Sunday, March 06, 2011


Welcome, readers from ScrubsMag and beyond! I seem to have some new followers these days and am getting lots of emails into the bargain, so I figured I'd do the triennial FAQ, version 3.whatever, to introduce you to the wonder/trainwreck/amorphous thing with flagellae that is Head Nurse.

Who are you?

I'm a middle-aged grouchy critical care nurse somewhere in the heart of Texas.

Where do you work?

Not tellin'.

No, really. Dallas?




San Antonio? Austin? Bridgeport? Del Rio? Tyler? Pine Bluff?

No, nyet, nope, nay, and that one isn't even in Texas. Give up.

Are the stories you tell true?

About my animals, always. About my patients, usually--but I've changed dates, switched sexes, obscured and obfuscated diagnoses and treatments, and generally anonymized them to the Nth degree.

Who are all these other people you talk about?

You might've noticed that HN has a recurring cast of characters.

Nurse Ames and Pens are two of my best pals in the world. Stoya is a coworker who resembles (physically, not habitually) the porn star of the same name. Dr. Heron is a neurologist I work with; Dr. Crane is my own mouth-obliterating surgeon. Dr. Elf is the guy who makes the prosthetics I wear. Der Alter Jo is my namesake, opposite number, sounding board, and friend.

Beloved Sister, Sainted Mother, and Honored Father ought to be self-explanatory. Max, Flashes, and Notamus are (respectively) a very large dog and two brother cats with attitude. Attila is my trainer. The Brother In Beer and Abilene Rob are two close male friends. Rob also has a blog; if we're all very good and mind our manners we may get another post out of him someday. The Man o' God and His Lovely Wife, and Matt and Beth, are my neighbors. I think that about covers it.

What exactly do you do?

Brains, spinal cords, and peripheral nerves. My main focus is neurology and neurosurgery, with a special emphasis on degenerative motor neuron disease and stroke.

What do you do for fun?

I stand in one place and lift heavy objects over and over. I cook. I garden. I go out with friends. I play with Max and the cats. I drink good beer. I read. I sing loudly and off-key in the shower.

Oh, my God. I can't believe you wrote X about Y. I would hate to be one of your patients. You suck. I hope you die horribly.

That isn't a question. You're aware of that, right?

Look: If you're expecting unadultrated sweetness and light from a nursing blog, you've got the wrong blog. There is no other job, except maybe working with abused children/elderly folks/animals, that will make you hate humanity faster. There's also no other job that'll make you love individual people more deeply, or be more grateful to be doing what you're doing.

However, I'm not gonna lie and say that I love everybody or that I'm perfect all the time. If it pisses you off, go elsewhere: it's a free Internet. Please don't waste time sending me nasty, threatening, or abusive emails, especially if you can't spell. Thank you.

Are you married? Boyfriend?

No and no.

Oh, so *that's* your problem.

That's not a question either.

Will you post an advertisement/review for my shoes/scrubs/weightloss product/sex toy?

Head Nurse is an ad-free and paid-endorsement-free zone. Any product reviews I do I do either because I've bought the thing I'm reviewing myself or because I've worked out a deal to donate any moneys from the review to charity.

What's up with the fundraising links and moneygrubbing, then?

Those got their start shortly after I was diagnosed with oral cancer (see September 2010's posts through December of the same year for details). It became obvious that people with oral cancer were sometimes unable to afford treatment or equipment that they needed, so I decided to hit up the readers for cash. The response was amazing: we as a group raised more money than was really practicable for me to keep track of, so I took the PayPal link down.

Since then, several individuals (Tashi and Wash, whose blog is linked above) and organizations have come to my attention who need dinero. I post links to worthy causes or people as I see fit. Everything here is my own fault.

Got any further disclaimers to make?

How kind of you to ask!

