Hello and welcome to According to Kateri! I am a wife, a nurse, a mom, and a Midwestern transplant from New York. I used to fancy myself as a cross between Florence Nightingale, Julia Child, Martha Stewart and Carrie Bradshaw. But I guess now I’m more of an Inna Garten, Jennifer Garner, and whoever that smiling woman was on the cover of the most recent Land’s End catalog that snuck it’s way into your mail box.
This Blog started in 2011 as an attempt to take ownership over my body and my health in a time when I was feeling helpless and out of control. In 2013 recognition for my writing about nurses and our profession drove me into more of a nursing focus.
In 2015 I briefly started a separate blog to share some of my recipes, focusing on my longtime love of the kitchen.
The blog is now a combination of all of it; nursing, recipes, motherhood and life’s other adventures. Mostly it is a website that sits stagnant because publishing the dozens of random google searches that fill my headspace would be a comedy no one needs to read.
The thoughts, feelings and experiences shared here are from my perspective and no one else’s. The recipes shared come from hours of pouring over many, many, many, recipes written by people far more experienced myself. I do not claim to have created any of them completely on my own unless stated as such.
57 thoughts on “About Kateri”
Fun to hear you, see you, be able to get your thoughts. You need to take a walk in the woods with someone you love. I need to take a walk in the woods with someone I love. We need to take walks in the woods with someone we love.
I just saw “A Walk in the Woods” with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte yesterday. They did not know till the end of their “walk” how much they loved each other.
From Suzanne (also a nurse)
Thank you for your thoughts! As a nurse of over 20 years and a person that has worked in the medical field for near 36 years, I can so relate to this…I’m sure you are a great nurse-keep advocating for us!
I really enjoy reading your pondering thoughts and reading about your down to earth life and family. I have shared “Just a Nurse” blog with other nurse friends of mine on FB; I’m sure they will like it and strive to continue to change the “just a nurse” phrase through knowledge, kindness, and the healing of their own human spirit to share with others. May you continue to share your passion for healing others, sharing your ideas about love, pain, and taking leaps of faith because I’m sure whoever reads your blogs are touched, including me.
You are a great advocate for nursing. We need you out there pushing for the National Nurse Act 2013-HR485, in Congress now, to be passed. The bill establishes a full time position(currently a part-time nurse position) in Public Health Department at the Surgeon General level to advocate for preventive health and nursing. Greatest thing is it doesn’t add extra money to the National budget. Check out http://www.nationalnurse.org
I’m an editor at The Huffington Post and really loved your piece on being a nurse. Would you be interested in cross-posting it on HuffPost with a link back to your site? We’d love to feature it.
I had to leave you a message when I stumbled across your blog this morning, simply because you are the first person I have ever heard of with the name Kateri. Its my middle name, though I went many years going by it. I story of Kateri and an glad to see others with her name.
I had never heard the name before either, until last spring when a young lady booked a senior photography session with me, and her name was Kateri. It’s a beautiful name.
Kateri, here’s a random question, where did you get your bridal veil shown in your picture? I love it!
I went into nursing as a second career in 1981 (15 years in transplant in a teaching hospital). Men made up roughly 5% of RNs. On the phone, my 9 yr old son said to a friend, “Yeah, my dad is in school to be a doctor or something like that.” It was more than gender roles. To have so much responsibility for and to the patient, but not the authority within the professional hierarchy, was a change for me. It makes for interesting interpersonal dynamics as it is played out the hospital setting where human need, emotional response, individual competence and ego are laid bare. From the get-go, I realized I had to be clear in my own head who I was working for, and why I chose to be a nurse. My identity, self esteem, and career satisfaction had to be rooted in the patients I served, as you have so eloquently described in your blog.
First of all I love your name,and you sound and smell like “Lily of the valley”.Go ahead. You said ,what we were about to say.
Hello there, you can find a social bookmarking bar underneath of every article. It begins with facebook and ends with myspace. There are many other oprntpuoities like sharing via mail, twitter, linked.in, google bookmarks etc.
I have to say i am very impressed with the way you efficiently website and your posts are so informative. You have really have managed to catch the attention of many it seems, keep it up!
