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Nursing Lingo Part 2: DFO

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Thanks to reader Terri for submitting the correct answer for what DFO means!  I’ll have to think of a good prize for you.  Customized medical Spanish-English list? Customized report sheet?  Guest post?

To set the scene of when I first heard DFO: I was doing my last rotation of nursing school so I had already deciphered most of the common medical acronyms.  But in report a veteran nurse  said a patient “DFO’ed.” I could have played it off like I knew what the word meant and then google it later.  But I could not think of ANYTHING that made sense.   DFO…?  Detached Forearm Operation?  No…  I gave up and asked.  Turns out DFO, at least here in the South, means Done Fell Out!  It’s actually a pretty great term that basically means “fainted.”  Usually the patient was standing, passed out, fell, and probably hit the floor.

Believe it or not, if you look in certain medical dictionaries, DFO is explained!

If a patient DFO’ed at home before they came in, that’s a bad thing.  If they DFO’ed at the hospital on your shift, that’s a very, very bad thing.  I say I have two rules for my patients, keep breathing and no falling. If your patients can stick to those two basic rules, your shift will be MUCH smoother for the both of you!

Next post will be on one of my favorite terms, “Frequent Flyers!”

Nursing Lingo Part 1: Circling the Drain

Nursing Lingo Part 3: Frequent Flyers

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Nursing Lingo Part 1: Circling the Drain

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Like any profession, nursing comes with its own jargon.  “Keep Vein Open,” “Drips,” “Early Ambulation,” and “Ins & Outs” are some of the phrases you’ll hear emanating from Nurses’ Stations at change of shift.  But nurses, a communicative bunch, have also developed nursing lingo you may be less familiar with, no matter how many seasons of ER you watched.    This week, I’ll share a few of my favorites.

Circling the Drain

After doing your dishes, you flip on the garbage disposal. You watch a floating piece of iceberg lettuce as it starts circling the drain. You know the lettuce is headed to destruction.  It’s not headed straight for the drain.  There is still time to intervene.  But moment by moment it gets closer and closer to an inevitable destination.  This is an apt metaphor for some floor patients.  They aren’t worsening so dramatically that they need to be shipped to the ICU. However, they need closer observation and hopefully a medical intervention that might stop the decline.  Without intervention, they’re headed for trouble.

Veteran nurses can almost sense when this is happening. To those of you newer to nursing, here are some possible signs: You’ve bumped up their oxygen requirements twice in one shift, their heart rate is higher than is usual for them, or they getting increasingly exhausted or confused.  Describing this patient to the physicians, other nurses, or the charge nurse as “circling the drain” will help them understand that this is a patient that needs intervention or a higher level of care and needs it now.

Next post I’ll explain the Southern nursing lingo term, “DFO’ed.”  Any guesses what it means?

Nursing Lingo Part 2: DFO

Nursing Lingo Part 3: Frequent Flyers

 

Run, LuLu, Run!!

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Nicole is a particularly southern NA.  She would honestly say things like “My boyfriend and I work re-po on the weekends,” in as twangy a drawl as you can possibly imagine.  One day she yells to me from the other end of the hall, “LuLu, come!!”  First of all, my name is not LuLu. My nickname is not LuLu.  LuLu is just what Nicole called me because that’s how country she is.

I start down the long hall.

“LuLu!!  Run!!”  I hate running in the hospital.  Nothing freaks out patients (or other staff) quite like seeing a nurse run down the hall.  “LuLu!”

I kick it up a notch and start to jog.

Pamela, in room 17, is no longer in room 17. She’s in Bob’s room across the hall.  Thankfully, Bob is off getting an X-ray.  I look around and put the pieces together.  Pamela had to poo. She got up, wandered into the hall, went in Bob’s room, used the bathroom, and then got in Bob’s bed.  Unfortunately she left a, um, “trail” everywhere she went.  The discovery of the trail was the only reason we discovered quickly that something was amiss.

Now mind you, two hours ago Pamela was a normal, middle-aged lady who knew how to find the toilet and use it.   To you nurses, what would you do next?  Yep, get a blood glucose.  Her “sugar” was really low.  Four juice boxes later, she was back to her old self and had no memory of her exploits.  Too bad I’ll never forget it!

New Look

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Forgive the long hiatus in posting.  I’m back and the site got a makeover to celebrate!  =)  Thanks for your support!

Be Careful Whom You Follow

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I wrote a guest blog post on a friend’s nursing blog.  It included a very important word of advice: Be careful whom you follow.

You can read it here.

Nursing Nightmare

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Of all the horror stories that came out of Japan after the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis, this story on CNN hit me the hardest.  As nurses, we want to do anything and everything for our patients.  We skip lunch (and even potty breaks) to make sure our patients are safe and comfortable.  We would do almost anything to save them.  I could never imagine leaving a patient behind to die.  But that’s just what Fumiko Suzuki had to do.

As the tsunami hit Takata Hospital, Fumiko saved those she could.  As she watched the massive wave approach the hospital, she ran up the stairs to safety, leaving behind those she did not have time to save.  After the tsunami, she stayed and cared for those who survived.

I cannot even imagine the pain she must go through reliving that moment.  I hope she knows she made the only decision she could have at the time and that she can “forgive” herself for having done what she had to. I’ll be praying for her.

How a Bedpan Works

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So, I love checking out my blog statistics to see how people find their way to Bedpans.  WordPress has a great feature where I can see which search terms led to my blog.  Today, someone googled, “How a bedpan works” and ended up here.  Really?    When I googled it.  “Yahoo Answers” was of course the first hit.  Ahhh, Yahoo, bringing together the world’s finest minds.  The winning answer was great!

Now, if enquiring minds want to know, I’m happy to put together a brief educational video.  I think a teddy bear would have to be the patient though, and perhaps a small fruit bowl for the bedpan!  Want a video?  Let me know in the comments!

The same google search also led me to a bedpan collector.  He has hundreds.  The weirdest thing is not that this guy collects them and keeps them in his basement but that the comments are full of people who also collect them. One guy plants flowers around them in his garden.  Hmmm… Built in fertilizer?