Kelly is a nurse practitioner, patient advocate, and a type 1 diabetic who empathizes with patients living with chronic diseases.
1. They're on a Bad Streak
Nurses are skilled professionals. They spend time perfecting their art of nursing, which includes IV sticks, lab draws, catheter insertions, central line care, wound packing and dressings, and the list goes on.
However, nurses are human. We have good and bad days, streaks of perfection and, well, streaks of failure. Some nurses seem to possess superpowers, those who seem close to godliness in the skillful way they find veins in the most edematous of patients and place a Foley catheter in the darkest and most confusing recesses of the human body. These are the rarest of nurses, and they make the rest of us feel quite inept.
So, if you ask a nurse, "how good are you at this?" or "how many times have you done this before?" the answers may vary, but we will always sound confident because pessimism does not work well in our occupation. If we're on a bad streak (specifically with IV insertion), we're hoping you'll be the lucky star who turns it around and sends us back to our streak of perfection.
Keep in mind that you can always request another nurse, someone more specialized, or a pediatric nurse (as they seem to hold the IV-insertion superpower). But whatever you do, please don't doubt our motive: We strive to be perfect at what we do, every time.
2. They Know Preliminary Test Results
Yes, that's right, we know the answer to your diagnostic test, but we're not always the right person to tell you. It has to do with hospital policy and politics. We often know results first, since nurses act as the messenger between pathologists, radiologists, and primary providers. Some nurses leave the results for the patient's healthcare provider (physician, PA, or NP) to deliver, while others use their own judgment to decide what they can safely share with their patients without digging a hole they can't get out of.
Your best bet? Wait for your healthcare provider to ask the important questions. It's hard to wait, but you can use that time to make a list of all the things you'd like to ask. That way, your mind won't come up blank when they finally show up, and you'll save your nurse a moral dilemma.
3. The Patient Next Door Is Dying
Nurses always seem busy, rushed, and quick to move on to the next patient, barely leaving time to make conversation or inquire more about how you're feeling today. That is because we are busy, extremely busy trying to stay focused, avoid mistakes, and above all, keep our patients safe. We're busy trying to keep confused patients in their chairs, hurting patients pain-free, post-op patients walking, coughing, and breathing, and dying patients comfortable.
Of all these people, the dying patients and their families require the most care, comfort, compassion, and attention. On a good day, nurses are typically given a lighter load when providing care to those destined for their celestial transfer, but even then, it's difficult to equally distribute attention to every patient. Most people don't come to the hospital to die, nor do they want to know if someone is dying, especially if it's their "neighbor." We're good at keeping secrets: Even if it wasn't mandated by federal law, we always strive to keep a straight face and focus entirely on the patient at hand. But it's hard to deny it when patients notice the somber faces of fellow visitors and the sound of tears next door.
So if you're ever in this position, please give your nurses a little extra patience that day because compassionate care is a difficult job and a little kindness goes a long way.
4. They Had to Google It
So, you're admitted with a unique and rare disease. It may be a condition that your nurses are not familiar with. Whenever we don't understand a disease or know the answer to your question, you can be sure that we are actively searching for the answer online. Let's just hope that your nurse uses a legitimate medical evidence-based resource such as UpToDate rather than Wikipedia.
Additionally, if you or your family member want to look up information, become an amateur diagnostician, or maybe just read more about your condition, please use legitimate medical websites and not Wikipedia or someone's terrifying blog account. It's nice to know things, but inadequate, biased, or fallacious websites can be a dangerous thing.
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5. They Don't Remember Your Name
Due to the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (Title II), we keep patient information top-secret. To prevent revealing information to other patients and visitors in the hallways and shared rooms, you may overhear us calling you by your room number.
Many times it will be, "Will you please get 3B some ice," or "6C would like to shower now" to our fellow aides, but it's not that we don't care enough to remember your names. We truly do, especially if we have the joy of keeping you for our 3-day/36-hour stretch of the week. (This isn't sarcastic: We are genuinely excited if we can provide continuity of care and help you improve, especially if we can exchange end-of-shift reports with the same nurse). Sometimes, though, it's just easier and more efficient to call you by your room name.