I have been a nurse for over 35 years. Never in that 35 years have I ever said or ever felt I am just a nurse. Like you, I thoughtfully chose nursing. I like the relationship I develop with patients, families and colleagues. I do not think my physician colleagues develop those same relationships. Nursing has given me some of the best and worst experiences of my life. Both types of experiences have molded me into the person I am today–strong, caring and a patient advocate.
Loved your post about being a nurse. Plan to share with the nursing students at my university. Thanks for posting.
Whatever happened to your friend with the arm wound?
Beautiful post… you expressed emotions of so many young nurses. I chose to leave the profession and start over in my mid 40s. Today I’m a journalist and college professor, but I still use the skills I learned as a registered nurse in my life, every day. When one says, “Oh, you’re an ‘ex-nurse?’ I just smile and say, “well, one can be an ‘ex-wife’ but there’s no such thing as an ‘ex-nurse.’
Kateri, I wish I could share your pride and career satisfaction. After 3 years as an RN, I finally realized that I am not compensated financially, socially or profesionally for my service and I chose to switch to a career with a better social status, compensation and opportunities for growth and professional development. I still take shifts in the hospital mostly because I gain satisfaction from caring for the patients. I have to mention though that the unions and nursing lobby are very weak and I never had to endure so much abuse and humilitation as I did as a nurse. The burn-out in this profession is high. I was talking recently with colleagues in the hospital and they were commenting that noone really wants to retire in nursing anymore and that they too would gladly change careers if they could. You have to be honest and objective about nursing. It is not fair to students and those considering nursing as a career to be blinded with lies. Also, regardless of whether or not we consider nurses and doctors equal (notice I do not write doctors with capital “D” as the other nursing advocates here did), the hard truth is that the doctors will always have way better compensation, working conditions, respect and freedom to make choices regarding their practice. They also help patients. Yes, we work in a team, but not all of us are equal players. I wish I could say something different.
I often respect physicians for making the “better” choice, and that indeed is the truth. Think about the time when you will be 68 and you will still have to work 12 ++ hrs. day and night shifts with little brake and chronic back pain. I do not want to slip in this soap opera. Please, add some objectivity. I am tired of reading lies.
Well for somebody who had to change jobs for her “social status”, now THAT sounds like a lie.
I am a second career nursing student right now, and a Student Nurse. A nurse turned me to this blog. I have enjoyed it so far.
You sound a bit bitter. And for some reason, I don’t feel your name really suits your personality.
There are good nurses and bad nurses, I am glad you changed carrier, because you wouldn’t be a good nurse, being a nurse is a vocation and nothing else, they are angels in disguise. And you don’t fit as it!!!
I too, agree totally with Pepi. I always felt like I was under appreciated, under paid and so grossly overworked. I saw nursing as the quickest way to make money to support my family. However, after 4 years of no breaks, no lunches, eating while charting, staying after my shift to make sure I left with all MY work caught up, heavier and more critical patient loads to save the hospital money….I was so burned out. I saw my friends in other professions with much less stress, making so much more money! I was making life or death decisions constantly and not even getting a thank you for it. Yes, I left the field of nursing, with all its drama especially from the other nurses, low pay, extreme level of responsibility, lonely nights working Holidays and weekends while my kids were alone, and so glad I did. To this day I would NEVER recommend anyone to go into nursing, but instead to go the extra mile and become a Dr. At least that way, you are appreciated, and you make the money to go with it!
“Under appreciated, under paid and so grossly overworked.”
Shoot, you can get that in any field. Go work at Target and tell me after a few months that depression isn’t setting in for all the above stated reasons. Or try being the only female in a male dominated IT position. Who gets to be on call all the time…….the woman. The woman’s pay is so much lower than the man’s, she is also grossly overworked, and feels appreciated by no one.
In these examples nobody is saving lives, but the awful feelings are there, and the same, nonetheless.
I have B.S. degree’s, I had another career and have worked in various industries. Nurses, by far, are the crabbiest, nastiest, most complaining group of women I have experienced.
