In a Ted video, Lera Boroditsky described a tribe that didn’t use the words left and right and rather described direction only in terms of north, south, east, and west. The tribal members were better with a sense of direction compared to anyone else.
In Russian, it’s common to use varying descriptions of the color blue. Whereas in English, we say blue. It is much easier for a Russian to differentiate the different shades of blue compared to an American.
In a book called “Bringing up Bebe,” the American mom says in France, there are descriptors for “a behavior of small annoyance,” which help differentiate small bad behaviors from horrific acts. Because such a word does not exist in English, a kid who doesn’t finish his carrots versus a kid who kicks a dog may be all labeled “bad kids”. It doesn’t help distinguish the level of “badness” and the behavior from the child.
According to the Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing, if you use the words of a rich person, then you will become rich. Gaining a financial education is one of the key factors that will get you there. You gain education through the words you use.
One of the new advances in medicine and nursing that are rocking the world right now is the use of pocket ultrasound. While ultrasound has been available for years, it has remained prohibitively expensive, especially in rural and poor countries. However, the Butterfly IQ has come out, and I believe it will change how people are diagnosed. Some healthcare providers may be reluctant to use it because it was not utilized in their initial training, but as with any advances, it will be imperative to learn new words (and images) and ultrasound education, to fully embrace the new technology and change the way people are diagnosed.
In each field, we use different words to give us more details, and it dictates our thinking. Our thinking turns into action (or inaction), and that becomes our reality. So to become a better anything, you have to learn the words.
That is why if you say you can’t do something, then that is your reality. That is why if you say you do something, then that becomes your reality.
So if you believe you belong in nursing school, then you will do everything you can to get there. If you believe you will become a great nurse anesthetist, then you will find the resources to become one. If you believe that you can make a difference, then you will learn great behaviors from your role models.
Whatever your dreams are, believe in the new words to create a better reality for yourself.
We are there for patients during their most vulnerable times and we advocate for them when we see something that isn’t quite right.
One of the things that I learned in nursing school is to keep asking questions. After conducting a head to toe assessment, we should ask ourselves: Is there a reason for a certain lab value or condition? Can we correct that? If yes, how (which drug, route, fast or slow; is there evidence-based practice to support it)? When should we re-evaluate our efforts to ensure that it’s improving the patient?
Anyways, a lot has happened since my last post. I’m moving back to Michigan. After practicing out in Northern California as an independent CRNA, I feel that I’ve learned so much in the last year and gained much confidence as well. There are some things that I feel has improved.
The communication among the surgeon and the OR staff. Letting the nurses and the support staff aware of my presence, discussing with the surgeon my anesthetic plan.
Regional anesthesia. While I did perform them in school, the experience I gained while performing them with and without other anesthesia staff has been tremendous. Attending a Maverick regional anesthesia course improved my hand-eye coordination with the needle. Interscalene blocks, TAP blocks, adductor canal blocks…
Ultrasound guided arterial lines. It is the preference for the cardiac anesthesiologists to perform ultrasound guided central lines and arterial lines. So why not make it a standard of care for ultrasound guided arterial lines? Sometimes the ‘feel’ of the pulse is not accurate and a visual of the artery improves the first time success rate even for beginners.
When there’s a sick(er) patient or a patient with a potentially difficult airway, I ask for another CRNA or an anesthesiologist to standby to help me start the case. As a professional, I’m aware of when I need additional help and when I will be able to manage the case on my own.
While the first couple of cases I was a little apprehensive of starting and ending the case of my own (considering that in my training I always had a CRNA and anesthesiologist in the room during those times), I feel much more comfortable with induction and emergences on my own. The positive aspect is that cases tend to start shortly after entering the room so that there is no delay (unlike in a medically directed setting where it may take more time for the anesthesiologist to arrive if s/he is not readily available for whatever reason).
