Murphy's Laws of Nursing | Life of a Nurse

Updated | Published
by Roy Fokker Roy Fokker, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER/Trauma.

Fun facts (or are they) about nursing ... Anyone who has been a nurse for more than a few weeks or months will smile and nod because you know these are all so true!

What's your Murphy's Law for Nursing?

Murphy's Laws of Nursing | Life of a Nurse

✔️ When you need the money, your shift is cancelled; when you have a weekend planned, you have to do overtime.

✔️ Realizing the patient you've just injected has a serious infection causes you to stab yourself with the used needle.

✔️ A 500 pound patient needs all care, while your 80 pound patient needs a finger dressing ... and your colleague has a "bad back."

✔️ It's you're first night shift for three years. And it's a full moon.

✔️ You're doing the "Only 27 more minutes of the shift from hell happy-dance", only to turn around to see your supervisor standing there.

✔️ In a critical situation, the most highly qualified clinician will offer the most advice and the least support.

✔️ The absurdity of the suggestion is directly proportional to the distance from the bedside.

✔️ As soon as you finish a thirty minute dressing the doctor will come in, and take a look at the wound.

✔️ The disoriented patient always comes from a Nursing Home whose beautiful paperwork has no phone number on it.

✔️ Your nose will itch the very moment your gloved hands get contaminated with bodily fluids.

✔️ The patient who has been dying all night finally meets his maker 12.5 minutes before shift change.

✔️ You walk out of a patient's room after you've asked them if they need anything: they will put the call bell on as you are about three quarters the way down the hall.

✔️ The patient furthest away from the nurses' station rings the call bell more often than the patient nearest to the nurses' station.

✔️ The doctor with the worst handwriting and most original use of the English Language will be responsible for your most critical patient.

✔️ You always remember "just one more thing" you need after you've gowned, gloved, and masked and gone into that isolation room.

✔️ The correct depth of compression in adult CPR is a bit less than the depth you just reached when you broke those ribs.

✔️ When you cancel extra staff because it's so quiet, you are guaranteed a rash of admissions.

✔️ If you wear a new white uniform, expect to be thrown up on.

✔️ Corollary: Residents always poop on your brand new shoes.

✔️ When management smiles at you, be very, very afraid ...

✔️ Staffing will gladly send you three aides--but you have to float two of your RNs.

✔️ As soon as you discontinue the IV line, more fluids will be ordered.

✔️ Mandatory meetings are always scheduled after you've had the night from hell and just want to go home to bed.

✔️ You always forget what it was you wanted after you get to the supply room. You always remember when you get back to the other end ...

✔️ Doctors only ask your name when the patient isn't doing well.

✔️ Success occurs when no one is looking, failure occurs when the boss is watching.

✔️ As soon as you've ordered the pizzas, 25 patients show up at the ER registration desk along with three ambulances all with cardiac arrests!

✔️ For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.

✔️ Ten seconds after you have finished giving a complete bed bath and changing the bed, the patient has a giant code brown.

✔️ If a patient needs four pills, the packet will contain three.

✔️ Your buddies who were reading the paper at the nurses' desk a minute ago always disappear when you need help ...

✔️ Expect to get your pay raise the same day the hospital raises the parking rates (and other charges)

✔️ The better job you do, the more work you can expect to be handed ...

✔️ The amount of clean linen available is inversely proportional to your immediate needs.

✔️ The more confused and impulsive a patient is, the less chance there is for a family member or friend to sit with the patient.

✔️ The perfect nurse for the job will apply the day after that post is filled by some semi qualified idiot.

✔️ If only one solution can be found for a problem, then it is usually a stupid solution.

✔️ When the nurse on the preceding shift has surrounded the patient with absorbent pads, the code brown will hit every sheet and miss every pad.

✔️ Rest assured that when you are in a hurry, the nurse's notes have not been written.

✔️ When you are starting an IV on an uncooperative patient, or dealing with a huge code brown, there is a phone call for you and it's that crabby physician that you have been paging all morning.

✔️ Fire drills always occur on your day from hell

✔️ The first person in line when the clinic opens will not require urgent care. The sickest person will arrive 5 minutes before closing: "I thought I'd feel better"

The Nursing Catch-22:

If you're running around horribly busy, you're unorganized and need to prioritize, but if you're not running around horribly busy, you're lazy and need to find more work to do.

Remember folks - Murphy was an optimist! :p

Add your Murphy's Law below!

Murphys-Laws-of-Nursing.pdf

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61 Comment(s)

nightmare

nightmare, LPN

Specializes in Nursing Home ,Dementia Care,Neurology.. 2 Articles; 1,297 Posts

Never use the "Q" word(Quiet) on nights! It's guaranteed to make all H*ll break out!

Burst stoma bags always occur 5 minutes before you are due to give report.

If you swap shift with someone,it will be a busy night and your original shift will be uneventful.