In regard to “Pepi” (and “Suzanne” for that matter), I can understand the need to resign from nursing/move on to a higher medical professional status. However, both of your comments almost seem shameful. Nurses are the backbones of the medical field. It is apparent both of you “settled” for a career in nursing, and were quickly disappointed when your several years of paychecks, benefits, and social status did not equal those of doctors’. To be honest, I am thankful you both have chosen to leave the nursing profession. Clearly acquiring the biggest salary for the least responsibility was your motivation for joining the medical profession- not saving lives (in every aspect of the word). Not to say I do not appreciate doctors; obviously doctors are absolutely necessary to humankind, and they struggle to achieve their statuses/benefits. The masses depend on doctors. However, it takes far more dedication, strength, compassion, and outright passion to practice nursing. It’s nurses like Kateri who provide comfort to patients in the midst of our current horrific health care system, and more importantly, during crises, fatal illness, etc. Kateri and other RNS choose nursing because it’s an absolutely necessary profession, and is one to be respected. They are equipped with the medical knowledge necessary to provide effective care to patients in this country, and often do so with compassion. Nurses are, indeed, doctors, advocates, caregivers, physical and emotional laborers, and so much more. I feel that I can speak to this as a practicing social worker myself. I did not once consider practicing social work for the fantastic hours, benefits, and salary (what are those exactly again?!). That’s because those luxuries do not exist within social work. Only the benefit of providing a necessary service to vulnerable populations-like nurses do-that would otherwise be unavailable to the public is motivation. One would be out of their mind to attempt nursing if he/she believed they were hopping onto a lifetime cruise. The right people become GREAT nurses because they understand this struggle. We can’t rely on doctors to provide what nurses do. Nurses-especially in hospital settings-change lives with the smallest acts of compassion and advocacy efforts. Thank you, Kateri.
Wow, Helen, that was a bit harsh. The selfless characteristics you ascribe to the nurse are partially true. Nurses do have a special place in the lives of patients however brief or lengthy and that place rises or falls according to the integrity of each individual nurse.
However practicality and getting on in life matter too. People need respect and to make a living, among other things. I’ve been a nurse for 41 years and not only have I served my patients well, but the profession has served me well. Always able to find a job and ample satisfaction from patient care are general gratifiers I identify.
Kateri writes of respect from physicians as she plans patient care with her/him. I say that kind of collaboration depends entirely upon the nurse’s area of practice and the willingness of the physician. The mutual respect is not automatic. One only has to read the “Happy Hospitalist” blog to get a belly full of how much disrespect there can be towards registered nurses .
It is complicated, though. I can tell you after all these years in the field there are nurses who have no work ethic, who aren’t worth squat to come up with a decent patient plan of care and who have no compassion towards patients or families. But here’s the deal … we’re hamstrung by a hospitals that can’t pay decent salaries, by nursing professors who cling to ridiculous ideas about a nursing plan of care no one values as cogent and governing bodies that survey nurse work and require methodologies that make the nurse look like a moron to the physician.
When I meet a sweet young thing that is considering nursing or physician-to-be, I tell them to take a look at physical therapy – now there’s a profession that has got their corporate act together – intense education resulting in a doctorate with fairly accurate pay to reflect education – a hands on profession utilizing recognizable care plans and goals and outcomes – respect from the rest of the health care team. The nursing profession could learn a lot from that discipline on how to shape the future.
I am a nurse. I am also an educator, but then, all nurses are educators, are we not? I am a minority in my profession because, you see; I am male. I graduated with a diploma in 1993. This is my second career, not plan B, not plan anything. I chose nursing because of who I am and it has been an amazing fit. I also chose to move my career from an ER Department to an educational institution and after obtaining a Masters in Nursing, that is what I have done. I am welcoming new nurses into our profession and confirming with them what they believe to be true. We are nurses. We are not physicians, nor do we aspire to be physicians. Oh, I have seen several of my former students return to school after nursing and obtain that medical degree. They are amazing physicians! But they will freely say that they are also nurses and always will carry that “think like a nurse” capability. We are nurses and extremely proud to be the professionals we are!
I am a nurse.
Kathleen, you are absolutely right. That was indeed, harsh of me. I feel shameful myself for passing judgement upon these previous commenters. It’s not typical of me to talk in that way; I was up late, feeling angry because of (mostly) things unrelated to this blog, and it was inappropriate for me to direct my emotions toward Pepi and Suzanne. I am sorry, Pepi and Suzanne! I cannot speak of what I do not wholly understand.
