Top Ten Things 'They' Don't Teach You in Nursing School...


Recently, I was reminded of a commencement address that I gave to a group of graduate nurses a couple of years ago.

The Top Ten Things 'They' Don't Teach You In Nursing School...

You can be a hero to someone every day. It is your choice. Do not under-estimate the impact of a glass of water, a blanket or a few minutes of your undivided attention and how that can make a difference in someone's life.

Doctors are people too. Even the cranky ones. Include them in the staff dynamic. Most have spent too many hours in the lab to develop decent social skills. And feed them on occasion. They have been known to respond well to food.

You are a nurse. You have a keen intuitive sense. Trust your gut-instinct. If it 'feels' right...most likely it is. The same applies to if it 'feels' bad.

To ask a colleague for advice or with problem-solving is to honor them. It is not a sign of weakness.
Remember that you are not alone. Consciously identify who your resources are daily. When you feel your world is about to sink, you'll be glad you did.

Mentally unstable people can be sick too. Reserve judgement. Just do the right thing. Accept that human beings are fragile. And never even think about arguing with a drunk. You will not win.

Mistakes will happen. Own them, learn from them and share your experience with others so that they may learn from them as well.  Stop beating yourself up. It really won't change anything and it will get on your co-worker's nerves.

In the event of equipment failure...begin troubleshooting with the patient, then work towards the machine.

When conflict arises with doctors/nurses/dieticians/physical therapists/ pharmacists ...whomever...always focus on what is best for your patient.You can't lose.

Happiness is often about choice. Honor yourself for having the skill, intellect and compassion to make a difference in someone's life every day.

Retro-Trip: Germany 1983


Pretzel-person at Oktoberfest
Our European Adventure began in Munich, after a 12-hour overnight flight from Dallas with a short layover in Frankfurt. The details are a little fuzzy on how we made it to our hotel, but I do recall it involving our "German Phrase-book for Travelers", public transit, dogs being allowed on the trains and buses and that the German people we bumped into got a kick out of our attempts to speak their language.

Oktoberfest was our goal.

My friend, JoBeth had suggested we pre-book our room in Munich - good idea. We chose The Hotel Atlanta.

Surprisingly - The Hotel Atlanta still exists! 

Our view...
I think if we could have read German, The Hotel Atlanta's slogan would have been "Charm on a Budget". Nothing fancy - but it was in a killer location...just steps away from Marienplatz (St. Mary's Square) - Home of The Glockenspiel.

JoBeth - dead center in the blue coat
Marienplatz is a central square located in the heart of Munich. The grand, gothic Glockenspiel chimes every day at 11 am with music and the appearance of  life-sized figures that dance, joust and enact a play of sorts. It's really something to see.

Thirty years ago, an estimated three-million people attended - current stats show it's closer to six million.

To learn more about Oktoberfest 2013 (Sept 21 - Oct 6) 

All about beer, music, dancing and Bavarian culture.
 The brewery-sponsored pavilions rival one another in beverage,food and entertainment.

Who knew it was the world's largest fair as well?

The only hiccough we experienced in Munich was when I lost my wallet. 

It was the morning after an evening of chicken-dancing in the Hoffbrau Haus while (no doubt) inebriated that I realized my wallet to be missing. 

Money wasn't the issue. Back then, ATM's were non-existent and cash/travelers checks were thankfully, carried in a money belt. My Canadian passport had been handed over to my hotel upon check-in. It was the loss of my U.S. Resident Alien ID card (permitting my re-entry into the US) that got my attention. 

So, after a day of schlepping all over Munich, in search of the city's Lost and Found department, JoBeth and I eventually made it back to Oktoberfest. We checked with all the beer tents that we had visited the night before. No luck. Having exhausted all resources, we sat down and ordered a beer. It was then that I remembered St. Anthony. 

My Catholic mother was known for carrying a ready supply of religious medallions and swore by praying to St. Anthony whenever she lost something. So as JoBeth and I contemplated our next step of visiting the U.S. Consulate, a prayer to St. Anthony certainly wouldn't hurt. I bowed my head over my beer stein.

A young man, seated behind me had apparently overheard our conversation and asked me if I lost something. His English wasn't great but it was a whole lot better than my German. With the use of my handy "German Phrasebook for Travelers" and pantomime, I told him the story of losing my wallet the night before. He nodded in understanding and motioned to me that he would return. 

Within minutes, he came back and motioned for me to come with him. He brought me to a woman at the ticket-stall of The Hoffbrau Haus. She smiled when she saw me because she recognized my face from my drivers license. 

With the exception of a small amount of cash, my wallet was returned to me intact. 

Side-note: My mother had given me a religious medal prior to my overseas trip. She told me to keep it in my in my wallet. I did as I was told. I had no idea what medal it was until I got my wallet back. The medal was "Marien".

