Goodwill, Badwill, Questionable-will — RN Edition

by Katy on July 27, 2013 · 34 comments

You may know me as Katy Wolk-Stanley, insane blogger writer and frugality expert, but in my real life I am a licensed Registered Nurse. Working 24 hours per week as high risk hospital labor and delivery nurse, I am always on the lookout for medical emergencies.

Even at Goodwill.

Just the other day I was browsing through my local Goodwill, when I started to realize that my skills as an RN were being called into play. Just look at this vintage cup:

Stroke mug

  • Tongue sticking out to the side? Check.
  • Eyebrow droop? Check.
  • Uneven smile? Check.
  • I would have checked if it was able to hold both arms in front in an even manner, but you know . . . no arms.

I think this cup is having a stroke! Quick, call 911!


Stroke face

With that emergency addressed, I wandered over to the knick-knack aisle and was presented with a new patient:

Nipple-less woman

Although I am not a Certified Lactation Consultant, I still do breastfeeding education as part of my job.  And correct me if I’m wrong, but this woman seems to be missing her nipples. And the #1 (and #2) most important components of successful breastfeeding are nipples. This completely brought me to the limits of my breastfeeding education skill set, and I ended up having to order a lactation consultation.

It’s important to know as an RN when it’s time to ask for help.

Knowing I had left the nipple-less wonder in good hands, (literally) I stepped away and came across this woman:

Urban Beat Woman

A woman who cares about her health, and is making good fitness choices.

A woman who  . . . drool . . . has the most amazing . . . veins . . . drool . . . for an IV start.

Such . . . amazing . . . veins . . .

Look at how prominent and straight they are!


I want to fill this woman with IV’s. I want to grab some nursing students and let them practice on her. I want to start IV’s from across the room with one hand tied behind my back.

Those are some awesome veins.

Drool . . .

And that, my friends, is how an RN views the world.

Seriously though, we fantasize about veins like that. Even at Goodwill.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanna July 27, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Sometimes when I’m at my mama’s house, she’ll start rubbing the back of my hands or the tops of my feet. I think she’s being sweet and then she says, “I could get an IV in so easily. You have great veins. Your nurses must love you.” Such a sweet and lovely mother/daughter moment.


Katy July 27, 2013 at 2:02 pm

We are obsessed. Being good at IV’s is a HUGE point of pride.



Missy Homemaker July 27, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Oh boy that’s too funny! I used to do something similar when I worked as a health inspector for a local health department. My family hated going to restaurants with me. I never ate locally because I was always afraid they’d do something to my food that I wouldn’t know about lol


Karen July 27, 2013 at 2:45 pm

My veins are really bad. Bad luck for me, I have to have an injection every 5-6 months like clockwork. Sometimes the technician resorts to using a vein in the back of my hand, and it hurts and swells like everything.


Katie July 27, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Hahaaaa! You made me LOL. Twice.


marlo c July 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm

thank you for the unexpected and truly appreciated laugh today.


Tawn July 27, 2013 at 5:03 pm

I, too, appreciate a good vein. And (evil grin) a 20 gauge needle. But I won’t miss


Katy July 27, 2013 at 5:39 pm

We always start at least an 18 gauge, or 16 if you’re high risk.



Tawn July 27, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Difference between ED and OB, I guess


Clara July 29, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Try dialysis, where we use 15 gauges. But of course, cannulating a fistula is like taking target practice at the broad side of a barn 🙂

I like to freak out my 18 year old son by tapping his forearms and telling him what nice veins he has (he hates needles!)


Peggy July 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Oh, yea – I check out veins at church, in the grocery store, on dates (“Nice to meet you, Mr. Smith. Oohhh, you have such a large….vein on the back of your hand.” Any wonder I’m still single?)
Love those prominent veins!


greenstrivings July 27, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Ooh, you’d love my veins! One hot summer day my young daughter was petting my arms and said, “Mom, your arms?” “Yes?” I said, expecting a compliment. “The way these things [i.e., my veins] stick out is kind of creepy looking.”

It’s good to know I, or my veins, would at least get some love from you.


kathleen July 27, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Then I guess I am your nightmare. I had to have a permanent port put in for regular phlebotomy (hemochromatosis). For regular labs, I ASK them to use the back of my hands, way less stress for everybody that way…successfully drew 20+ vials out of my hands in one sitting once!


Katy July 27, 2013 at 11:17 pm

For you, I would call an IV therapist.



