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The Transformers are here! July 31, 2006

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements.


Originally uploaded by pamin21. (How’s that for “wireless mobile” technology?)

Have you seen the new laptops on those hefty space-age looking laptop stations?

Someone mentioned they look like the transformers. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of those once we get live online. I guess this is some sort of desensitisation exercise since they actually encourage us to touch and feel it, “yeah, go ahead and log on, meet you new work buddy… buddy!”

These laptops are going to be our new best friend and together with those bulky stations (can they get any bigger?), will make our place look “high tech”.

I wonder where we’re going to park these things since they can take up a lot of space (about 2 feet x 2 feet) quite a sizable chuck of space almost the size of a mini refrigerator. Hmmm… maybe we need to cut out slots at the nurses’ station to create mini garages to park these things. I suppose the old laptop stations wheren’t big enough so they decided to go industrial strength. Good job!

Well, since space isn’t the issue, I decided to dream up my own, ultimate machine. Check out the RN 2000 (see above photo)… what more can you ask for?

This baby has a 10 horse power Gyro stabilizing motor with rack space that can accomodate a mini-Pyxis for quick and fast medpass on the go! It even has a built in GPS tracking system so in case the RN forgets to bring the Spectralink, we can still locate them with ease. Don’t let this baby fool you, you can actually tow a 300 lbs gurney or 5 wheelchairs with that back hitch attachment. Super kewl huh? And to top it off, it only takes up as much space as your current laptop stations with more functionality… more bang for the buck!

Now, I know what you’re thinking, and we’ve got that covered too. We actually have a driving in-service together with this setup, so you wouldn’t have to worry a bit. Plus we wouldn’t need to introduce these things until 2071!

Wackiness aside, one thing’s for sure… technology is here to stay and we’re adapting as fast as the market can create these products, hopefully to make our lives easier. Now if we can only find a space to put them… any ideas?


Team at Work! (Do not disturb) July 25, 2006

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements.


Now here’s a classic example of TEAMWORK!

It’s half past 0100 and everything was fairly quiet, when after my lunch break I get a call…

Respiratory tells me that the patient is not responding. Patient’s on the bed, on a nasal BiPAP, appears to be breathing through her mouth with shallow breaths, O2 Sats < 94.

“Dan The Man” immediately assists by taking vital signs. “Hot Rod” enters the room to assess the situation and concurs with a stat ABG. 19 comes in, does a stat ABG blood draw, and runs off for processing. Meanwhile, Cher tries to contact the attending, while we notify pulmonology of the situation. MD orders “ICU transfer and intubate”. “Hot Rod” notifies ICU…we have a bed.

While the transfer sheet is being prepared, “Dan The Man” prints out the IVAR. 19 comes back with ABG results (PaCO2 >, “yup, this happened before, we know the patient very well”) and starts to bag the patient. “Hot Rod” slaps the monitor on, while “Terrific” gathers patient’s belongings and assists with moving the patient to the ICU. En route to ICU, preliminary report is being given (wow, we actually used the SpectraLinks this time). Once patient reaches the Unit, everybody jumps in to assist.

Total time elapsed from onset to transfer…10 minutes flat!

It was like a pit crew at an Indy 500 racing event. Everyone dropped what they were doing and pitches in. Like clockwork, they anticipated the need and did what was needed without being told. Then as just like that, everything went back to normal…another quiet evening.

Now if that’s not SERVICE EXCELLENCE, I don’t know what is. There is a sense of security and confidence that you feel when surrounded by people of this caliber. It’s one thing to say “we need to work together as a team”, but as the saying goes, “I’d rather see a sermon, than hear one”, and folks, you just saw one in action!

We are 5 West, we’re proud to be 5 West. Do I hear an Amen?

What’s happened to our thermometers? July 24, 2006

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements, Query Yoki!.

A 5 West Staff writes:

What Has happened to our thermometers?
None of the blue machines have them!!
We need to get the machines repaired.

