughters friendship group, I am thinking back over the last nearly four years, and have realised what a wonderful thing it has been to get to know these women. We have shared the journey of our beautiful daughters high school years with each other whilst our daughters are engaged in one of the most exciting and difficult times of their lives so far. As the 2013 schoolies head off for their biggest adventure yet I am forced to look toward 2014 and having my daughter in the same position. The most reassuring thing for me (beside the fact that I know I have a mature, responsible daughter, who I trust) is that I know I can rely on her friends to be there for her, look out for her and that they are like-minded and sensible.

With a change of school from primary to high school, the routine gathering of parents in and around the school at drop off and pick up time comes to an abrupt end. Even with my shift work and more and more mums increasing working hours, as the children get older, this had already started to decrease, but you still knew who was who in the zoo.
So the first year of high school is a bit strange as your child attempts to make new friends and looks for acceptance and happiness within a group that is right for them. None of which you know, so you just have to sit back and see.
My thoughts however, are not about the trials and tribulations of a thirteen year old making friends, but of how I, as her mother mingled, managed and meddled! All for a good cause.
By the end of grade eight my daughter was part of a group of very nice girls. But of course I didn’t know them and I didn’t know their parents. Not like primary school. So when the inevitable things like sleepovers, parties (birthday), trips to the movies, shopping excursions and school dances came along I was a bit unsure. She was wanting to go to these girls houses and be driven places by other parents it was sometimes worrying to not know who these people were. I took the opportunity to get to know the girls better by having a birthday party and having all of her friends over. I met all the mums or dads when they did drop off and pick up. I know that at age fourteen it might seem a bit silly to be having school birthday parties but it is worth the expense and effort to be a part of and witness all of the interactions. You get to observe who’s confident, who’s shy, who’s the funny one, the loud one, the one who is going to sit ON your kitchen table. You get to suss out who is able to interact openly and who might be sneaky or think this is all beneath them.
When I realised that this group of girls seemed to be fairly settled I arranged a mother’s dinner. I had ten out of twelve come along. For some it was the first time meeting any of their daughter’s friends mothers. We had a great night sharing a meal, a couple of bottles of wine and our contact details.  I then put a list together and emailed it around . It was a great start to some very nice friendships. We have been able to share a lot of good times together, with and without the girls. We have gotten to know each others standards and expectations. We have been able to come to know the people who are raising the most influential people in our daughters lives.

We were able to share the load with pick up’s and drop off’s to concerts, weekends away and other dinners and parties. We have shared each others company and our girls success’ at drama performances, musical concerts, international women’s day breakfast’s and at academic award morning teas. We always have a ready-made “table” when booking into school events.  We had a lovely night together seeing our girls looking very grown up and with “dates” on the night of their semi-formal. One of the other mums hosted the “all in” pre gathering and I hosted a little post gathering, this included about fifteen friends and their dates. Which went off very well considering the possibilities. I had a great  mum friend of mine supervise the evening with me. Again a credit to the fantastic group of girls they are.

We have used texts to convey things like, “Just letting all of you ladies know that ……. will not be going to the dance party in woop woop on friday night. Hope this helps. I’m being told everyone is going?”. “Thanks Bernie ……. is not going either”. Mischief managed! We have been an intricate network of information on what went on where. Just like growing up in a country town. I will know what you have done before you get home, just in case you needed an incentive to behave.

For schoolies next year some of the other mothers and I, in consultation with our daughters have gotten together (had another night out) and have planned for schoolies. We have booked and paid deposits and have a room that will only take 4 people. But at a resort where some more of the group of girls are also staying. It is close to everything, we have discussed food, alcohol, locking of balcony door by management (requested by the girls themselves) and daily contact, not allowing anyone else to stay in the unit etc. We have been through the rules of the accommodation provider and discussed all of the pertinent rules with the girls. We all feel as happy as we can that our girls will have a safe and enjoyable week. It has really helped ease my mind about the whole thing.

