When will people learn NOT to say the "Q" word...

Nurses Relations


Its 6:35pm, census is 6 patients on a 16 bed icu.... Just as I'm about to give report, the oncoming nurses states how "quite" the unit is. Before the nurse can even finish her statement my patient who was given transfer orders goes into 40 beats of bigeminy pvcs and is symptomatic.

People please, don't say the q word, especially around a new grad rn ICU nurse....

Specializes in Med Surg - Renal.

I love the Q word. A shift is either going to turn into a crapshow or it isn't. I have zero problem acknowledging and celebrating the rare quiet times.

Specializes in Med/Surg/Tele.
Are people really that superstitious?

I can't answer that in regards to nursing (I start Nursing School in the fall) but I can tell you that at the 24 hour ER Veterinarian office I worked at, the "Q" word was a guarantee for a horrific shift!!!! Without fail, if the word was said then we would have a bunch of major emergencies coming through the door within the next hour and the rest of the shift would be absolute crazy chaos.

The same was guaranteed to happen on full moon nights. So imagine my horror when I was training a new girl one night. It was 9pm, the full moon was out and thankfully it was peaceful. (please keep in mind it is right around shift change and in about 10-15 minutes we will be down to 2 vets, 3 techs and 1 tech assistant for the rest of the night) The girl looks at me and says "Is it always so quiet at this time of night?" I just gaped at her for a full minute until she said "What? What is wrong?" I quickly told her never to say the "Q" word again. She wanted to know why. I told her she was about to find out and told her to go get a box of gloves and a bunch of PPE's while I go warn the ER and ICU staff (She still didn't get it..lol)

Within 10 minutes, we hear a car screeching into the parking lot. I go to the door and look out to see a woman, covered in blood, jump out of the car and start running towards me. I yell out to her to find out what is wrong with her pet and she frantically tells me her Bernese Mountain Dog was hit by a car. I yell in to the new girl to call a Code Blue and get a gurney. Just as 3 techs are wheeling this poor animal into the hospital, another car pulls in.... and then another...... and then a cop car followed by the ACO and 3 more cars.

Within an hour of the new girl uttering that horrific word, we had 3 hit-by-car(hbc) dogs, all of which were not able to be saved. A seizing pug, an anaphylaxyis reaction in a puppy, a mauled cat along with the pitbull that mauled it (foaming at the mouth and showing neuro signs....eeek!!) and a 4th hbc dog that has a broken hind leg and possible spinal injury.

The pitbull was out of control and lunging at anything that moved. It took 4 of us and the ACO to get a rabies pole on her to control her movements so we could get a cone on her head. Once the cone was on we had to throw a towel over it and the vet had to give her a sedative and knock her out. The pug was still seizing after the initial dose of diazepam and had to be given another dose. Then the owner was freaking out once the pug was post-ictal (new girl didn't know to explain the the diazepam and the post-ictal phase combine to make the dog disoriented, too wobbly to stand etc) the puppy is recovering after getting a dose of epi but the owner doesn't understand how important it is for us to administer IV fluids and wants to speak to the vet. The poor cat needs to have emergency surgery to repair several punctures that have hit internal organs. (Once the on call surgeon gets there, it is determined that the ear and part of a leg need to be amputated as well) The 4th hbc dog is sedated and waiting on neuro and radiology consults to determine the severity of its injuries.

I am covered in blood from a little English Bulldog that was one of the hbc patients that did not make it. The lobby floor has trails of blood, puddles of foam, vomit and diarrhea. There are several clients sobbing or hysterical. Everyone who was waiting to see the Er vets before all of this happened are now ****** off that their pet was not seen "next" because all the emergencies that came in after them were more critical than their pet.

Me and the new girl were supposed to be off shift at midnight. We clocked out at 5am. The late vet who was off shift a 9pm left 10 minutes before us. The vet techs that were supposed to be off shift at 9pm didn't get off until about 3 or 3:30am.

Poor new girl got a nasty lecture from every single tech, the late shift vet (who had to be back in 2 hours) and the 2 overnight vets. I was very surprised that she showed up for her next shift lol!!! But she never said the "Q" word again and several times I heard her telling other new hires to never say it either.

Specializes in being a Credible Source.

When it is, I use "quiet" on a regular basis... I name names of frequent fliers... all the time...

I openly tempt the gods of ER census and acuity...

I'm not even the slightest bit superstitious... either the flood gates will open... or they won't... and nothing I can do besides be prepared for either...

What cracks me up is when people won't dare say somebody's name but they're fine using their initials... or say "the 'Q' word"

Specializes in CICU.

I definitely don't buy the one about not saying frequent flyer's names... They are frequent flyers... They show up all the time no matter what...

HOWEVER... If my first four hours are going great (stable, easy-going patients with nothing complicated) I will almost certainly get floated.

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

Never say the Q word, especially on the full moon, don't repeat frequent fliers names and codes come in threes.....34 years of nursing has taught me that.

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty.

I had a friend who always insisted that "Tuesday is Kook Day" I never really saw that myself, but n-e-v-e-r say the Q Word!

Specializes in LTC and School Health.
I don't think this is true I'm a new nurse top.

I once had a preceptor tell me wearing certain colors was bad luck so she only ever wore purple and pink

I was like no thanks I love my green scrubs

So funny you mention this but I thought wearing a certain scrub set made my shift hell, because every time I wore it things would go bad. I just never wanted to admit it, being in denial. Once again, I'm not supersticious.... this nursing thing is making me nuts!!!

That is as bad as saying the A word in the OR,abdominal aortic aneurysm. You can almost bet there will be one coming soon.

Specializes in Med Surg.

How about having "that room" on the floor? The one where patients just seem to go bad. It's not all the time, but just enough to keep you on your toes. I always hate it when that room is in my group. :o

I may be tempting fate by evening mentioning the room.

Specializes in PICU.
Never say the Q word, especially on the full moon, don't repeat frequent fliers names and codes come in threes.....34 years of nursing has taught me that.

So true! I already know this after my short 3 1/2 years. As our PICU just lost two this week, we are anxiously awaiting to third one... ALways come in threes :/

Specializes in Med-Swing/Rehab.

Yeah, I've said it a few times and the charge nurse would be "Sssshhhh!!!!"

Specializes in NICU.

Yeah, a lot of nurses on my unit say the same thing, but I don't see how saying a word out loud equates more patients/codes/busy shifts. But then again, I'm a Christian and don't believe in superstitions.

For what it's worth, I once said, "man, it's dead in here!" and then both my patients got discharged and I got to leave my shift 1 whole hour early (with charge RN's permission)!

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