Updates: good and bad

So, 2016 has been a rough year filled with loss, death, illness with the random pinches of happy times and celebrations.

2016, I have learned of almost ten deaths. All from different causes. Car, cancer, cardiac – what my ex-surgeon dad says describing the top three causes of death in the US. And, it is very true. All of those people died from one of those causes.

You’d think that knowing this information one would be more careful. You know, look both sides before you cross the street, never drive intoxicated, don’t smoke or drink or live near a power plant (all carcinogenic), and the biggest ones eat healthier and move more. My dad recently got hospitalized for chest pains. To his luck, the weekend after Thanksgiving. The notorious weekend where everyone gets sick somehow. My brother’s gf PGY3 in medical school described her family medicine weekend rotation as an group of people admitted for all of these rashes, colds, all from thanksgiving day and on. So, there we were in the ED, describing the weekend statistic perfectly. They did an EKG, did a CXR, drew cardiac enzymes, and we sat there for 14 hours, waiting for a room on the floor. His EKG showed some ST elevations bit T wave inversions. Thankfully, it was unchanged from his prior EKG and all cardiac enzyme labs resulted normally. Finally, Sunday comes and nothing happens. Nothing ever happens on a Sunday unless you’re dying. Then Monday, he got a stress echo done. The results would indicate if one vessel was occluded they would need to send him to the cath lab to have a stent placed. If more, then a CABG. Open heart surgery. They also sent him to get a chest xray with conrast to rule out a PE.

Finally, today he got discharged. Good, because he is traveling with my mom in two days to the Philippines for the next two months. They totally need the break.

So, you’re probably wondering what the good news is. Well, two weeks ago Columbia University accepted me to their CRNA program. My dream school. I was sad that I decided to forgo my California apps, but honestly, I can’t imagine myself besides NYC. Here’s to a great 2017 and 6 more months of freedom! I can’t believe how quickly time flies.


work perks

You know what makes my day?

A simple phone call or interaction with patients or the family…

Today, a husband called me wary about his wife (my patient) when hanging up the phone pauses and says “you are taking care of a very special lady right there, take very good care of her.” Just like that, I assume the responsibility of being their gatekeeper.

When I was helping her recline her chair, in hopes of preventing post operative atelectasis and muscle atrophy, she whispers be careful honey, you should wear a back brace for all that you have been doing for me.

Then, later I keep checking in on her to see how she was doing and she says “I am okay, I know I am in good hands”

These are the moments I live for. Forget the surgery – the mitral valve repair, her pressor requirements which we had a hard time weaning – hypokinetic biventricular function needed epinephrine and norepinephrine which help your heart’s contractility, the complications, I am in this because nursing is what makes me human. I did not start off loving nursing, I grow to love it more and more each day.

What do you understand the role of CRNA to be and how prepared are you to pursue this role?

As a Certified Registered Nurse anesthetist we perform a dual responsibility to our patients and their families. A nurse and an advanced practitioner. 

Our patients are at a vulnerable state where they are undergoing a tough time. In an instance of a pediatric patient, the CRNA has the opportunity to meet families before their children goes to sleep with general anesthesia. Often times patients are kept NPO and the time of the procedure gets pushed back to compensate for the teeming amount of patients in our hospitals. As the CRNA we are not only performing anesthesia we are both the nurse and the anesthetist. It is our duty to alleviate anxiety physically and emotionally.
We have the nursing touch of comforting patients through a tough time in their lives, for this one procedure or two. It is our duty as a CRNA to educate patients on how they will feel and to hold their hand and provide them the voice of comfort and smiling face ensuring that they have made it through this.

It is our duty to assess and find out their history. What pain regimen or sedation have worked in the past to provide optimal comfort. It is important that we as the CRNA are the listeners and often learn from our patients and family as they do in fact know themselves the best.

In the field we are our patients advocates and always keep patient safety as our top priority. As a CRNA we do not forget nursing basics, we build up on them. We are CRNAs also promote lifelong learning and enforce evidence based practice in our routines.

In addition, CRNAs give back to the community and provide our services to third world and disaster relief areas.

Describe your critical care nursing experience and career goals

My brother drops me off at the Fifth avenue entrance of the Mount Sinai Hospital, conveniently located on the border of Spanish Harlem and the Upper East Side. I hear a good morning from the security guard and I make sure to look up from my coffee cup to greet him back. After all, who knows if I’ll see him again. Pray some duas, (prayer in Arabic) and exhale on completion as I approach my unit. I started in the Cardiothoracic ICU a year ago. Prior to that, I was a med surg nurse with six ambulatory patients but now as I enter the automatic doors I am greeted with one and sometimes two bed bound patients, often attached to the trumpet of the ventilator and din of the cardiac monitors. As their ICU nurse I begin to make their problems my own.

