Many months ago, my blog came into question. It didn’t come into question because of something I wrote, or someone I offended. It was, however, under scrutiny by the powers-that-be.

That process, quite frankly, took the wind out of my writing sails. From day one, my writing centered around how much I loved my job, where I worked and the people I work with. It was difficult feeling as thought I needed to defend myself, my writing, and in some ways, who I am.

I am thrilled that after the recent publication of the social media policy, I can now say that I work for Aero Med in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I have, as you will notice, added a disclaimer the the side bar as was directed. I will continue to talk about how much I love my niche profession of Flight Nursing, how much I enjoy where I work, and those I work with.

Please take note that I DO NOT speak for the US Army (which recently also changed its stance on social media), the hospital, or Aero Med.

My blog is my opinion only.

The stories I tell are either written with permission or changed to be HIPAA compliant. Everyone likes a good story, but I am aware of how visible my patients are both in the news and in the community. They will never have to worry that I am doing or saying what I shouldn’t.

News organizations do not contact me for a scoop. I will simply direct you to the hospital communications department and give you the phone number you already have memorized.

Everyone else, call or email away. I would LOVE to talk to you about flight medicine! (side note: if you have emailed me, I am working on getting back to you)

Lastly, I am still the person dubbed crzegrl, and no, I am not turning in my hypothalamus. *pointed look at the boys* I will continue to post about my life in a fairly uncensored format. I drink beer, cuss on occasion, and do everything humanly possible to wring every bit of love, laughter, and passion out of this life. My blog is not a representation of Emily J. McGee as a professional entity, it is me Emily and my life as I live it.

So as I have the next four days away from the insanity, I have a lot of catching up to do. I’ve missed you all!

The Lost Edition: Change of Shift Vol. No.

Once upon a time, an over ambitious blogger had a dream. A goal really. To achieve the blogging version of a hat trick. She did the easy first, calling into the Dr. Anonymous Show. Bragging about doing the blogging trinity. His show, Grand Rounds and Change of Shift.

The show was a riot as usual.

Grand Rounds was a bit late.

Change of Shift?

Volunteering at the last minute was an opportunity I couldn’t resist. It fell near Veterans Day. A day near and dear to my heart as, most of you know, I continue to proudly serve. It came shortly after one of the most horrible tragedies in Army history.

It also fell on my blogging anniversary.

And the edition was almost lost to the depths of my failure.

Almost, but not quite.
As I reread the submissions for the edition, I was struck by the solemn nature of the posts. They were very unlike the majority of posts submitted to me in the past. The bulk submissions were absolutely non-existant. Instead, the posts are thick with introspection, contemplation and raw emotion.

I am confident in saying that this is one of the best collections of Change of Shift ever.

I would like to close with a few personal notes.

Thank you all for your support of not only myself, but all who are serving, and who have served. Sacrificing for the freedoms we all enjoy is much easier when it is done for a grateful nation.

I received permission from one of my dearest friends who served as an Army Medic and who currently serves as a civilian medic in Iraq to post the following, which he wrote.

Img 2226
Unknown “DUSTOFF” soldier
Viet Nam Memorial Wall, Washington, D.C.
photo by E. McGee

. . . to my brothers that are no longer with me, those that still serve and work with me and those that are still in harms way, your forever on my mind.

If I ever

If I ever
heard the sound
stillness in the moment of the news
The silent heart that lays
the quite of the men as I walk

If I ever
felt the warmth leave, the hand that lays
held on tight, nothing I can do to save the warmth
the warmth leaves, coldness comes..

If I ever
had to wash away the tears
clean the faces, clear the pockets
close the eyes

If I ever
witnessed life so true and bright
carried on by others in red white and blue
the eagle flies the heads bow

If I ever
looked into the face of mothers
eyes of warmth and tears
looked in the face of fathers
eyes of warmth and tears

If I ever
had to stand at the side
hands on brass, covered in white
felt the tightness of the tie
the weight of ribbons and names

If I ever
once stood with them
laughed with them
drank with them
sweat with them
cried with them

If I ever
had to look into the face of their children
held their hands
told them stories

If I ever
folded the flag
passed it over
raised my hand high, lowered it once more
held my tears back as I say goodbye