But truth be told, there may be moments when your name eludes us. Believe me, I'm excellent at remembering names and even better at faces, but barely two hours into a morning shift, downing hospital-brewed Sanka that pretends to be coffee, and remembering I have six patients to assess, look up labs for, prep for tests, and give meds to by 10 a.m., my mind may come up with a blank when your family member calls, wondering how you're doing that morning. Don't worry, though, I'll have your name down by 7 p.m.... unless, of course, I've overused your name that day, and that's not always a good thing.
6. Being "Discharged" Does NOT Mean You Can Go Home Now
Okay, so this is something we probably want you to know.
When a physician tells you that you're going home in the morning, it doesn't always mean before 11 a.m. In the hospital world, there are a lot of "ifs" and "buts" to determine exactly when you will be discharged.
First: Why are you here? If you're in the hospital for any exacerbation of a chronic disease (heart failure, COPD, or uncontrolled diabetes, for example), you most likely require education before being sent home. New medications such as Coumadin or Lovenox also require extra education. Don't be surprised if this delays your discharge.
Second: Who said you could go home? Was it your specialist? If so, this simply means that they've discharged you from their standpoint. The rest of the process of discharge then falls to the remaining specialists, and if none remain, it is left to the primary provider (typically a Hospitalist or Internal Medicine group). If you are admitted solely under a specialist (for example, you're admitted under an orthopedic surgeon for a knee replacement), then it's safe to say you are truly discharged.
Third: "My doc says I'm discharged, so I'll go ahead and take my IV out in order to save my nurse some time, right?" The answer is NO! Please ask your nurse first, and please don't take it out yourself. Many things can delay a discharge: laboratory tests, required repeat labs that were lost in the tube system or had erroneous results, a surprise fever, a case of syncope (passing out), or (god forbid) a serious event such as a heart arrhythmia or cardiac/respiratory arrest. These are some of the reasons why you should not take out that IV; your nurse will thank you.
Fourth: Above all, be patient. If you've asked your nurse when you will be discharged more than four times in a single hour, you've most likely delayed your discharge even further. Every trek back into a patient's room to reassure them that they will be discharged "soon" takes time away from passing out meds, toileting patients, and sending them for tests so that the nurse can finally sit down and write out your discharge papers. If you're constantly asking when, we'll never be able to finish our tasks so we can work on yours.
7. They Don't Know Why You're on This Medication
One thing you should know about are your meds and why you're taking them. The nurse isn't customarily in charge of explaining this to you.
Nurses are smart. We know hundreds of diseases and diagnoses, the medications that treat them, and how they work to treat each condition. However, many meds have multiple indications and various uses. For example, let's say we know you have high blood pressure (hypertension), and you're scheduled to receive three meds. These three meds can be used for hypertension but have very different mechanisms of action. We can find out why you're taking them, but reviewing a patient's history is kind of like reading a recorded version of the game "telephone." Depending on who entered the information, who reviewed it, and assuming they haven't missed anything important, we may safely infer that you have fairly resistant hypertension, and that's why you're taking these meds, but it's much better and easier if you take some responsibility for keeping track of what your doctors are prescribing and why.
On the other hand, clear communication is key when you're in the hospital, and we know that sometimes you need to ask more than once to get things straight. Never be afraid to ask the question, "Why?" But then make sure you listen to and understand the answer!
8. They Think You Should Be in the Intensive Care Unit
Nursing is an art, and it takes experience to build skills like developing a gut reaction. Sometimes, you can just look at a patient and know that they should be in the intensive care unit. New nurses may not get it right away, but experienced nurses (as well as other medical staff) can sense an emergency from just a few feet away.
Many of us have various rituals to ward off these bad spirits, which may include plugging in the code cart just a little closer to your room or withholding lunch just a little bit longer to see how you'll do. If your nurse or aide seems concerned about you (visiting you every ten minutes, constantly checking your vitals, and incessantly asking how you're feeling), just tell the truth. Stoicism doesn't work well in hospitals: not for pain relief, not for nausea, and especially not for "feeling the worst you've ever felt."
