Is it enough?

Ren & Stimpy get Superstitious

In studying my ACLS text for my upcoming class (dreading. . .dreading. . .anything remotely approaching a skills lab setting makes me shake with apprehension), I found myself thinking of how my perspective has changed since entering the health care field.

I used to just be-bop into the store with nary a thought of what I’d do if someone collapsed in front of me.  Sure, I’d taken the occasional first-aid course, but still, I hadn’t really internalized it.  Now, I walk into a large store or building, and find myself scanning the walls to locate the AED, avoiding anyone who looks like they might not feel well (I used to only avoid the actively sneezing and coughing, but now my immune system just shrugs and says “whatever” when confronted by someone else’s germies, for the most part), and just trying to get in and out with the least chance of a medical incident possible.

For you see, my friends, at work I am becoming what is gently known as a “magnet.”  If a patient will try to become unstable, have a cardiac event, de-sat into the 80’s, whatever, it will probably occur on my watch.  Doesn’t really matter that I’m new. . .it has only taken three weeks on my own for the patients to get the memo that they can feel free to have some sort of incident while I’m caring for them.  Already, I’m greeted on my floats with “hey, good to see you, I’m sure you won’t have a Rapid Response this time!”  I have tried everything to get off this streak, including a float to Psych (where I was nowhere near anyone even remotely medically unstable). Nothing has worked. It’s only a matter of time before this tendency follows me into my off-hours.

I’m hoping that by outing this possibility on my blog, I can somehow prevent it from occurring.  This is somewhat akin to the superstition that causes nurses to pull the code cart outside the room of a patient whose condition makes them nervous.  We’ll see!


Almond Biscotti – Slob Gourmet!

Are you uncoordinated in the kitchen?  Just as likely to wind up with the rolling pin up your nose as on the floured surface?  Don’t like structure?  This is the cookie for you , my friend!  These biscotti are crispy, sturdy and ideal for dunking in coffee.  There’s no need to worry about over-indulging in these cookies, because their sturdy nature makes that about as likely as a zwieback-speed-eating-contest (as in, not likely).

So, here you go:

Ingredients: 2 cups AP flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp salt, 3 large eggs, 2 T rum (I prefer the 7-year-old dusty bottle of Captain Morgan’s hidden away for just this occasion), 1 tsp almond extract, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup chopped, toasted almonds

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (275 if convection oven).  Line a baking sheet (or two, if you want smaller cookies) with parchment paper.  Combine dry ingredients (except almonds) and set aside.  Whisk eggs and liquid ingredients in mixer or food processor until well blended, then add dry ingredients (except almonds) and mix until combined.  Blend in almonds.  The dough will be quite sticky at this point – no worries as that’s what you want.  Really.

Scrape the dough out into parchment-paper-lined sheet pan.  Flour your hands (and the floor, and the dog, and your shirt, if you’re like me) and shape the dough into a long, flat loaf about 5″ x 10″ – no extra points will be awarded for neatness, so don’t bother.

Unbaked Biscotti DoughBake in preheated oven approximately 50 minutes, until dry and firm.  Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.  Your “loaf” will still look messy.  No worries.

Using a long, serrated knife (a bread knife is best.  Ignore suggestions from your spouse to go get the reciprocating saw from the garage.  Ha ha.), slice the loaf into 1/2″ wide diagonal slices.  Lay the slices, cut side down, on the baking sheet, bake for 20 minutes, then turn (the cookies, just in case this is unclear) and bake again for 20 minutes, or until the cookies are a golden light brown.  Cool completely before storing.

Finished Biscotti

Bust out the coffee and these biscotti with the good Denby ware and a yummy textbook for a deliciously dreary afternoon of studying.  Will I ever, ever be finished with studying?  Probably not. . .

Lack-o-posts = other priorities

Hello all.  Sorry for the lack of posts.  It seems my hospital is THE “in” place to be, so as a consequence, I’ve been picking up extra shifts to help my facility (and also my pocketbook) out.  Plus, Mr. DisorderlyCNA spent a stint in the hospital, but he’s much better now. Needless to say, it’s a holiday miracle that there are Christmas lights on outside the house.  (I’ve resorted to begging Son of DisorderlyCNA and one of his friends to procure a Christmas tree for me so I can decorate it on a day off.)

Things that have been accomplished?  Little steps for the cat to use to climb up into the loft above the living room (It’s not much of a loft, really just a horizontal, ceiling-height divider between the entry and the living room, but it’s a great place for a cat to snuggle into a bed and snooze the day away) have been installed.  I swapped out the showerheads for spray nozzles (if I had known it would only take about 5 minutes each, I would have done it 19 years ago!).  And the laundry is caught up!  Huzzah!

I’ll try to post a lovely photo of Christmas pork roast, because other than Sunday (which will be spent sleeping and attending “Anchorman 2”) there isn’t a day off until then.

All I can say is, thank goodness for Amazon, because between work and studying, there isn’t a lot of time for shopping in the traditional sense.

Feliz Navidad, y’all.