If I ever
walked behind the trees
shed my tears
remembered the faces
remembered their family

If I ever
looked to the sky
prayed for them
talked to them
as that sun fades

If I ever
placed the ribbons around the trees
placed the flags in front of white stones
read the names in rows and rows
found the few names that made me cry

If I ever
walked amongst white crosses
names of past names of present
the the union jack draped head high
surrounded by six
headed by one

if I ever
heard the 21 rounds
in honor of my friend
the drizzle of the rain
the sobbing of mothers

If I ever
could bring them back
take them home
bring them peace
know they are safe

If I ever
could make sure
not another one
goes in vain
but are held in peace and warmth
for everything they gave
for everything they left

If I ever
could open deaf ears
there are men here
they give and gave their lives
so others did not

If I ever
could make sure
the rich paid their debt
took care of their families
gave full honors to their name

If I ever let them forget
it is time for someone to take my place
I am VET

God be with my brothers and sisters
that are already gone before me
those that I knew
those that I never knew

Its time to open deaf ears, all of us together
open up deaf ears
warriors in charge to open up deaf ears
I am a vet

God take care of them If I ever…….

—-Kip Bradley

Grand Rounds Vol 6. No. 7

Hello and welcome to this edition of Grand Rounds!

As I contemplated the possibilities for a cheeky theme and racked my brains for something pithy or unique, my thoughts consistently fell on the fact that tomorrow is Veterans Day in the United States. Veterans Day is simply a day off for some. For others it is a day in which we take the opportunity to show those, who sacrificed greatly for the freedoms we enjoy, appreciation.

Img 2191 2
Tomb of the Unknowns
Arlington National Cemetery
Photo Credit: Emily McGee

What does this have to do with an international edition of a medical carnival?

Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech.

—Benjamin Franklin

Freedom of thought, and freedom of speech is what blogging is all about. I am not only proud of my Army service, but am grateful to those who wore the uniform before me, making sacrifices so I can spend my evening writing my own words without fear of reprisal or censorship.

I am honored to present to you every entry I received. Please enjoy this edition, and take the time, either publicly or privately, to reflect on the freedoms you have, and what it took for you to possess them.

Bongi—you couldn’t have given me a better transition if we planned it! On his blog “other things amanzi” he shares a time in which the freedom of his speech helped solidify his legendary status. Yes, even more legendary then he is to us!

Freedom of speech doesn’t end with sentences and paragraphs. Apparently, a few of my favorite bloggers embarked on a Haiku quest this past week. My two favorites? So glad you asked!

The first is from Ramona over at “Suture for a Living.”

Haiku #2

Too big , too small, sad

Cut, sew, reduce, augment, lift

Happy, happy girls

The second is from Laika at “Laika’s MedLibLog.”

Haiku #8

Wishing he was dead,

Paralyzed from neck down,

Nothing he can do.

Apparently Dr. Rob was in the middle of the Haiku insanity, but who does that surprise?

Having the nerve to discuss mistakes, many times, is difficult to come by. Dr. Joseph Kim tackles not one, but two tough topics his post, Doctors and mistakes: big and small on the blog “Medicine and Technology.”

Healthcare lawyer David Harlow, on “Healthblawg,” digs a bit more into free speech, taking on the subject of Twitter spam, and the use of social networking by drug companies to promote off-label uses of medications to the lay person.

The US healthcare system and insurance debate were tackled as well.

One of the best submissions for this edition came from “Insureblog.” Sandi’s plight highlights how our current medical insurance system was successful, but how it could also fail. Follow that entry up with Dr. Rich’s post, New Jersey, What Were You Thinking? and you will have both a system and an individual view of the debate.

To round out the submissions covering the US healthcare/insurance debate, we have two posts. The first, a podcast and transcript in which David Williams interviewed Peter Lee who is co-chair of the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project. Why does the system perpetually seem doomed to failure? IMHO, lawsuits have a huge chunk of the blame. In the second post “ACP Internist” has a great entry covering the basics related to lawsuits in the post, “Which patients sue for malpractice?

