It’s Saturday! I’m on vacation! The ocean felt great! I did not want to write today!
But, I did. Because, you know what? I am committed to this crazy idea for all 3.1 million nurses out there. I don’t care if you have just two letters behind your name or a million, you deserve to look at a computer screen on May 6 and see a Google Doodle for YOU. We are innovative, and fantastic, and we just don’t tell anybody about it enough.
So, I wrote the doodlers about the topic of patient safety, and about a pretty cool nurse Tweeter, Barbara Olson who tweets as @SafetyNurse. Oh, you don’t have a Twitter account? Well, you’re missing out, nurse. Get one.
Happy Saturday night!
Subject: Why Nurses Need A Google Doodle: #RNgoogledoodle Innovator No. 14, Patient Safety & Twitter.
It’s a struggle for me to pin myself down indoors to write to you today. Sunny SoFlo, the ocean, Saturday, etc. I spent a lot of the day sweating, outside, adding to my fairly bad sunburn.
Naturally, I’ve been riding down here. My sister rarely touches the road bike I gave her a few years ago, and I’ve made it my mode of transport this week. Yesterday, I rode thirty miles or so, to the end of a secluded island nearby. The foliage, the secret paths to private beaches, the animals were incredible. Their ability to draw my eyes away from the road in front of me, dangerous. I spent most of the ride zipping by beautiful flowers, ornate green growing things, magical houses, hoping I didn’t accidentally crash into an oncoming car. They screamed to me far louder than the alarms in the ICU where I work, or the chaos of New York’s city streets.
This got me thinking on the topic of patient safety. Often, from years of desensitization, I tune out the many bells and alarms that fill my twelve hour shifts. Just like the sound of speeding cabs when I bike in the city, these noises are almost completely lost on me. I have to force myself to look for their origin, putting their cause into analysis, space of understanding. If I let them ring without addressing them, like running a red light senselessly, into oncoming traffic (yes, one can run red lights with sense), they could lead to fatal results.
Don’t get me wrong, my ears hear and understand every noise in an ICU. You’d better believe i know the origin of every sound, and will look into any new ones. A tiny hiss or a brief click could be the difference between your patient losing an oxygen supply or ending up on the floor. But the alarms, well, I’ve fallen prey to what patient safety experts call “alarm fatigue.”
There are a billion patient safety topics to cover in hospitals alone, much less the worlds of out patient clinics, home care, the streets, schools. Every place a nurse works, there are issues regarding keeping patients safe. Entire organizations exist around medication safety alone, and the statistics rationalize their existence. Today, though, I just want to highlight one voice that I think is particularly innovative and fresh in the sea of patient safety, and I found this voice on Twitter.
Barbara Olson tweets as @SafetyNurse, filling the Twittersphere with nuggets of information on patient safety. She claims to have an engineer’s mind, which certainly links her perfectly with the “figuring stuff out” side of patient safety. Her tweets link to pertinent articles around the discussions of safety – collaboration, communication, interdisciplinary encouragement.
She is just one of many innovative nurses paving the way in the land of the blue bird, and the nest of patient safety. It’s worth noting that the conversation between and about nursing on the internet is growing each day, a pool willing to welcome outsiders wanting to know more about what exactly we do.
Olson is worth following if you’re a nurse, or not. Because, either way, we’ll all be patients some day, and I sure as hell want that day to be a safe one.
Happy Saturday night,
Amanda Anderson, RN