Well for some reason our blue vital sign machines are missing some important parts. However, they still do work. Although I could see how inconvenient that would be to have to lug or carry on an extra thermometer when in fact one machine can do it all.

I suppose just like the rest… for people who are in charge of the maintenance of certain equipment (but don’t use that equipment at all), it is not a priority for them whenever something goes wrong with it.

Point and case: the non-working keyboard by 5 Wester’s corner.

For almost a week the computer by 5 Wester’s corner has downgraded itself to an expensive paper weight. Someone had probably spilled some water or coffee on the keyboard rendering it useless. Numerous calls have been made to the IS department to have the keyboard replaced. One staff member mentioned that IS replied with “you still have 2 other functional computers” (apparently not their priority). Eventually they got to it, and after hours of analysis by 2 IS personnel they declared that the keyboard is broke. I don’t know about you, but the moment you turn on the computer you know, keyboard is broke. (Hint: no lights! Not rocket science, just common sense.)

Bottom line, anything that disrupts the natural flow of work and efficiency is a priority! It doesn’t matter how small the issue may be, as long as there is an unnecessary inconvenience, we have to jump on it and fix it. As you know, “Patch the hole while it is small before the ship sinks!”. This also brings up another issue…complacency.

These little acts of complacency builds up, and before you know it, we get immuned to the pursuit of excellence, which, is what we as an institution is striving for. How can we excemplify service excellence in a BIG way, when we cannot even perform it in a LITTLE way? It is the attention to trivial detail which is a true measure of SERVICE EXCELLENCE. There is no doubt about that. This is what sets us apart from the rest of the health care world that claims to set the standard of excellence in service.

So… whatever did happen to those thermometers? I just hope it didn’t get left in the patient’s a******!

Work Schedule Online! July 22, 2006

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements.

Finally, a BETA version of our work schedule online!

For a limited time, we will have our schedule posted here for your convenience so you will know if you are scheduled to work even before you come to work! Just imagine all the time and (gas) money saved from having to come on your off day just to get a copy of your schedule.

Of course, just like any electronic document, you will need a computer, internet access, a PDF reader (Adobe Acrobat) and a printer to print out your schedule, or just keep an electronic copy of your schedule and delete it after it’s done. No paper waste…good for the environment!

To see you schedule, just click on this link or go to our “schedule” page. Let us know what you think, post your comments today!

Where did Leah go? July 20, 2006

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements.


On July 18 the 5 West night shift was blessed with a tray of wonderful pancit and casava cake brought in by our dear Leah. As I enjoyed a bowl of delicious pancit, I thought to myself “Hmmm I wonder who’s birthday it is today?” (by the way Glen, how much is catering?). It turns out that Leah has put in a request of transfer to join the team at The Heart Hospital and this was her last day on the 5 West floor. She writes…

“it was hard for me to say good-bye to my beloved 5 west colleagues but it’s time for
me to move on and take new challenges ahead. i will surely miss everyone especially
the night crew. i will particularly miss kuya Jojo’s jokes, kuya Rodney’s laugh,
Gloria’s always-ready-advice and moral support (I don’t remember how many times I’ve
come to you crying), the ever fast and reliable Marco, caring Terri-fic, miss
Angel’s A (hehe), Sarah’s smile (thanks Sarah for that hug – you will make a good
PA!), the always cool Roldan, Philip’s tips and techniques (you know what I’m
talking about Philip – I learned a lot from you, sir), Robin’s smile, ate Cheryl’s
pat on the back, and boy, oh boy, ate Jocelyn’s contagious laugh! and of course,
5 Wester, who’s always ready to help me read the ECG. Ok, night people, be nice to the
day shift nurses alright!!! don’t make them mad or else…..hehe. Oooops! don’t
forget to put on the leads, Tony and Kenny! I already miss you guys. please keep me
posted. I will write to the day nurses later…i’m sleepy now.

