Ten Things A Nurse Doesn't Want to Hear

Updated | Published
by VivaLasViejas VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN (Guide)

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

We've all heard them.............those hackneyed phrases and dopey questions people often direct at nurses because they truly do not understand what we do.

Ten Things A Nurse Doesn't Want to Hear

1) "You're so smart, you should have gone to medical school." I AM smart---that's why I became a nurse instead of enduring 80-hour work weeks and giving up sleep for eight years.

2) "It must be great to be a nurse---you get to date all those sexy doctors!" And you, my friend, have been watching too much Grey's Anatomy. We barely have time to take care of our own bodily functions during work hours, let alone make out in the stairwell with somebody who's carrying around as many germs as we are. Yecccccch.

3) "Why don't nurses wear caps anymore?" Two words: infection control. They also look funny with SpongeBob scrubs and Crocs.

4) "Oh, looky there Mabel, that's a real stethoscope she's got on!" And gee whiz, she even knows how to use it!

5) "I bet you just LIVE to give shots (start IVs/insert catheters/perform any procedure that's painful and/or embarrassing)." Oh, sure, of course I get my jollies from causing pain---that's why I'm eking out an existence as a nurse rather than living la vida loca and working as a dominatrix.

6) "Nursing can't be that difficult. My niece is a nurse and she only had a C average in school." Further conversation reveals that the niece is really a home health aide, not even certified, who works for one elderly couple three mornings a week.

7) "The nurse at my doctor's office says........" Again with the mistaken assumption that anyone in scrubs a) is a nurse, and b) knows more than the person who's taking care of you at this particular moment. The medical assistant at your doctor's office, however capable she may be, is not a nurse. Neither is the receptionist at the front desk, the tech who takes your vital signs, or the phlebotomist who draws blood for your lab work. They are all vital members of the health care team and they have challenging jobs in their own right; but unless their name tag says RN or LPN, they aren't nurses.

? "I bet you make a lot of money." Yep, I'm all set to retire at 55 and head to the south of France. Know any more jokes??

9) "My call light's been on for 45 minutes---where were you, on the computer at the nurses' station?" Absolutely! And while I was at it, I Googled myself and my family just for the heck of it, bought a treadmill on eBay, played solitaire, and checked in at Allnurses. ARRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!

And finally, here's one of the most irritating statements of all: "Nurses are angels in white." It's sentimental nonsense rooted in the way-back days when nurses were little more than servants to the physician. First of all, many of us haven't worn white since nursing school and wouldn't be caught dead in it. Besides, most of us prefer to be considered professionals, not mythical beings who, even if they do exist, undoubtedly don't drink, smoke, swear, flip the bird at their manager's closed door when nobody's looking, talk trash about their co-workers, call doctors nasty names in the break room, or go home after a bad shift and growl at the family. Nurses have been known to do all of these things. We're human.

Now, aren't you glad we cleared the air?:D

 

I'm a Registered Nurse and writer who, in better times, has enjoyed a busy and varied career which includes stints as a Med/Surg floor nurse, a director of nursing, a nurse consultant, and an assistant administrator. And when I'm not working as a nurse, I'm writing about nursing right here at allnurses.com and putting together the chapters for a future book about---what else?---nursing.

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74 Comment(s)

hikernurse

hikernurse

Specializes in NICU. Has 8 years experience. 1,302 Posts

"My call light's been on for 45 minutes---where were you, on the computer at the nurses' station?" Absolutely! And while I was at it, I Googled myself and my family just for the heck of it, bought a treadmill on eBay, played solitaire, and checked in at Allnurses. ARRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!"

