All posts by Tommy L


Trends in aging

With the baby boomers starting to age and retire, we will see an explosion of aging adults that will require care. This is concerning especially since our health infrastructure has not grown to keep up with the amount of people will who require care in the near future. As a result, I predict that we will see a shift in the healthcare of prevention of diseases and health maintenance to reserve healthcare resources for people who need it. Unfortunately, many aging Americans today are a lot more unhealthier than their parents. We are seeing an increase in rates of diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and many other chronic diseases. In the next 5-10 years, I expect to see more patients with these chronic diseases and the lack of resources to treat them. I expect that the role of nurse will evolve to accommodate the increasing needs of the aging adult. My main concern is that the rate at which change is currently occurring will not be enough to meet the needs of the baby boomers in the future.


Drug Education

Two months ago, my partner got his wisdom teeth extracted. The oral surgeon prescribed him antibiotics for about two weeks. I remember my partner asking me a week later if it was OK to discontinue the medication since he no longer had pain and swelling. I told him that it was important to finish the course of the antibiotics and listed the reasons why. I believe many people do not understand the importance of finishing antibiotics, especially for healthy individuals who are not accustomed to taking pills for a long duration on a daily basis. As nurses, it is important that we provide the necessary education to our clients so that they are aware of the indications, side effects, and instructions on how to take the medication.


Respiratory Therapist and Nurses

Respiratory therapist are an integral part of the healthcare team. They are almost always present on a ICU unit for a good reason-many of the patients there are on some sort of ventilator. For my first day of clinical for critical care, I was paired with a respiratory therapist for the first half of the day. I was overwhelmed trying to learn the machines and what the values meant. She taught me how to suction and provide oral care. Prior to suctioning, I would listen to the lung sounds. In regards to patients who are under sedation, I’ve seen them use propofol and I THINK Dexmedetomidine. A ICU nurse explained to me that dexmedetomidine does not affect the respiratory system which is one reason why a physician may order that instead. Especially if they are trying to wean the patient off the ventilator. Nurses and respiratory therapist work together by formulating treatment plans for the patient. Respiratory therapist can help with getting ABG’s, provide ventilation support, and provide breathing treatments that the nurse may not be able to do. The lesson is: take care of your RT and they will do the same for you.


What is MI?

I asked a family member a few questions. Here are the questions and his response:

1) What does “Cardiopulmonary Arrest” mean to you?
Answer: Heart attack? The heart stops working.

2) What is MI or Myocardial Infarction?
Answer: Never heard of it before.

3) What happens during CPR? Do you know what you would do in a situation?

In CPR, you push at the chest and give breathes every so often. You push about 30 times a minute.

Based on the response, I was not surprised that he didn’t know what cardiopulmonary arrest or MI was. As an engineer I guess there was no need for him to know these things unless he knew of someone who personally experienced it before. I explained to him what each one was and how there are many heart conditions out there besides a heart that stops working. I also suggested that he should maybe look into a CPR course because it can prove useful one day. 30 chest compressions a minute is not good I told him.


Heart Healthy Diet

I chose my clinical day at VCMC to evaluate my diet. I will list the fat and sodium intake next to the food items.
This is what I ate/drank:
2 Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Almond Bars: 7g of fat each, 140mg of sodium each
1 Tropicana Orange Juice 10 fl oz: 0g of fat each, 20mg of sodium each
1 serving of fish: 8g of fat each, 80mg of sodium each
3 chiles rellenos: 30g of fat each, 522mg of sodium each
1 serving of watermelon: 0g of fat each, 2mg of sodium each
2 servings of Spaghetti with meatball: 16g of fat each, 1264mg of sodium each

Total Fat: 144g
Total Sodium: 4396mg

According to the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee, daily diet should consist about 13g of fat and no more than 2400mg of sodium a day for someone with a 2000 calorie count. I’ve definitely exceeded in both. I’ve consumed ten times the recommended amount of fat and almost twice as much sodium needed. I think it would be hard for me to adjust to a Heart Healthy diet because I love to eat. I didn’t need to eat 3 Chiles Rellenos…I chose to mainly because I like it. Diet has been my main culprit in getting the body shape I want. I can only imagine how hard it is for someone who has to strictly follow the Heart Healthy Diet.



Final Semester

I’m excited that we are all entering our final semester of nursing school. I can’t believe the past 2 years have gone by so fast. I still remember first semester in fundamentals I wasn’t sure if nursing was for me. I’m glad I stuck it out and learned that there are other career paths for nurses outside of the hospital setting. Good luck to everyone!



Disconnecting from electronics has always been hard for me but once it happens, I find it calming. Over the weekend I was able to disconnect for about 4 hours. I couldn’t do the 24 hours. I spent those four hours eating with a friend and just walking around talking. While eating, I noticed a lot of people would have their phones out–something I would do. My friend has his phone out too and he would check it from time to time.

In the past for my birthday I rented a cabin in Topanga Canyon for myself. I wanted to get away from everything and just relax. There was no service up in the mountains but there was wifi. I spent the two days up there reading the newspaper sitting outside. I used to read the newspaper a lot but now I rarely have time. I drank wine looking at how beautiful the sky was. I showered outdoors. I did a lot that I wouldn’t have normally done surrounded by people and electronics. It did get creepy at night though being alone in the mountains. I probably wouldn’t do it again because of that.


Open Reduction Internal Fixation

Open Reduction Internal Fixation (ORIF) is a correction and alignment of fracture after surgical dissection and exposure of the fracture. It does so by usage of metal screws, plates, wires, nails and pins to stabilize the fracture. Diagnosis of a fracture usually occurs in the ER. Diagnostics include X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs.

Here is a good short informative video that explains what an ORIF is.

Baylor Health Patient Information on ORIF


Patient Education

Many patients who undergo surgical procedures are unaware of what exactly happens. Many misconceptions can be cleared by going over the procedure with the patient and answering questions they might have. Many hospitals now have educational tools that patients can utilize before the surgery is performed. An informed patient makes recovery easier on the patient and the medical team. Below is a link of what UCLA is doing  to educate their patients before surgery.




First post!

Hello all! My name is Tommy and this will be where I will document my nursing journey. I am currently a second year nursing student at CSUCI. Please feel free to browse around.