5 Ways COVID-19 has Changed Nursing!

Nurses are getting CREATIVE!

I have learned so many hacks since the pandemic began, it’s crazy.

I’ve learned to bundle my cares to preserve PPE and the amount of times I’m in and out of the room. When I enter a COVID room I’m in there for a good 45 minutes trying to turn 4 trips into 1.

We’ve got all of our IV poles and drips in the hallway and then have a crazy amount of extension tubing to get to the patient so we don’t have to go into the room every time the IV beeps (which is constantly) or we need to hang a new bag of medications .

We’ve gotten good at coming up with all kinds of ways to make our job easier and ultimately preserve PPE and limit exposure. Insulin is stored in the rooms, stat locks on the doors to hold all of our tubing, just to name a few.

I’ve also gotten pretty creative in terms of doing things on my own. More often than not, I’m turning the patients, boosting, and giving baths all by myself. I’m pretty good with the bed functions and getting creative with the ceiling lift to get the job done.

Nurses in public health are getting creative when making flow sheets, algorithms, and collecting and tracking data. Think about the creativity it took to think about how we conduct drive through testing in the winter. Think of all the ways nurses are working to keep family involved in their loved ones care miles away with Zoom and FaceTime. Think of how nurses need to manage staffing for the entire hospital when staff themselves are getting sick. COVID is changing the way we think and do our jobs every day – that requires a ton of creativity and problem solving skills.

Good management got better. Bad management got worse.

This one is pretty self explanatory. The bad got worse, the good got better. Problems that were bubbling under the surface were exposed.

If you were short staffed before the pandemic, you got more short staffed.

If money was an issue before the pandemic, you got even more broke.

If you were short on supplies/equipment before the pandemic, you now don’t have the equipment you need.

If morale was an issue before the pandemic, it got much worse.

If nurse:patient ratios were unmanageable before the pandemic, the patient load is now impossible.

If staff was unhappy before the pandemic, they sure aren’t happy now.

I could go on, I won’t.

On the flip side, can you imagine how strong our leaders will be if they can lead a team through a global pandemic? Through staff shortages, tough losses, new policies and procedures, supply and equipment shortages, if they can get through COVID they can get through anything.

Nurses are getting flexible.

Nurse practitioners are being brought back to the bedside to work as nurses. Nurses are being floated to unfamiliar units. Surgery nurses are now working the drive thru testing. Here are a few examples of how this played out in my hospital:

Our orthopedic floor was converted to a COVID wing – these nurses knew hip replacements and knee replacements like the back of their hand and now they are only working with COVID patients with complex health needs and who are medically fragile in comparison to their typical patient load.

Our same-day-surgery (SDS) nurses, at one point in time, were hosting and caring for general observation medical patients as SDS was converted to a 24 hour unit.

So many times we’ve had nurses floated to our unit form other floors to help out. Nurses are being completely uprooted from their comfort zone and placed in a new unfamiliar environment.

The patients are sicker than ever.

These people are sick. Something as simple as a position change can take hours to fully recover from. These patients are extremely fragile and unpredictable. The acuity level has gone up across the board. The ICU has sicker patients which means the general COVID wing has sicker patients, and it just trickles down.

Nurses are being recognized in so many ways.

Nurses are speaking up about burnout and mental health.

Nurses are speaking up about safe nurse:patient ratios.

Nurses are speaking up about what ISN’T working.

Nurses are advocating for and educating the general public.

We’ve been hailed as healthcare heroes and highly valued and trusted colleagues.

We’ve been given a platform, we’ve been given the spotlight to highlight ongoing issues and problems we face as a profession.

Now is our time. 2020 truly has been the year of the nurse.

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Christmas Eve 2020 RECAP!

I wanted to post a quick recap of our Christmas 2020 for documentation purposes!

Christmas was a bit wonky this year – I was scheduled to work nights on the 24th, 25th and 26th which was a bummer but by some magical mystical Christmas miracle, I got call on the night of Christmas! Which was great because I didin’t get much sleep after I worked on Christmas Eve.

Carver and Gannon opened presents at our house on Christmas Eve morning, I didn’t want to miss it because of work. We’ve never really done Santa at our house but Carver was super excited about Santa this year, he heard about it at school and so we played along and it was fun!

I made a little scavenger hunt with the boys and hid the presents all around the house and the grand finale was in the garage. Carver got a new bike (without training wheels) and Gannon got a nice new bike carrier for when we hit the trails again this summer.

The boys also got and are obsessed with everything LEGOS! Here they are playing so nicely together 🙂 In fact, Gannon had a meltdown (he is MASTER of the meltdown lately) when I told him to put his Legos away and take a nap:

And of course, I fell for the commercialism of matching Christmas pajamas so here are those pics! Obviously Gannon is NOT a fan of pictures! I’m super nervous because he’s in a wedding on Thursday and he. does. not. like. pictures. right. now.