I appreciate you commenting, “we’re hamstrung by a hospitals that can’t pay decent salaries, by nursing professors who cling to ridiculous ideas about a nursing plan of care no one values as cogent and governing bodies that survey nurse work and require methodologies that make the nurse look like a moron to the physician.”
This has helped me to recognize how the institution of health care in our country perpetuates the treatment and fixed role expectations of nurses in general. Your account of nursing has provided some insight into the ideology and the reality of the nursing profession for may nurses.
Your account resembles that of a teacher’s.
for *many* nurses
Kathleen, right on! You had me on the edge of my seat.
As a nurse for 5 years now I am appalled at all the bureaucratic nonsense (forms, agendas, persistent staffing concerns) that masks our real purpose as experts at the bedside, critical thinkers and patient advocates. It is time for us to unify (not speaking unions here) and liberate our profession from the convoluted societal/governing expectations of old and advocate for autonomy by validating to the powers that be our integral role in the realm of healthcare.
Thank you for explaining this out. I know that nurses do a hell of a lot more than what the public thinks, or family. I’m a second year nursing student from NC.
I am doctor, a neonatologist, and wanted to affirm Kateri’s contention that “just a” needs to be removed from any reference to a nurse. I worked with NICU nurses for over 20 years and Kateri is absolutely correct. The effort to bring a patient back to health is a team effort and each member of that team serves a vital function, the roles so often overlapping, it is often difficult to know who came up with the care plan. Nurses were not my subordinates in my career. They were my colleagues and my friends. We shared responsibility and as I often told the parents of my patients, the credit for a good outcome was more attributable to the nurses, RTs, OTs, and PTs than to me. “Intensive care,” I told them, “is entirely dependent on the level of nursing surveillance.” I retired and was fortunate to count many nurses among my friends. My only regret is that it took me so long to figure out that we were not members of a prescribed hierarchy, but equals.
Just wanted to say a quick hello! Your blog is quite fantastic. Very good reads. I also wanted to give a hat tip because we have the same first name. 🙂
very good blog I enjoyed reading about all the different things you highlighted on
Congratulations on this blog! I saw this pop up on one of my friends Facebook page…and I said “I know this girl!” You may not remember me, but I was your RA when you lived in St. Mary’s. Sounds like you lived an exciting and meaningful life since leaving the confines of Le Moyne. I wish you well in all your future endeavors!
Of course I do! I hope you are well, and thank you!
Your blog popped up on my Facebook newsfeed, so naturally I had to take a look. First off, your writing and attitude are nothing short of impressive. More importantly, however, I SAY MY NAME THE SAME WAY AS YOU! I’ve met a ton of Ka-teer-ees, and plenty of Kat-ur-ees, but you’re the first Kateri (we’ll skip the phonetics since we say it right anyways) I’ve ever happened across!
What is the biggest problem facing the caregiving industry?
It is many problems unfortunately, overtime, poor wages, unskilled employees, etc, and that’s just the companies problems. Then there is the clients side; poor resources, lack of proper doctors, unaffordable health insurance, etc.
I began my home health career with a company called Total Care. I ran the company administratively for 8 years doing everything from hiring, staffing, meeting clients, producing plan of care, billing, payroll, etc. It gave me a base of what to do right and wrong. I made plenty of mistakes, but learned valuable lessons from each one.
When I started my own company, which I ran for 12 years. My mantra was “Happy employees are productive employees”. I personally trained them to care for the client as if they were caring for their own parents, with TLC.
I had 16 wonderful full time employees that started with me and finished with me. I rewarded them generously, I listened to them, and did everything I could personally, physically and mentally. You get more out of life with honey than you do with vinegar.
When I moved to Florida, I had to get a homemaker companion license and was not able to toilet or bathe the client, so in 2012 I decided there were to many rules and regulations and gave up the business. I did not want to give up my passion and struggled of what to do next. So I decided if I could not care for clients properly, that I still had free speech on my side and wrote a book to tell everyone how to care for their loved one properly.
This is one of the reasons I am in the process of redoing my book that will be coming out in 2 weeks on CreateSpace, I used it as a training manual to train my employees properly, then as a resource guide for the families.
I have given up my home health agency due to now being able to find employees, the horrible rules and regulations we are put under, and to many agencies.