Next Stop...Austria

Boston Bombing 2013


"You must not lose faith in humanity. 
Humanity is an ocean;
if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, 
the ocean does not become dirty." 
~ Mahatma Ghandi

That is all.

Retro-Trip: Europe Trip Planning 1983


Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness ~ Mark Twain

As a twenty-something, I recall visiting the home of my friend, JoBeth when she suggested we plan a trip to Europe. Europe? I had never really considered it. Could we? Really? Sure. Why not? JoBeth pulled out a map of Europe and our plan was set into motion.
  • Munich, Germany
  • Salzburg and Vienna, Austria. 
  • Rome, Venice and Florence, Italy
  • Switzerland
  • Paris, France
  • Ireland
  • London, England
In that order.

A lofty goal, to be sure - but within a few months I had saved some cash, secured a 'Leave of Absence' from my job, purchased a Eurail Pass and sweet-talked a trusted friend (thank you, Karen) into house-sitting and managing my affairs (paying bills) while I was out of town.

See ya later Dallas!
1983: Me & JoBeth in Europe - It was all about the hair back then

What Children Hear


 It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
~ Frederick Douglass

Minding my own business at the mall last week when I heard a young mother admonishing her child for not eating his lunch. The kid was about 18 months old. She was angry and frustrated. Her words were hurtful. I couldn't help but think who this child would eventually become. 

It bothered me. 
It still does.

Bonnie Harris M.S.Ed., author of "When Your Kid's Push Your Buttons" and "Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids" asks us to "take the risk of looking at your child as if you are looking in the mirror. and ask yourself:
  • What is my child's behavior showing me about myself?
  • What is the behavior trying to tell me?
  • What can my child teach me about myself?
  • How could I have said or done that differently?
I'm not an expert in parenting. I've never been a parent. Mr. Something and I just babysit a grandchild or two, every now and then. We look forward to an occasional afternoon with the little darlings.

During our time with them, we do nothing but cater to their every need, want and facial expression. It's all about happiness. Theirs and ours.

When the grandchildren come to visit, it begins with the greeting. We squeal, they squeal. We hug, they hug. We are so happy to see them! They are thrilled to see us! This high energy joy, lasts throughout their visit.

Mr. Something and I can play for hours with our grandchildren. That being said, I don't have to do it every day, I'm not doing it alone and I've had my coffee before they arrive.

Truth be told...they have been known to wear our asses out.
According to Psychologist, Nathaniel Branden...
  • Be careful what you say to your children. They may agree with you.
  • Use language that you would like your children to use with you.
  • Do not use sarcasm in your language with children.
Maya Angelou was once on Oprah and spoke of the strong link between grandparent/grandchild. According to Maya, it's all about "the greeting".

Early on in life, the grandchild is frequently greeted by the grandparent with pure joy and excitement. This experience becomes ingrained into the child's psyche. Maya continues by asking ... if the child was greeted by the parent with the same degree of enthusiasm, how might the parent/child dynamic might improve?

Food for thought.

The Dark Side of the Moon


March 1973.

I was sixteen years-old - B.D. (Before Disco) - when Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' changed my life.

OK, that might be a stretch - but the early 70's were all about Roberta Flack's "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face". Sammy Davis Jr's "Candy Man" and Looking Glass', 'Brandy', so when I first heard  'Dark Side of the Moon' in Brian Clem's basement - under a black-light (of course) ...well, you just had to be there.

My 'Dark Side of the Moon' Album eventually became my 'Dark Side of the Moon' CD and I still love listening to it. 


In the late 90's I learned of the Wizard of Oz/Dark Side of the Moon phenomenon... here's how it works...start playing 'The Wizard of Oz' movie - with the sound turned off. At the moment the MGM Lion roars for the third time, crank up Pink Floyd's Dark side of the Moon.
When you have some time to kill, try it. 
It's a hoot.

Retirement Prep


Thanks to a cheap financially-prudent spouse, it looks like - if all goes well - I will join the ranks of retirees in 2014. The mere thought of it freaks me out. Good Lord, just using the phrase, "freaks me out", really does place me in the appropriate era. Why does the anticipation of a work-free life cause me so much anxiety? I'm really not certain, but I can bet that it has something to do with aging.

There. I've said it. Aging. Old. Decrepit. Retired.
March 2013
I really need to get over it.

The alternative to aging is not one that I am ready for, so I am taking the steer by the horns and embracing the fact that - if I take good care of myself - I should be around this planet for another thirty years or so.

Thirty years. That number is almost equivalent to what I have accomplished in this lifetime so far. It's hard to for me to believe my career as a Registered Nurse began thirty-seven years ago.

What's next?  One thing is for sure...I'm not done yet.

Spring in Texas


There's nothing like spring in Texas to ignite my creative spark
held dormant throughout this past winter.  

  I'm back.

Paranoid in South America

Anticipating travel to South America was both exciting and scary. Admittedly, reports of muggings, kidnappings and police corruption go...