Friday, July 01, 2005

Canada Day Nurse Nellie

It just seemed to me that perhaps I need to shout for Joy! So go for it Canada! Sure we have problems. Our taxes are outrageous. Our health care is falling apart. Our justice system leaves much to be desired. Our governments are wasting time and our tax resources on nonsense. We are an ant, living next to a giant, in a world gone haywire.

But I am Canadian. I can say eh, and not even think anything of it. If I break my leg, I can go to emergency and it will be taken care of. Even if I do not have a nickel to my name. I can go to my kitchen sink and drink my well water (drilled well in the country) without worry. I can walk down the street without worry about jostling my neighbour. I don't see tanks and guns roaring through my streets. (Not even in my cities) I can probably collect old age security cheques (if it doesn't run out by the time I get there) I don't have to worry that my sons, or brothers will be drafted to fight some war somewhere. I can support which ever faith group I feel like supporting, or none at all if I so choose. I know my children can go to a school, at least until they know how to read and write regardless of how poor they might be. I don't have to worry about getting malaria. Every single winter I can be assured of snow and blizzards. Every summer I can be certain of at least a few days when it is hot, and my ice cream will melt. I can cheer when "This hour has 22 minutes" makes fun of foolishness. I can raise a flag, or not raise a flag. I am Canadian.

I am Canadian. I am Canadian. I am Canadian. and I live in a country that is huge, with only 30 million people. If I want to, I can pick up and move five thousand miles away and still be in the Country I was born in. I am Canadian! If I want to be surrounded by the french language I can move to Quebec, or parts of New Brunswick. If I want ethnic cuisine and culture, I can go to our large cities and be part of every nationality know to humanity. I am Canadian.

Happy Canada Day.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Nurse Nellie Goes Political

Someone once said it's all political. For the past few years I've tried to pay attention to politics? Why in the world would a nurse ever want to do that you might ask- and that would be a good question.

My short answer: Because I believe in nursing. I believe in health care. I believe people have a right to determine their own life style, even if I don't agree with them. I believe in faith (couldn't have done the job without it) I believe in justice, integrity, honesty, accountability and mostly I beleive in individual people not systems. But the very short answer: Illness and Death is.

So what did I do? I tried to inform myself about political activities. NOT an easy job. I began to read info from the alternative press. (Hard to find unbiased non mega business sponsored information) I wrote letters to politicians, signed petitions, and even marched for a few situations I felt were of importance.

In order to figure out a little about how politics worked I even ran in a municipal election. (not that hard of a job, you just follow steps a -z and if you pick your location right you might even get the job because, no one else runs against you)

Now let's be honest here. I am just a nurse, don't get me wrong it is an honourable and useful calling. Or could be, if the profit mongers would butt out. I'm not a business person, not that I have anything against business. Let's face it, if you run a business with integrity, compassion, provide a good service and incorporate a decent work environment for fellow humans you have done an admirable thing. I am not a lawyer and can find no reasonable rationale that would allow some trespassing kid to sue someone because the kid slipped on a step where they were not supposed to be in the first place. Makes no sense to me.

So what did I learn re politics? Wow- it is a dollars focussing activity with the "real" power happening behind closed doors! And as far as I can figure out, I just don't see things the same way governments see things.

Dont' get me wrong. I met a few individually decent politicians, fine, caring people. But virtually powerless people spewing forth the party line. It seems there is a rule in Canadian politics that says you have to spew the party line or they shaft you. Now if you forbid open honest dialogue from people about solutions and tell everyone to speak the same tired, worn out blah, blah, blah, party line how in the world will you ever generate a solution to a situation?

Now that brings me back to trying to figure out how in the world I will ever cast a vote in the next upcoming federal election. If you haven't been watching, you might not realize we are in politcal crisis here in Canada.

We have crooks, big time, heavy handed, well financed crooks running the Canadian Political show. Either that, or the folks at the top have absolutely no comprehension of how the majority of Canadians live. -Two outside jobs just to make ends meet. Thank you feminist Betsy! Jobs worked by little folks until the middle of the year just to pay the taxes and big companies that take what wealth they do earn and stash it offshore somewhere so THEY don't pay taxes, while what taxes are collected are funneled into the coffers of folks who do not provide service.

Universal health care is one of the bones to be scrabbled over. Lets face it, health care is mega business. And lack of health care, when needed, has the added potential of scaring the bejebbers out of people.

Trust me when I say, illness and death does not care one iota about your colour, your sexual practices, your morallity, your ethics, how you vote or don't vote, who your friends are, what mega coporate enterprise you are the kingpin of or even which criminal element you run with.

Illness and death happens. Deal with it.