Now as the girls are about to embark on year twelve I am looking forward to seeing them all be successful in their school life, having a great formal and loving and supporting each other through what I know to them seems like a very daunting year. I am happy that I have a fantastic group of “mum friends” to be sharing the ups and downs of this last year with the girls together. And I know that just like our girls, some of our friendship will also remain life long.

So my advice to anyone about to embark on a high school journey is “Get to know your kid’s friends, and their mum’s. Before schoolies week”

Stay safe, be happy.

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The Guilty Mother

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Monday morning and the usual chaos ensues. Only this morning it is my responsibility, with my husband heading out early for a morning meeting. He has just spent all of last week single handedly managing the mornings while I worked six early shifts straight. Even though I had to get out of bed at five fifteen a.m, six cold mornings in a row, I definitely know who had the best mornings.

So today it is my turn and it starts with the usual, the middle child attempting to fake something that might get him out of school. Hey it’s always worth a try, right? They still don’t get how hard core their mother is. Typical emergency nurse, they barely get to the doctor, let alone a day off, and they know my criteria. If it’s running it needs to be green, if it’s bleeding it needs to be spurting and if they are crying, then at least they are still breathing. So as usual the thermometer decides if he gets a day off school. Anything over 37.6 they stay at home, anything less they are going. You can’t argue with the facts. The 36.2 reading this morning ended that argument.

Then the middle child again, “Can I have tuckshop?”. Me, “No, I have already made your lunch”. You would think that would be the end of that, but no. He then spent some time searching all the spots that loose change might be placed and eventually came up with ten dollars in coins. What the hell, I was never going to go scrounging for that anyway. It wasn’t worth an argument but I made him take his lunch box too, saying only buy big lunch. Because everything else in there can be used for tomorrow. My eldest daughter is looking for her uniform, that is in the same place every day. Youngest child needed his sports gear packed for the day and he then spent some time practicing an oral presentation in which he is a politician running for office and his catch phrase is “I’m Bob and I’m not a slob”. What the hell, I’ll listen to it ONE more time, at least he’s practicing it. Unlike middle boy who you would never know even had one due.

Whilst in the middle of making breakfast the cat has jumped up and vomited on the cork heat mat in the middle of the table, causing the eldest and youngest to begin dry heaving. I could see the middle child’s mind ticking over that option to get out of school. But it wouldn’t have worked, I sent him to school Friday after a fake vomiting episode.

Just then hubby walked back through the kitchen door to give me a quick kiss goodbye before he left, at the same time I had just picked up the cork mat and turned towards the door to remove the cat vomit. Luckily collision averted as he drew back in horror and went around to the side for a goodbye kiss. As we walked out through the garage he was giving me some tips on how to get the vomit off as I dumped the whole lot into the bin. There was a look of questioning on his face which disappeared as I said “did you really want to eat with that on the table ever again?”. Good point.

So as we get into the car twenty minutes behind schedule eldest daughter is complaining about the rubbish on the radio stating “When I get a car iPod connectivity will be a prerequisite”. Youngest child realises he doesn’t have his art book and needs to go back and get it whilst middle child yelling at youngest saying we are too late already and we don’t have time to go back. Eldest daughter has now “googled” cars and is trying to give me spec’s on a cute little red one and youngest is near to tears because this will be his third strike and it will mean a Friday after school detention for him. Meanwhile middle child giving youngest child lecture on same, as eldest wanting to know where Boondal is and is it too far to go and look at a car (that we are not buying for another eighteen months!). I try to explain to youngest boy that he needs to be more responsible and that the school doesn’t like mums to bring things to school when you forget them, because they are trying to teach you how to be responsible.

Luckily we arrive at the boy’s school. As I drive off I realise we never really confirmed if I would be bringing the art book back. I think he has gotten out of the car thinking I will. Then on to my daughters school where she is dropped off late. It doesn’t take long for the tranquility of only peak hour morning traffic to be broken by a phone call, through the hands free of course, but I can also see my phone screen light up with a little red car! Confusion ensues as I am trying to comprehend how from looking at a car web site the owner has now got my phone number? And is calling me. I tentatively answer only to find that it is my son calling from the school office to say he has forgotten his diary and I need to bring it up to school for him when I bring up his brother’s art book. Earlier lecture forgotten apparently.