How else does the system lose money? Errors. Error Prevention Strategies: It’s not “Sophie’s Choice” folks is up over at Florence dot com. The situation isn’t helped, however, when things like counterfeit versions of the flu vaccine are being sold, further degrading trust in the system. Go read the post “Drug Wholesaler Found Peddling Mystery Medicine as Flue Vaccine (Pharmacy Liability),” and you will be even more concerned.

Some of my favorite posts were related to the clinical side of medicine. Medication For Pain Series 2009: Antidepressants is part of a series over at the blog “How to Cope with Pain.” The post Baby it hurts: birth practices and postpartum pain on the blog, “Science and Sensibility” keeps the same theme, but proves what a wide topic pain can be.

Have you ever been grossed out by something you see another practitioner do? Next time you cringe when you see a man’s tie dangle over a patient, consider the possibility that it could be germ resistant! “ACP Hospitalist,” in the post Ties that bind, and make you gag talks about this new option for neckties, and also covers an even more scary side of ties—-the perpetuation of tacky prints!

The post which I would give my “Favorite Clinically Based Post” award (if there was such a thing!) to is from Paul Auerbach, M.D. who highlighted a published case study about Recombinant Factor VIIa for Rattlesnake Envenomation. As far fetched as this happening twice seems, about the time that crosses my mind, I will be flying the anti-venom, the Factor VIIa AND the patient to the big hospital in my area!

Rounding out the submissions are posts covering a wide range of subjects. Resources for Sexual Minority Youth made me realize I wouldn’t have even known where to begin looking for information about the topic had a patient asked. I also didn’t realize that those old school fitness tests may have been all for naught! Find out more in the post Fitness Tests – Do They Do What They Claim? And, from our friends to my immediate north, the blog “Canadian Medicine,” in the post Canada is looking out for your health, brings a collection of short topics covering topics such as Solubilize, nebulize, die, and Consumable entertainment.

When I host Change of Shift, I usually save my favorite post for last. Most times it is the post which had the most emotional impact. This edition did not disappoint.

“Notes of an Anesthesioboist”
Glimpse Into a Marriage

Thanks for heading my way for this edition and thanks to Colin for giving me the opportunity to tackle this last minute edition!

Grand Rounds Vol. 6 No. 8 will be @ Health Insurance Colorado on 17 November 2009.

How to Host a Blog Carnival part Two, Change of Shift Volume Three No. 14

As I sat down to lay out this edition of Change of Shift, I realized how many first timers took the plunge and decided to submit blog posts. That in itself is very exciting. A few I corresponded with, giving words of encouragement and even went out and got a video blog post from another blogger who didn’t originally intend on submitting.

All in all I have 23 entries. That is right.



And I do video.

So as the hours ticked by, and I got a few last minute entries I realized something important.

I have no theme. No kitschy idea for the video. No “International Talk Like a Pirate Day” to celebrate. No video from Barcelona with Zippy. No helicopter to film from.

Just me.

In my house.

It was during a conversation with TJ that I realized my adventure in creating the edition was story enough in itself.

So, without delaying this edition any further (because it wouldn’t be a CoS edition hosted here if it wasn’t late!) . . .

——————And for the unfancified text version of CoS!——————

Out with 2008 In With 2009!

Alvaro Fernandez, one of our most consistent contributors, begins this edition off with “Brain Fitness Update 2008” a recap (pun intended) of the best of the blog Sharp Brains. Over at Digital Doorway, Keith transitions our theme over in “Welcoming 2009 with Compassion” a great look at the new year through the eyes of hope.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Over at the Nurse Practitioner’s Place, Nurse Practitioner’s Save Lives gives us her resolutions in numbered order! What a brave soul! Kathy at Nurse Connect is here to help us all make sure we are successful in her post “A New Year’s Resolution.” Also at Nurse Connect, Laura talks about personal professional evaluation and growth in her post “Change May be Closer Than You think.”
Laura—good luck in your new ICU position!

General Health and Wellness

Is losing weight on your list for the new year? The blog Losing Weight Feels Great has just the post for you: “Simplicity for Weight Loss Success.”

My favorite blog graphic (other than StrongOne’s abs) is the header of the blog My Caffeine Addiction. As I drink too much of the stuff, the post “Top 10 Coffee Alternatives Avoid the Negative Effects of Caffeine” by the blogger Coffee Addict, was especially interesting.
As some of you heard my whining concern about my neck and back recently being adjusted, you better believe I read Dean’s post “Neck Pain and the Cold” with great interest from his site The Back Pain Blog.

