Night Shift

Working night shift wears me out. We do a lot of “swing shifts” from days (7a-7p) to mids (10a-10p) to nights (7p-7a). Fortunately, in-house rules exist as to how we structure our schedule but I still struggle with those damn nights.

Anyone else out there have issues with swinging from days to nights and back in a few short days? More importantly, do you have tricks that work?

As all in the HEMS industry know, we have fought safety issues and criticism related to our horrible accident record in 2009. In one online article related to the NTSB hearing quoted Eileen Frazer, RN, executive director of CAMTS who stated:

“The No. 1 issue we have concerns about is fatigue and sleep deprivation,” Frazer testified. She said 49% of helicopter EMS accidents happen at night, while only 34% of flights take place at night. “One of our biggest concerns is sleep inertia — that period after you wake up. What is your cognitive function? What are your psychomotor skills and what activities must you do immediately after being awakened?”

[emphasis mine]

I recently completed online and in house sleep safety training. I KNOW what happens when I am too tired. I know that proper diet, exercise, sleep, etc will help prevent fatigue.

But the question still hangs out there—–how the hell do I flip back and forth between these varied shifts?

*head desk*

crzegrl Guest Speaker? Yup, 2011 Michigan Trauma Symposium

“The Impact of Alcohol on Trauma”


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On 24 March I am speaking at the Michigan Trauma Symposium in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Every year, the symposium rotates between the three major cities/trauma centers in West Michigan: Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Lansing. A few months ago, our trauma coordinator called the hangar wondering if we had any good case studies to present related to alcohol and trauma. Knowing I am a sucker for such a request, my manager asked if I had any ideas . . .

. . . I said no . . .

As the fickle hand of fate would have it, I was GIVEN a case study about 3 weeks later. Quite honestly, this one is going down as #1 in my medical career of all patient’s I have had the honor of caring for. And then to be able to speak to a crowd of a few hundred people about it? Sorry, BRAG to a few hundred people about how awesome the 50+ people who cared for him in the first 2 hours post injury were?

Priceless.

Chaos and Not Much Order–How to get things done

I must, on an almost hourly basis (or even more frequently!), remind myself that planning my work day is neigh unto impossible. Not only is it impossible, but even after starting on a project or task that being interrupted too many times to count is to be expected.

Take for example a normal shift. Today, I was expecting to arrive at our main base and travel by ground (get in a car and drive for you land lubbers) to our second base after meeting the rest of the crew. Normally, the aircraft is left overnight at our second base and we meet it there.

Today, however, the aircraft was at our primary base. And the weather is crap. (Or IFR for you air lubbers). So, instead of being in a quiet office with space to work and expected interruptions like shift briefings and flight requests, I found myself discombobulated, without quiet work space, and constantly pulled in so many directions I was feeling like rubber girl. (get your mind outta the gutter) Yup, I am working out of our primary base. Read–work plans foiled.

Did I get a lot done? Arguably. Am I straight exhausted from the chaos? Absolutely.

And my presentation is still not getting done. Now I am so overwhelmed I am having difficulty concentrating. Oh, yeah. I was planning on arriving at our second base, doing my daily flight nurse duties and sitting down to about 8 hours of book/computer work.

Heh, even my post is disjointed and chaotic.

How does a girl who has a bunch to do, but works in disorder and chaos get anything done? Heh, and to think I am here to FLY!!! 🙂

I need a nap.

Instead I am going to work on my PowerPoint presentation while hiding on our mezzanine with the intubation heads and stretchers.

peace and quiet

A Flight Nurse’s Dream Product: SwabFlush Receives FDA Clearance

So many times when flying a very ill or injured patient, finding the alcohol swabs is monumentally difficult. As with everything else we do, how incredible when we are able to remove steps from a simple, but essential process.

Hmmm, but what I really wonder about is the cost. And if they can figure out a way to use these things on the absolutely worthless IV tubing that still requires some sort of needle-less whatcha-ma-jig to pierce a membrane.

My solution to part of the healthcare money crisis?

MAKE ALL TUBING/CONNECTORS COMPATIBLE!

 

But I digress, as I so often do.

See more on Medgadget.