And as it turns out, I also have a new wallpaper of a little red car, on the front screen of my phone!

All the way home I struggle with the “Will I or won’t I” decision. I really don’t want to take these books to school because they need to learn the consequences of their actions and that when I am telling them to pack their bags the night before that it is a good idea. When I return home to the debris of “morning” and see these required items sitting beside where their bags had been, and frustration wins the day. I decide to txt both boys to say I’m not bringing their books up to them. I feel sick with the guilt of not making the effort. I believe in the long run it will be a good tough lesson but I feel terrible that they will be in trouble. Then I think, it will be his third time so he deserves it. A boss in the future won’t give him three chances.

So as I send the txt’s I here a phone “beep” coming from the kitchen. At that point I need someone to “beep” me out”!!!!

So I decide to call the school office and tell them that my boy’s will be coming in asking for these books. The lady in the office completely gets it and agrees with me and she will tell them I’m not bringing them up. Unfortunately I still feel like the worst mother in the world right now. Let’s hope that tomorrow morning, today’s lesson is in effect.

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Stay safe, be happy,

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Advice to the new Emergency doctor from the old Emergency nurse

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Welcome to the emergency department! I hope you love it as much as I do!
As a first placement you are going in at the deep end. If this is a subsequent placement then you still have a lot of changes to embrace in this challenging new environment.

Our most recent intake of fifteen brand new doctors has prompted this blog. It has had a noticeable impact on the department. They are all lovely young men and women and I really feel for them as they deal with all the new experiences in the emergency department environment. So I wanted to share some tips and insights that might help make the transition easier for anyone in this position.

My advice comes from twenty (something) years of nursing experience, and seven years of emergency nursing, but I still remember what it was like to be new. Which is something no one should ever forget because one day you will be the senior person and being able to remember how it feels will make you a better mentor and leader in the future. I wanted to gain a broader perspective than my own for this blog, so I asked for some input from my colleagues, and while the incidents and stories they relayed to me varied, the themes remained the same. I think that most of the issues and clashes arise from dealing with personalities and human nature. Unfortunately from both sides, medical and nursing. And a huge focus of the feedback I got related to blood collection and cannula insertion.

So here it is,

First quick one before you start. Yes, in the Emergency Department you have to work weekend’s and night shift. Knowing this will save the person doing your rosters from thinking you are stupid.

Clean up your own mess. That includes in the tea room.

Please don’t be offended if someone ask’s you to clean up your own mess.

Dispose of your own sharps.

If a nurse helps you find equipment and sets up for a procedure, for example the plaster trolley, please clean it up and put it back yourself. At least saying “hey, where does this go?” Shows you are happy to do it, you will be directed where to put it or (because you asked and showed an intent to do it) the nurse may take it for you. Leaving it in the corridors outside the cubicle and walking away will get you one pissed off nurse and he/she will tell their friends.

A good life long piece of advice, no one person knows everything.

If a nurse is telling you something about a patient, it is for a reason, please listen, it is probably important.

There is only one gift from god, and they already work here.

Carry lube in your pocket.

Bring a little pocket/purse sized snack, that doesn’t need the fridge, you may not get a break. Sugar is happiness. Nurses like happy doctors.

Be friendly, introduce your self, be approachable.

Now to the cannula issues, in the department I work in most of the nurses are able to take bloods and insert cannulas (most will have done more than you’ve had hot breakfasts) but ultimately it is the responsibility of the doctor to obtain the blood and iv access.

If the nurse has inserted the cannula and taken blood then they had time to. If not they were too busy and you need to do it. Chances are you need the practice, more than the nurse does.