If you feel that something is just not right, tell us. Sometimes our patients get that ominous feeling before we do, but all it takes is a little initiative to get us to take a longer look into your trending vitals, labs, and recent tests to determine if we need to call your provider to take a second look.
9. When You Say You're Allergic to All Pain Meds Except Dilaudid...
We may roll our eyes. Just joking... okay, well, sort of.
"Pain is always what the patient says it is: Always." However, if your pain is truly a 10/10, then joking, laughing, texting, and answering your phone when the nurse is asking you serious questions is not the best way to appear sincere.
Withholding pain medications for a person in pain is against the rights of the patient, and nurses don't withhold pain medications when a person is in pain, but be honest. Even a little pain is cause for intervention, but it's not only the degree of pain you're experiencing but the sincerity with which you express it that will get you the compassionate care you deserve.
10. Get Out of the Hospital as Soon as Possible
Hospitals are gross, period. We strive as hard as we can to sterilize, clean, and disinfect the thousands of germs that are harbored in the recesses of your hospital bed, remote control, bathroom, and floors, but it's just not enough. And the longer you stay in the hospital, the greater risk you are of being infected with a nasty hospital super-bug.
Yes, there are horrible germs that cause everything from ventilator-associated pneumonia to MRSA and result in thousands of additional dollars in care. They may make you even sicker than you were in the first place. So if you're fine but think one more day of rest in a nice hospital with friendly staff and prepared meals is a good idea, think again. Get out as fast as you can.
That being said, you're always welcome to visit when you're well again. We always appreciate thanks from patients we've helped recover. You don't need to bring cookies or treats; just a simple card or visit will do to remind us why we keep doing what we do. The smiles of previous patients make the long hours, stressful shifts, and overtime worth it. We didn't choose this profession to be money-makers but rather to provide honest and compassionate care so that you can return to a normal, happy, and healthy life.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2012 Kelly Wagner
menamia on October 06, 2018:
I spent a week in ICU for a pericardial effusion that developed out of nowhere. Most people were wonderful, but then you always get the few people that are just legitimate idiots. I had two specific nurses that acted weird and did things i thought were weird. They always gave me meds pulled out of the package and a little medication cup. One evening before a shift change a male nurse ran in and handed me something he said was urgent I took for my blood pressure because he called Dr. on call and they said I needed to get my bp under control. The thing is my cardiologist was just there and we spoke about how the day before my BP was all over the place and he said I know you have told us if your BP drops too low you will be very weak. It took a few hours to get my pain meds changed but this nurse got a change in literally five minutes the monitor acted weird. I refused the meds and said I am not taking this and he looked at me and said it's your choice but the nurse before him who gave my family a hard time said I needed it. Fast forward and my husband and family said to me later that if I didn't refuse the meds they would have launched him in the hall because he had hero syndrome and acted weird. After he left I was asked about six times if I wanted my standard BP meds that I have been taking. I kept refusing and still couldn't get them to remove off my chart. A day later when I moved to a regular room I saw a younger chip on her shoulder nurse treat my roommate poorly. I didn't know her history just heard her crying and nurse said I can't keep coming in here and the poor lady had a reaction to antibiotics couldn't control her bowels and had to pee. My family got up 4-5 times to call nurses to help her and she was annoyed! Next morning she came in nasty grabbed my arm took BP and gave me the look of say something and I will be back! Poor old lady sat in urine from 2am to 8:30 am . She said I'm older but understand and have never been treated so poorly! Whom do we report this nonsense to without being the terrible patients? No-one should ever be made to feel scared of a nurse and their attitudes! There are too many absolutely wonderful ones out there and these idiots ruin it for others!
Adam Wilson Sherman on October 04, 2018:
I love, Kelsey Elizabeth Batson!?!
clif bond on February 04, 2018:
A pizza delivery to your nurses station will go along way toward making their day better.
