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Posts Tagged ‘nursing profession’

Butterball In The Facilities

January 26, 2012 Leave a comment

I just loved Butterball…he made me laugh and taught me so much. A student nurse at the time working at a retirement home, one of the gentlemen under my care was ‘Butterball’ – coined by me after the Butterball turkey.

With glasses that filled a large portion of his face, a perfectly round belly full of ascites and a shiny, bald head, Butterball also had a killer sense of humor. He always had a smile on his face and loved to tease anyone within reach.

I carried a pager that was connected to patient call bells and every 30 mins, Butterball would ring for the facilities. Three months of this and not one trickle…he wore an adult diaper but I thought he may still be feeling the urge. I dug into all of my nursing textbooks researching urinary conditions and what might be plaguing poor Mr. Butterball. With hundreds of potential diseases at my fingertips, I decided to review the situation with my fave Nursing professor.

After a lengthy recount of Butterball’s situation, she simply offered this: Have you taken even 20 minutes to sit alongside him and just talk? If you were sitting alone in a small room 22 hours per day, everyday – what would your ‘needs’ be? There was my AHA…Mr. Butterball was lonely and just needed that interaction.

That’s when I learned that medicine is more about people and their basic needs than about diseases, medications, or equipment.

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Leader? Manager?

December 4, 2011 Leave a comment

What does it really mean to be a leader? After many years of not paying attention to what this word truly meant, I’ve realized that being a leader or becoming one is one of the toughest things to do.

A leader is someone that everyone wants to follow – because they have a clear vision and know how to communicate it. Leaders make us feel secure, they renew our energy, and they LISTEN. Although they may not always take action, or even be in the position to take action, they still acknowledge.

A manager is not necessarily a leader and a leader is not necessarily in a management role. That is an important distinction to make. You can be on the lowest ‘rung’ of any organizational ladder and still be an effective leader. Even in my children’s cliques, a leader can always be identified. We heard a lot about self-actualization in nursing school and indeed, that is critical to becoming a leader. One has to eliminate ego, be a good listener, and be non-judgemental. You have to be self-assured and comfortable in your own skin.

Generally, this is only achieved as a child or teen (because they are too ignorant to know that they don’t know everything), which is why peer pressure is so huge in this population. The other, is after life experience. Some get this sooner than others and some will never get it.

Bottom line, the sign of a good leader is the person who has many willing followers. When you look behind you, are there people there?

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