On some shifts there may be a relief staff member that may not be competent to do cannulation so a good approach is, if the cannula is in, try to say thank you to the nurse (This one thank you will probably ensure all your cannulas for the rest of the shift will be done before you even see the pt.) And if the cannula is not yet in, do it whilst getting the pt’s story. Best not to just leave the blood slip there, try to find the nurse and see if they have time to do it.

You are qualified to put in a cannula and therefore qualified to take one out. You actually have time to remove it and apply pressure for a minute whilst giving a discharge letter and instructions to the patient.

This is a great practice, for both the patient and the department. Because when the patient tells the nurse ten minutes later that they can leave and then the nurse spends ten minutes trying to find you to confirm the patient can actually leave (and that they have their letter and possible script), before removing the IV, the next patient could be in the cubicle being worked up.

So there you have it, all simple things to keep in mind while you become familiar with your new role.

Do you have any positive tip’s or advice of your own? I would love to hear your thoughts or suggestions. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Stay safe, be happy.

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My Patient Advocacy Story.

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20130319-193138.jpgBeing an advocate on behalf of our patients is one of the most rewarding and sometimes challenging roles nurses perform. I recently had an experience where I needed to go out of my comfort zone to advocate and provide a safe environment for my patient. After the shift I wrote about the experience, as this is my new self-styled “therapy”. I have just re-read my account of that evening and I was immediately transported back into the busy bustle of the trauma room that evening. I remember the patient, his cries of pain, his gratitude for the morphine, his concern for his injuries, and all the little details that built my suspicion of further injuries. I cannot put all the details into my blog for professional reasons but keep in mind as you read that it was a highly stressful fast paced situation in which I knew the patients care was going in the wrong direction. And the Doctor wasn’t listening to my concerns. I knew that for the safety of my patient I had to speak up.
The patient had fallen from a motorbike at high-speed. A mechanism which is highly suspicious for sustaining injuries. This patient had walked into the Emergency Department. This is a little unusual but not unheard of. He had an obvious injury which we call a distracting injury. It was a busy night in the trauma/resuscitation area with all our resus rooms full. Trauma patients have multiple staff providing multiple procedures simultaneously, there is actually a process to this type of trauma care but on this occasion I was not happy with this process and I believed some of the routines for this patient had been skipped or rather decisions were being made not to have certain procedures performed. I repeatedly attempted to discuss with the doctor some of the decisions that were being made, however this was to no avail. My level of concern was so high, that I felt it was necessary to take things further and ask the Consultant to review the patient. This step effectively went over the head of the treating doctor in the trauma room. The review by the Consultant took some time because we were very busy that night. In the meantime due to the concerns I had regarding possible spinal injuries, I remained at the head of the patient manually maintaining the alignment of his spine and ensuring he was not moved until the Consultant had addressed my concerns.  After his review of the patient, the Consultant agreed with my concerns and ordered the patient to under go the appropriate scans. When I returned for my shift the next day I discovered that this patient had extensive injuries from his accident, including spinal fractures, which had been my main concern.
My recount of this situation has been the short version of the long story and has really just summarised the events of the evening. It was an extremely stressful and upsetting situation, I can only think of two others that rank up with it for me.  Unfortunately the doctor involved never spoke to me again, however there are positives which I have taken away from it and valuable personal lessons learnt about assertion, advocacy and backing your judgement.
In every action we undertake and every decision we make, the safety of our patients should be our number one priority. A good question is to ask yourself when advocating on behalf of a patient is, “What treatment would I want to be happening if this were my husband, child or parent”.
Following this incident I had great support from my nursing colleagues and from the medical consultants involved. I work in a department that has a fantastic team culture and a big thanks to you all. In the end, having checks and balances and being able to question and agree or disagree with one another’s decisions provides a place where the patient has the highest level of care resulting in the best outcome possible. I will never forget this experience and will use it to grow and develop my practice and assertion skills, especially when dealing with patient advocacy.
Do you have a story you can share about a time you advocated for a patient? I would love to hear it!
Stay safe, be happy!

