Pride

I am so very proud to be a part of a profession that cares for others in so many ways!

When you sit and actually think of what we do as nurses, the sheer scope of our practice is daunting!  We take care of people from the time they enter this world until the last breath on their exit. And of course EVERYTHING in between.

In this month of political electing and backbiting, I believe we can take a message from our governments’  leaders behavior and vow as a large group of professionals to NOT engage in such behaviors amongst ourselves.

How many times as young newbie nurses were we called out for various insufficiencies in our practice? How many times have we heard the wrath of the loudest, most opinionated member of staff going up one side and down the other of a nurse trying her very best to complete the overwhelming amount of work we are expected to complete in 12 hours?

Stop for a moment and remember…Pride.

Underneath the uniform is a person. A person who is trying her best, be it at the start of her career or nearing the end of it. We spend an enormous amount of time caring for others and so little time caring for each other sometimes. Step back, consider your words carefully and use the time to coach, help to understand or physically pitch in to get the work completed with the colleague.

Remember receiving the documents that cemented your registration or how it felt to have that gold school pin placed on the left side of your new white uniform and the stripe on your starched white cap changed to black? The days of pinning ceremonies and teas, starched whites and stockings may be far behind us but the pride still lives in each of us.

Take a moment out of your very busy day to look around your room, or office, desk area or bedside and be proud of all you have and will accomplish. Take a second to pass that pride to someone else on staff. Offer a hand, a quick break, a smile or a word of encouragement.

Pride.

It’s free, its in all of us and it’s so worth sharing with others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oatmeal

Oatmeal cookies can make the worst day so much better.

An extremely lumpy, sticky, sugary, chocolate-dotted batter almost tastes as good raw as it does baked. (not advisable…but….)

The smell when they’re baking could sell your house in 5 minutes!

I like my cookies chewy, lightly browned and slightly underbaked, making the last 5 minutes of sitting on the cookie sheet, the finishing crisping of the base.

Add some unusual ingredients….grains, pepitos, dried fruits chopped or, dip one end in (a plain oatmeal cookie) a bath of melted dark or white chocolate for a special treat.

I’ve tried so many recipes to get the best texture, bake and taste. This one does it for me. I think it’s the addition of the water….or perhaps the use of large flake oats that gives the best cookie and right amount of chew.

You could also bake them a bit larger, fill them with vanilla ice cream and voila! Oatmeal cookie ice cream sandwiches.

The possibilities……

 

Nurse

Nurse

NOUN:  person who cares for the sick or infirm; specifically: a licensed health care professional who practices independently or is supervised by a physician, surgeon or dentist and who is skilled in promoting and maintaining health.

Nurses week is a time to recognize those who care for others. Profession yes, but more importantly, a way of life.

Most of us go into nursing because of our fascination with the workings of the human body and or we have this inborn desire to care for and help others. It certainly isn’t for the great hours, the five star working environment or the posh clothes.

To be a nurse you must immerse yourself into the patients you are caring for. Every breath, twitch, moan, smile and request, however big or small, becomes your sole responsibility. It is your job to anticipate their needs from the start of your shift until you leave at the end of your day.

I became a nurse because of numerous hospital stays as a child. Yes, the human body did fascinate me. I loved Biology class and taking things apart to see how they worked. (thanks Dad) It was those early, lonely nights on a bed watching the ambulance lights flash on the walls and the big mean night nurse making me take my antibiotics that convinced me I needed to make things better for Pediatric patients everywhere.

The satisfaction this career has given me is immeasurable, the things I’ve seen and heard, felt and relayed are almost indescribable. If I had to give one piece of advice it would be to ask.

Ask loads of questions, ask for assignments that you’re just a bit afraid of, ask to see the procedure or ask to go on that transfer. Ask to help, ask to step into that room where they’re performing a surgery or delivering a baby. Ask for the assignment that everyone groans about at the beginning of your day. You will be astonished at what you can and will learn.

