Got "nurse face"? How'd you get it? - page 2

"Nurse face" = the calm, collected expression that a nurse wears I am a BSN, graduated Sept, no job yet (but looking hard), 2 years experience in LTC, and right now doing temporary... Read More

  1. by   ♪♫ in my ♥
    Quote from TheCommuter
    I already have a restricted affect and have difficulty showing or feeling emotions at any given point in time, so the 'nurse face' came easily to me. Some of my former and present coworkers have commented that I look "so calm."

    Don't bark at me when I admit this, people. . . . .but I also have some difficulty with empathy. So when a patient is grimacing with extreme pain and rates it a 10/10, I'll quickly intervene without experiencing the range of emotions or achieving the depth of feeling that other caregivers seem to feel.

    So, my 'nurse face' is partly due to being emotionally detached.
    One needn't be empathetic in order to provide excellent nursing care.

    OP: Practice in front of a mirror or a video camera so that you can see for yourself.
  2. by   Ntheboat2
    I have NO IDEA how, but I've been told by random people that I smile a lot. It's really weird because I'm sooo not one of those peppy people who just naturally bounce around saying hello to every person they pass or anything like that. I'm far from it. I'm surprised every single time someone says it. I guess it's a good thing usually though.

    On the flip side, I've been told that my face says exactly what I'm thinking. I guess it's true because when I'm stressed out, people are QUICK to say, "What's wrong?" It happened just yesterday and even though I tried to claim everything was fine, they KNEW I was lying. Being animated can be a blessing and a curse....depending on how often you get upset, I guess!

    I'm always worried that a patient is going to say something and I'm going to bust out laughing, or I'll do the same thing when someone is giving report or some other really inappropriate time!
  3. by   Ntheboat2
    Quote from Anoetos
    I'd like to see a thread on nurses who flip out unnecessarily. I dont mean nurses who get terse and sharp in high stress situations. i mean nurses who havent learned to keep their emotions in check.
    I don't really "flip out" unnecessarily, but I do get my "I'm really annoyed" face in situations where other people seem to not even notice there's a problem. It's usually nothing related to patient care though, but co-workers instead. For example, when I was asked, "What's wrong" yesterday...I was frustrated because I was trying to chart on my patients while the aide sat in the office on her cell phone eating dinner and patients were repeatedly coming to the desk. Now, if we hadn't only been 30 minutes into our shift and I wasn't starving myself then it would've been a different story. Same thing happens when I have admissions that are only going to get finished before shift change if there's some kind of miracle and the aide announces she's going to take her (12th) smoke break! I haven't been at this job very long so I keep quiet because I don't want to be the new kid who comes in and ticks everyone off, so I stay quiet, and apparently let my facial expressions do the talking which is really no better. I just don't understand people!!! I'm like...helloooooo....are we on the same planet?!
  4. by   imintrouble
    I thought you were referring to the haggard, dark circles under my eyes look.
    The calm look is simply the look of resignation.
  5. by   Esme12
    Well....I am one of those people that wears my emotions on my sleeve, and face. I am NOT a poker player. If I think you are an's pretty clear on my face.

    I found this to be the most challenging part of I had to work really hard at obtaining. My family will tell you I am the consumate actress (which really used to irritate me) I "played" a role.....distant and aloof. I practiced that blank aloof stare over and over again.

    I got good at it as I learned to school my expression although those who "know me" say they can still "see it" in my eyes. I founf it easier with protective eye wear or my flight helmet so I took to wearing clear glasses for protection and cover...

    They say the eyes are the window to one's my case that is the truth....and I will NEVER be a good poker player.
  6. by   Cinquefoil
    Now, I can remember some of these comments, and randomly burst out laughing.

    Botox! True....

    Look of resignation! TOO true.