Jason on September 05, 2017:
Just an article for begging for a pat on on the back. I never have had a truly horrible encounter with a nurse, na, ra, pa, np etc until recently. I understand their wanting to be loyal to one another and professionalism is secondary for some, but the bottom line is that they for the most part aren't special. Some are great at what they do do cause they are good or maybe just passionate. A great number of them are just terrible. Shortages of nurses and half ass educational opportunities abound. I don't think my mechanic should be placed in a new area of gratitude purely reserved for doing what he is trained and paid for
It's offside trap of wanting to know if there was no longer in service of on September 05, 2017:
The following document untitled document document copy of your help and advice and help you to the store is a good time and effort you put it back in the car wit me to do it in the OP is talking about now so I will
Buttercup101 on August 25, 2017:
The truth is, nurses are too under educated for their jobs. If you can't start an IV you have no business being a nurse. No one buys it when you blame the patient or their veins. It does no good to tell the nurse your health problem bc you will just have to repeat it to the doctor. I've told nurses of health problems only for them to look confused or have to be on google like they admit above. Anyone can get on google. Then I will talk to the doctor and they know exactly what I'm talking about.
What's really scary is nurse practitioners playing doctor unattended. They don't have the education bc they have not went to med school which is a completely different ball game. A nurse is a nurse and doctor is a doctor. They are no where near the same. It's sad how everything is turning into walmart healthcare. If I see a nurse practitioner and only getting half the care then I should only have to pay half the price.
I've learned if you have any health questions be sure to ask a doctor bc the nurse simply doesn't know. They will act like they do, but when you have health issues this usually proves harmful. Always double check anything a nurse tells you, bc you can't trust their opinion.
They always have a ton of work at the hospital, but they are usually delayed due to gossiping at the nurse's station. When you hit the button they act like it is a huge inconvenience. They are also the ones that increase hospital infection risk. A lot of times they will insist on a catheter even if you don't need one. This is simply bc they don't want to have to deal with taking you to the bathroom. Instead they would rather risk you getting a uti or kidney infection. This is also something they admit. They will blame it on being "under staffed."
Most of them are the rudest and absolutely hate their lives and jobs. I went to a nursing school graduation and they all admitted they have had no idea what they were doing, but couldn't wait to apply for jobs. Very scary. The thing is nurses should just be nurses only. They keep receiving more and more responsibility they that don't have the capacity to handle. They really should be required to have an extra year in nursing school and then an extra year of clinical. Not 6 weeks.
Bigwillystyle on June 06, 2017:
I had a nures to help me pee and she actually held my dick in her hand and helped me pee . was she supose to do that ?...... Dont have a problem with it just wondering if shes suppose to help out that much :)
Sasha on June 05, 2017:
Some of the dumbest people i know are nurses. It is a fact that stupid people often strive to become nurses because it is doesnt require brains, just hard work. It is probably the most financially rewarding job for a dumb person to take.
Joe on May 11, 2017:
#4 is a lie, the truth is patients get discharged all the time but the RNs don't want another patient after you leave so they BS the patient till the end of the shift
Danika on February 09, 2017:
As a nurse, we NEED to know why you are on certain meds. Even if it is as simple as advil, we need to know. That is part of our job.
WowWow on September 25, 2016:
Sisterwhocares: Your first question might be to the pharmacy that provides meds for the SNF. Occasionally there are shortages and back orders on certain meds. If that is not the case, then you might try to find out if the SNF is ordering the meds in a timely manner. Next, if the meds he needs are out of stock or back ordered, the SNF can ask the MD to order something else that is more readily available. Finally, if the availability is not as issue, then the SNF needs to tep up their game with ordering.
sisterwhocares on September 24, 2016:
Can someone explain to me why, for the third time in 10 days the skilled nursing facility has run out of meds for my brother? (he's only been there for 10 days!) He had his leg amputated in an accident three weeks ago. Somehow, his long-acting morphine keeps "running out". I am really disturbed by this trend. He is an inspiring patient, excelling at his physical therapy and has kept his sense of humor. He is friendly to his nurses and fellow patients. They just don't seem to care about making sure the patients meds are current (other patients have reported similar issues during conversations with them).