Carver loved the Santa scavenger hunt and honestly, I did too. We made sure to watch Carver’s favorite movie – The Star – that tells the story of Jesus’ birth in a really cute hilarious and easy to understand way. I don’t have many pictures of the scavenger hunt – I video taped it instead for years to come and revisit the joy.

The FUNNIEST part was when we were out in the garage, Carver was VERY surprised and confused to see that SANTA WAS DRINKING DADDY’s BEER! This was totally unprovoked on our part – out of the blue Carver sees a few beer cans sitting on the bar and put two and two and two together and assumed Santa was drinking Daddy’s beer! HA!

Anyway, I was going to make one big Christmas post but I’m just finishing day one of Christmas and that’s enough for a blog post so I’m going to call that good for now!

Quite honestly, this year didn’t feel like Christmas at all to me. It’s been a weird year and many of our Christmas traditions weren’t the same or cancelled altogether. It’s just one year, I sure hope next year is a little more magical.

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Gannon Update: Botox Round #3

This happy boy is finally home.

It was 54 degrees when we left Iowa City. It’s currently 10 degrees with insane winds and snow. I’m so glad I don’t have to work tonight! We just about blew away on the way home. Holy wind. Sounds like Minnesota is getting hit pretty darn hard.

Gannon got car sick about 5 miles out of Iowa City. Ever try catching puke while navigating the 380 and I-80 interchange? 0/10 would not recommend.

Imagine this: trying to catch puke, driving down the interstate, then trying to pull over, then feeling too unsafe to pull over, flooring it to the nearest gas station like 3 miles down the interstate, unsuccessfully catching any puke, then the door damn near blowing off of my car while I clean up a screaming still half way drugged up Gannon, having to do a full clothing change, my phone kept ringing while I was busy, and that terrible wind – it was just a scene.

They used a different kind of sedation – ketamine – when we give kids ketamine in the ER they are more prone to puking too.

View of Kinnick Stadium

Less than 2% of kids with anal achalasia DON’T have a form of Hirschprung’s so in simpler terms, Gannon is rare. We have no idea why this last round of Botox didn’t work – maybe a bad batch? Admittedly, Gannon has our GI doctor scratching her head. She reached out to our GI team in Milwaukee to see if they have any more thoughts. She is in total agreement with my concerns – she always has been and she isn’t afraid to admit when she isn’t sure – my FAVORITE characteristic in a healthcare provider. Seriously. I’d rather you tell me you don’t know than to shut down any other options because you’re afraid to admit you aren’t certain of what to do next.

The team was so fabulous I sent them all a Jimmy Johns party platter after we left. Our GI doctor came in on her day off to do the procedure. She’s just awesome. We had several of our same nurses we’ve had other times – one nurse that cared for Gannon had worked with some people I worked with. She was also an ER/ICU nurse! Small world. She was so nice.

Enjoy some happy baby versed induced giggle pictures. We are home for the holidays and Santa is coming early tomorrow morning (Christmas Eve) because mommy has to work the rest of the week 🙂

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Gannon Update + Botox didn’t work + Tuesday AM update

We had a terrible weekend with Gannon.

My poor baby was in so much pain.
For hours we sat on the bathroom floor and I just held him as he screamed and cried.

The Botox injections didn’t work.
We don’t know why.
If anything, everything got worse.
He can really only pass stool if it’s liquid.
He’s so anxious about pooping now that he think he gets even more scared if it’s harder for him to go.

This will now be our third week in a row driving to Iowa City.

Gannon needs to get the Botox injections again and hopefully they work this time or he’s going to have to have a bigger more permanent surgery.

So not only do we have to drive down for the Botox injections on Wednesday, we have to drive down tomorrow (Tuesday) to get him swabbed for Covid.

That’s two hours in a car on the way down there to get a swab jammed up his nose in two hours home.

They will not do it the morning of, it has to be done by 11 in the morning tomorrow so it’s not like we could even stay overnight.

I know it could be worse.
But tonight I’m throwing myself a pity party and I’m throwing a pity party for Gannon.

I’m so mad that we don’t know why he suffers like this.

All I wanted for Christmas was the genetic testing results. They still aren’t back yet. There’s no way to contact the lab and find out the ETA.

I’m just so sick of this. I was trying to coordinate all of these appointments while I was at work and try to rearrange my schedule so I wouldn’t let my team down or my family down.

It’s just getting really hard and I’m really sick of this.
I’m really sick of Covid.
I’m really sick of having to drive to Iowa city.
I hate that he has to have anesthesia again.

But more than anything, I’m willing to do whatever needs to be done so Gannon never has a morning like he did on Sunday again.

TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE: I’m feeling a little calmer this morning than when I wrote the post last night. I was a wreck on the way home from work – it all just kind of hit at once.

The on-call Gods are smiling upon me this morning and for some crazy reason – I’m on call! Craig is already on the way to Iowa City with Gannon, carver refused to wear pajamas for his pajama party, and I’m just chilling here on the couch typing this blog post.

I’m doing some more research on Gannon – there’s a condition called neural intestinal dysplasia which has a lot of symptoms that Gannon has. I’m reaching out to his GI team to see if we can do more imaging while we are down there as well. Maybe there’s a blockage higher up? Maybe we need to reach out to Milwaukee again?

I found another little friend named Anikin who struggles with much of what Gannon is struggling with. I reached out to Anikins mommy so maybe we could touch base. I find support groups extremely helpful.

I did get a message from the genetics counselor who said Gannons results should be in the next 1-2 weeks. I didn’t even know that it was a place you could call – I just know our blood samples are somewhere on the east coast.

Anyway, that’s all I know. Just trying to chill out. Thanks for all the support guys.

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Long time, no see!

My days have been full lately!

I’m on a day shift rotation which I’m still not sure what to make of that. I only have two days of orientation left before I’m on my own. They opened up a ton of double pay shifts which I’m really excited for – yes you read that correctly DOUBLE pay. I’m working 5 12 hour shifts this week – kind of a bummer on the week of Christmas but we will do what we can to keep the magic alive!

Craig and I had BOTH SATURDAY AND SUNDAY OFF this weekend which like – never happens. WE ended up going on a day date to Decorah, I got my roots touched up, we did some last minute Christmas shopping, we stopped at a new health. nutrition store and got some delicious shakes, we picked up Carver’s bike, and Craig did some shopping of his own.

I got these adorable macramé hanging baskets for our bay window! (P.S. My mom was over and said “are those REAL PLANTS!? And I said “uhm… have you met me? Of course they aren’t real!”

Even though Craig had the day off, we still had to stop and check on the farm on the way home:

We got home and wrapped presents and headed over to my mom’s for supper. It was a great day!

Today (Sunday) went by a little quicker. I napped with the boys, I’ve been working at laundry all weekend, did some meal prep, helped mom with a video, (did you know I edit and put together all of my mom’s videos? Check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/user/JosCountryJunction

I made this recipe: http://www.thepinkshoelaces.com/the-easiest-and-most-delicious-egg-bake-ever/ and this recipe: http://www.thepinkshoelaces.com/my-favorite-dish/

I’m so sick of what I call mask-ne which is ance caused by wearing my N95 and PPE all day at work. When I work in ICU I don’t use an N95, I use a CAPRS but when I’m in ER I’m wearing a yucky N95 all day and it is just so triggering for my skin!

Carver and I had a great time roller skating in the garage! He is wearing my elbow pads as knee pads 😂 To the bloggers who were concerned about my safety while roller skating, I did invest in some PPE – thank you for your concern!

I honestly didn’t take may pictures are all this weekend which is unusual so I don’t have a good update for you all! This is all I’ve got for you!

Thanks for reading, thanks for checking in with me, if you missed my last post about the gift giving guide, check it out here:

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The LAST MINUTE ULTIMATE Gift Guide!


Okay guys, I’ve REALLY stuck with and committed to SHOPPING LOCAL this holiday season but let’s be real, TIME IS RUNNING OUT so I put together the ultimate gift guide for EVERYONE on your list! Let’s jump right in – you’ll need to order ASAP to get it in time!


TOOTHBRUSH FOR KIDDOS!

I saw an ad on Facebook for a new fancy toothbrush for kids! It is like a vibrating mouth piece that brushes their teeth for them. IT WAS $200! I couldn’t believe it. SO I hopped on Amazon and I found a cheaper knock off!

Carver LOVES IT! He asks to brush his teeth ALL THE TIME! There’s very little mess! Gannon got one too and he was not interested at first.. but now…

My 20 month old brushes his own teeth! You need a special kind of toothpaste – a foam tooth paste – but over all the kids love it and it really does clean their teeth! It comes with a charger and cute little animal shapes. I love that they can do it all on their own. If you’ve ever gotten a fluoride treatment at the dentist, it works similarly to that.

I have an amazon link to the toothbrush here and I thought it would make an AWESOME stocking stuffer for the kiddos in your life! They also have a pink penguin too! I just love that the boys are so excited about brushing their teeth again – Carver has said several times: “Mom! Look at how clean my teeth are!”

Here is the link to the toothbrush: https://amzn.to/37yGCCV

Here is the link to the foam tooth paste: https://amzn.to/3mFOLMb


CUTE TOTE BAG FOR TEACHERS OR NURSES!