    And, maybe, squeezing my left hand into a fist? Apparently, one study shows it works for athletes: Prevent choking under pressure According to this article, it keeps them from "overthinking", allowing them to fall back on "automated skills". And also helps them look like their left hand, but ONLY their left hand, is angry.
    Last edit by Cinquefoil on Dec 29, '12
  7. by   berrien
    I have a normally calm demeanor, (so I'm told), and am not one to strongly react to too many situations, anyway. Prior to a 2nd career as an RN, I spent many years in Human Resources, and interacted with some pretty colorful people in a variety of circumstances. Since HR is to remain neutral, (or at least I tried to), I think I developed a poker-face then. Little did I know that during a 2nd career in Nursing, that my exposure to that "colorfulness" would be bumped up a few notches by interacting with patients/family members who have co-morbid psychiatric issues! Trying to treat patients with conditions such as delusions of grandiosity, has definitely bumped up my Poker-Face to "Nurse Face" status.
  8. by   marcos9999
    Relaxing your face is a good thing but better yet is to feel relaxed internally. Ounce you achieve that your face will naturally relax. How do we relax? Not an easy thing sometimes we all have the things that makes us afraid. I think it comes with time as you repeat over and over those same things until we become just OK to be there with that strange situation we encounter so many times in nursing. Give your self a break first, nursing is not an easy thing and I think part of how we relax is to understand this, that is OK to feel scared and tense sometimes.

    Good luck
  9. by   tokmom
    I agree with others. It comes with time. I can look pretty stone faced on the outside and be ****** as heck on the inside, lol.

    What annoys me are those that need to keep their mouth shut while in a pt's room. It drives me NUTS!

    1)OMG, this stupid computer keeps telling me it's the wrong dose/med.
    2)Wow! Look at all this blood!
    3)I have NO idea how to do this project, task, dressing change, IV
    4)Bear with me. This is only my second IV/NG I have ever inserted.

    UGH...really? I always tell my students to never let the pt see you sweat. If you don't know how to do anything, then bring somebody that does, or stop what you doing, and find help.
    Last edit by tokmom on Dec 29, '12
  10. by   PalmHarborMom
    While I am still in nursing school... My kids have presented me with a vast array of medical emergencies throughout the years. Just last month, my son had a DEEP laceration under his toes that sorely needed stitches. He was at a friends house so as soon as he called about the situation, I went into action. Crutches from the closet, towels and check for insurance card. When we were in the truck on the way to the hospital he tells me "Geez mom, you don't even act like it is a big deal that I almost cut off 3 toes!" He is 14yrs old so I asked him how he would feel about the situation if I was freaking out? Then he tells me, "You never freak out... But I guess that is what you are supposed to do. You just always know what to do." Later that night, I heard my daughter and him talking about the very same thing. Both wondering how I keep calm. Then my daughter said it right. "It would have to be real bad for Mom to freak out. If that ever happens, we are doomed."

    I am hoping that I will be able to maintain the calm, focused thing going on while in nursing.
  11. by   Calabria
    I've been told that, during debriefs, my "nurse face" and deadpan way that I readback orders/information to other providers is hilarious (we had a simulation videotaped and I had half of the room laughing, not because I was acting ridiculous or obnoxious, but because of the apparent transformation in my persona upon entering the room). I'm naturally very energetic and hyper, but go on "autopilot" during crisis situations and tend to respond in very short, clipped sentences and lack patience for nonsense.

    I grew up in a home where my family and I, unfortunately, were the patients who suffered from the "one-in-a-million" ailments. My parents and siblings have had multiple close calls with the Big Guy Upstairs, partly because of bad luck and partly because they're too stubborn to seek medical attention before it's too late.

    I have a vivid memory in middle school of my dad walking into the house and asking my mother for a Band-Aid. I came downstairs and followed a trail of perfect bloody footprints going through the kitchen to my father, who had gashed his leg outside. He needed so many stitches that the doctor stopped counting after 47.
  12. by   That Guy
    Quote from Anoetos
    I'd like to see a thread on nurses who flip out unnecessarily. I dont mean nurses who get terse and sharp in high stress situations. i mean nurses who havent learned to keep their emotions in check.
    I work with one. Worst co-worker ever. Destroys morale left and right.

    As for my nurse face, I stopped shaving. There are times though where no matter what you do, a good laugh comes out.
  13. by   canigraduate
    I was raised in an environment where a poker face was very necessary for day-to-day interactions. When my brain is busy, my face automatically forms itself into a pleasant expression with a half-smile.

    I actually have had to learn how to lose the "nurse face" so that other people are aware of my emotions.

    Sometimes, however, (and always at the MOST inappropriate times) my poker face completely fails. When that happens, I have songs that I will sing in my head to get myself composed. It helps me tremendously.

    If I am about to have a laughing fit, I sing a sad song; if I'm about to cry, I sing parts of "Stand By Me"; if I'm about to lose my temper, I sing "I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas." Works like a charm, every time!