And after all that, you left the building for your hour-long sit down lunch. No really, I watch Nurse Jackie (which I love) and that's what the nurses there, do...:D

eltrip

eltrip

Specializes in Clinical Risk Management. 691 Posts

LOL!:roll:roll:roll

MurseJustin

MurseJustin

Specializes in ICU and Telemetry/Step-Down. Has 2 years experience. 6 Posts

Haha, this is awesome. Gotta love how misunderstood nursing is. Being a male I've heard the medical school comment plenty of times. I also enjoy the line, "I don't think I could be a nurse because I wouldn't be able to wipe somebody's butt." People make it sound like that's all we do.

nursesRbeautiful

nursesRbeautiful

Specializes in plenty mostly agency. Has 5 years experience. 14 Posts

i think i heard just about all of it, but here is one more. I'm 30 and get mistaken as being much much younger. I've done quite a bit agency in my 4yrs as a nurse and whenever I walk into a new facility and the staffing is confirming who all they have to work the shift I'm automatically mistaken as being the CNA. I dress professional, work and act the same.OMG! and my badge says LPN hmm.

Edited by nursesRbeautiful
age was wrong

flashpoint

flashpoint

Has 23 years experience. 1 Article; 1,327 Posts

Excuse me? I do not use the computer I work! I do, however, have contests with my coworkers to see who can go the longest without answering lights...the annoying "ping, ping, ping" got to me, so I lost...and here I am. What do you want now?

tackett

tackett

28 Posts

thats what we all get for wearing pajamas to work.

franciscangypsy

franciscangypsy

Specializes in ICU, MedSurg, Medical Telemetry. Has 10 years experience. 187 Posts

:cry:I actually like the nurses' prayer.:cry: I can see how some of the other things can be, but that last about angels, I really don't consider that irritating. People are merely showing their deep appreciation -- how is that demeaning to us? I think it is quite the opposite.

:nurse: I used to wear white and the cap right after I graduated, figuring "hey, I worked to be a nurse, darn it. Might as well look it." My patients loved it. About a month into orientation, I stopped due to infection control concerns. Now, a couple months later, I STILL get asked by upset COWORKERS, believe it or not, why I quit.

The thing was also a pain in the rear to put on. And it always got caught in my stethoscope when I put it around my neck.:nurse:

lilwhitfkd

lilwhitfkd

Specializes in Cardiac/ Telemetry. 21 Posts

Nicely put together and enjoyed reading. Also, I believe for techs, CNA's, aides etc.. to be mistaken as a Nurse is not fair. We have not went through the extensive training and intense stuyding to have those initials behind our names. Just my opinion!

franciscangypsy

franciscangypsy

Specializes in ICU, MedSurg, Medical Telemetry. Has 10 years experience. 187 Posts

:crying2: I LIKE the nurses prayer :crying2: No offense, but I really don't see how patients comparing us to angels in their gratitude is really demoralizing us. I actually see it as quite the opposite. Such heartfelt gratitude at even one point in a horrible day can make my shift ten times better.

:nurse: I actually use to wear the white and cap post graduation. Patients and coworkers loved it. It took about a month for me to realize that it wasn't really good for infection control. Now the hat sits on my dresser and a single betadine accident made the whites go too.

I still get sad faces and questions about "where the hat went" months later. Lemme tell you, the thing was a bear to get on, and it alway caught on my stethoscope when I put it around my neck.

hope3456, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Psych, M/S. 1,263 Posts

#11 Must be nice to be able to get a recession proof job anywhere with a sign on bonus -because there is such a HUGE nsg shortage.

While this may have been true a couple years ago it isn't so much now. Our 'job opporturnities' were very much overdramatized by the news media. And we are finding out nsg is NOT immune to the economic downturn.

nerdtonurse?

nerdtonurse?, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, Telemetry. 3 Articles; 2,043 Posts

VivaLasViejas said:

5) "I bet you just LIVE to give shots (start IVs/insert catheters/perform any procedure that's painful and/or embarrassing)." Oh, sure, of course I get my jollies from causing pain---that's why I'm eking out an existence as a nurse rather than living la vida loca and working as a dominatrix.

Okay, I just snorted my ice tea out my nose. :)!