That bag of fluids which was not running well will suddenly run through when you are on your break.

The doctor wants an answer which is in the careplan,the careplan is in an office where the phone doesn't work!So you either leg it for the careplan leaving the doc hanging or chance phoning back when you just know he will be elsewhere.

canoehead, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 30 years experience. 6,837 Posts

If you order food triage will suddenly be overwhelmed, not to slow down until the grease is well coagulated.

kitty29

kitty29

404 Posts

Yah can tell Roy has worked for a while!!! :)

lupin

lupin

Specializes in ER/Nuero/PHN/LTC/Skilled/Alzheimer's. 153 Posts

When someone hands you "one little tiny thing" to do five minutes before you leave, you will still be there thirty minutes later.

If you've taped an IV site six ways from Sunday, expect it to be pulled out.

The most fragile and confused geriatric pt will be the one doing gymnastics over the siderails.

The doctor with the strongest foreign accent will be the one who calls you back on a cell phone with a bad connection.

randomnamees

randomnamees

40 Posts

You have been working flat all day without even a coffee break, but the moment you sit down, the supervisor walks around the corner and sees you doing nothing

You never use foul language, except when the boss is standing behind you.

When you need the money, your shift is cancelled; when you have a weekend planned, you have to do overtime.

Realizing the patient you've just injected has a serious infection causes you to stab yourself with the used needle.

A 500 pound patient needs all care, while your 80 pound patient needs a finger dressing ... and your colleague has a "bad back."

It's you're first night shift for three years. And it's a full moon.

You're doing the "Only 27 more minutes of the shift from hell happy-dance", only to turn around to see your supervisor standing there.

In a critical situation, the most highly qualified clinician will offer the most advice and the least support.

The absurdity of the suggestion is directly proportional to the distance from the bedside.

As soon as you finish a thirty minute dressing the doctor will come in, and take a look at the wound.

The disoriented patient always comes from a Nursing Home whose beautiful paperwork has no phone number on it.

Your nose will itch the very moment your gloved hands get contaminated with bodily fluids.

The patient who has been dying all night finally meets his maker 12.5 minutes before shift change.

You walk out of a patient's room after you've asked them if they need anything: they will put the call bell on as you are about three quarters the way down the hall.

The patient furthest away from the nurses' station rings the call bell more often than the patient nearest to the nurses' station.

The doctor with the worst handwriting and most original use of the English Language will be responsible for your most critical patient.

You always remember "just one more thing" you need after you've gowned, gloved, and masked and gone into that isolation room.

The correct depth of compression in adult CPR is a bit less than the depth you just reached when you broke those ribs.

When you cancel extra staff because it's so quiet, you are guaranteed a rash of admissions.

If you wear a new white uniform, expect to be thrown up on.

Corollary: Residents always poop on your brand new shoes.

When management smiles at you, be very, very afraid ...

Staffing will gladly send you three aides--but you have to float two of your RNs.

As soon as you discontinue the IV line, more fluids will be ordered.

Mandatory meetings are always scheduled after you've had the night from hell and just want to go home to bed.

You always forget what it was you wanted after you get to the supply room. You always remember when you get back to the other end ...

Doctors only ask your name when the patient isn't doing well.

Success occurs when no one is looking, failure occurs when the boss is watching.

As soon as you've ordered the pizzas, 25 patients show up at the ER registration desk along with three ambulances all with cardiac arrests!

For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.

Ten seconds after you have finished giving a complete bed bath and changing the bed, the patient has a giant code brown.

If a patient needs four pills, the packet will contain three.

Your buddies who were reading the paper at the nurses' desk a minute ago always disappear when you need help ...

Expect to get your pay raise the same day the hospital raises the parking rates (and other charges)

The better job you do, the more work you can expect to be handed ...

The amount of clean linen available is inversely proportional to your immediate needs.

The more confused and impulsive a patient is, the less chance there is for a family member or friend to sit with the patient.

The perfect nurse for the job will apply the day after that post is filled by some semiqualified idiot.

Corollary: You hear about the perfect job the day after you accept another one.

If only one solution can be found for a problem, then it is usually a stupid solution.

Despite an apartment littered with clothes, the dog will always sleep on the one clean uniform that you had laid out the night before.

When the nurse on the preceeding shift has surrounded the patient with absorbant pads, the code brown will hit every sheet and miss every pad.

Rest assured that when you are in a hurry, the nurse's notes have not been written.

When you are starting an IV on an uncooperative patient, or dealing with a huge code brown, there is a phone call for you and it's that crabby physician that you have been paging all morning.

Fire drills always occur on your day from hell - or at the end of a 12 hour shift when you have an important date.

The first person in line when the clinic opens will not require urgent care. The sickest person will arrive 5 minutes before closing: "I thought I'd feel better"

ClariceS

ClariceS

Specializes in Med/Surg, ICU, Cardiac ICU. Has 11 years experience. 141 Posts

ROFL!! I printed this for others to read (thank you, laugh) and someone said,"have they been following us around?"