Life Begins at Forty.

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IMG_3136If you have been reading from the start you will know that my blog has come about by my personal musings and some significant milestones and rites of passage of some family members and myself, one of which is me turning forty. Well I have finally reached the forty milestone. Which my older sister-in-law tells me is the “easy one”. And I have to agree. I have enjoyed and embraced the lead up and first month of turning forty. I believe a big part of this is attitude and a little bit of scheming on my part. I have already talked about having had my children in my twenties and my mindset has always been “life begins at forty”. See the “About” section above.

Due to a fantastic opportunity for my husband to attend an overseas conference with his company we engaged the help of my mum and dad, and abandoned our three children for three weeks and travelled to Dallas Texas, for his conference and on to New York and Hawaii for my birthday. So in my mind this very exciting trip was intricately linked with turning forty. I think Pavlov did experiments on his dog exactly like this.

There were so many firsts for me. I had only been away from the kids for one night twice before. I had never travelled overseas before and haven’t even been to all the states or capital cities of Australia. A little bit boring I know but when all my friends were doing the backpacking and traveling thing I decided I wasn’t very interested and bought my first house instead. Being a country girl from a tropical climate I experienced the cold of a New York winter and saw snow for the first time. I travelled in the biggest aeroplane I had ever been in and did the longest long haul flight in the world for my first trip. My husband did all the planning and had lots of surprises and exciting activities for us to do whilst there. Some of the highlights were visiting the old school book depository where JFK was assassinated from, seeing the Statue of Liberty, the World Trade Centre Memorial site, seeing artworks by Picasso, Monet and Van Gough at the Guggenheim, seeing a show on broadway, riding the New York subway, climbing a volcano and visiting Pearl Harbour. I also have to say the shopping was fantastic.

Of course I missed my children and they missed us but they were lovingly cared for by their grandparents and they now have a little more appreciation of the effort mum and dad go to for them. My parents have also realised how much time and effort we put in, and appreciate all the effort we go to for all the things our kids do with school and sport.

Another great thing about getting older is the long service leave that has accrued on your payslip for the last twenty something years. I added three weeks of this to my holidays this time and I am sure the eight weeks leave I have taken has helped me feel so relaxed and happy at this time in my life.

So bring it on. Loving life. Loving forty. Wouldn’t ever want to be younger than thirty ever again. Happy, healthy, financially secure, with good friends and a happy healthy loving family, what more could anyone ask for? I’m a very lucky lady and I know, appreciate and give thanks for it everyday.

Stay safe, be happy

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ICE Drug Bust.Good News for Emergency Departments.

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Police have seized 585 kilograms of ICE in a Sydney drug bust. Most people probably hear the news and not give it much thought once the news reader moves onto the next story. But the reality is, even if you are not touched directly by drug abuse on a daily basis, it will have a huge impact on the whole of our community, socially and financially. Ultimately this drug would have been destined for distribution to the rest of Australia and I for one think it should have a big impact on the number of aggressive and psychotic patients that present to our Emergency Department for the next few months, hopefully longer.

ICE is the purest form of crystal meth. It is extremely addictive. And it is one of the causes of the presentation of aggressive patients to our Emergency Department. Patients who have ingested ICE are usually sleep deprived, some not having slept for days. They are out of control, paranoid, hallucinating, itching or picking at their skin, aggressive, malnourished, have high blood pressure, an increased heart rate, dizziness, headache, possibly fever from infection due to non-sterile injecting habits and may have also injured themselves as a result of aggression or the inability to make reasonable decisions for themselves.

Patients with these symptoms are usually brought into the department by the police. Often against their will, but in this condition we have a duty of care to reasonably detain them for their own safety and for the safety of others in the community. As you can imagine this creates a highly volatile situation. However it is a very common presentation in our department and we have very good and well rehearsed strategies, policies and procedures in place to ensure the smooth running of these situations. We have excellent resources which range from the police, our security staff, registered nurses, mental health nurses and experienced senior doctors. We also have a designated place for this type of patient to go to initially. Consideration is given to the presenting patient’s safety, the safety of other patients in the department and the safety of all staff involved in the situation.

