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The Humorous Nurse Speaks

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 250,842 Profile Views; 9,753 Posts

What do you find funny in your nursing career?

Dealing with issues such as life, death, and other matters of consequence in our daily work lives, nurses tend to develop a rather jaded---OK, warped---sense of humor. It's almost a matter of survival; otherwise, we'd probably go off the deep end. (It's not for nothing that we happen to have the best collection of "code brown" stories on the planet.) Here's a peek at a few of the things one R.N. finds irresistibly funny.

The Humorous Nurse Speaks
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As a lifelong student of human foibles, I often find myself marveling at the number of undignified situations we blunder into on any given day. I mean, have you ever been so excited to meet a celebrity that you had to glance down at your name tag before you could tell her who you were? (Yup...happened to me.) Or done a face-plant in the geraniums while rushing to clean up the lawn fudge just as the hunky yard man arrives?

I bet you had at least a snicker at the mental pictures, whether you're a nurse or not. Nurses, however, often encounter situations that very few people outside the profession would find humorous.....mainly because they are gross or shocking. But for many of us, they're a source of virtually endless amusement.

For example:

1) As a morbidly obese person myself, I normally don't see much humor in fat-patient tales. However, I once had a 400-lb patient whose lower dentures couldn't be found anywhere. The aide and I went in and turned her on her side to remove the bedpan and.....I'll give you three guesses to figure out what we discovered embedded in her left buttock.

2) Ever walk into the hospital room of an asthma patient and hear muffled "meows" from the closet? Ever open that closet door and see a mother cat and three kittens tumble out? Turned out the patient's hubby had snuck the animals in to "visit" her in the hospital. And no, you can't fix stupid, but it's sure good for a few laughs.

3) As mentioned above, every nurse has a treasure trove of poop stories. We can't share them with many people outside our sphere of influence, of course, because of the possibility of offending the more, ahem, 'refined' folks who DON'T spend a good portion of their day dealing with the distal end of the alimentary canal.

My personal favorite is the story of Margaret, a nursing home resident who had a habit of "going" only once a week on average, with predictably large results when she finally did produce. She also had a sharp mind and a very, very dry wit. One night after she had her milk of mag, she gave birth to an eight-pounder in the shape of an exclamation point. I couldn't help asking Margaret to tell me how she'd done that. "Big deal," she sniffed. "I was actually going for a bow, but didn't make it."

4) Stupid management tricks are a frequent cause for mirth, at least after we get done being outraged. This mostly occurs at the floor level, but even in middle management limbo, where I live, the silliness flows pretty freely........like with the most recent memo from Corporate suggesting ways to improve our workflow and staff retention rates. They want us to hold daily managers' meetings, plus meetings with both shifts in the afternoons, PLUS safety committee and dietary meetings once weekly and of course, staff meetings semi-monthly. So......tell me again how wasting an average of two hours a day in meetings is supposed to improve productivity?? I swear, if I couldn't laugh about this stuff I'd probably cry---either that, or be found in the belfry communing with the bats.

5) The layman's use (or MISuse) of medical terminology has provided me with many hours of enjoyment over the years. I remember a very young (and very naive!) female patient who actually asked me what a virgin was, then asked me how she could be one when she'd never been to Virginia. And, living in an area where there are pockets of deep poverty and shocking ignorance, I've also had to do some pretty extensive teaching with older people who were diagnosed with "vagina particles" (AKA angina pectoris) or "pew-monia". Sometimes I have to look away for a moment to collect myself, because these folks can't help it and I would never laugh in a patient's face. Doesn't stop me from having a few giggles over it later, though.

These are some of the aspects of nursing that tickle my funny bone. How about yours?

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.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 250,842 Profile Views; 9,753 Posts

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txsummerRN has 3 years experience and specializes in PICU.

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A woman came to me to learn how to stop her continued breast milk production, 6 months after she stopped nursing her baby. I asked if she ever thought of just giving the milk to her son, since she was still producing so much. "Isn't it bad by now?" she asked. I asked her to clarify, and she thought the same milk had been sitting in her breast all this time, and must surely have curdled long ago!

