Wholehearted and clinically smart
June 25, 2004 -- The cover story of this month's Kauai (Hawaii) Island News is Anne E. O'Malley's profile of Hob Osterlund, RN, MS, CHTP, a Hawaii pain management consultant whose comic alter ego, Ivy Push, RN, does "sit-down comedy in pidgin." The article says that Ivy Push's "chief focus is entertaining you, but she also makes nurses visible by bringing attention to the awesome tasks they do."
Osterlund, a nurse who moved to Hawaii from California as an adult, founded the state's first nursing-run acute pain management program, at The Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu. According to the piece, she has long been interested in using humor in health care, despite getting in trouble for doing so in nursing school in the 1970's. While practicing at a different Hawaiian hospital in the 1980's, Osterlund initiated the "Chuckle Channel," which seems to have involved closed circuit broadcasts of comics' videos for patients, and she also began writing articles about the value of humor in pain management. Today, Ivy Push performs for nursing conferences as well as general audiences, where she, as Osterlund notes, "lets slip a piece of what's left of her mind."
Osterlund wants to increase understanding of nursing. She says that the nation's two million nurses remain invisible because "they don't tell their stories." She argues that nurses are so busy taking care of their patients and their families that they simply have no time to tell their own stories, citing the relative lack of books in her local bookstore by nurses. But Osterlund wants people to understand that there are many "heroes" in nursing, "people who give constantly in a wholehearted and clinically smart way to strangers. That kind of generosity is enormous and deserves recognition."
The Center commends Osterlund for her efforts to increase public understanding of nursing in an entertaining way-- a good example of the kind of nurse-driven media that can make a difference for the profession--and thanks Anne E. O'Malley and the Kauai Island News for profiling her.
According to the piece, Ivy Push's new routine involves a nursing strike, and is entitled: "When Ivy Push Comes to Shove." Further information is available at: www.ivypush.com.