Thank you for the smiles! 

Sable's mom

Sable's mom

Specializes in NICU, L&D, OB, Home Health, Management. 186 Posts

These are wonderful. 

Here's another murphy's law - when you small OB department - 11 staff members total - have 2 on vacation and 2 with emergency surgeries you'll do 1/4 of the month's deliveries in one 12 hour shift! 

lorrie

lorrie

34 Posts

That's great. I 'll be passing that one along.

OC_An Khe

OC_An Khe

Specializes in Critical Care,Recovery, ED. Has 40 years experience. 1,018 Posts

Murphy's Law has always been operative in Nursing, but don't forget Sharon's Law.

Which reads, "Murphy was an optimist"

nurz2be

nurz2be

847 Posts

Saw this....needed a good laugh.....got a few....enjoy

  • When you need the money, your shift is cancelled; when you have a weekend planned, you have to do overtime.
  • Realizing the patient you've just injected has a serious infection causes you to stab yourself with the used needle.
  • A 500 pound patient needs all care, while your 80 pound patient needs a finger dressing ... and your colleague has a "bad back."
  • It's you're first night shift for three years. And it's a full moon.
  • You're doing the "Only 27 more minutes of the shift from hell happy-dance", only to turn around to see your supervisor standing there.
  • In a critical situation, the most highly qualified clinician will offer the most advice and the least support.
  • The absurdity of the suggestion is directly proportional to the distance from the bedside.
  • As soon as you finish a thirty minute dressing the doctor will come in, and take a look at the wound.
  • The disoriented patient always comes from a Nursing Home whose beautiful paperwork has no phone number on it.
  • Your nose will itch the very moment your gloved hands get contaminated with bodily fluids.
  • The patient who has been dying all night finally meets his maker 12.5 minutes before shift change.
  • You walk out of a patient's room after you've asked them if they need anything: they will put the call bell on as you are about three quarters the way down the hall.
  • The patient furthest away from the nurses' station rings the call bell more often than the patient nearest to the nurses' station.
  • The doctor with the worst handwriting and most original use of the English Language will be responsible for your most critical patient.
  • You always remember "just one more thing" you need after you've gowned, gloved, and masked and gone into that isolation room.
  • The correct depth of compression in adult CPR is a bit less than the depth you just reached when you broke those ribs.
  • When you cancel extra staff because it's so quiet, you are guaranteed a rash of admissions.
  • If you wear a new white uniform, expect to be thrown up on.
    Corollary: Residents always poop on your brand new shoes.
  • When management smiles at you, be very, very afraid ...
  • Staffing will gladly send you three aides--but you have to float two of your RNs.
  • As soon as you discontinue the IV line, more fluids will be ordered.
  • Mandatory meetings are always scheduled after you've had the night from hell and just want to go home to bed.
  • You always forget what it was you wanted after you get to the supply room. You always remember when you get back to the other end ...
  • Doctors only ask your name when the patient isn't doing well.
  • Success occurs when no one is looking, failure occurs when the boss is watching.
  • As soon as you've ordered the pizzas, 25 patients show up at the ER registration desk along with three ambulances all with cardiac arrests!
  • For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
  • Ten seconds after you have finished giving a complete bed bath and changing the bed, the patient has a giant code brown.
  • If a patient needs four pills, the packet will contain three.
  • Your buddies who were reading the paper at the nurses' desk a minute ago always disappear when you need help ...
  • Expect to get your pay raise the same day the hospital raises the parking rates (and other charges)
  • The better job you do, the more work you can expect to be handed ...
  • The amount of clean linen available is inversely proportional to your immediate needs.
  • The more confused and impulsive a patient is, the less chance there is for a family member or friend to sit with the patient.
  • The perfect nurse for the job will apply the day after that post is filled by some semi qualified idiot.
  • If only one solution can be found for a problem, then it is usually a stupid solution.
  • When the nurse on the preceding shift has surrounded the patient with absorbent pads, the code brown will hit every sheet and miss every pad.
  • Rest assured that when you are in a hurry, the nurse's notes have not been written.
  • When you are starting an IV on an uncooperative patient, or dealing with a huge code brown, there is a phone call for you and it's that crabby physician that you have been paging all morning.
  • Fire drills always occur on your day from hell
  • The first person in line when the clinic opens will not require urgent care. The sickest person will arrive 5 minutes before closing: "I thought I'd feel better"
  • The Nursing Catch-22:
    If you're running around horribly busy, you're unorganized and need to prioritize, but if you're not running around horribly busy, you're lazy and need to find more work to do.
    I've copied this page with the permission of AndrewHeenan,
    The Original page can be found at: Murphy's Nurses (website no longer available).
Diploma'82

Diploma'82

59 Posts

If you say the "Q" word it will be "Q" no more!:o