Ah, the Life of a Graduate Student

Well, it finally happened.

Someone, actually two people,  asked me what was up with my blog. I was expecting it, of course, but I was chagrined just the same at being called out (albeit, very gently) for not writing for the past couple of weeks.

Now, as a matter of fact, I have been writing….. and reading, and note taking, and outlining, and researching, and reading some more……but not as the Passionate Moderate…..I’ve been doing those things as a first term midwifery student. And this will be one of my easiest terms according to those who have gone before me. The thought makes me a bit nauseous….or is it nauseated?

Not that I’m complaining! I’m thoroughly enjoying my new role and eager to learn as much as I can, but I must be truthful about one thing. Being a blogger who writes about current events is very difficult when you don’t know what’s going on in the world. My life right now is consumed with pathophysiology, the history of midwifery and nursing theory (yuck). No time for politics and scandal….which is fine for the moment. I’m sure as the election season revs up I’ll be sufficiently motivated to share my thoughts on the subject.

To give you an idea of how immersed I am in what I am learning, and probably an idea of what a dork I am, let me tell you this little story:

Last week I had an exam in pathophysiology, and one of the topics covered was the stress response. I spent an evening really trying to study the cascade of hormones and resultant physical changes which happen when the body is in danger, either in reality or imagined. Then I went to sleep, and I should point out that I tend to dream very vivid, wild dreams in general, but his particular night was like an action, adventure movie with many heart-stopping and tense moments, chases, gunshots, near drownings, you name it, and every time I noticed a physical reaction or sensation in myself I’d think, “That’s part of the stress response.”….over and over again. (I did quite well on the exam, by the way.)

So there you have it, I’m a little…shall we say…preoccupied with school, but I promise I haven’t forgotten about my blog or my readers.

Still to come, a “con” guest blog about Obamacare from a medical student you can find at littleredmed.wordpress.com. I have no idea who this student is, but the blog writing is phenomenal. I highly recommend you start to follow.

Also, a musing about emotional energy and what it means to our physical and mental well-being.

Beyond that who knows……

I’ve just started my graduate studies to become a nurse-midwife, so while I wrap my head around my schoolwork and get organized I’m re-blogging a different perspective on the “pros” of Obamacare. I’m hoping to have a guest blog for the “con” side soon. If you like this post check out some of Dr Sloan‘s other articles; he has a great and informative blog.

Mark Sloan M.D.

“You cannot educate an unhealthy child, and you cannot keep an uneducated child healthy.” Jocelyn Elders M.D., former U.S. Surgeon General

I was one of millions of happy people following Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling that upheld the Affordable Care Act. The ACA greatly expands access to care, benefits, and coverage for millions of children, and if there’s any hope for the future of this country it has to start with healthy children.

It’s difficult for people with health insurance to truly understand what it’s like for those who don’t have it. Or for those who had it and then lost it in the recent economic downturn. And it’s easy to overlook the toll this can take on a child’s chances of success in life.

Here’s one example from my practice:

I took care of a family I’ll call the Swensons for several years. Greg and Connie have three kids…

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Why I Celebrate Nurse’s Week

No, No No……that is why my husband celebrates Nurse‘s Week.

In all seriousness though…

I think that nursing is a mis-understood profession. It’s respected, for the most part, by the general public, but it seems to me that in most people’s minds, nursing is a medical career. We help doctors take care of patients. To be sure, we often get credit for being at the bedside more and for doing a lot of the work, which isn’t really fair to a doctor (or worse a poor resident) who may have many more patients to care for at once.

But nursing is not medical….it’s nursing. There is a whole different philosophy and perception behind it than there is in medicine. Medicine is very task oriented. You find what’s wrong and you fix it. You try your damnedest not to do any harm in the process. Illness is bad; health is good, and obviously we need people for whom that philosophy works. We need good doctors.

We also need good nurses. Like medicine, there are aspects of nursing that are task oriented and technical, but it has a depth to it that goes beyond the illness is bad, health is good equation. There is a nurturing element to it, a holistic perspective that is unique to nursing.

To give you a simple example of what I mean, think about this. When you are looking for a recommendation for a doctor how often have you heard something along the lines of “He/She is a great doctor (is brilliant, is the top of their field, etc.), but he/she does’t have the best bedside manner.” I know I’ve heard it (or thought it) often. You never hear someone say that about a nurse. If a nurse has a bad bedside manner, then he/she is a bad nurse. That’s all there is to it. Nursing is about possessing certain knowledge and skills, but it is also very much about the personal touch.

So with that in mind I have to give a shout out to all of my sisters and brothers in the nursing profession. I have worked with amazing, competent and compassionate nurses, both RNs and Advanced Practice Nurses. I have been the benefactor of their care. I have been lucky enough to have nurses around me who have taken the time to teach and encourage me in my career. I work every day to live up to their standards of care and remember that while my job is a job, what I do impacts my patients’ lives. That knowledge is very humbling.

In my particular area of labor and delivery, there is no way that I will remember every person I care for, but I can be pretty darn sure that they remember the care they got during one of the most special (or difficult) days of their lives. I owe it to every one of them to be as close to the perfect nurse as I can get; they deserve nothing less. And the amazing thing is, I am not a standout in my career. Most of the nurses I know feel and conduct themselves in the same way.

That is a special thing. Nursing is a special thing. Happy Nurse’s Week!

I’m so proud to be part of an amazing tradition of caring.

PS: Nurses also tend to have a sick sense of humor……