If the patient is unable to be verbally de-escalated or refuses oral medication as part of this strategy then the medical management of this situation is a chemical sedation process (medication) either intravenously or intramuscularly, to relieve the patient from  some of the symptoms and to create a safe environment for all others. We can then proceed to treat the physical condition of the patient. The patient will at this time be asleep.

The patient then spends many, many hours in the Emergency Department and when all the medical issues are resolved and the patient is awake and alert and not requiring admission for a medical reason they then receive a mental health assessment. ICE use affects a persons mental health by causing psychosis, which involves delusions, hallucinations and distorted perceptions of reality. Which if prolonged can lead to a diagnosis of schizophrenia. ICE use worsens existing mental health problems and affects the users ability to work and maintain an adequate financial situation. It affects relationships and families and can lead to homelessness in a downward spiralling cycle of circumstances.

So you can see why it is such a great thing that  585 kilograms of ICE has been prevented from reaching the streets and will never make it into the hands of the sons, daughters, mothers and fathers of our society. Beside the four hundred million dollar street value cost attributed to this seizure it will save our communities hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs related to law enforcement, ambulance services, medical care, mental health program’s, family breakdown, crime’s committed to pay for the habit and probably a lot of other things that I cannot even begin to imagine.

This is not meant to be a definitive treatment plan or a tool for educational purposes.

The majority of people don’t need to deal with this type of thing on a daily basis at work and probably don’t realise the impact of this on the individuals who do. Do you have an example of an experience with someone on Ice or another drug? I would love to hear about it.

Stay safe, be happy,

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SMACC are you going?

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Social-Media-IconsThe 2013 SMACC (Social Media and Critical Care) conference will be held in Sydney from the 11th to the 13th of March. It is the coming together of emergency medicine, critical care and social media. You can check out all the details at smacc.net.au. It is the future. Whether you like it or not. I am a new convert to social media and up until a few years ago avoided all forms of technology based endeavours. My husband handled the home stuff, and my kids helped me out with the TV remote (and I hate to admit it but sometimes still do). However now I make sure they take the time to show me things instead of doing it for me, much to their frustration as it would definitely be quicker for them to just do it for me, but these days I insist.

My foray into the world of blogging, (which started with me reading them on a regular basis) has been a tentative step and one that I have relished as time goes on. There are things I’m planning on doing with my blog in the future and I am interested in new possibilities that arise almost daily, but I find I just need to take my time and work through them, with or without help, but ultimately doing it myself is the only way to learn.

As a student nurse in a hospital training setting 22 years ago we were spoon fed during our lectures, we did not use personal computers and had no on-line resources. I did know how to use a library though. I have always learnt best in a practical setting and by writing stuff out, reading information from a screen doesn’t seem to work for me when required to retain the knowledge. And by the way our lectures went from 8am to 4.30pm monday to friday for the entire “block” which was anywhere from 3 to 6 week stints. Of course during university study later I had a crash course in using a computer for assignments and online research. At the time I was studying I was pregnant with my first child and spent 16 weeks vomiting and extremely unwell and after deferring for 12 months I returned to study with a baby/toddler. During the last semester of my study I gave birth to my second child and attended lectures with him in tow (I was amazed at the anti-discriminating nature of university). So needless to say, I was a little distracted and my heart not completely into mastering the technology required at that stage of my life.

I am sure there must be lots of nurses with similar circumstances. Perhaps of the same age? So for all you whippersnappers out there, who were born into a world where you can’t imagine life without Facebook and wonder how my generation ever kept in touch with our friends, if you see my struggle, be patient, I am trying and so are many others from similar backgrounds. There are others of the same generation who are streets ahead in the technology department and the world of social media, I admire them and I am also so jealous. But for the moment I will just be proud of what I have achieved so far.

