4.26.2010

Nursing homes are interesting, after all.

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) The former chief executive of a Connecticut nursing home has been sentenced to a year in prison for using money intended for the homes to buy real estate.
Raymond Termini, former CEO of Haven Health, was sentenced Tuesday to 12 months and a day in prison and a $6,000 fine. Prosecutors say he also has to forfeit $500,000.


Wow. Nursing homes can be pretty exciting places, huh?

The intrigue. The politics! The ever-present human drama unfolding. The unending labor, whether laboring for breath or laboring for pay.

Fortunately, the inevitable chaos of a busy nursing unit is finally starting to make sense to me. Something that can be controlled, or at least surfed.

It's a lot to keep track of at once. I can't go to sleep right after a shift, because there's too much to process. Even now, I've just worked a 12 hour shift that lasted about 14 hours, and I'm still fighting the urge to call back and add some random piece of info I suddenly thought might be useful.

At times like this I have to remind myself that we work in shifts for a reason. The next shift coming on can handle whatever happens next.

The main bottleneck seems to come down to how information is stored and retrieved. It sounds like such a ludicrous problem to have, to spend hours producing or reproducing minuscule amounts of data. Let's call it 8-64 bits per second. Copying down intake and output into multiple redundant binders, writing terse nursing notes, signing your initials hundreds of times. Let's say between the actual writing and checking the things you're writing from and to, I'm going to guess a bits-per-second rate of 8 to 64 (a bit is a 1 or a 0, and 8 bits make up one letter like "Y" or "s" or "." ).

Verbal report sounds like it contains about 16 thousand bits-per-second worth of info.

My internet connection is somewhere around 6.76 million bits-per-second.

I suppose the bandwidth isn't as important as how the data is related to itself and it's owners. Oh, how I yearn for a relational database! A touch of SQL or even Access.

No matter how faithfully and reproducibly information is stored and retrieved, however, the human element is most important. The right way to calm down an anxious co-worker or resident isn't always easily explained or reproduced.

The things that can't be easily explained, however, we still manage to communicate. We are, after all, Nurses.

and we work in shifts.

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