Thank you to all the nurses I’ve asked or helped ; taught or learned from; worked along side and played with. Without your constant care, insurmountable dedication and interest in providing the best care possible , our patients would just be numbers on a list, taking up space, until we’ve fixed them up enough to be discharged.

Happy Nurses Week!

Cheesecake

A cheesecake brings certain memories to mind whenever I hear or read the word.

Thick, ricotta and egg laden richness all whipped and enveloped by a pastry-like crust baked to form a slice of absolute decadence is one type. Think New York style.

Light cream cheese, sugar and eggs baked in a warm oven and held in a crumb bottom crust of a variety of flavours. Think Philly Cream Cheese classic.

There are a few thousand variations of the above as well; some with sour cream added, melted chocolate mixed in or various boozy and non-alcoholic flavourings incorporated.

Whatever way you make it, cheesecake is an absolute treat to the senses.

I’ll post my favourite recipe that comes from a magazine way back when I first went out on my own. I remember leafing through a magazine at the dentist’s office (NOT my fav place) and then ripping it out and slipping it in my purse hoping no one saw me do it…..

Whenever anyone asks for a cheesecake it’s the one I use. Quick, easy and a showstopper!

Enjoy!

 

Different

I’m working in a different area.

What does one do when one has worked in the same department for so long and all of a sudden everything is…

Different.

It is true what they say. You do know when it’s time to leave and change. That leaving will be difficult because everything will be……

Different.

I’m still nursing, BUT, I know what’s coming. I have a number of tasks to complete for every patient. I know they’ll show up at a certain time and they’ll go home the same day. I’m slowly finding my rhythm but still wait for the ambulance phone, and the swish of the auto doors, the beeping alarms of the monitors and the excruciatingly high decibel noise level.

Different!

I stood in the Day Surgery hallway Friday morning at 0630 and closed my eyes. No crying, shouting, talking, flushing, or beeping. Just the hum of the fluorescent lights, the gentle swish of the curtains on an open window and the distant ding of our ancient elevator arriving filled my ears.

Different.

I think I’m going to like it here.

Icing

When you are in love with cake, the covering becomes just as important to the end product and just as challenging.

After countless tries with tons of different recipes, I have found my buttercream go-to.  It pipes well, colours easily and you can flavour it anyway you want. The ingredient list is simple but the product divine.

Buttercream should be exactly that. If you put that much effort, thought and time into a knockout cake, make your icing equally as fabulous.

If you have oodles of time, lots of patience and are truly in the “cake zone” make an Italian Meringue Buttercream. It’s so worth it.

My buttercream takes minutes to whip up. The quantities of butter/shortening, milk/cream, and icing sugar give me a lovely, pipeable, palatable product. The secret is in the beating.

Look for the recipe and give it a whip. You won’t be sorry…..

Wrong

In the wake of one of the most horrific accidents and loss of young life Canada and the world has seen, I couldn’t stop myself from wondering how the Emergency Disaster Management Teams coped with such a large mass casualty event.

Don’t take this the wrong way. As a woman, mother and not wearing my “nurse cap”, I felt such utter horror at the fact that so many young lives had been snuffed out in the blink of an eye. Nauseating heart-pounding disbelief was what occurred first when I heard the news.

Then the nurse took over.  While sounding callous, hard and to some unfeeling, I put myself in the shoes of those who would have been waiting in the various ED’s in the vicinity of this Code Orange. The sheer overwhelming task of the first responders to sift through the wreckage, sort through the casualties and load to a destination must have been a herculean effort on so many levels.

Getting that barrage of ambulance dispatches would have set the dedicated group of nurses, doctors and extended service personnel at the hospital into a flurry of activity to prepare. And then they came.

I read an article that had a doctor’s account of what transpired. I felt somewhere between helpless and wanting to have been a part of it. Is that wrong?? Does anyone really want to witness the chaos and destruction, disbelief and agony….

The woman and mother didn’t want to be there for obvious reasons…..the nurse wanted to jump in and help, sort and stabilize, treat and load, but most of all, provide comfort. I imagine the comforting part, in such a small close knit community, will continue on for a very long time to come.