I now need to log in and do all this years mandatory competencies in the new online format whilst I’m on holidays. I will not have the opportunity to take the time I need at work and be disruption free. It will take a little while to get my head around it all the first time. And maybe the second time as I will have forgotten how to do it by next year. There is no off-line time given for this at work unfortunately.

So don’t forget to check out smack.net.au and if you’re not already into it, read a few more blogs, follow the ones that interest you, have a look at some online education. Don’t know where to start? Google. Search something that interests you, read and watch, refresh by reading up on something you came across at work today. You will eventually find sites that suit you and you can like and favourite them. What is the one thing you haven’t had the chance to see or do yet? Google it!

I would love to hear about your favourite online resources. I have slowly been increasing the people and journals that I follow on twitter, each one leading to discovering more and more interesting sites. I am connecting with similar people through Linked in and I have a few medical apps, the latest one called “Upshot” which I’m still sussing out at the moment. I have about eight podcasts that I listen to regularly, my favourites are probably the EMCRIT and EMRAP podcasts. If you haven’t already then you should check them out. My favourite nursing blog is currently Impactednurse.com. So please share your favourites in the comment section below, or plug your own!

Stay safe, be happy,

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The mother lie detector test.

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My children cannot lie to me. Pinocchio_LyingThey can try. But I can always tell a lie. For years now if I don’t believe something or I am trying to get to the bottom of who’s telling the truth, when they are both standing there saying “he did it”, I always ask them to look me in the eye and tell me they didn’t do it. Or what ever statement would be appropriate for each situation. Only the child telling the truth passes the test. I have always instilled in them the honesty involved in having them look me in the eye and tell me the truth. Equally when they are trying to convince me of the truth they will say to me “Mum look me in the eye while I tell you so you know I’m telling the truth”. I amaze even myself that I have manipulated them so perfectly that there is nothing that they can get by me, if I only ask. The give away is that they cannot keep a straight face and after several attempts at “I did not push him over” etc. each with a smirk or a giggle they finally confess.

Recently whilst I was driving, there was the usual bantering argument going on and then one boy yells “Aaaah, mum he pulled my hair!”. Now to me that cry of outrage sounded over the top and put on, and this child had tried this several times recently. I didn’t know which one to believe, one saying he did it the other one saying I didn’t do anything. When I finally parked I turned in my seat and got them one at a time to say to me “He pulled my hair” and “I did not pull his hair”. As it turns out hair had been pulled and the offender was in trouble. My perpetrator son then made me suffer his lies about five times as he attempted to beat the lie detecter test. When he finally realised his attempts were futile he threw his hands in the air and said to me, “Mum you should go and work at the courts and the judge could just say to the criminal “look Bernie in the eye and tell her you didn’t kill your wife. It would save them a fortune”. I had to laugh, he was so exasperated.
Now the next stage of this experiment will be to test how this works on the teenager. So far it is still a fool proof method. Of course it will only work if I know what I need to ask, I will never detect a lie if it isn’t spoken out loud. As yet it has never been truly put to the test in a serious situation. I don’t think there has been the need for her to lie yet. Only time will tell. At this stage she  is still telling me all sorts of interesting information that most 15 year olds would not be sharing with mum. However as I live in the real world, and was once a teenager myself, I know the time will come, I think the key will be to ask questions. Lots of questions!!
Stay safe, be happy,
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Where is the off switch?

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brain-cogs1Have you ever had that moment when you do something only to realise that it probably wasn’t well thought through. At the time and in the moment you were focused on getting something done, only to realise down the track it probably wasn’t done in the smartest way. I had one of those moments recently.

It happened with a patient that had just had six minutes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and was intubated (Had a tube into their airway and a machine breathing for them) after taking an overdose, so needless to say it was in a highly stressful situation. At the time “the resus” didn’t seem like such a big deal, but on reflection not too many people do this sort of thing on a regular basis at work, and yeah it actually was very a stressful situation. The event I am talking about was minor, easily resolved and not even an issue EXCEPT that I felt like such an idiot.  I knew at the time, that a bigger problem for me would be the amount of time I would spend berating myself about it and going over and over it in my mind.

