Smaller nurses

Mission Santa Barbara, known as "the Quee...

Mission Santa Barbara, known as "the Queen of the Missions," was founded in 1786. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Continuing my conversation with the nurse who still works at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, she complained about the reduced size of the nursing stations in the remodeled wards. I jokingly said that the nurses needed to be smaller. Then I gave the situation more serious thought. Foreign-born nurse are usually smaller than American nurses because of diet. Beyond that, I think that smaller nursing stations indicate management’s future intentions. Patients will be increasingly monitored remotely with one employee, not necessarily a nurse, assigned to watch the monitors. Then it will be possible for each nurse to be assigned more patients, reducing the number of nurses needed. Staffing levels have long been a bone of contention in California with unions involved and propositions proposed for voters to decide.

Please see Usability


Patient Recognition Month Poster

Patient Recognition Month Poster (Photo credit: Army Medicine)

I was recently talking to a nurse friend who still works at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California where I was employed in x-ray before we moved to Utah. The old hospital was torn down and rebuilt in stages to meet California earthquake standards. She was lamenting the fact that the new hospital ward on which she works is not as easy to work on as it was before the rebuilding. I have noted too that the x-ray rooms in Utah had problems for the techs and the patients. Patient rooms had issues too in their design that made accessing a patient for care more difficult than it needed to be. Patient gurneys made connecting a patient to oxygen difficult because oxygen bottles were added as an afterthought instead of standing upright at the head of the gurney to make the controls easily accessible.

I gave thought to her complaints and my experiences and came up with the following suggestion to improve usability. Rather than design hospitals and other facilities from architect and administration input, I think that a portion of proposed facilities should be constructed as models that workers can test both as care givers and as role players portraying patients to test designs before they are constructed. As it is done now, people must fit themselves to the facility. It should be the other way around; facilities should fit themselves to the people who use them. Eventually standard designs would evolve that could be implemented nationally.

It’s a small world

Albert Einstein

Image by mansionwb via Flickr

No, I am not referring to the movie or the song or the Disney attraction. I am referring to the fact that there are more connections among the six billion human inhabitants of earth than many of us are aware of. It is possible to learn how we are connected together by using our eyes and our ears, our learning organs, to listen to each other and read what they have written. We use our mouths to communicate with each other, but we learn with our eyes and ears, which are physically closer to our brains than our mouths are.

When I worked at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California, I liked to describe Santa Barbara as the crossroads of the world and Cottage Hospital as the crossroads of Santa Barbara. That was true to a degree, but it is possible to find connections throughout the world through other people no matter where you live; just ask questions and be willing to listen.

Albert Einstein is a personal hero of mine. While working at the Hospital, I met a man who had shared an office with Einstein at Princeton University. It was a thrill. In 1991, while studying to become an x-ray tech, I met a retired doctor who had met Wilhelm Rontgen, the discoverer of the x-ray. One of my x-ray instructors was from Detroit. As a child, she had met Henry Ford at Greenfield Village and of course he had been a close friend of Thomas Edison. During my life, I have met many rich and famous people and many more who were not. Most all of them had an interesting story to tell if I had the time and patience to listen. All of us share a joint humanity. Please don’t ignore those who may be different. You will be surprised at the links that connect us to each other if you will open your heart and mind.
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Please see All-American Muslim | Brother’s keeper

Kathy Ireland

Kathy Ireland

Image by WBUR via Flickr

My wife and I were married in May, 1976. We rented a house at 736 North Ontare Road in Santa Barbara where we newlyweds spent the first three years of married life.  We subscribed to the local newspaper which was delivered to us in the afternoons for a portion of those three years by Kathy Ireland. She was a tall and slender girl in her early teens. We moved into an apartment in 1979 and  I did not see her again for ten years.

In 1989, I began working at Cottage Hospital where my wife worked and where I met Kathy’s mother Barbara who worked as a nurse on the orthopedic ward. I floated from ward to ward and worked different shifts so I did not work with Barbara often. I did see Kathy occasionally visiting her mother at work. In ten years, she had gone from tall and slender to taller and striking.


Sunrise in Santa Barbara, California

Image via Wikipedia

In Santa Barbara, the California coastline runs nearly East-West rather than North-South. In the picture above, the sun rises in the upper right near the shore and sets off the picture in the lower right in the Pacific Ocean. When I was an x-ray tech at Cottage Hospital, I sometimes worked shifts that started at 6am or 7am and my duties included x-raying patients in their beds first thing in the morning. I always started on the top floor, the 6th, because it gave the best view of the morning sunrise. I enjoyed my work and a Santa Barbara sunrise was an excellent way to add a bit more pleasure to the job. The picture below is a sunset taken from my present home in Saint George, Utah. I like to say that I moved from one saint to another, Santa Barbara to Saint George.