Emergency Medicine Nurse Defies Media Stereotypes

Colin T. Son


August 04, 2009

It's clear that Kim McAllister, RN, ADN, has never been at a loss for things to say. But until 4 years ago, her audience was much smaller. In the intervening time, this experienced nurse has built a loyal following at her blog, Emergiblog. For 4 years, she has been shedding light on life in the ER, the future of healthcare, Notre Dame football, and the history of nursing.

That's no small feat. Writing for passion and not for a fee is a lot like trying to open a restaurant: Most won't pan out at 1 year, perhaps even 1 month. The fact that Emergiblog has had such staying power is a testament to the importance of what she has to say in a world with a dramatic nursing shortage and no lack of negative nurse characterizations:

I am so sick, and so tired, of stupid media portrayals of nurses.

Didn't watch "ER". No "Grey's Anatomy". Won't watch "House".

Here goes trying to explain to my patients, again, that "no, I don't watch that show because of the portrayal of nursing."
Emergiblog hosts Grand Rounds
August 4, 2009

Kim is a counterpart to such media examples. She comes across as compassionate, competent, and caring -- but without pulling her punches, with a touch of reality. In her sparse, fleeting style of writing, she describes the end of a code:

The code is called.
I wrap the monitor strips into a neat little roll and hand it to the unit nurse.
Grab my (unused) intubation bags and head back to the unit.
This time I take the elevator.
And it hits.
She's dead.
Someone just died.
Someone's wife, mom, aunt, granddaughter, grandmother, sister.
Phone calls are being made.
Lives are being altered.
Shock. Grief.
[It] all starts right now.
As my elevator touches the ground floor.

Kim is the type of nurse I want on night shift when I'm taking call as an intern. And I'm not the only one seeking out nurses like Kim McAllister, or even better, Kim herself. Beyond her online audience at Emergiblog, she's also making the conference circuit rounds. Recently she's spoken at the Better Health: Putting Patients First conference, hosted at the National Press Club, and at BlogHer09.

This week, Kim plays host to Grand Rounds. Grand Rounds is one of the longest-running and most prominent healthcare-themed blog carnivals, and its longevity and success can be attributed to early and endearing supporters such as Kim.

Think of Grand Rounds as the CliffsNotes of the medical blogosphere. It features the best online writing from nurses, physicians, pharmacists, patients, students, and others interested in healthcare. This week it is well worth checking out at Emergiblog.


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