Please note that all content on Head Nurse that is not otherwise licensed is licensed under a Creative Commons agreement. What this means is that I don't mind if you repost or borrow things as long as you check with me first. If you repost my work as your own or borrow things, Kharma will get you. All patients, doctors, and nurses are fictionalized to within an inch of their lives. What *that* means is that if I write about something that happened "yesterday", it could easily have happened last week or last year or eight years ago. This blog is not intended to be used for, and the author of this blog will not give, advice on medical matters. If you have a problem, see a professional instead of some schmo on the Internet. If you don't like things that are tongue-in-cheek, you should go somewhere much more earnest.

Everything here is mine unless otherwise credited. If I've fucked up and quoted you without attribution, please let me know and I'll rectify it ASAP. Likewise, if I manage to make a real howler either in spelling or information, tell me. That means that everything that I get wrong is my own damn fault, while everything that turns out okay is entirely due to the goodwill and grace of other people.

Any other queries? Ask 'em in the comments.


Anonymous said...

Okay, I understand that what I am about to ask about isn't your specialty; and, okay, I hereby acknowledge and agree that you are not giving medical advice nor dispensing authoritative information.
That disclaimer aside, I think I've learned a great deal from you.
Any post you would like to do on thyroid and/or parathyroid issues I would very glad to read, and I would be very appreciative of any experience/information/opinions you may have on either subject.

Red Stethoscope said...

"Stoya is a coworker who resembles (physically, not habitually) the porn star of the same name."

Lol! Best FAQ ever!

Anonymous said...

Hey, just wanted to say thank you for putting yourself out there like this, and explaining all your face stuff. My grandma found a lump in her mouth in November and just had surgery to remove it. Made it a little easier to picture what she was up against after reading all of your stuff.


Anonymous said...

What is your work shoe of choice? said...

Very well written disclaimer with an attitude. Love it. Gives me zn idea for my new blog.

Loki said...

I *thought* that was the Stoya you were referring to.

What got you into neurology in the first place?

What is the best way to chill a beer?

simon said...

a year (or three) ago you talked about proper head positioning for embolic vs hemorrhagic stroke. will you revisit? google wasnt helpful. LOVE your blog, found it last year, and feel as if i know you. You seem like one of my friends in divorce/er nurse/cat and dog stories. Thank you for all your eloquence and support.

danielle said...

Q: How do you keep from killing dumbass co-workers??????? (just done with a 3 in a row - not good for me any more - totally lose my patience with them by midway thru day 2 - cause by then I have had more contact with them).

Q: How do you keep eye rolls from becoming permanently stuck in place? (Did far too many of them this w/e as I tried to keep my mouth shut to keep from being fired)

Anonymous said...

Your blog is my favorite nurse blog. :-) RN who lives in a little tiny town so doesn't have the opportunity to work in a big hospital and cool lives as a "really smart nurse with a really cool job" vicariously, through your posts.

Laura said...

Your FAQ led to a few more questions from me...
- Why is Friend Pens called the Lotion Slut?
- How much wood COULD a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Elyse said...

Was going to warn the assembled that none of Jo's words are replaced with the asterisks of blandness, but she cleared that right up in the last paragraph!

Also, I really, really hope the story about calling the new head of the Neuro dept an asshole as he led his ducklings down the hall is true (he deserved it)because it still makes me laugh to think of it.

Penny Mitchell said...

I LOVE LAURA. I thought I was the only one who knew that I am *The* Lotion Slut!

Laura, I once screamed (SCREAMED) to Jo about the joys of two products: AmLactin lotion and Flexitol Heel Balm. If you're prone to keratosis pilaris, try the AmLactin. You will agree that the person who invented it absolutely needs to be canonized right the hell NOW. If you're prone to keratosis pilaris, you might also be prone to calluses that build up on your feet to the point that you're actually several inches taller. Until they crack. And you can't stand up straight because they hurt so freaking much. Flexitol Heel Balm, nightly, topped off with socks, will put an end to that in literally two or three nights. The AmLactin will probably take longer to make the chicken skin disappear from the backs of your thighs.

Either way, they're cheap, quick fixes to nasty things, and I crow about them so much I'm just slutty over them.

Does that help?

shrimplate said...

About my animals, always. About my patients, usually--but I've changed dates, switched sexes, obscured and obfuscated diagnoses and treatments, and generally anonymized them to the Nth degree.

Me too.