Reducing the amount of opioids used in surgery by utilizing a multimodal analgesia. As you know, the opioid crisis is exactly that – a crisis. There are simply too many people who continue to have post-op pain and require opioids. That is one of the ways that is contributing to the crisis. If we can improve our processes to reduce the amount of opioids during surgery, postoperatively, and utilize other evidence based pain management strategies, then we should all move towards that.
I received an email about a week ago from Theresa Frost stating that I was on the Top 20 Nursing Blogs list on the Online Nursing Degrees website. I feel honored. But more importantly, I’d like to introduce two other blogs that are great for learning more about CRNAs (certified registered nurse anesthetist).
Life as a CRNA – There are some detailed information about what to expect on a day to day basis as a CRNA. There is also some advice for getting into anesthesia school.
CRNA Career Guide – It provides a comprehensive guide along with advice from several presidents of state associations of nurse anesthetists.
I recently subscribed to the Blinkist, an app that summarizes nonfiction books and gets to the core of the book. I highly recommend it if you enjoy learning (and being a human, you naturally have curiosities in your life, right?).
One of the books is called the Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey. It tells us that trust affects everything, especially how fast communication and events go. For example, if you trust that the restaurant prepared your food safely, you’ll have no problem eating the food. However, if you had concerns over the food safety, you will hesitate and question the chef before maybe consuming the food (or even throwing it away).
Trust is one of the most powerful forms of motivations and inspiration. People want to be trusted. They respond to trust. They thrive on trust.
You must have self-trust so others can trust you. Because if you don’t trust yourself, then who will?
The way to gain trust in yourself is by following the Four Cores.
Integrity is gained by making commitments to yourself and following through on them. Integrity is being honest with yourself. For example, if you tell a patient that you will return to them with information, then do that. If you tell yourself you will go to 50 crunches, 20 squats, 10 burpees, and jog a mile, then commit and do it! If someone blames another person for your mistakes, own up to it and take the blame. If you commit to waking up to the alarm clock and getting to work or school on time, then do it.
Having positive motives and behaviors will point you towards good intentions. Are you listening or do you just want to “win”? In many circumstances you can increase trust if you have good intentions.
Developing capabilities will improve your confidence. And life is always changing which requires you to keep learning. In the health field, learning what is the latest evidenced based practice and working towards incorporating it in your practice will keep you on the top of your game.
When you build a track record of your results, you build self trust. In the world of anesthesia, you are constantly evaluating your actions– how well did the induction, maintenance, emergence go? How well did the patient do? What could I do differently to improve my results?
After developing trust in yourself, you develop trust in others
You develop trust through your actions and your truth. This includes understanding yourself — your strengths and weaknesses, your moods and behaviors, your actions and inactions. By knowing yourself, you can better understand others’ critiques of you and owning it.
You will also demonstrate trust by caring about others. Giving others credit when due. Being thankful for others’ actions. Showing that you are aligned in the same goals.
This will increase your credibility. This is important especially in the healthcare field and in the OR. You trust that the scrub tech stays sterile. You trust that the circulator nurse has the room and everyone responsible ready. You trust that the surgeon is able to safely complete surgery. You trust that the pre-op nurses get an IV and come talk to you if they have any questions. The more you trust yourself and gain trust in others, the faster things move and better the outcome.
With the lack of trust, everything and everyone is questioned. Only more delays occur. And that is why it is so important to gain trust in yourself and in others.
As a side note and reference to what’s going on in the real world…
Christine Blasey Ford showed tremendous courage in speaking out about her experience with Judge Brett Cavanaugh. She was incredibly credible — she had nothing to gain and everything to lose by speaking out, and the fear that her world would shatter and none of it would matter.
On the other hand, Judge Cavanaugh may have been a credible judge with many people who backed him up. He may have had a very credible record and people trusted his judgment. However, I feel that after his hearing, the American people, or at least me, do not feel that he would be impartial. He doesn’t seem like he would have the temperament of a judge. While one hearing doesn’t seem like it should change the fate of this candidate, he is also up for a LIFETIME job as a Supreme Court Justice. In my humble opinion, I believe that there are other candidates who would be better suited for this position. If he is confirmed, I believe that the American people will continue to lose faith in its institutions. Instead of trying to work together, we will continue to divide the nation.