There were two entries from the site Fast Medical Info for this edition. The first post, “Allergy to Latex” is a great review. From an entirely different wave, they also submitted the post, “Still a Difference in Gender Accomplishment – Surprised? Why?” I would love to see the citations for their statistics as I bet the sources would make this topic even more interesting.

Newbie Submitters!

I was so excited to see this many new blogger submitting posts for this edition!
NitWitMama is plugging away at nursing school and going though what most of us can relate to. Gotta tell ya, her post from the blog also titled Nitwitmama, “Whew Halfway Point” brought back some VIVID memories to this nurse!

Ross is also a long time reader, first time submitter. I am even more excited because he is representing internationally from his blog Nurse in Australia. In his post “Public Perceptions of Nursing” he tackles the basics of how we are viewed after an interaction with a taxi driver.

Another international blog I would highly suggest you bookmark is Nursing Ideas. After some Twitter discussion I convinced Robert to submit to Change of Shift and am grateful he did. Check out his entire site after you check his video “Are you Culturally Competent?

Trauma Junkie, or TJ as Dr. A and I have dubbed him on seperate occasions, gives us a view of a code from a respiratory therapist/CNA in his post “A Tale of Respiratory Arrest at Change of Shift.” I will be watching his blog Surviving RT School with great interest as he is taking the blogosphere by storm [see below].

Although not necessarily a newbie, Karin’s post from her site Nurse’s Life Blog fits well after TJ’s as she to talks about a code in her post “The Absent Nurse.”

***Whew! Over Half Done!***

Advice and Reference

Strong One, over at My Strong Medicine wrote a great post titled, “Be a Preceptee with Patience.” This is a great read for both the new nurse and the experienced one as well.
Are you looking for a great anatomy reference list? Laura at Geriatric Nursing Certification wrote “101 Free, Useful, and Striking Sites to Learn About Human Anatomy.”

How about making a career change in 2009? Amanda at Travel Nursing Blog submitted the “Top 10 Reasons to be a Travel Nurse.” As I stare out the window and see nothing but white, this is more and more tempting!

The Un-Category

As I am not quite sure where else to put this post, it is going to get its own heading. Being a pre-hospital provider at heart, I found “Sliding Scale Ambulance Service–Making a Difference” an amazing read over at the blog Pharmacy Technician Certification.

The Kleenex Post

As with every good edition of Change of Shift, there is one post that gets ya where it counts. PaedsRN nailed the topic of child abuse in his post “Christmas” on his blog Cricoid Pressure.

My Favorite Post

This title goes to Braden and post “The Best Nurse I’ve Ever Had” at his blog 20 out of 10. I am so glad you decided to submit this Braden! So many time we see nurses who become hardened and jaded. Some of the best advice I ever received: “Emily, it costs you nothing to be nice, but it will cost you every thing if you are not.” We as health care providers would do well to live by that.

The Dr. Anonymous Caller Post

Every time I have had the honor of hosting, I have recieved one or two strange submissions. You know, kind of like the strange caller from Dr. A’s last BlogTalkRadio broadcast. This edition it was “Holmes Humidifier Reviews” from the blog Humidifier Review. Ironically, I woke up this morning with a headache . . . because my house was in need of a humidifier.

Closing Notes

Before I close out this edition of CoS, I have one last link I want to share with you. Trauma Junkie, a Respiratory Therapy student, has gone all out in doing the ground work for a new RT blog carnival called A Source Of Inspiration. I wanted to take the time to welcome this new edition to the medical blogosphere!

Sourceinspiration Sm

Good luck TJ!

As always, my thanks to Kim at emergiblog for giving me the opportunity to host this edition of Change of Shift!

Please check out emergiblog for the next host!

How to Host a Blog Carnival, Part One

I am here to recruit you to become a Change of Shift Blog Carnival Host!

Yeah, ok, I am not all about the hard sell, but in working on this edition I thought I would capture the process I have found for making my carnival hosting duties a bit easier. It is all about organization.

Although this is my devised step by step plan, I would love to hear all you other bloggers who have hosted as well. So, pipe in and let us know your tricks of the trade!