Stephanie November 24, 2015 at 6:13 pm

I made the IV nurse almost cry. I am famous as a bad stick with them and the phebotomists.


Molly July 28, 2013 at 5:05 am

Lol. My mom (retired RN) does this too, checking out everybody’s veins when shaking hands.
I’m waiting for my husband (in training for anesthesia) to do this.


Barb July 28, 2013 at 7:51 am

I have to laugh because I am the kind of girl who tells the blood techs that they get two chances, just two, and other people have come over to watch and learn. Trust me it ain’t because my veins are good!


Sheila Smith July 29, 2013 at 11:10 am

I’m with you. I specify site and size of needle. Most appreciate it as they don’t really want the draws/insertion to be any more difficult than they have to be.


Jenn July 28, 2013 at 7:54 am

I have good veins usually, but for some reason the last time I was in labor it took three plus pokes to get the IV in. I was so out of it with pain that the pokes themselves didn’t bother me, but the delay with the epidural did!

I also found it amusing that they asked if the student nurse could do my catheter since I wouldn’t be able to feel it anyways.


Katy July 28, 2013 at 10:23 am

You were probably dehydrated by the time you got to the hospital.



emmer July 28, 2013 at 11:41 am

I remember taking a class when I first started nursing to learn iv skills. we started ivs on each other. of 8 sticks, only one was good on my hands, leaving me 7 bruises or infiltrations. ouch! I have very prominent veins on my hands…but they roll and/or collapse readily.
you made me smile with this. 🙂


Heidi July 28, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Katy: This post made me laugh! I am a maternal-child health RN and I think those kinds of things, too! Nursing is a profession you NEVER leave behind and those that enter it always have their “nurse brain” turned on.


Katy July 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Even when changing sheets at home. 🙂



Stephanie July 28, 2013 at 4:26 pm

LOL– as an IBCLC I agree about the nipples! She must have had them reduced… 🙂


Diane C July 29, 2013 at 4:58 am

Oh, I laughed until it hurt…My husband has what I call – very unmedically – “hidden veins”. His hands, arms and legs are so insanely smooth it makes me jealous! Good for his looks, bad for blood sticks of any kind. He ran into a streak of bad luck where every time he needed a blood draw, he seemed to get an intern who couldn’t find a vein. Now when he goes to the lab, he asks for the most experienced person with the best “touch”. Sometimes it works, other times not so much. I’ll show him this post when he gets home from work and we’ll both be ROFL. Thanks, Katy!


Kailey July 29, 2013 at 8:28 am

I found out I had bad veins when a frustrated nurse told me so. This was after she angrily told me to keep breathing and look away (to say I don’t like needles would be an understatement). I now warn all nurses that I have bad veins and to please look twice and poke once.


katzien July 29, 2013 at 10:29 am

Me thinks you’re scrounging for subject matter. It’s quality, not quantity, we frugal people prefer.


Katy July 29, 2013 at 10:54 am

Hey, you get what you pay for.



PoppyEcho July 29, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I thought this post was hilarious and vote for random funny posts whenever Katy feels like it.

Also it made me feel better about my prominent veins.


michele July 30, 2013 at 10:56 am

You made me laugh out loud! As a former ER nurse (17 years) I still check everyone’s color, gait, and veins out, from waiting in line to parties! My husband just rolls his eyes! Once a nurse, always a nurse!!


jennifer August 1, 2013 at 10:16 am

Psych RN here, but I totally get it!! 🙂 Thanks for my LOL before I go to deal with “the crazy”.


Jennifer @ Little Blog in the Big Woods August 5, 2013 at 3:42 am

Thanks for the laugh!!


Su Mama November 24, 2015 at 6:58 pm

Reminds me of when I was in the hospital years ago, and a student nurse tried three or four times to get the IV started. I finally said, “OK, that’s enough. You’re done now.” She looked at the supervising nurse and whined, “She can’t say that, can she?” Her mentor answered, “Yes, she certainly can!” She took over, and badda-bing, badda-bang, DONE! Still makes me laugh.


Rose November 24, 2015 at 8:03 pm

I have occasionally had an IV in the past, and it always takes the nurse 2 or 3 tries to get it in, and most of the time he or she runs from the room and brings in the reinforcements. I always feel sorry for them because they got assigned me. I can identify with the stroke coffee cup–it has been that kind of day–but at least I still have my nipples! Thanks for the chuckles!


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