Staying Organized During Football Season and Your Average Hospital Shift

Staying Organized During Football Season and Your Average Hospital Shift

Really, there aren’t two topics of more importance, so why not lump them together. Since I’m sort of between teams right now (oh, the heck with it, Go Raiders!!!) it will be fun to work through this flowchart, since I hate thinking for myself!

On another note, I’m attaching the shift routine worksheet I’ve made to keep on track at work, and prevent charting deficiencies. It really helps me remember to order labs when I’ve got patients on protocols (e.g.; K+ replacement, etc.), to identify Core Measures (thanks, Jay-Co and CMS!) and mind my p’s and q’s. I’m attaching it should it be useful to others on the internets.  Here you go:  Shift Routine for Med-Surg


Steel Cut Oats – Much Easier than You’d Think!

Different Oatmeal VarietiesSteel Cut Oats – Much Easier than You’d Think!

I’m on a mission to drop my LDL numbers, since the new ACA has me running scared about paying a surcharge on employer-provided health insurance in the future.  Just takes one float to Neuro for me to be convinced that now is the time to do some arterial maintenance.

This easy recipe by Marin Mama Cooks is, well…easy!  For my weaponized fiber, I choose Bob’s Red Mill SCO’s (local NW product). I like to add a little skim milk, some brown sugar, and a whole, sliced banana.  Great before work breakfast (dinner?  lunch? . . .whatever, we night shift folk are all mixed up anyway!).  Enjoy!

Eureka! It Works! It’s Easy! It’s. . .No-Knead Homemade Artisan Bread

No-Knead Homemade Artisan Bread

This was easy! Why pay $4-5 per loaf of pricey artisan bread when this is so simple? I’m pleased to report that this recipe (click on photo to visit the recipe on The Italian Dish blog) worked extremely well. I’ll try a whole wheat version next chance I get.

For my storage container, I used an inexpensive Rubbermaid Take-Along container (the kind that would fit a 1.5 dozen muffins). I didn’t punch a hole in the lid – rather, I just put it on without sealing it. I used a baking stone, but skipped the water step, as the author of this blog stated she suspected that contributed to a cracked oven window.

Happy baking! Meanwhile, time for me to quit procrastinating and start that paper for school. Ugh.

No-Knead Artisan Bread – OK, I’ll Try It!

I love bread.  Nothing matches the smell of bread baking to make a house feel like home.  (Argh, cliche time!)

One problem. . .I am terrible at it.  Precision isn’t my strong suit unless it concerns medication administration (good thing, right?) and grammar (when I feel like it, I’m a tremendous grammar snob).  Good baking, especially of yeast breads, requires some precision.  I just wander off and lose interest, or forget a step, and before you know it?  Flat, heavy, uninteresting loaves of bread emerge from my oven.  It’s just disappointing!

However, I ran across a recipe for no-knead, artisan bread in one of the local fishrags (that’s newspaper to those of you that actually still read one) that intrigued me.  So, I’m giving it a whirl.  If it works, I’ll share the step-by-step, of course giving credit where due to the original recipe.  It’s rising right now. . .I’m hopeful of avoiding disaster.

Speaking of disaster, do you have a plan should one strike?  Visit for some hints.  And don’t forget to plan for the needs of your pets.  This can be overlooked.

So, if I say no more on the topic of home-baked no-knead artisan bread, you may assume that it didn’t turn out well.  So, stay tuned. . .


Nursing Students – Alternate Item Format Got You Down? I Recommend. . .

Strategies for Alternate Item Formats on the NCLEX-RN Exam, by Silvestri and Mojica (ISBN-13: 9781416038412) is the best resource I have found for tackling the dreaded SATA (select all that apply).  You know’em, and you hate’em.  I have never encountered one nursing student (or a nurse, for that matter) who LIKES these types of questions.

And, guess what?  They don’t end with nursing school and the NCLEX.  No siree. . .turns out RN-BSN programs love’em too.  Yay.

So, I present to you a link for purchasing this resource, dirt-cheap at Bookbyte.  Unfortunately pour moi, I am paid nothing for selling their stuff, but frankly, the warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart that will come from knowing that someone listened to me, took my advice, and had a less hellish time in school/NCLEX/RN-BSN program will be enough.  (Yes, I am being unduly dramatic.  And, guess what?  I don’t care.)  Because I bought this book as an impulse buy (much healthier than my usual gazillion-calorie latte as an I-love-me indulgence).  I loved it.

My hilarious classmate (loved the way he would say, during study sessions in the library – “Damn you, (insert nursing instructor’s name here) I hate your questions!  This is shit!” (imagine Russian accent) at the top of his lungs – well, he loved this book too.  Another classmate who failed NCLEX the first time around and then slayed it – partially, she said, due to this book – loved it.  Now the book lives on, humbly serving this year’s second-year nursing students who suffer after us.  I’m sure it will continue to be passed on.  You need this book, nursling.

If you don’t heed my advice?  I’d better not catch you complaining about SATA questions (except to say that, darnit, there were not NEARLY enough SATA questions for me when I took the NCLEX).  Said no nursing student, ever.