How to host Change of Shift: A Step By Step Guide

The Prep Phase

  1. Volunteer–That’s right, take the plunge! Email Kim at Emergiblog and ask to host! Whew that step was rough!
  2. Watch your email. If you are like me, the date will creep up and all of the sudden you will start getting email with ‘Change of Shift’ in the subject line with submissions in the body!
  3. Set up a folder in your inbox. I label it for CoS and make sure all the emails get priority movement there so I don’t lose them or delete them.
  4. Send an email to each submitter so they know it was received. This is something I started this edition and have gotten to know some new bloggers because of it.
  5. Promote your edition. Mention it on your blog. Talk about deadlines, and of COURSE mention it on Twitter!

Reviewing and Publication Set Up

  1. Open all entries from email list in order received in same web browser window with tabs. I use FireFox and have quite a few tabs open simultaneously. Opening them in order of emails received allows me to cross reference and ensure no entry is missed.
  2. BOOKMARK THEM. In my browser there is an awesome option to bookmark “All Tabs” which allows me to create a new folder and save all the opened entries in the same place. This saved me tons of time when my browser crashed not once, but twice.
  3. Print emails in order. That is right. I print each and every entry so I can read them, makes notes on them, and work on ordering them in a logical fashion for my final post.
  4. Re-verify that no one is missed. I actually go through the paper copies and cross reference between email and the post tabs in my browser. (Can you say anal retentive ICU nurse?)
  5. Read and make notes. I actually write the following at the top of each version of the paper post: Blog (title), Post (title), Author (screen name as posted on blog, NOT email). By having the information in my handwriting it is much easier to reference and I will be less likely to twist something around incorrectly.

Writing the Carnival Entry, Determining a Theme

  1. Review the posts, look at the emails and take a look at what everyone has done in the past, especially when the date falls near a holiday. The exciting part of hosting is coming up with something unique. The scary part of hosting is finding something unique!
  2. _I_ hope a theme just comes to me. Heh.

Tricks, Bits and Bobs for Publishing Links

  1. Open all of the entries in one browser window from your bookmarked folder that you saved earlier.
  2. Arrange the tabs and therefore the pages in the order you are writing about them.
  3. As you write out your post make mental notes of where you want to add the links. Either add in the links as you go, or do them all at once after the document is finished.
  4. SAVE, SAVE, SAVE! I know that goes without saying, but there, I said it anyways.
  5. Don’t forget to link to the next host at the bottom of your post! That information can be found on the Change of Shift archive page.

Finishing Touches

  1. Email Kim the link to the edition. She is great about promoting it!
  2. Promote the edition as well by sending Tweets.

Benefits of Hosting

  • You are exposed to new blogs and new bloggers.
  • It drives traffic to your site introducing you to new readers.
  • It promotes nursing and multi-profession harmony.
  • You get to read some really awesome posts!

I hope that this takes some of the anxiety away for those of you considering volunteering for hosting duties. It has been an awesome part of my blogging and would love to see some of you “newbies” and some of you old crusty bloggers step up!

Oh, last word of advice? Yeah, plan a few more hours then you think you will need to get the edition up. 😉


Advances in Medicine via War: Navy Captain fights to help Traumatic Brain Injury patients

One of the things that excites me about being part of the military is how war of any kind advances medicine and nursing practice in a way that would be impossible otherwise.

The nursing profession was born from war as was the Red Cross.

Wide spread use of antibiotics, damage control surgery . . . the list is amazingly endless.

As much as this topic deserves an entire series of posts, I bring it up as a way to highlight the incredible work being done by Navy Captain Michael H. Hoffer highlighted as “Someone You Should Know” at BackFive.

Now, back in Iraq, Navy Capt. Michael H. Hoffer feels he has won a significant victory against arguably the military’s most serious and common casualty, traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, occur when an individual experiences shock waves from a blast, acceleration-deceleration (collision), or an impact or penetration directly to the skull. Doctors divide TBI into severe, moderate or mild.

This also hits close to home as my cousin, a Marine and two tour vet of OIF is benefiting from his research and tenacity.