Well, I guess that’s life…we win some, and we lose some… and eventually people move on. So to Leah, thank you for being a wonderful part of the 5 West team. Your smile and contagious laughter will be missed. The care and compassion you show your patients will surely be emulated. Heart Hospital will be blessed to have a wonderful nurse such as you. And do stay in touch… that’s what https://5west.wordpress.com is for!

“Check the leads in 573!” July 19, 2006

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements, Observation Station.


How is it possible, that mon techs are able to stand or sit for more than 15 minutes at the nurses’ station apparently doing “something” while they are unable to check the leads on a patient which will only take about 2 minutes (30 sec to walk to the patient’s room, 30 sec to see what the problem is, 30 sec to fix the problem, 30 sec to walk back to the mon tech room).

Let’s just assume that the nurses are busy with their admissions and paper work on top of their usual stuff, like hanging or starting IVs, administering pain medications, attending to the patient’s problems, etc., and CNAs are busy turning and changing their patients, taking vital signs, or even walking across the hall to get water or a towel for the patient. Bear in mind that these tasks take more than 2 minutes to accomplish. Then it stands to reason that our mon techs would be the last frontier of checking and placing the leads, since it is them that attached the leads in the first place when a patient gets admitted.

Let’s just say that it is not in their “job description”. OK, fair enough, but it is not in their “job description” to hang around at the nurses’ station doing nothing. Let’s say, they are “on break”, well, we deserve a break too, since we constantly run around, and when we are sitting, our minds constantly run around doing the paperwork that needs to be done before the morning shift gets in. Let’s just say, the bottom line is that 5 East mon techs are able to place, monitor, and check their leads, and our 5 West mon techs aren’t able to do that. Does that mean we 5 Westerners are of poor quality or lesser caliber than our 5 Eastern counterparts?

Are we asking too much? Would it always be a favor for us to have the leads checked by our fine mon techs? Would 2 minutes be too inconvenient for our mon techs, the frontline in guarding our patient’s heart, to get out of their way and do us a great service by helping us save 2 minutes of our time which could be spent in a more cost effective manner. Though trivial as it may sound, 2 minutes, means a lot especially for nurses and CNAs who are preoccupied in maximizing their time and productivity.

Well, lets put it this way… the company would like to maximize productivity and minimize waste and redundancy. They accomplish this by cutting down on the work force (like they did by shutting down 6 & 7 west wings and getting rid of the AM House Supervisor, and some directors). Let’s say, they replaced our current telemetry system with the state of the art system that is able to sound an alarm when undesirable rhythms are identified. Let’s say that system is at the nurses station manned by our clerk, cross trained to be a monitor techs, who can actually see change in rhythms and notify the RNs. Let’s say the RNs read and document their own rhythm strips (with calipers)… but then they only have 5 patients days, and 6 patients (max) nights. Let’s say, CNAs are able to check lead placement when prompted by the monitor tech/clerk. And to top it off, we get rid of the monitor techs altogether. We pay the monitor tech/clerk 1.25 times what monitor techs are getting paid, and we use the monitor tech room as an extra lounge or storage place of some sort. Analysis:

The money the company saves by getting rid of 2 monitor techs and replacing them with hybrid clerk/techs and getting the high tech equipment will be substantial in the long run. Even if nurse patient ratio was reduced, less patient work load on RNs will allow time to actually read strips and check lead placement (since that’s what mon techs want us to do). Return on investment with the new equipment (which by the way is available) will actually cut operating cost for the hospital substantially.

Now with this kind of a system, I don’t think we will have monitor techs cutting on our nursing time by calling us from the mon tech room, telling us to check the leads in 573 (which is about a 5 sec walk), and checking the leads which will not even take more than a minute.

Here’s the ideal scenario… Wow! The whole shift went by without us having to hear “check the leads in 573 please”… all leads are OK, work flow was smooth (minimized interruption) and our techs increased their value (and will not be replaced by machines) by taking care of business because they are exemplifying service excellence, not just to our patient’s, but to our nurses as well.

