Winter Storms And Healthcare Personnel

Winter Storm Blasts East Coast

One of the biggest winter storms on record came rumbling into the East Coast in January 2016. Although we only had some "sympathy rain" in California – watching the intense news coverage made me feel like I should stay home, if nothing else, as a show of solidarity. Actually, that sounded good to me.

Any excuse to bake, prepare nourishing soups and catch up on reading. The to-do list also included practical things like sorting through drawers, but whoever does practical things at times like this?

Winter Soups

Soups in winter nourish and warm our hearts. It harkens back to the collective memory of an ancient hearth with wide bubbling pots hanging on iron hooks over a crackling fire. Homemade soups I prepared were Roasted Beet/Garlic Soup and Pasta e Fagioli (pasta and bean soup).

Essential Personnel

One thing I didn't miss was being identified as "essential personnel." Over many years I have been essential personnel; the folks who don't get to hunker down and stay home during a storm. Nurses and healthcare workers who provide direct patient care still have to get to work.

While elective surgeries can be cancelled and rescheduled, patients in hospital units still require round-the-clock, skilled medical care. Wound dressings need to be changed, tracheal tubes must be suctioned, and medications still need to be delivered on time.

Travel Bans

The news media went wild trying to fill up over 24 hours of constant video of the storm. There are only so many falling snowflakes that you can watch. With 24/7 coverage, I was hoping to see some stories on how they were manning hospitals, especially when New York City called for a travel ban.

Road travel ban in effect in New York City starting at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Anyone not authorized to be on the roads will be subject to arrest, and their car will be towed.
 

Alas, despite my tweet suggesting the story line to CNN and ABC, I didn't see any in-depth reporting on it. Oh well, so much for the suggestions of the little people.

Working In The Storm

When I lived in Maryland, I was a Registered Nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital on the Pediatric unit. A winter storm careened into the area, it was the December 1992 nor'easter. Perhaps not as large as the recent one, but, it was a storm that, nonetheless, would shut down the area.

I was scheduled to work several 12-hour night shifts during the storm. Plans were coordinated for personnel to sleep over at the hospital between shifts, if they desired, as it was not at all certain one could make it home or back again. Abandoning fellow workers and forcing them to carry on past their already completed 12-hour shifts was simply not an option.

Get To The Hospital

I packed a small bag and prepared a lunchbox to help tide me over the long 36 hours. Volunteers in the community with 4-wheel drive vehicles offered to transport healthcare workers to and from the hospital. I hitched a ride with a local driver and we chatted aimlessly as we inched our way along snowy roads. 

We made it through the storm, patients were cared for and my shifts completed. I managed to get some sleep despite the odd circumstances and I was happy to return home once the storm had passed.

Emotional Support During The Storm

Students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®) can connect with world events, no matter where they are. Those who have studied The Second Degree of TRT® are able to direct energy to the storm and the people affected. Directing energy provides support from deep within.

While watching the news coverage, TRT® students can also use TRT® hands-on to balance their anxiety and bring emotional balance, especially if you are one of the people caught up in the storm. 

I benefited from TRT® hands-on to help decrease stress when I slept over at the hospital. Having a means to nourish myself on all levels was empowering, even while I was in a less-than-restful situation.

Thank You To Those Who Serve

Police, fire, medical personnel look out for us. In this recent storm, the National Guard were also called up as well as municipal workers.

I often think of those who quietly provide our healthcare and public services. They work nights while we snuggle in sleep and they cover 3-day weekends that the rest of us enjoy. They care for us in the background while we carry on in our daily lives of sturm und drang. I deeply appreciate my time, now that I can stay home during storms.

Thank you for your service.

 

 

Man walking in snow: Carlos Barria/Reuters
Shoveling snow: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
Umbrellas in snow: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Your First Nursing Job

Remember that first nursing job? I know I do even though 1992 was many years ago.

From Nursing Student To Real Nurse

Nursing care plans that I labored over for eight hours in school were behind me. Those care plans would now be put into action as soon as a patient was admitted.

Nursing boards, studied for and passed, were in my rear-view mirror.

It was time for my first nursing job – that moment when school work and clinical rotations stand at your back (you're counting on them to hold you up) and you launch into the unknown.

Time to be a "real" nurse.

Grateful to no longer be a nursing student, I was nonetheless anxious about becoming a nurse on-the-unit with my own patient load and patient care responsibilities.

 
 

First Nursing Job

My first real nursing job was at Johns Hopkins Hospital working in Pediatrics. That being said, this was no ordinary pediatrics unit with the ubiquitous tonsillectomy. In fact, we did not provide care for tonsillectomy patients here.

In this large medical-surgical pediatric unit that included an eight-bed step-down unit, one example of surgery was bladder extrophy repairs that placed bladders back inside the body and required six weeks of recovery on the unit.

What a privilege to work at Johns Hopkins Children's Center. Such an educational opportunity to work on this pediatric unit that cared for ages two to twelve.

Multi-discipline services were available to care for these small patients. We had specialists in areas such as Infectious Disease and Pain Management.

The pediatric phlebotomists were a god-send with their expertise to flawlessly start IV lines and get blood samples from tiny veins.

 
 

Working With Experts

We also had patients who came in for hemispherectomies that were performed by the famous, ground-breaking neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson.

You can read about his life in his book: Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story.

Get ready to be uplifted and inspired. The nursing staff was always a little awestruck when he arrived on the unit with his team of residents swirling around him.

As a neophyte, I remember initially thinking how barbaric it seemed to remove half the brain of a child.

But then, I saw a child lying in a bed having intractable seizures with no interactive life. After recovering from the surgery, children often returned to the unit to see us – walking, talking and smiling – they were living life with gusto.

That's when I realized I was no longer in Kansas. It was my first introduction to the plasticity of the young brain.

The Radiance Technique® In Nursing Care

At this time, I had studied to The Fourth Degree of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®).

TRT® flowed effortlessly into my nursing activities and became an integral part of my nursing practice.

No explanation or words were needed since TRT® accesses healing, universal energy and it is always harmless.

It was quietly there in my Radiant Touch® each time I listened to a small heartbeat or carried a child.

With TRT®, I could rejuvenate my energy when I was at work and support my own clarity and insight when I was caring for patients. Use of TRT® hands-on also helped to replenish my strength in my time off. 

 

The Hopkins Family

I loved being part of the Hopkins family. As a proud graduate from the School of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University, my work at Johns Hopkins Hospital deepened my sense of being part of the Hopkins healthcare team.

A Love For Labor And Delivery

Yet, in spite of all the joy of working at Hopkins, I couldn't stay. My heart called to me to work in Labor and Delivery, so off I headed into the world of birthing babies.

The medical-surgical experience I gained from my time at Hopkins was invaluable and prepared me for the world of Labor and Delivery (L&D). In L&D, the nursing rhythm moves from zero to 60-miles-an-hour in a moment's notice.

Working on the pediatric unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital laid a deep groundwork of experience so I could make that jump into the hyper-space speed of L&D.

What was your first nursing job?