Five weeks ago I wrote about 2020 being the Year of The Nurse.  It seems like another century has passed since then.

At the time I wrote:

"When was the last time you had a nurse's support or care?  Was it when she explained what the doctor had just said to you and your family that you didn't really understand? Was it when she put her arms around you for a hug when you felt alone and uncertain? Was it when she explained the complex procedure that was about to happen to you? As we face a global crisis with the coronavirus, you know who will be doing the bulk of care of the people affected...nurses."

This has come to pass, hasn't it?

I am grateful for the women and men who so unselfishly give of themselves to others. At last, literally the whole world is saying "thank you"!

I add my deep appreciation to all of you and to your colleagues on the frontlines showing up each day to serve humanity. 

Bless you,...

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Our Endangered Nurses and Doctors: Depression, Denial, and PTSD


As a nurse myself, I’ve been following with interest the ongoing conversation about a critical issue that has gone too long unaddressed; the crisis-level suicide rates of our nurses (and doctors, too).

A recent article on the MedPage website, Nurse Suicide: Under the Radar, used as an example the suicide of Dana, a bright, energetic and hard-working ER nurse. As bad as the heartbreak experienced by her colleagues was, even more damaging was the way in which their institution handled the emotional aftermath of this woman’s death. One section of that story struck me in particular:

“The department held a debriefing after Dana's death -- a meeting to allow hospital staff to discuss a critical event -- but it was only open to those who had directly cared for Dana as a patient….

Simpson broke down crying in the nurse's lounge when she was told she could not go. She had worked during Dana's memorial...

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Nurses Rock!

Nurses Rock!

It’s National Nurses Week! I say, let’s pause to offer up a “thank you” to a nurse who made a difference in our lives – like the night nurse in the ICU who cared for my father and took time out to call me when he took a turn for the worse; “I just wanted you to know”, she said.  Or the hospice nurse who was so kind and patient with my brother and me when we knew there was nothing more to do for Mom but be present in our love for her.  Nurses make a difference.

Did you know that nurses have been the most trusted professionals in America for 17 straight years? In the 2019 national Gallup poll, 82% of Americans rated nurses’ honesty and ethical standards as “high” or “very high.” Year after year, nurses are considered the most compassionate professionals over all other workers, even clergy and grade school teachers.

How can that be?  In a world where trust and truth-telling are on the...

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Where Have All The Nurses Gone?

I’ve had a very busy summer consulting with hospices all across the US. In talking with administrators about their biggest worries, I heard one alarm sounded everywhere I went: Hospice is in the grip of a critical nursing shortage. Certainly, in some areas the problem is greater than in others, but make no mistake; recruiting the ideal experienced, compassionate, smart, flexible and dedicated hospice nurse (or social worker, for that matter) is more challenging by the day. As a board member of the University of Florida College of Nursing’s Alumni Council, I can tell you that the school cannot afford to admit more than 120 new undergraduates/year. The University of Delaware College of Nursing admits 136. Numbers like these will not begin to meet the burgeoning needs of the Baby Boomer generation as they age.

And it’s not just that new nurses aren’t entering the field at the rate we need them to; we’re losing those we have, nurses who are leaving the...

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When Nurses "Eat Their Young"

Have you heard the term "nurses eat their young"? Generally, that phrase describes the rough treatment new nurses are subjected to by more experienced peers when we enter the profession, but sometimes in my work I’ve seen it used as a management style. It’s counterproductive, it’s damaging, it undermines both the worker and the work – and it needs to stop.

I'm not sure what it is about some nurses or supervisors who believe that continually focusing on what people do wrong will motivate an improvement in skills or behavior. Perhaps it is the scientific perfectionist in them that has no tolerance for mistakes. Maybe that’s the way they themselves were disciplined or trained, so it’s the only management style they know. For myself, I know I’ve always learned best when I've been encouraged - even when I made a mistake - rather than berated for what I did wrong. I believe that’s true of most of us.

I’m not suggesting that stern...

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