If the 5 East monitor techs are able to do it without a sweat (or fuss for that matter), then I’m sure our 5 West monitor techs can do a greater job, and even more than what 5 East monitor techs can do.

Hey guys, let’s show them who’s the best! After all, we are 5 West!

ace wRAP: Music for the medically inclined! July 16, 2006

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements.


5 West has teamed up with Diddynt Kwyt Maikit Productions and Me Dic Al Records to introduce two new artists…“The Big C” and “Little EJ” in their Not-so-quite-a-hit single “The 5 West Cider” (not available in stores… yet… or ever…hmmm maybe… nah!)

If you like RAP, you’ll love ace wRAP, the music for the medically inclined. This CD makes a perfect gift for Nurses, ER personnel, CNAs, Admissions clerks, Doctors, Jojo, etc. For a limited time,you can hear the full version by clicking on the above link, or visiting our “Silly Songs and Some” page.

Disclaimer: The two companies mention above are fictional and does not represent any live and/or legal entity and is used for entertainment purposes only. “The Big C” does not represent any known person/s living or deceased. “Little EJ” is not so little. The CD is real and available from 5 West.

Opus Day! July 11, 2006

Posted by 5 Wester in OPUS Clindoc Doc!.
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For you who have been to the Opus Clinical training class, you probably know what I’m talking about. I’m sure this much anticipated move from Noah’s Ark (paper doc) to the Space Shuttle (electronic doc) system of order entry and clinical documentation will bring in a new wave of mixed emotions when we go live around August the 5th or 15th (hmmm which one now?). I don’t know about you, but I feel like a kid in a candy store already!

Just imagine, those brand (spankin’) new, sleek and stylish laptop computers (one for each nurse on the unit I hope), together with their human counterpart, marching forward into the future of health care (at least for South Texas). We will have the privilege of using the Rolls Royce of electronic medical records… now that’s what you call “forward thinking”!

Will history repeat itself?

I remember early on, I spoke with someone about computerized documentation. She said, “Yes, we had that before, but it was too slow and nobody liked it so we switched back to the old paper/pen system”. (Talk about taking 1 step forward and 3 steps back.)

For whatever reason, we’re back to electronic documentation, and I’m sure this time, it will stay for good. Hopefully this new system will speed our delivery of health care, create more quality time with our patients, and make work more efficient. A pretty good return on investment taking into consideration that it will actually lessen our dependence on paper and printing, improve on illegibility, and significantly reduce operating cost, which is very good for our bottom line… and, as you know, the bigger, the better.

So, are you looking forward to this change, or would you rather have things stay the same. I’m all for it, how about you?

Where are the Narcotic Keys? July 10, 2006

Posted by 5 Wester in Observation Station.
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Minutes before the end of the shift, we started the final countdown before the hostile takeover 🙂 (as the AM nurses started to trickle down the hallway), someone asked the all too important question… “Where are the narcotic keys?”… “I don’t know” was the reply.

Let’s face it… in the day-to-day operation the one last thing on our mind is “Who gets the privilege of babysitting a 3oz piece of red plastic coil with a keyring attached to it?” Quite frankly, being assigned to hold the narc keys is more akin to contracting leprosy than receiving the Oscars, especially when there is nothing locked up in the narcotic box. (By the way, I nominate Leah for best lead actress in film “The Narcotic Count Queen: 3 Days and Counting!” a 5 West Films Production) 🙂

During narc count, we did make a startling discovery… miraculously the narc key emerged in it’s own little compartment, tucked in the safety of the Pyxis. Eureka there it is! Which by the way, got me excited I almost forgot I was at MMC. Finally we’re making progress!

I suppose in the chaos someone has rediscovered what most modern institutions have been doing for centuries (so to speak)… lock up the narc keys in the Pyxis. Which, wouldn’t you agree, would be the most logical and efficiently smart way to do for the following reasons:

1) Saves time – how would you like to be running around asking your co-workers “Who’s got the keys? Which way did he/she go? What? They’re on a smoking break?”