I thought about it for the rest of the shift. I thought about it walking to my car, driving home, whilst I was NOT going to sleep. It was the first thing I thought about the next morning, whilst having my shower, making breakfast, etc etc, you get my point.

I cannot help it. I go over and over stuff like this in my head. And it sucks. I’m wondering if others do this? I’m wondering how to stop it, because it takes more than just telling yourself to stop it. All my logic tells me it was no big deal, could have been worse, nobody died. Then I have a crisis of confidence and I think “I shouldn’t be doing this job and I should get a job where I have no responsibility.”  Deep down I know this isn’t necessary or true and that I’d be bored stupid. And that I’m actually pretty good at what I do but none of this helps at the time.

I know there are personality types out there who would be reading this and thinking, what is she talking about, get over it and yourself. But what I would like to do is find a happy medium. Care enough to take the time to reflect on the action or incident, learn from the experience and move on. Stop the churning. I know I’m one extreme but I think the other extreme would be just as bad. I would hate to be dangerous because I believed I could do no wrong.
I debated actually posting this blog. I’m a bit embarrassed about admitting this in such a forum, as it’s probably not something you would openly discuss amongst work colleagues, but I think there must be people out there who go through the same doubts as I do after something like this. I am finding out through feedback about my blog that there are always people who can relate to the things I write about, so I have decided to go ahead and post this because if you too are a someone who goes over and over situations like this, you are not alone. Or maybe it is just me, alone?
So now I have written about it and I am hoping this helps. Writing this blog is my own therapy as you know, get it out of my head and onto the “page”. I would really like to hear your thoughts. Are you a churner? What do you do that helps you switch off the cogs turning in your brain? I would love to hear some strategies!
Stay Safe, be happy.
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Secret Santa.

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What age is too old to still believe in Santa?

With Christmas fast approaching I worked out how many child free shopping day’s I had left before the end of the school year and this got me thinking about how old my children are now and how much easier it would be if my boys would just work it out for themselves about Santa’s true identity.
When this happens I plan on having a budget and they can have a say in what they get and can even help pick something out and try things on too.
Of course I won’t be able to resist having some surprises under the tree also.
But it will definitely be easier and give me more time to shop instead of having to have it all done by the end of november.
So I have realised that I still have two believers and it is probably too close to Christmas to break the news/their little hearts now.
So my plan is to sit them down and tell them both in about March next year.
Or maybe get their sister to tell them. She is a big driver in telling them as she thinks they will be teased.
The issue of how old has risen as I have some friends and fellow mothers who think that it is terrible that my boys still believe in Santa at age 12 and 11.  And this is what has prompted this blog.
I do realise that it is probably time but I do think it is lovely that they have lasted for so long as kids today seem to grow up so quickly.
When my son was in grade 5 and was 10 years old he changed to a school that goes from grade 5 to grade 12, and I knew that still believing in Santa would be a problem. But my reason for not revealing it at that stage was that he had a younger brother that would find out also, I knew he wouldn’t be able to keep the secret.
So to avoid being bullied, I told my son that when the other boys said Santa wasn’t real that he should just agree with them, but that “we knew he actually was real.”
I remember my son reaching out to me, touching my arm looking, into my eyes and saying to me, “Mum. You wanna know how I know Santa must be real because, I know you would never lie to me.” Aaawww.
How can I be the one to break the news to him now?
That was when I knew I was in trouble.
So this year is my last Christmas with “believers.”
I have mixed feelings as I think it will change the feel of Christmas when they know but on the other hand they are growing up so much. Oh bugger, then that makes me realise how old I am…..As usual in the end it’s all about me!
So let me know. How old is too old to still believe in Santa?
I would love to hear from you.
Merry Christmas,
Stay safe, be happy,