Emergency nursing is exciting, challenging and so very difficult at times.

It’s not wrong to want to be there. It’s what we spend years training for and expecting.

The root of that “want” is caring. Caring is never wrong.

#prayingforhumboldt

 

Cake

Everyone has a favourite cake. It will either be the flavour, the presentation or the person who bakes it that constitutes the favouritism.

I do love cake and confess to being a bit of a cake snob.

It has to be made with glorious butter, exceptional vanilla (thanks to my traveling friends who bring it to me from Mexico) and the icing has to be a light meticulously whipped melt-in-your-mouth buttercream

……..drooling now……..

Whatever your favourite is, be sure to use the best ingredients you can get your hands on and measure everything exactly. This is one area of cooking that demands it. Scoop and knife swipe your flour. Place your liquid measure on a level surface and wait till it settles before pouring it into the bowl, and splurge on farm fresh eggs!

Cake is usually a celebration staple, so whether it’s your Mom’s best Lemon Layer Cake or your “I can’t live without anything strawberry” Buttercream Frosting; the old family standby Fruitcake or your extra special Meringue Mousse Chocolate Cake, remember to get the best ingredients you possible can and set aside a large block of time to enjoy the experience.

I’ll share my go-to recipes for cakes and let me know what you think….

Enjoy!

Change

Working in an ED is much like that old commercial for Bits and Bites….remember that one? The cartoon dude stick figure with the slightly stoned voice….

“Stickin’ your hand in the bag, and comin’ out with a new handful..3 cheese bits, 4 spiced rings, and 2 pretzel sticks. Next handful, a whole new ballgame…Bits and bites every handful is different! Yeah!”

There is no routine or typical rhythm to our day in the ED. We approach each patient and pass them through a basic process within the dept but even that changes. (see above). It depends on a million variables. Age, predisposing factors, time of day, severity of the actual presenting complaint etc. The list is enormous.

I have often been asked how I would explain the workings of an ED. Two words come to mind. Controlled chaos. Each of the 12 hours of every shift are always different. You need to be prepared mentally for the absolute worst case scenario every second of every hour of every shift. It may not happen today, it may take weeks to materialize but, when it does, we find ‘comfort’ in our meticulous preparation for such events.

I have often told students, and newbies that the moment you become comfortable and ‘off alert’ is the moment you should not work ER anymore.

Even after 30 + years, those 10 minutes before shift (where I look like I’m half asleep) tying up my runners in the staff lounge before my day begins, are my mental strengthening and prep time for what’s to come in the next 12 hours. It may not happen today, but I’m ready. I may have sleepy red eyes and walk a little slower than I used to but I’m ready. The moment that patch phone goes off I still feel my heart rate increase and my mind shift to “what if” mode. I’m ready for come what may.

In a few days I’m changing departments. No more controlled chaos, no more waiting for the worst case scenario to arrive (sometimes unannounced) on the doorstep, no more adrenaline rush with the sound of a phone ring…BUT….I’m ready. I’ll stick my hand in a different bag(see above) and may come up with the same presenting problem repeatedly BUT, the patients themselves will always be different.

Change is as good as a rest. I’m excited for it and I’m ready.

At least I still get to stick needles in people!

 

 

Snackin’

If you are a child of the 70’s/80’s “Snackin’ Cake” (Betty Crocker) was a staple in most kitchens to keep up with the ever increasing demands on the working wife’s time. Even back then , without the help of cellphones and automated everything, companies were developing ways to save time. All you needed was a pan, a fork and a measuring cup!

I was looking through my old tin and found my “snacking cake” recipe. It’s really simple, mixes up in one bowl and has a few variations using pantry staples everyone has.

The recipe photo I posted on Instagram shows the recipe from Homemakers Magazine circ. 1999. I still use that recipe today! It’s great for using up the last browning banana or the rest of an opened tin of pumpkin puree. I don’t tend to put any icing on mine but a blanket of sifted icing sugar over the top does the trick.

It’s great in a lunch, to transport to work for your friends to share or if you have unexpected company drop by.

Enjoy!