I LOVE this tote! Seriously! A friend at work had one. It has SO MANY pockets! She talked me into ordering one and I’m telling you it is the PERFECT nurse bag! It can hold both of my contigo water bottles, my purse, my Ipad, my lunch, it zips, it has short handles and long handles, internal AND external pockets! I bought the black and white version. This would make an excellent gift for a teacher, nurse, or I guess anyone who carries a lot of stuff! 

I’ve posted about this before, there are new colors and patterns now!

HERE IS THE AMAZON LINK FOR THE TOTE: https://amzn.to/34iw5uN


NEW TOOTHBRUSH FOR THE GUY OR GAL OR TEEN IN YOUR LIFE!

One of the only online purchases I made on Black Friday was a new toothbrush for myself! I’ve been using a plain old Jane electric toothbrush with my braces but I really need to step it up to avoid any white spots/decay when I get my braces off. I am SO impressed with my new Oral B toothbrush – HOLY POWER!

I wish I would have switched earlier in my braces journey! And also, FYI this post isn’t sponsored by Oral B  I sincerely love this new toothbrush! (and my new Local sweatshirt from Matted Ink)

Here is a link to MY new toothbrush: https://amzn.to/33J3fnj


NINJA BLENDER!

If you don’t have a ninja blender in your life, I highly highly highly recommend mine – even if you aren’t a shake or smoothie person, it’s always on my counter and I use it all the time for recipes like this. Obviously I’m not the only one who loves it, check out those 5 star reviews!

Here is an amazon link if you’re interested! https://amzn.to/3muK3Rj 


Wrangler Sherpa Lined Plaid Shirts!

Craig LOVES these – he obviously has a ton. It is his favorite layering accessory when he’s out in the cold! Craig wears a medium t-shirt but he sizes up to a large for layering purposes!

HERE IS THE AMAZON LINK: https://amzn.to/2KySmNT


Lincoln Electric Face Shield!

So if you’re looking for a last minute gift for the healthcare hero in your life, I’ve gotcha covered. As a nurse myself, I have found a few products I really love. We’ve had a rough year and we likely have another rough year ahead of us so why not gift them something that makes their workday a little brighter?

I found a face shield that I LOVE! You’d be hard pressed to find someone who has direct patient care that DOESN’T have to wear a face shield at work – think physical therapists, CNAs, phlebotomists, doctors, respiratory therapists, we are all wearing face shields.

My hospital does provide face shields but I don’t like the thought of wearing something that someone else has worn and breathed on all day. I wanted my own shield. Now that I’m training in the ER, I have to wear a face-shield all day. All of the nurses have this same exact face shield and now that I have one, I can see why it is so popular!

It is totally adjustable to any size head, it doesn’t give me a headache, I can tighten the shield so when I’m charting it stays up and out of my face without flopping down. I paid the extra few dollars for the anti fog shield.

Seriously, I absolutely LOVE this and I’m getting a few for some of my friends and family in healthcare too! Here is the link to Amazon: https://amzn.to/3oQrat1


BATH BOMBS!

So I’ve ordered these like 5 times now – they are my favorite bath bomb set. I’ve featured them on the blog before but they would make a great gift for anyone who bathes! My favorite scent is the blue one that looks like earth.

HERE IS THE AMAZON LINK: https://amzn.to/3gRAlqc


Stocking Stuffer: My FAVORITE RAZORS!

I’ve blogged about these razors before but I just can’t say enough about them. The business plan for these razors is pretty cruddy because THEY LAST FOR FOREVER! They are affordable, moisturizing, and leave my legs smoother than ever!

HERE IS THE AMAZON LINK FOR THE RAZORS: https://amzn.to/3p2dgUT


Clean Eating Cook Book! Cook Once, Eat all Week!

I LOVE this cook book – I just got it last week but I have so many recipes I’m picking up out of it! This would be a great gift for the busy mom or dad in your life! The recipes are healthy and simple! I can’t wait to blog more about this!

HERE IS THE AMAZON LINK: https://amzn.to/3h5r0LT


Last but not least, for the person who already has everything, A Carbon Monoxide detector!

Not much to explain here: Everybody needs one! HERE IS THE LINK: https://amzn.to/37pOAzK


That’s all for today folks! Some of Kalissa’s classic recommendations! Get your orders in! With shipping delays and the holiday rush coming you won’t want to wait! Thanks for reading guys!

If you ever purchase any amazon products from MY link, I do get commission. If you buy, let’s just say, $150 worth of other stuff while you’re on Amazon by following my link, I also get commission on those things you purchase. It’s a way to support my blog and it is a way to score some great quality products. I just want to be honest with you guys. I would have raved about these products even if I didn’t make any money off of it.


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