When 7am hits, bedside handoff is given, I check my drips, ventilator and my patients intact sacrum, get an initial ABG, and make my voice heard during AM rounds. I am amazed at that the next time I look at the clock that often three hours have passed. The pace is very fast, clinical judgment and critical thinking are at its peak. I am in my element. The constant monitoring of the patient’s physiological changes, hemodynamic status,  titrating vasoactive drips, and preventing barotrauma from high ventilator settings keep me driven to stay ahead of the patient. To envision the worst possible scenario and being able to tackle it long before it surfaces. Working in the CTICU i have developed meticulous attention to detail and being able to keep my composure through tough times, whether it be an open chest or dealing with a family of a patient with a total artificial heart who is now deciding to withdraw care.

The ICU has prepared me to look much further than hemodynamics and to understand patient suffering internally understanding their histories, lab values, CVP, PAP, and putting it all together. Similarly, externally we look at their psychosocial status, did anyone come to visit? How can I effectively teach the families to care for their loved one LVAD when they get home?

After shadowing a CRNA, I knew that this is where my worlds would converge. Not only would I keep my nursing skills but I would be able to do much more. Being able to be an advanced practitioner to under my patient’s physiological status to adequately help alleviate suffering internally and also being able to explain it to their families thereafter externally that their family did well and was up and talking again. Furthermore, after CRNA school, I hope to take my degree further than the walls of American institutions. I hope to  take my skills as an anesthetist to aid in relief efforts around the world. To educate others on proper techniques of anesthesia and nursing practice so they can be empowered to do it on their own.

As the day ends, I say goodnight to the security guard and run past the revolving doors accepting that the day does not end there.  I get to into the subway and sit there and — people watch, often seeing my patients faces on them. These people can all be my patients one day. I wish i can tell them to stop smoking or eating that bag of chips. I don’t want you to have a heart attack dear, I think in my head. 

oxygenation and seizures

OK I promise to write here more often… I meant to start this blog as a way to keep myself sharp and continuously learning. Also, for those who are looking to get into the ICU or in the the health field. I will write random things I learn everyday. Enjoy!


is a face mask the same thing as an aerosol mask?

Is a venturi mask a face mask?

What about a non rebreather?


Remember all those days in nursing school learning all about the different ways to properly oxygenate someone. Rolling out of bed to make it to lab? My teachers were all intensive care nurses … I should have probably paid attention.


So a nonrebreather mask, is 100% oxygen.

A venturi mask is partial nonrebreather mask, the patient gets what percentage of oxygen you give them

An aerosol mask is indeed a face mask. You connect it to a nebulizer set up for humidification.

Oh, and a seizure?

There are absent seizures… where the patient dazes off and becomes unresponsive.

“An absence seizure is the term given to a type of seizure involving staring spells. This type of seizure is a brief (usually less than 15 seconds) disturbance of brain function due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain.”


Tonic- clonic seizures is what you imagine a seizure to look like. An older term for it is “grand mal”

Here the whole brain is affected from the beginning. In (a) there is a cry and loss of consciousness, arms flex up then extend in (b) and remain rigid (the tonic phase) for a few seconds. A series of jerking movements take place (the clonic phase) as muscles contract and relax together. In (c) the jerking is slowing down and will eventually stop.


chicken soup for the soul

Motivating others through your energy is something that speaks volumes.


Isn’t that the case for religion? People who want others to convert and believe in their way of life? By setting a good example and carrying themselves in a way that would only motivate others to do the same.


I’ve found myself lost lately. Only at work do I feel a purpose. Aside from the hourly documentation, trending data and collecting findings for the pilot to make a plan of action (the intensivists), and turning and repositioning of each patient… theres something human about caring for someone who is sick…

Physical, emotional, spiritual.

Never thought of it that way huh?

Through social media, I got reconnected with a friend who is my age. She’s been working as a nurse manager for two years. But wait, how could that be? She’s my age. She believed. She believed and worked hard. Unfortunately, believing (in the Lord, Allah, Jesus, Jehovah) isn’t enough, you also have to believe that you can do it. That albeit some higher power is allowing you the strength to go on but so is yourself. Your soul. I admired my classmates ability to overcome the obstacles that came her way and still managed to present it positively. She donated one of her kidneys to her dad. That takes courage.