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merlee has 36 years experience.

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When I was a nursing student during the Jurassic Age, my surgical follow-through was having a cholecystectomy. The doctor explained that they would be removing her gall bladder. She had no questions for the doc, but as soon as he left, she asked me how she would pee if they took her bladder away. It took me a moment to realize what she meant, and I gave her an anatomy lesson.

She was very much relieved.

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gonzo1 has 15 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in CEN, ED, ICU, PSYCH, PP.

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Your story about Margaret made me laugh. Kinda wish I hadn't been eating cereal when I read it though.

I should know better than to read here while eating.

Thanks for the laughs

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DSkelton711 has 25+ years experience and specializes in OB/GYN/Neonatal/Office/Geriatric.

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If I had any memory left, I might could share something. Thanks for giggles!

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TheCommuter has 14 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

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Thank you for another witty article, VivaLasViejas.

I must admit that this one was too cute and very funny! :roflmao:

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applewhitern has 30 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

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Ones I hear quite often are "I have ammonia" (pneumonia) and "I've been vomicking." (vomick instead of vomit.)

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Nascar nurse has 25 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC & Hospice.

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Took me years to figure out what my little old ladies meant when they said they had "the piles" Which would be hemorrhoids for you that haven't figured it out yet.

It also cracks me up to hear the different things that some very dignified women have come up with to call their vaginal area.

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Hygiene Queen specializes in ......

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VivaLasViejas said:

One night after she had her milk of mag, she gave birth to an eight-pounder in the shape of an exclamation point. I couldn't help asking Margaret to tell me how she'd done that. "Big deal," she sniffed. "I was actually going for a bow, but didn't make it."

I laughed so hard, I ended up having to read that out loud to my husband and kids!

Hilarious!:roflmao:

Made me think of our pt who had managed to pee on the chuck pad in the perfect shape of the Dairy Queen sign.

Why is it that the stupider something is, the harder I laugh?

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 9,753 Posts; 250,842 Profile Views

Hygiene Queen said:
I laughed so hard, I ended up having to read that out loud to my husband and kids!

Hilarious!:roflmao:

Made me think of our pt who had managed to pee on the chuck pad in the perfect shape of the Dairy Queen sign.

Why is it that the stupider something is, the harder I laugh?

I don't know.....maybe it's the perpetual 10-year-old who lives inside some of us. ;) And your story cracks me up!!

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S.kill2018 has 5 years experience and specializes in ICU.

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There are too many stories working in LTC...There are some parts of growing old I can't wait for! Like speaking my mind about anything and everything.

You may have had to be there. Today at work, it was busy, we were short, and we were all kind of "dead" -- you know the feeling. Just worn out.

So it's lunch time, and there are 5 aides sitting at our feeder area when one of our LOL has an extremely bad coughing spell. The LOL sitting next to her, who NEVER talks, looks over at her and exclaims "Put your arms in the air!!" she reached over and grabbed one of her arms and held it in the air. So I have my one lady still coughing just as hard with her arms all shakin in the air, and the other one yelling that her elbows aren't straight enough so she isn't getting enough air. It was quite the sight.

We were all in tears.

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audreysmagic has 15 years experience as a RN and specializes in Psych, Peds, Education, Infection Control.

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One of my favorites was actually from a LTC job...pediatric/psych nurse by training and preference, so it wasn't my forte...loved my residents, just not the 30 patient med pass twice a shift, etc. But I was managing to get some charting done and a LOL with the aggressive sort of dementia was ranting and raving from her Broda chair as usual. Administration had constantly been telling us we weren't "handling" her properly and that was why she attempted to beat the crap out of anyone who displeased her. I even had to go to "remedial" training after she scratched me when I went to keep her from falling. But one of the administrators comes around, and in a sickly-sweet, too syrupy even for an infant voice says, "Good EVENING, [name], how ARE you?" In the first clear words we'd heard out of her all night, LOL replies, "Why don't you stick your thumb up your ass and twirl around on it?"

My friend from that place and I still laugh, years after we left.

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