It’s that time of year again…

It’s flu season!

Yaaaaaayyyyyy!

That means it’s time for myths, inaccuracies, and “internet doctors” to try and convince everyone the flu vaccine is evil.

Let’s address some of the foolishness, shall we?

  1. The flu vaccine does not give people the flu. If they get the flu after the vaccine there is a good chance they were already exposed to the flu virus before vaccination or right after receiving the vaccine (it can take up to 2 weeks to develop immunity).
  2. The flu vaccine is not made with a live flu virus. The virus used in the vaccine is dead.
  3. People still need to get the vaccine every year.
  4. Vaccines DO NOT cause autism (let’s let this lie finally die, ok?)
  5. Yes, there are sometimes multiple strains of the flu virus. That does not mean there is no point in getting vaccinated.
  6. While it is recommended for the young and the elderly, even healthy young people can benefit from getting the vaccine for protection.
  7. For those people that think getting the flu will help build your immunity better than getting the vaccine, no. Just… no. The flu can be deadly. Don’t play with your health like that!
  8. It is considered safe to get the vaccine while pregnant.
  9. Yes, the vaccine contains some additives, however, they are in small amounts and considered safe (Here is a list of what’s in the typical flu vaccine and why).
  10. Those “essential oils” are not going to effectively protect against the flu.

Flu season occurs every year and every year the same misconceptions pop up. As health care providers, it is our duty to educate and provide as much accurate information as possible. There is a wealth of information (like this, or this, and this) that can help us provide evidence-based information to our patients whenever possible. Of course we won’t be able to convince every patient we talk to but hey, we can try!

Arch nemesis

Classes have started for me. In fact, I’ve already completed one class. I’m liking the program so far but my fight with my old arch nemesis has reignited:

APA formatting 😒😐

I despise APA. I don’t even understand its point. Margins of this size, very particular page headers, citations that are done *just* so, reference pages with indentions done differently than the actual paper, references sited differently depending on what they are…

Why can’t I just write this damn paper and send it in?!

I get that APA formatting is to help maintain consistancy with how research is published and readability. What I don’t understand is why make it so damn complicated? It almost feels like the creators made it complicated because it made them feel smart.

I hate it.

APA has always been a thorn in my side. I’ve never been very good at it. I find the rules convoluted.

As you can see, I’m already over it…

The toxic work team

“Nurses eat their young!”

Have you ever heard that before? To my new nurses out there, you may not have heard it yet but you will. To my experienced nurses, you’ve probably heard and experienced this first hand.

What exactly does that statement mean? How is that statement meant to be taken?

Honestly, to me, when I hear that statement I instantly hear “no one treats nurses worse than other nurses.” That mentality is what leads to a toxic team.

My current coworkers are amazing, I cannot say that about a previous place of employment, however. It was the true definition of a “toxic team”. The older or more experienced nurses there took pride in “eating their young”.  At that time I worked with a team that spent more time criticizing my every move and looking for mistakes than teaching me what I need to know as an inexperienced ICU nurse. There was a nurse that took PRIDE in the fact that other nurses were afraid to give them bedside report! It did not matter what you did. You could have coded a patient 3 times that shift, just come back from a repeat head CT, after emergent OR. This team member would question you on why the room is messy or why the 1900/0700 (depending on the shift) med was not given. img_1898Really? REALLY? I JUST SPENT 12 HOURS TRYING TO KEEP THIS PERSON ALIVE AND YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT A TYLENOL NOT BEING GIVEN?

I asked other coworkers why this person was like that, and that’s the first time I heard “nurses eat their young”. Not only was this the answer but it was also given with a “justification”. Nurses that believe in this motto try to explain it as giving you, a nurse, a “real world experience”. They want to “break you in”. They want you to understand that the “NCLEX” world isn’t real. They want to toughen you up and make you a “better” nurse. They have countless reasons for why they are a bitch. It is NOT ok! There are plenty of ways to help a nurse develop and constantly being toxic is not one of them

I finally got sick of the crap so I went to my nurse manager. Her response? “Give them the same crap back. Stand your ground.” Not what I expected her to say but exactly what I needed to hear.  I did just that. Whenever this team member started with their shit I shut it down. Quickly. It did take a few times but ultimately this young nurse did not get eaten.

If you are a senior nurse please take a moment to remember a few things: There are ways to ask questions during report about an uncompleted task without being accusatory. There are positive ways of giving feedback to a nurse that may be lacking knowledge in an area. There are positive ways to help the “baby nurse” to transition from the NCLEX world to the real nursing world (and it is a big transition). Basically, there are ways to address issues where a nurse may not be up to par without being an asshole about it.

If you are the baby nurse please understand that you do not have to accept this toxic behavior. You can speak up, and you should. You don’t have to be confrontational. If you are not comfortable speaking to that nurse directly, address it with your nurse manager. If your manager chooses not to address the behavior then just know you are *probably* working on a shitty unit and you should *probably* start looking for a better place of employment.

Resting bitch face

I have resting bitch face, also known as RBF, and it’s terminal.

I have been told in my annual evals that I need to work on my “non-verbal communication”. Translation: “fix your damn face woman!” I blame nursing for my RBF. You probably have it too.

I am not only responsible for collaborating with the family of my patients, but also with the interdisciplinary team. Have you ever had to deal with a family member that insists that you know that their “cousin/sister/brother/daughter” works in health care, as if it is going to change how you care for their family?  It happens faaaaaaarrrrrr too often in the ICU. Typically my reaction is this:

waka ok

I am glad that your cousin is a CNA in a nursing home. Really, I am. However, this is an ICU and things are a tad bit different here. My other favorite is when I have to talk to one of the residents about something I need ordered, and instead they want to peacock around and tell me why they don’t think it’s necessary DESPITE the fact that the attending has already agreed that what I want for my patient would be beneficial. Once again my facial expressions look something like this while they are over-explaining things:

nene eye roll

Look, bruh, I know what hydralazine does. I know how it works. I am asking for it because I need to control his BP but his heart rate is like, 58, and maybe metoprolol isn’t the best idea. AND I ALREADY ASKED THE ATTENDING ABOUT IT WHEN HE WALKED THROUGH THE UNIT DOING HIS ROUNDS, just give me the damn meds!

Yeah. I have yet to figure out the whole “poker face” thing. Seven years of nursing and I will still look at you like you’re stupid.

So, to my new nurses, just know that if you don’t have RBF, you will. It won’t be on purpose. One day someone will say or do something so dumb that you just can’t hide your feelings. It is normal. Just about every nurse I know either admits to having RBF or has had a coworker with RBF. It just sort of happens. Don’t beat yourself up over it.