Nursing disconnected

I read today, an article in Nursing News, of Nurses embracing iPhones. It told of a ‘fabulous’ tool for nurses and the apps available to assist in providing safe care. Accolades galore. From NPs and charge nurses, assistant directors and information officers, and one rather disturbing report of a nursing instructor from a faculty that requires the student to have an i-something. Not an actual, clinical bedside nurse report in the group.


Now I love these new technologies. I use them to search out information all the time. I get how valuable a tool this is. For me. I also get how useful it could be for a bedside nurse.

However, there is a huge disconnect. People see a bedside nurse peering into an iPhone, blackberry or any handheld device and the immediate impression is that the nurse is not doing the work they were hired to do. Even a desktop bedside computer gives that impression. And further many healthcare organizations have policies and prohibitions against using your pocket handheld device while you are working. Seems nurses cannot be trusted to have the device available and only use it for work related activities. The temptation to FB is apparently too strong for the nurse.

However, once you have ascended the professional ladder and can position a title after your name you are good to go.

At our hospital doctors and residents pull out the devises, text, take phone calls with maddening abandon. They have embraced the technology and make free use of all its glories. Yet a nurse who pulls out the tool will be seen as not working, reported, censured by management and cast by co-workers as a lazy nurse. Further the policy prohibits family or patients from using a cell phone. In this age of driving the health care culture towards respectful, safe and integrative how can that happen when the culture continues to  put one group outside and above the rules that apply to all others?

Either we are together in this or we are stratified. The reality says we continue to exist and function in a stratified organization where the rules that apply to some do not apply to others because of their profession. The tools available are just as useful and needed for bedside nurses as for physicians, yet for a million excuses nurses are prohibited. Yet, nurses are pushed to be professional, use critical thinking and decision making skills, to know more, do more, think more, be more – with one hand tied behind your back.

It all comes down to those who are unable to resist the urge to check their FB or personal email or book a vacation or shop online or view porn during work time. Sure they exist and have poorly defined limits of appropriate behaviour woven into their work actions. However, it is so junior high to paste everyone into the same category of responsibility. Deal with those who err on the side of stupidity rather than treating us all as handicapped limpets.

You want professional, treat them as professionals. You want to be treated as a professional, act as a professional.


collective guilt

Disturbed this week by so many things.

First disturbing consideration is the recent dropped charges of Tammy Marquardt. 13 years in prison, convicted of killing her 2 year old, apprehended 2 other children taken and put into adoption and she seems so calm. I don’t know how she found the strength to deal with such a horrifying event.

And I think about the numerous times in the past years of a picu where a child would arrive, limp, unresponsive and suspicion would be cast upon the parent or care giver. I remember many cases where the neurologist would claim the type of brain injury could only, ever be caused by shaking. Many times that absolute conviction of correctness created a unease in me, however it was not anything that was ever discussed, or questioned. At that time this was the understanding of infant and toddler head injuries of unknown origin. I remember when I first read an article that cast doubt on this sacred cow – that subdural hematoma could occur spontaneously, that retinal hemorrhages could have alternative etiology besides a shaking. I wondered what had happened to so many of those parents who were tagged as the offender of a horrible crime, where perhaps none had been committed.

Now we see this woman and perhaps another 19 parents/caregivers painted in a manner which was not them, tainted and condemned, forever pained by not only the death of their child but the betrayal of not only the health care system but also the justice system.

I wonder how often we have done this. This was not done by Smith alone. Healthcare, justice and society has allowed this horror. Before the child ever arrived on his autopsy table there was assumed guilt – healthcare workers are afterall simply human.

But still, is this release and dropping of charges enough for this massive miscarriage? Our societal guilt should drive us to enact change, for apparently, it could very well have been any of us.