Another coworker, who also blogs, exudes so much positive energy in person and on her blog about the daily challenges of nursing that I can’t help but say yes! she hit it on the head. She gave me report once and all she focused on was how speech and swallow cleared our patient and that he was able to eat again. Day in, day out, his wife would come visit, with so much hope in her eyes. I knew that she had been praying for him. His sister was praying too.. I heard her one day. You better believe he made it out.


It’s amazing what an energetic person can do to you. I am blessed to be surrounded by greatness. It’s almost as if when I see something that is not this great, I want to lend a helping hand and lead them the right away.


But sometimes, people don’t complain to hear advice… they kinda just complain to complain. Because complaining feels good. And that takes understanding. Reflective silence is an energy in itself.

Just breathe. Just believe. With yet another day.

Affairs of the heart

I have recently started a position in the CTICU at Mount Sinai Hospital after two years on a medical surgical floor. The experience on my previous floor barely scratched the surface of what I need to know for cardiac surgery. The flow of cardiac and the ICU is a land and new language of it’s own.

I am so grateful to have this opportunity in the city that I love with people I care most about.

It’s been nine weeks or so… and I think this article describes what we do the best.


nursing is a habit

It’s been two years or so that I’ve started working as a nurse. My dream was to work at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center. Yes, in Los Angeles, California. I have resided in New York since I was 8 years old. I immigrated here with my family from Bangladesh in the year 2000. Before then, I lived in the Philippines where I was born.

So, why LA? Well, why not? Warm weather, beaches, an amazing teaching facility that is evidence-based driven and a strict control on nurse to patient ratios. It almost sounds like an undeniable life.

I met the recruiter of UCLA at an NSNA conventional in North Carolina the last semester of nursing school. I was starstruck, and my best friend from nursing school Anne Ju pushed me towards their table like a mother pushing her child to the first day of school. I became really close to the recruiting manager who proceeded to give me their newly published book “Prescription for Excellence.” Subsequently, a few days after my NCLEX UCLA called me and asked if I could fly out there for an interview. Ofcourse! A few days later they offered me a position into their new graduate residency in their Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit.

I turned them down. I cried hysterically when I got the acceptance phone call. I remember waiting in front of the computer at my uncle’s house in Hawthorne. I called my mother back in NY in tears and told her I got the job. She was ecstatic and offered to help ship all my stuff over. I cried at the thought that I would be 5 hours from home. Homeless, carless, driver license -less, and alone. How would I ever survive LA??? I decided I would spend a few years in New York first.. grow a tougher skin, get my drivers license, drive through NYC traffic, and spend time with my parents who were getting older and all of my best friends.

The importance of networking while you’re in nursing school cannot be emphasized enough. After I got landed back home in New York I called one of the old unit I did my medical surgical rotations on at Mount Sinai Hospital. I loved working on that unit because everyone just seemed to love their jobs. I called Nicole, one of the nurses I shadowed at clinicals. She just so happened to be the current interim manager. She offered me an interview and a job on her unit that week.


Hi my name is Jasmin Zaman and I have been a Registered Nurse for about two years and some change now. I graduated from Hunter College and before that I went to Brooklyn Technical High School. I initially had dreams of being a physician but deviated from the path shortly after taking a few pre-requisite classes in colleges. Well, you wanna know the real story?

I got locked out of registration. For anyone who has been to college, registration is no joke. I had priority registration as part of the Macaulay Honors Program but to my luck, I got locked out anyways. I forgot to sign up and take my math placement test. And ofcourse this is college and nobody reminds you to do things. By the time I would have taken the exam and got it cleared from my records, I would be left with really shitty professors  who give out the letter C’s and D’s as a habit or be missing a few pre-requisites I would need to apply to medical school. So I thought — why not a backup? Hunter had a prestigious nursing school that accepted 100 kids a year. Based on your GPA and an entrance exam (NLN)… So, I thought I would pursue this backup if and only if I get into Hunter’s program. Nothing else. If that didn’t work out I would always have medicine as a back up. Surely enough, a few hours spent on winter break focusing on the NLN exam allowed me an entrance into the Hunter Nursing program. And, there it was. I have never looked back ever since.

Ever heard the saying I didn’t choose nursing, it chose me. I can’t put into words how much the path to this profession has helped me grow and understand the people around me. It gave me a sense of purpose and meaning. I was meant to do this. And this is the only beginning. Welcome and follow me through my journey.