myocardialarrest on September 05, 2016:
Dear MDs: Hi! I'm a nurse, and I know & agree that you are smart & that you and I are both human. Thank you for being helpful and for having my back! That said, when it comes to pain and pain meds, I have a request. If/when you decide to decrease the dose or frequency of a patient's pain medication (perhaps for the patient's safety, or maybe to get them home and recovering more quickly, or maybe because they haven't had a BM for 10 days,), could you give me a heads up, or better yet, have a little talk with the patient? I ask because if a patient is asking for, and getting, dilaudid every 2 hours, they're definitely going to notice when I can no longer do so. And if they're unhappy about this, they're going to take it out on me & maybe even fill out one of those patient satisfaction cards & say mean things about how I didn't do enough to control their pain, which, then management will feel obligated to have a big talk with me, and on and on. . . But if we can set some expectations, things tend to go more smoothly.
And patients: if you tell me that your pain is not controlled, I will always always attempt to get you whatever the MD or the pain team determines is right and best. But I simply cannot give your pain medicine more frequently than I'm allowed to give it. Not if I want to keep my job. And if you are over-sedated, if your blood pressure and heart rate are unusually low for you, I will exercise my best judgment. This is not because I don't believe that you feel what you say you feel, this is a matter of safety. (I'm not in hospice, by the way, where the playing field is a little different.)
Great article, by the way!
Thelma Alberts from Germany on May 18, 2016:
Wow! This went viral. Thanks for sharing this to us. I would have never known. Thumbs up for this insider knowledge of being a nurse and for writing this well. Well done!
Sandi on May 04, 2016:
Nursing is not for wimps. It is not about making money, or having a God complex. Nursing is a group of professionals trying to give you back the highest quality of life we can, even if you treat your body poorly. I love being a nurse, but there are days I want to hang up my stethoscope and call it quits. We work all sorts of long hours, without breaks, miss so many events such as holidays, birthdays, weddings and on and on, so we can take care of you and your family. I not only got through nursing school, I have to continually educate myself to keep up with what I need to know to look after you well. Next Thanksgiving or Christmas, as you sit around having a meal and enjoying your day, think of all those dedicated professionals who are spending 12 hours of the very same day, missing all of it to look after the sick and dying. Nurses give up a lot to do what they do and all we want is to see you all walking out the door and back to to living your life. Like you, we just want a little patience and understanding.
Kimberley Clarke from England on April 18, 2016:
Thank you for this - from a 1st year student nurse in the UK! I have much to learn, but hope to be a great nurse one day.
Cole Delavergne from Houston Texas on April 17, 2016:
X-Ray guy annoys me so much, he puts it up, takes a took at it and he knows if there is an issue but refuses to say. You then have to wait half an hour for a doctor to tell you what he's already knew. I understand that if you have cancer an X-Ray tech isn't ready to deal with that but it's still frustrating.
Sukhdev Shukla from Dehra Dun, India on April 15, 2016:
Kelly, it was a pleasure going through such an informative Hub. I will be sharing it with my wife who is into teaching nursing. I am sure it will then go to many of her students who will also benefit from your experiences. This is, perhpas, the first Hub I have come across having maximum nujmber of comments and many of these comments are like value addition to the theme of your Hub.
Robilo2 on April 15, 2016:
Really enjoyed reading this article.... sister and mother-in-law are RNs. Sharing it now on social media!
Joyette Helen Fabien from Dominica on April 15, 2016:
Wonderful hub! Thanks for sharing these secrets!
I respect this Blessed profession!
smcopywrite from all over the web on April 15, 2016:
nursing falls in the category of over worked and underpaid for their services. unfortunately, most of the work for getting the patient well actually falls squarely in the lap of nurses.
they are first on the scene responding to any emergency and nine times out of ten know the diagnosis before the doc does. thanks for anyone brave enough to venture into the field. there is always a need for great quality ones in any medical scenario. this is an excellent article on the common questions patients in the hospital ask. thanks for answering them honestly and in an understandable way.