2) Keeps a log of last access – now we have an electronic trail to document who and when the keys were taken.

3) Accidental take-home preventable – hopefully, unless of course you forget to do the bonding ritual, I mean, narcotic counts at the end of your shift. Since no one has any reason to take the keys out unless there is stuff in the narcotic box or a PCA that needs starting, you don’t need to mess with the keys.

4) One less load to carry – as nurses we all know that any system that cuts on the workload, is worth the effort even if it was as minute as having to hold on to the narc keys.

You’ll probably think of other reasons to keep the keys locked up in the Pyxis (or for some, reasons not to lock the keys up in the Pyxis), but I suppose those four would suffice for now. Smart move in the right direction… kudos to whoever thought this up!

Now… can someone tell us how we’re supposed to get the keys out? Have you discovered this yet? Let us know… share your knowledge by posting your comments today!

Query Yoki Who? July 6, 2006

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements, Query Yoki!.
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Query Yoki

For those of you wondering who Query Yoki is, well, wonder no more.

She’s that adorable little creature adopted from Walmart that sang and danced her way into our hearts on January 16, 2006.

Brought in by a “Flash” of hope and nurtured by a “Terrific” caregiver, Query Yoki took on the role as 5 West’s mascot as her way of thanking the wonderful people who make 5 West, 5 West.

Even if her whereabouts is unknown, she still keeps in contact through the world wide web. At one point she writes…

“Dear 5 West,

In my quest to find the yummiest bananas (as all monkeys do), I stumbled across this fascinating yet simple system for keeping in touch…and no, it’s not smoke made with fire (as you know, we apes haven’t learned to make fire since the beginning of time). It’s that thing called the internet which offers the convenience of email and web logs or blogs for short.

I realize that even if I am not physically with you, I can still be connected through a centralized hub of information accessible all throughout the world. All you have to do is open up a browser and type in https://5west.wordpress.com and before you can say “a monkey’s uncle” there it is…up to date information on the latest happenings on 5 West.

Imagine all the time you’ll save if you can access your monthly schedule online (which is coming soon), get latest news and information on anything that may be relevant to you, or maybe just to keep in touch with your collegues and send a quick note of encouragement, read an inservice announcement, or find out what your superiors want to communicate, all done in the comfort of your home, at your convenience, 27/7, even in your jammies (see my photo above).

Even if you don’t see your superiors during the day, as in the case of the night owls who may often be left out, you can still be in the loop without having to scour through a ton of loose papers posted on all possible surfaces of the unit such as the nurses’ lounge cork board, the pillar by the “Hot Rod” office, the restroom whiteboard (with bathroom poems etc), or rely on the Weekly Doze, I mean Weekly Dose (which by the way, has long expired…sniff sniff…what’s that smell?) Plus… it’s a paperless system that can be retrieved any time of the day, and cut the cost of printing and paper waste… which would be good for the company’s bottom line (you wouldn’t want to loose your bonuses would you?), and it could remain posted virtually forever.

I can go on and on and on (like your narc count, I mean bonding time) enumerating all the blessed features this innovative new style of communication has to offer. However, until everybody knows about it and gives it a try, they will never see the benefits of it. Most would be skeptical, as always, but thus is human nature (unlike apes) in the presence of innovation.

So, what are you waiting for? Lets get the word out there and go where no nursing unit has gone before, because in front of us, is the great information superhighway and uncharted territory in cyberspace… the 5 West frontier… (uhuh) you get the point. Hey, one day you’ll look back and say “I was part of that webolution.”

Let’s give this thing a try, it’s going to be one crazy ride!


Query Yoki

P.S. If you hear a strange noise that’s coming to a crecendo from 568, don’t mind it. It’s just my crazy cousin going bananas. Night shift knows what I’m talking about, otherwise, ask night shift. Thanks!”