I would like to find a new niche in the caregiving industry to help with all these problems and many more. I have incorporated The Ultimate Caregiving Expert to work as a consultant/coach or whatever the need may be to help return to tender loving care.
Ty Ty Ty. Well-written and said. Thanks for your thoughtfull post.
That was a most eloquent letter to Joy Behar. I am not a nurse, but a mom of 4 kids, sister to a girl who suffered a traumatic brain injury, and daughter of two parents who died young (Dad from cancer & Mom from pneumonia). I have spent a considerable amount of time therefore in doctor’s offices, hospitals & rehabs over the years & know first hand who is really taking care of our loved ones….the wonderful Nurses! You are a credit to your profession & to women and I thank you for ‘educating’ the ignorant women of ‘the view’.
P.s. I too like to talk while drinking coffee and/or wine 🙂
What nurse doesn’t like coffee or decompress over a pitcher of margaritas at the end of the night?
Thanks for mentioning Respiratory Therapists. Many of us feel all but invisible to the public. When I tell people I’m a R.T., I usually get a blank stare followed by ” What’s a Respiratory Therapist?”
Thank you, Nurses. You are my friends, family, and teammates!
First I want to thank you for all you do to help others. Joy is ignorant and personally I do not find anything about her her funny. As someone who was injured overseas and stayed 24 hours before the blood was cleansed from my face in the hospital. I was so happy to be flown to the US with a LA Forte three fracture (top jaw break), skull fracture having suffered a traumatic brain injury along with other injuries. It was the nurses who comforted me in the late hours of the night during the weeks in the hospital in NY. It was the nurses who kept my spirts up, who held my had and gave me pain meds when no one was around. Thank you for setting the record with Ms. Behar. I take my hat off to you and your profession, you are truly doing god’s work.
Love reading your blog & all the comments & ideas. Your letter to Joy Behar is excellent. You said it all. Those ladies in “The View” need to spend a day in the life of a nurse. Well done.
Great letter to Joy….Thank You and all nurses for being who you are….SPECIAL!
LOVE this blog. Well said. Thank you. I’m a retired nurse and a writer, focusing on the humor aspect of nursing and womanhood (“Not Even Dark Chocolate Can Fix This Mess.) But I have a store of experience in nursing that reflects the strengthening of nursing and recognition of the value of nurses.
Kateri, I love your name..in fact, you and my daughter share the name. I had to laugh when you explained how you pronounced your name. I also enjoyed reading your letter to Joy Behar, you are very well-written and enjoyable to read. Thank you for politely telling Joy that she is annoying, that would be with the silly NG sound at the end.
Love your blog! I thought you were a model! I, too, am a nurse out here in Ca. No, not an RN but an LVN (LPN in most other states). But we all do the same thing-care for people with our mind and heart-physically and emotionally.
Love you open letter to Joy Behar. I am embarrased for her. Glad you can speak out for us nurses. Proud of you!
Why doesn’t Kateri ever respond to the comments made directly to her?
I typically do not respond to comments on here for a few reasons.
I do however make an effort to reply to emails, it is best to contact me there.
Eloquent, artful and intelligent!
Love your letter. Believe it or not I had wanted to name my daughter Kateri – after blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. But each of my pregnancies resulted in a BOY! I’ve never known anyone by that special name. You will be in my prayers. Continue your good work.
Thank you ,for your letter, I am a nurse for 30 years .at 72 and still working .Thank god joy is not teaching any more . I would not want my grandsons in a class with a fool such as joy. Nurses care for patients not mentally abuse people like joy does with her nasty jokes, Her jokes show she has no compassion .Nurses and teachers are the greatest profession . We care and educate and at the end of a challenging day we feel good about helping others. Phyllis T
I agree with you Phyllis, Joy should be fired from that show!! Besides being annoying she is so rude and very ignorant about every thing .I wish she can read what people are saying about her and the View
Perfect Kateri. Ma’am, reading the experiences of a professional like you will be really a growing & learning experience for me.
Great blog! Just not moving to NYC to have the experience. 🙂
I read your piece on The Huffington Post and it really spoke to me, as I am also an RN. My name is also Kateri but I pronounce it differently than you do (Ku-Terry).
Kateri from GA, L&D RN