Start Your Engines 05-25-19 “The Revolution Outside Your Door”

Hope you’ll enjoy this poem I’ve written.


The Revolution Outside Your Door

Nothing stops the march of the violets.
They erupt in purple profusion,
Relentless in their quest for victory over the emerald grass.

Battling against a warm southwest wind,
The trees spread a protective canopy
In defiance of that flame-thrower, the sun.

Tulips explode in vivid red, yellow and pink—
Over hill, over vale—
Resilient and prolific in rebellion.

Spring arrives in the nick of time,
and nature carries the day.
Joyful birds sing their freedom.


Start Your Engines 05-17-19 : Finally Friday

yellow red tulip 2019

When you’re retired (or mostly retired), what used to be “Finally Friday!” is now “Already Friday?!?”

If you’re worried about life slowing down once you hit retirement, fuhgetaboutit. If you’re creative, imaginative, and not slothful, you’ll wonder when in the heck you had time to work.

Retirement: I highly recommend it. Enjoy your freedom.

Have a great weekend, everyone.


Start Your Engines 05-12-19: Mother’s Day

white flowers

We’re all here because some woman somewhere wanted to bring us into this world. And if you are lucky enough to have a mom who cared to bring you here, raise you, and try to get you on your own two feet, remember to say thank you to her today. Happy Mother’s Day to all the ladies out there who cared then and care now.

Start Your Engines 05-08-19: Mad World

people brasil guys avpaulista

Photo by Kaique Rocha on

It’s crazy out there, people. In the midst of political dramatics, murder and mayhem, and general life stressors, don’t forget to take care of your heart and nurture your soul. And today, that’s all I have to say about that.

Start Your Engines 05-07-19: A Few Thoughts on Teaching Nurses

kid dressed up like nurse

Once, they were baby nurses. They came to class with their eyes open (for the most part, wink wink) and with slight trepidation about what exactly they had gotten themselves into. They politely sat through Evidence-Based Practice and wondered to themselves, “When am I going to learn to start an IV? I don’t want to do research.” They worked through concepts like p values and null hypothesis. They learned the difference between a randomized controlled trial and quasi-experimental research. They learned the Hierarchy of Evidence and how to assess the quality of a peer-reviewed scholarly article. But it wasn’t what they wanted to do. They wanted to learn how to start an IV and make a nursing diagnosis and run a code. They wanted to plan and organize and implement the care for a patient or group of patients. Research? Wasn’t that for the PhD nurses?

But they soon recognized that EBP was so much more than research. It was about engaging one’s own sense of natural curiosity. It was about listening to the patient and beginning to understand their values, beliefs and preferences. It was about no longer doing things in the same old way just because that was the way it had always been done. It was about improving the quality of patient care and the experience of patients encountering a bewildering healthcare system.

Last night, one of my former EBP students stood up to deliver her Master’s presentation, and one of the first points she made was, “You must create a spirit of inquiry among the nursing staff.” I could have cried. When I talked to her afterwards, she said, “It’s one of the first things I remember from your class.”

Nursing at the bedside was a rewarding profession. Nursing education is no less rewarding. I thank my students for helping keep this old nurse’s heart pumping. If Lourdes will have me, I’ll be back next fall.


Start Your Engines 05-06-19 A Few Thoughts On Nurses Week

nurses capThe hardest job you’ll ever love…that’s what I have told multiple classes of nursing students…it’s the hardest job you’ll ever love.

My guess is that many other professions feel that way about their work, too. But I just want to mention one thing that encourages my heart every year…the placement of nurses at the top of the list of most trusted professions in the U.S.

Nurses, you should be proud of this ranking. On the days you come home with a uniform ruined by poop or vomit or Betadine…on the days you come home deflated and humiliated by a physician’s belittling comments…on the days you work without a break or lunch because the unit was understaffed…on the day your favorite patient coded and died, or the day the patient’s family reminded you how much smarter WebMD is than you…

We have chosen a profession in which the hardships are great, but the rewards are greater, and that is where our focus must remain if we’re to make a difference in the world of healthcare. The first and final advocate for the patient is often the nurse. The eyes that see subtle changes usually belong to the nurse. Hold on to those ideas on the crummy days. Remember to always use every brain cell to assess, plan, implement, and then evaluate evidence-based practices. Remember the importance of touch. Remember to LISTEN to your patient. They look at us as the fail-safe and guardian of their healthcare experience. And we can be that when we make sure we are well-educated, observant, and dedicated.

Happy Nurses Week. I salute you.