My thanks to Capt. Hoffer and his colleagues.

h/t BlackFive


Christmas Change of Shift at Nurse Ratched’s Place!


Once again, another incredible edition of Change of Shift over at Nurse Ratched’s Place.

The New Year’s edition will be hosted here! So, start working on that New Year’s resolution of no longer procrastinating . . .

Get me your posts—- emily at crzegrl dot net —- sooner rather than later!

Deadline for those who would rather make eating right and losing weight their resolution?

January 6th 12 noon EST.

Change of Shift: Volume 3, Number 10

Welcome to Change of Shift Vol. 3, No. 10. I have the honor and privilege to be co-hosting this edition with his excellence Zippy the Lobster!

For those of you unaware of Zippy’s adventures in his quest to raise money for Children’s Brain Cancer research, check him out at FunWithZippy.com.

Zippy enjoying the fall colors
from the nurse’s window

Although Zippy and I have been super busy with all of our craziness over the past few weeks, we were looking forward to doing this video edition of CoC. As always, the entries were fantastic and although we tried, the video never does them justice.

———–As with my previous video editions, here is a summary of the entries old style———–

Jen (leading the way as promised!) over at The Nurse Practitioner’s Place gives us a frustrating but realistic look at the issues we face when continuity of care is broken down between a hospital admission and the out patient office in “A Brutal Comedy of Errors.” Think of the increased quality of care we could give nationally if we could solve this one problem.

Wanderer, from his blog Lost on the Floor submitted my favorite post for this edition: “It Was Only a Dream.” I wasn’t kidding about that Haldol Lozenge Blow Gun. Seriously. 😉

Memoir of a Schizo submitted two must read entries titled “Signs of Postoperative Complications” and “The Necessity of Triage.”

In “Is Hunting for Spiders Part of Your Duties,” Karin at Nurse’s Life Blog, gets props for this week’s quote—-

Sometimes we have to go and hunt for spiders.

I wish I would have read Patrick’s entry a bit sooner as the 9 hour TransAtlantic flight was looooooong. I could have easily applied his ideas from “Caristhenics: Exercises to Do While Traveling by Car” posted at his blog TravelNursingBlogs.com.

The bloggers over at NurseConnect have been busy. Nurse Laura wrote a great entry titled “So Many Goodbyes” and every time I am at the hospital I will think of Kathy’s entry “Elevator Etiquette.”

Over at The Back Pain Blog, Dean gives us the low down on why “Back Pain is Not About Strength.”


There, I said it three times fast. But what is Neuroplasticity? Laurie Bartels over at SharpBrains wrote a book review titled “Neuroplasticity and the Brain That Changes Itself.” Bet you didn’t think I could work that in 2 more times, did ya?

The wooHoo award goes out to Miss-Elaine-Ious at Miss-Elaine-Ious, RN for her catch of a STEMI on a patient that was, quite literally, dying in front of her. Like the big one folks. She was way too modest in her post “Wow.” This is, without a doubt, one of those moments we all got into healthcare for.

A new blogger, to me at least, Voke Emore at his self named blog Emorevoke’s Weblog gave us the larger political picture of our recent presidential election from the continent of Africa in “History in the Making.” He too gets a quote for this edition:

It is up to you to decide how you will handle the defeats of life.

I would also like to point out his entry “Prayer.” I hope to see more of his stuff in the future.

VideoJug.com hosts, what I believe is a video entry (duh). Unfortunately the Internet here is a bit wonky so someone please give their .02 cents in the comments! The entry is “VideoJug: Life Explained. On Film.”

If you were looking for a new job search resource, check out “The Nurse’s Ultimate Online Job Hunting Toolbox” at X-RayTechnicianSchools.org.

And last, but certainly not least my main squeeze 2beStrong. A man after my own procrastinating heart who squeaked in at the last minute with two entries: “Hi, I’m the Nurse, We’ve Never Met” and “I’m a Passionate Nurse and Passionate About Nursing.”

WHEW! What an edition!

As always, Kim of Emergiblog fame, thanks for letting me host. Next edition is November 27, 2008 – Volume Three – Number Eleven – Guest Host: Rehab RN.

Note: please check out the embedded link for a few entries I initially missed in the video! Video inside a video?  Yeah, Viddler is awesome!

Good night!