I feel that problem with Judge Cavanaugh is not that he necessarily was a horrible drunk as a teenager and college student, but that he denied it and lied to the Senate. I believe that our principles and values are more important than ‘which party’ sits on the highest courts of our land.
Urgent surgeries — such as appendectomies, cholecystectomies, are common. Sometimes the patients are healthy and other times they are a train wreck. When they are of the latter sorts, the goal should be the optimize the patient for surgery so they are prepared to undergo the stress of surgery.
Understanding the classifications of semi-urgent, urgent, and emergency surgeries informs us of the time that we have to optimize a patient. For example…
It is the weekend call shift with limited resources. The surgeon schedules a laparoscopic cholecystectomy on a patient. Great, you go and look up the patient and find out that:
She’s scheduled for a CABG (coronary artery bypass graft) aka open heart surgery next week
There’s no echo, angiogram report, no cardiology note on the patient
BP 160/110, HR 115
On the kidney transplant list
So what do you do? The surgeon insists that it is urgent and must be done that day (later you find out that he has scheduled long cases for the next day).
Well, first the goal is to optimize the BP and HR so the BP is below 140/90 and HR below 100. We titrated in metoprolol to effect. We waited for vitals to stabilize before we went. Unfortunately, the surgeon later insisted that it was an emergency case so we had to go on the weekend.
However, was it really an emergency case? Could the case go the next day when there are more resources?
Without additional information, the goal for the patient was to do a slow induction, maintain perfusion, and gentle emergence.
Based on Non-Elective Surgery Triage (NEST), the acute cholecystitis could’ve been scheduled the next day on a Monday where there are more resources.
This morning I woke up to an email sent by Anuj, the founder of Feedspot. I will admit, I haven’t heard of Feedspot before today (and maybe for you as well). I’ve never been listed as a top blog so I was surprised and honored to be awarded one of the top 30 anesthesiology blogs.
As I browsed the list, I noticed that I was the only personal nurse anesthetist blog. The rest consists of anesthesiologists and larger organization blogs. I will do my best to continue to represent the nurse anesthesia community.
As I transition from a graduate to a new nurse anesthetist in a new community, I learn a lot. Part of becoming an anesthesia professional is
recognizing your limitations and when you need an extra set of hands,
asking your colleagues for their professional opinion as you develop your anesthetic plan (especially for cases you’re less familiar with, for cases with different surgeons, for cases with different patient populations),
asking for mentorship and help for improving your weaknesses, and
knowing that the health field will change.
For example, the United States has a shortage of several anesthetic drugs. And there’s an opioid epidemic that has torn this country apart. The healthcare costs continue to rise, and the length of stay continue to decrease. To help prevent potential complications such as respiratory depression and opioid addiction and to improve pain management strategies, I believe that it begins preoperatively with the patient, continues intraoperatively, and postoperatively.
After the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocol came out for colorectal surgery, many more ERAS protocols have developed for different surgeries (and each institution has their protocols). The ERAS peaked my interest in providing opioid-free anesthesia. Part of that process requires providing blocks (or ‘numbing’) for a specific area of the body. Tom Baribeault, one of the founders of the Society for Opioid Free Anesthesia (SOFA), spoke at the University of Michigan-Flint’s anesthesia conference last year. He added fuel to this fire.
After speaking with several of my colleagues who already provide opioid-free anesthesia, reading peer-reviewed journal articles, and completing the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) course on enhanced recovery after major abdominal surgery, I set off to do just that. In between my cases, I’ll follow up with the patient and the post-anesthesia recovery unit (PACU) nurse and see how the patient did. I will continue to improve this technique.
In the end, the goal is to provide safe and effective patient care for every patient.