Discussion: Life Support (Chap. 3-5)

Round two. 🙂 (See here for discussion questions about Chapters 1 and 2).

Feel free to answer any of these, add your own, or simply discuss in the comments below. Responding to specific questions will help me take the pulse of my readers and choose topics for further posts.

And if you haven’t read the book but you still want to chime in about any of the questions below, please feel free to join the conversation!

Chapter 3 – “Not On the Charts”

  1. We get a glimpse of Jeannie Chaisson’s sense of humor in Chapter 3. How do you use humor in your nursing practice? Have you ever used it at an inappropriate time/place and had to deal with the consequences?
  2. The exchange between Jeannie and the young nurse on page 66 presents a positive picture of the dynamic between more experienced and younger nurses. Do you think the idea of nurses “eating their young” is an cultural myth or reality? How does this metaphor help or harm nursing?
  3. In a health care world focused on quantifiable outcomes and “nurse-sensitive quality indicators”, how do we capture the art of nursing that is so integral to what we do?
  4. What would happen if we stopped referring to doctor’s orders as “orders”?
  5. Do you agree that “teamwork is often an ideal rather than a reality in the health care system” (p. 74)?
  6. What systems should be implemented to help doctors and nurses learn more about each other’s practice?
  7. Have you ever not paged a doctor to avoid “bothering” them? Did you do so because the problem could truly wait until morning or because you didn’t want them to be angry/irritated?
  8. How can doctors and nurses distinguish themselves and their professions without putting down each other? (E.g. Female doctors who are automatically referred to as “nurses” and then denigrate the profession entirely as a defense mechanism).
  9. How do you navigate the boundary between sharing and developing relationships with your patients and sharing too much/becoming “too close”?

Chapter 4 – “A Special Visitor”

  1. How do you think the Affordable Care Act will affect advanced practice nursing? Do you think we will see a similar organized resistance by physicians to the utilization of advanced practice nurses as the book described?
  2. Do you agree that caregiving doesn’t come naturally but is a skill developed over time and honed with personal/professional experience (p. 110)?
  3. How can we develop and maintain relationships with our patients in the fast-paced world of acute care?
  4. I have heard some NPs express frustrations that their jobs require them to adapt too much to the “medical model” at the expense of their nursing backgrounds. How can we better integrate the two disciplines so that they do not feel so dichotomous?
Chapter 5 – “The Meaning of Illness”
  1. Do you agree that doctors focus on disease while nurses focus on the experience of illness?
  2. Do you think the military metaphor helps or harms cancer patients? (Pssst…keep an eye out for more on this topic!)
  3. How can we help our patients with chronic and/or life-limiting illnesses redefine the word “hope”?
  4. How have popular culture and media affected our beliefs about medical technology and the abilities of medicine to cure “against all odds”?
  5. Has the mantra that “patients know their bodies best” been affected or changed by the age of “Dr. Google”? Does the fact that patients can research their own signs and symptoms so easily contribute to heightened levels of anxiety and alarmism about potential health problems?
  6. How can we/should we take credit as a profession for our role in healing and curing our patients? Does it matter to you when you hear a patient say “the doctor must have trained you well” or something similar (p.150)?
*Note: Page numbers are based on the edition that I read.
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