Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Grand Rounds, and Praise for Good Nurses

This week's Grand Rounds is up! Happy reading!

Meanwhile, one of the big stories in Nevada right now is the arrest of Chaz Higgs, a critical-care nurse accused of using a powerful paralyzing drug to kill his wife, State Controller Kathy Augustine. Many people now suspect that he may have played a similar role in the unexpected death of her previous husband.

His nursing license has been suspended. Right. I should certainly hope so.

Aside from the tawdry soap-opera aspects of this case -- which is just crying out to become a TV movie -- I've found myself lamenting the fact that it plays into the killer nurse stereotype. The recent NICU tragedy in Illinois doesn't help, even though that was accidental.

My heart breaks for the Illinois nurses; I can't imagine having to live with having made that mistake. Cullen and Higgs are another matter entirely. But I imagine that if I were a nurse right now, I might be getting really tired of bad news about nurses. We need good news about nurses. We need to remind ourselves that most of them are compassionate, competent professionals who know that the care of vulnerable patients is a sacred trust.

So let us now praise good nurses:

* The traveling nurse who reported Chaz Higgs' suspicious comments to the police.

* The two nurses who've recently asked me to talk to ER patients because they were concerned that there might be abuse issues, and who wanted to make sure that the patients were safe (it turned out that both patients evaded the issue when I spoke to them, but that doesn't lessen the nurses' sensitivity).

* The ER nurse at my hospital who quietly but doggedly stuck up for a transgendered patient after another staff member made some derogatory comments. "This patient considers herself female and would like to be addressed that way. Her name's ______."

* All the nurses who perform so heroically during codes.

* All the nurses who remain patient, professional and courteous with verbally abusive patients.

* All the nurses who simply do their daily jobs as well as they possibly can, and who are responsible for the improved health of countless patients, even though they'll never wind up in the newspapers.

This is a very short list. It could be much, much longer. To all the good nurses out there: Thank you!

And don't let the turkeys get you down.


  1. Thanks for a great tribute, Susan!

    And this could explain why I sometimes get a hankerin' for some cranberry sauce on my way home from work!

  2. Anonymous5:17 PM

    I had a great surgeon when I was in the hospital recently, but it was the nurses I saw most of and each and every one of them absolutely gold standard. I still pray for their happiness and prosperity.


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