Then we have the enviornment another money making enterprise. It also has the added bonus of terrorizing the bejeebers out of the populace. After all haven't you heard we are dropping off like flies from the terrible earth we live in. (Blame it on the tobacco smokers and be sure to spend some health care dollars on the issue. While you're at it, deny services to tobacco smokers- scarey tactics) Or make it legally possible for one group of people to buy smokes cheaply and sell them to other folks on a black market. Just doesn't make sense to me. Of course we have this stuff called nuclear waste that no one knows what to do with, and Coal spewing plants in Ontario sending all that lovely stuff into the atmosphere, and companies producing plastic packaging that will take a life time to rot, but we all know it is not the fault of the big guy, it is the fault and reponsibility of the little guy to sort his trash, or get rid of his tobacco. Makes no sense to me.

Or make a law that runs up millions, oops thats billions, to register someones hunting rifle. Seems senseless to me, and I know squat about guns of any sort, but I don't think you need to be a philledelphia lawyer to figure out that the bad guys will not be registering firearms. And even if the homegrown boys do, how do we get the multinational crime lords to register their weapons?

Oh yeah, then we have that other party, the one that figured out how to allow multinationals to sue Canadian tax payers. Some kind of free trade thingie, makes sense to no one but business tycoons. And if Canadian business doesn't get in line, do what you can to cripple our wheat, potatoe, soft wood lumber, beef and fishing industries. But guess what, we still have water. Or do we?

And for God's sake what is the government doing by getting into the bedrooms of the populace. Who really cares who is sleeping with whom. Personally I don't care if someone wants to marry their tree as long as there is a mutual, consenual, non cohersive agreement who gives a rats bazooka? So Nurse Nellie decided the issues could not be addressed by being politcal and all it really accomplished was to tick me off.

At least not by politics the way I see it at the moment.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Psychic Nurse

Nurse Nellie has recently developed extraordinary psychic powers. So I'm predicting we will have a federal election thumping the fears of two tier health care in Canada. (Thank you Supreme Court judiciary) Unfortunately sometimes my psychic powers fail me and I am left with loads of questions.

Seven judges decided 4 to 3 that a Quebec mans Charter rights had been violated because, by Quebec law, he was not permitted to purchase private insurance to get his hip replaced and had to wait about a year or so under the public health care system to have his hip attended to. The judges felt this was too long and it violated one of his many charter rights.

Of course all this concern about his hip took place in about 1996-1997 when the federal government literally smashed health care funds to the provinces, closed hospital beds etc. Might have even been before they paid millions of tax dollars for the Romanov report, the gun registry, and national unity issues.

I wonder if it violates the mans charter rights to have waited so long for a Supreme court decision of his court case? I also wonder where he found his funding to fight this case. Don't lawyers cost a fortune. I think perhaps he must have financial backers who are not too happy with our universal health care. (Perhaps they are not making enough or all they could from the government trough) Maybe they are not even happy with the way we govern ourselves. Of course what with all the financial boondage going on in Canadian politics I can't say as they don't have a point. Dont' confuse this with thinking that I beleive our current health care delievery system is healthy, it is not.

It sucks the big one! We are critcally short of nurses and Doctors, but heh, if you keep tight tabs on how many can graduate, and you extend the time it takes to do this and you close hospital beds up the kazooza and claw back funding and spend a fortune pumping millions into stupid stuff like Health Canada ad campains about cigarette smoke, while coal fired plants spew toxins and you dump independent non phamaceutical company sponsored research scientiest what exactly do you think is going to happen to Canadian Health care?

I also wonder about the Quebec fellows Doctor. I beleive the Doc was from France and was a little ticked because he had to close his private emergency practice. I wonder how much money his doctor is now collecting from speaking engagements delivered to all those insurance companies who have been holding their breath waiting to sell, sell, sell, Private Health insurance to us poor Canadians who have universal "free to patient" health care but -waiting lists and ridiculous taxes. Do you think when I can buy private health insurance I will get to pay less taxes??

Now I haven't worked in orthopedic surgery areas for awhile so who knows maybe there is a dreadful, terrible waiting list. Seems to me it would be wise to open medical schools to more orthopedic surgeons. Maybe even give a quicky course to GP's instead of opening doors to insurance companies. At least that way you would get a new doctor on the block instead of a company who sells insurance but I am only a nurse and sometimes even my psychic powers fail me when it comes to who is making the rules about the massive profit driven agenda they now call health care.

Perhaps I am really behind the times. I have not yet met anyone who has told me their loved one died because they couldn't get treated at a Canadian hospital in a timely fashion (even though I have heard the news storey of potential deaths etc repeatedly- but I have also heard lots of bunk in the news, and I do know my young niece had surgery for a hot appendix in a matter of hours, so I guess that leaves me believing the speed of her surgery and not the news reports.

