R.V. Doon

Cozy Mystery: What are ‘Gut instincts’?

Occasionally, I get clobbered by non-medical critics because my nurse sleuth in my Text-A-Nurse Cozy Mystery Series, uses her ‘nursing gut instincts” to solve crimes. Some claimed I’m inserting a paranormal element into my contemporary mysteries. What? You mean you’ve never experienced this phenomena? To be fair, Reece does have a little ‘shine’ on her, but there is no magical thinking involved in her crime solving.

Gut instincts are often called human, animal, or base instincts. In my case, it’s inserted to give Reece Carson, the nurse sleuth, a cutting edge to crime solving and to show she has a different viewpoint than the more methodical police/detectives she encounters. In real life, I knew a nurse who claimed to smell a change in condition before it happened. As for me, sometimes I noticed a change in skin color prior to it actually happening. Whenever this happened to us, we gave that patient a long second look. A nurse and other health care team members can make a huge difference in someone’s life by deterring an adverse event, which often weakens patients.

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Now Reece Carson ignites her ‘nursing instincts’ described as well-honed from working in critical care units, by writing a backward style nursing care plan for her dead victims. This is a private joke for any nurse reading the series, because nursing care plans are the bane of a nurse’s existence. Mostly because remembering to update them is problematic, since some patients exhibit a roller coaster of symptoms right up to transfer or discharge. So, I made the dreaded paperwork an important crime solving tool because doing so turns on her ‘instincts’.

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Nurses and doctors are frequently shown in the TV hit Code Black as working from their instincts. The ER is ground zero for developing instincts that are based on previous experience. In a nutshell, their super-trained instincts are processing the data they are frequently recording,  and whammo an alert smacks them upside the head. They go looking for the problem or remember a unique way to solve it, and make adjustments as appropriate to stop their patient from circling the drain. In real life ‘code situations’, life or death for realz to you non-medical types, it’s a kind of knowing what to do without even thinking about it.

But don’t believe me. Believe Yo Daddy, the wonderful Marcia Gay Harden, in the second episode of Code Black called We Plug Holes.  Daddy tells Dr. Angus Leighton that he let another resident talk him out of following his instincts when he suspected his patient had an aortic aneurysm. She said, “Ignore your instincts at your own peril.”

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Following your instincts is so important in life and death moments that she speaks to the staff about it again. I videotaped a short excerpt off my TV. Hopefully it works, but may be shaky.

Check out the Text-A-Nurse and turn on your gut instincts!


The Text-A-Nurse Cozy Mystery Series

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