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Excelsior Medical has received FDA clearance for its SwabFlush IV catheter flush syringe. 75hdtg.png

It is basically a standard syringe pre-filled with saline for flushing IV lines after delivering medications. However, in the plunger it features a disinfection cap (the SwabCap) for needleless IV connectors. When applied, the cap covers the connector, protecting it from contamination. Furthermore, as the cap is twisted onto the threads, a foam pad inside the cap is compressed, releasing 70% isopropyl alcohol bathing the connector’s top and threads. The integrated cap should make it easier and more convenient to follow protocols and reduce IV catheter related infections. It comes as a 10mL flush syringe pre-filled with 3 ml, 5 ml or 10mL of saline. Video explaining the SwabCap mechanism:


I think I have Information Deprivation Disorder

While doing a clinical rotation in OB last week, which is required for my position annually, I was bordering on a minor anxiety attack. For the first time in a very long time, I was without my cell phone.

Today, while working on all of my social media accounts, surfing the web and watching Twitter simultaneously, I came across a Tweet—

@LaurenCandito: New on the SMS Blog: Many show withdrawal symptoms after 24 hours without technology

During brief period standing in line at the market, I have found myself reaching for a phone I left in the car, realizing that I no longer am able to just stand still and occupy myself without a digital distraction. After having it happen on more than one occasion, I thought that I may have an issue until that day last week in clinical.

I reached for an absent mobile.

I reached for missing paper & pen that is my backup distractor and battery-less blogging tool.

There was no way to distract myself.

I almost panicked.

Then the link to the above post.

I may have Information Deprivation Disorder.

I need to get over it.

brevity you are my previous post

So I attempted to start a post yesterday from the WordPress app on my iPhone. It went horribly wrong and I not only ended up with a very short blurb, but the photo I wanted to post didn’t upload.

*sigh*

I guess that is what I get for hosting my own version of WP on my own server. And not updating it for quite a long time.

*double sigh*

With that said, I fixed the photo, but not the text. I thought it best to leave it as is and try to explain it today.

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My Domain

Over the past few years, I began to realize that the major things in my life (goals, accomplishments, to-dos) all come to a definitive point of resolution. They end, but not necessarily on my time line. Becoming an RN took me almost failing out of Michigan State, joining the Army and living all over the country before I finished with my MSN (at a much better school—read: fate!). If I would have succeeded on my timeline, I would have ended up living in Michigan my entire life and probably not gotten past my BSN.

Even with all of my accomplishments, the non-definitive point of resolution related to my maintaining a healthy weight and physical life style has eluded me. It is all about timing. I started eating a vegetarian diet (still eating eggs and cheese if you must know) the first of the year. This is not a resolution or some fad diet that I am trying out to lose weight. I don’t think eating meat is a bad thing, or that we should all quit wearing leather and fur. I want to learn to cook differently, have more of a purpose for my garden and my chickens (I have 12!) and find the desire to explore culinary variety which I would not be exposed to by eating what is comfortable and what is known.

Tonight I counted 16 different vegetables in the courses I prepared. SIX-TEEN.

My mother would be so proud.

So I sit here tonight parked in my domain (see photo). Legs sore from the Spin class I suffered through (and I mean suffered), content knowing that I am starting with the little things, hoping that the timing is right, and all the pieces have fallen into place so I can consistently treat my physical body right.

Hopefully, this is my point of resolution.

Simple changes

Sometimes, it is the small changes that make the biggest differences. Over the past two years, I have weaned myself off of plastic shopping bags (almost), recycle everything possible, stopped eating fast-food, no longer drink soda and am eating a vegetarian diet.

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What a Difference A Day Makes

Why is it that the birth of a new year brings hope, plans for positive change and the feeling of rebirth?

It amazes me what a difference a year makes.

I see great happiness, change and greatness in 2011.

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Great Happiness.

AirLife Denver lands top global honor

I decided that I need to actually start keeping up and writing more about the HEMS industry.

Marky, I thought about you this morning when I came across the following article. Guess your classmate will have smack to talk when you mention the Duracell commercial . . .

From EMS Flight Crew:

Airlife Denver, the emergency-transport service for HealthOne, was named the top medical flight service in the world for 2010-2011 by the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) . . .

AirLife Denver has served nearly 50,000 patients and their families over 27 years across the eight-state Rocky Mountain region. The program has made investments in such items as night-vision goggles, terrain-awareness warning systems, a better patient loading system, and painting the helicopters and ambulances green and blue for better visibility

[From Airlife Denver lands top global honor]