I have also met a few American visitors who have dropped in to our Canadian hospitals. (We now charge them, or at least their insurance company -the benefits of computers.) And I have heard an awful lot about those nice Americans trying to buy our cheaper phamaceuticals, some say they come in by the bus load, or even purchase from on line phamacies. Some even say their home states are looking to pass laws.

What can I say, you need more than psychic powers to keep track of Canadian Health Care. What you really need is investigative skills to find out who profits. Maybe I should have taken journalism instead of nursing.

Didn't some wise person once say follow the money. Well I think following the money is just about the smartest thing any one ever came up with especially when it pertains to Canadian health care as Nurse Nellie see's it!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Nurse Nellie has been busy lately upgrading from an old lap top to a new “fancier” lap top. Sometimes nursing/health care reminds me a little of computers -forever changing.

Lets take Canada for example, we have had more changes in health care in the past ten years than you can shake a stick at, but is it really any better, or have we just rearranged things to benefit those who make the real bucks off health, the pharmaceutical companies. Apparently we have a nursing shortage/health care crisis in Canada, and I would say this is probably true. But the question is why do we have this crisis?

One Factor
“Entrance to practice” when you require a four year university degree to write your RN’s you suddenly have less folks interested in taking on this job.

Why spend four years in university in order to work,
-weekends and holidays
why not take something that does not require this kind of working environment, like teaching-weekends off, no nights and nice long summer holidays, plus no killing yourself to drive to the hospital during a blizzard just to report for work.

Result Less Registered Nurses

Saturday, April 30, 2005


As a nurse you work holidays. Easter, Christmas. It's not a nine to five job. It is not a job that allows you to say "eeks it's snowing" guess I won't go to work today.

In fact snow days are the worse days. You show up. It's expected. If you don't the floor runs short staffed. You can't do that, you're a nurse. Nurses work. I recall more than a few times driving on icy, dangerous roads.

Weekends, Sundays, your son's birthday, or your childs school play. Sure, maybe if you're lucky you can convince someone to swap a shift with you. Often you cannot. Because this is nursing, this is the work you do.

Lot's of times you never really thought about how your life and the life of your family would revolve around your shifts. Perhap you would have liked to visit your mom, because it's Mothers Day, but it is your scheduled shift to work. Who wants to swap? Nobody. They too have mothers. This is nursing.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

A few good things

I can think of a few good things that have come to nursing over the years. Fitted sheets, oh yea. Latex Gloves, you know the kind where your finger doesn't poke through the end. Ear thermometers, automated blood pressure cuffs. Heplocks and Picc lines, less poking and prodding. Disposable dressing sets. Premixed enema set ups and families encouraged to stay in the rooms with their loved ones.

Nurse Nellie says retractable injection needles are a waste of health care taxes. In twenty something nursing years, I've had a needle stick once, and this was with a clean needle. I would prefer an oven packed with warm flannels. But then I suppose it's easier to sell someone on safety needles, the selling of the safety needle has that wondrous fear factor going for it, closes the deal every time. At least that's the way Nurse Nellie sees it.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Buzz Words

Have you ever wondered about health care buzz words. They drive a real nurse to distraction.

You have folks called: health care consumers, clients, cases, profiles, etc. they are people! You know, your cousin Betty, or maybe your son Leroy.

Then you have our newest buzz word here in Canada, it's called "Integrated Medicine." Some kind of cross between grated and not I guess. The powers that be would have us believe somehow integrating our health care is going to make us healthier.

I say, give me another hand at the bedside, nurse, doc, dietary staff, and pleeese don't let it be another "study things" to death hand, or a 9 to 5 admin.

Health care needs "real people," ones not afraid to:
  • get their hands dirty,
  • don't think working shifts is going to kill them,
  • know you have to take care of self first before you have anything left over to give to others,
  • are willing to work as a team. At least this is the way Nurse Nellie sees it!

CAM, HAMS and Shams

Does anyone even know what a CAM is? Sounds like a piece for a car, acutally its the new buzz word for

Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Alternative to what I am not sure. Oh yes I am, it's more health care "turf protection." I get annoyed with turf protection.

After twenty some years on the front lines of health care, I've come to believe "turf protection" hurts all of us. Bunch of foolishness, I say.

But mostly it hurts patients and if you are in the health care field: personal care worker, cleaning, dietary, nurse, herbalist, doctor, paramedic, therapeutic guru, -makes no difference to me -the main agenda, the top enchilada has to be the patient. If it is not then go find a job selling used cars or something. At least that is the way I see it.