Linda Robinson from Cicero, New York on April 14, 2016:
Wow Kelly I really enjoyed this hub, filled with so much information, that you would never expect. Very detailed and so well written and thorough. This is and excellent hub for everyone to read. Have to share it on face book and Twitter. So nice meeting you and look forward to following you. And to read more of your hubs. Linda
Raazheart on April 14, 2016:
Add Your Comment..
Lisa VanVorst from New Jersey on April 14, 2016:
A very informative hub. I have been in the hospital for myself and also for family members. I can say that all my hospital stays were great. Staff great and very friendly and helpful and food was good also. However, I was not a demanding patient, with demanding family members. I was also on the neurological unit. However, my mother-in-law has been in and out of hospitals several times, both for cardiac and pulmonary reasons. She has multiple issues and has COPD. All of her hospital stays were horrible. My husband, her son and primary care taker was very demanding (after all this is his mother), so staff were not so friendly and helpful and probably hated when he called them or visited with them with multiple questions. To my husband and her son, his mother was the only patient on the wing of importance. I work in a nursing home and I do understand HIPPA and patience with healthcare employees. So yes I do understand all this and that is why I was a good patient. It does not always go for the very sick patients with family members who just cannot accept the sickness of their loved one. Great Article.
Catherine Mostly from Seattle, WA - USA - The WORLD on April 14, 2016:
Thank you so much for this brutally-honest perspective. I have an aunt that is always suspicious of nurses. They simply cannot do enough for her, fast enough. I know a lot of us have that 'entitled patient' attitude; and it can be so hard to wait - and doesn't it seem like we wait forever, sometimes? Consider it motivation for trying to stay healthy to not end up in the hospital. :)
Carolyn from Northamptonshire on May 26, 2015:
Fantastic, and that's why I am not a nurse
Marcelle Bell on May 25, 2015:
Well done Hub! I spend 3 days/2 nights (on day/night in the ICU) after a craniotomy 18 months ago. I went through many nurses while I was there of varying experience levels and found this article very interesting and also was able to relate to some of what you had written here. Those nurses did work so hard and really helped me tremendously in starting my recovery. I took all that they said and advised me seriously and it helped me for my month-long recovery at home. Thank you for this very interesting and well-written Hub. Thumbs up!
Tammy64 on April 15, 2015:
So many things I want to address, but those who are trashing nurses wouldn't understand....I don't know if it's ignorance or jealousy. Anyway. ...what happened to Sara....she talked trash and then ran.
Nicu from Oradea, Romania on December 16, 2014:
I read these facts, and I can say that you are right. I prefer to don't go to hospital and to not know nurses better.
Jennifer on November 05, 2014:
I think articles like this are dangerous. As healthcare providers, we are supposed to make patients feel comfortable and less scared than they already are. I feel like this only perpetuates the fear of being in a hospital, even though these may be true.
colleen RN on October 29, 2014:
We have every right to think highly of ourselves...because we're DAMN amazing ;-)
Musu Bangura from Nation's Capital on October 23, 2014:
Realistic and informative. I had a nurse tell me results of a test that only the doctor was supposed to disclose. They felt comfortable enough to tell me because they felt it wasn't a big deal...which it wasn't but still!
infoweekly from South Africa on October 23, 2014:
Kinda scary but after knowing enough nurses I understand that this is all so true. Especially the last one so hard to keep germs under control in a hospital!
HollyC on October 18, 2014:
If anyone thinks nursing school is a breeze, I dare you to try it. Anyone who has been in nursing school or knows someone who has will tell you that its one of the most challenging things they've ever done; it sure as hell was for me!
As for the whole "God complex" some of you think nurses have, you're WAY out of line and WAY wrong. Of course there are a few bad apples in every batch, as there are in any line of work, but most of us work our asses of for one simple reason: because we care. You think its easy going from attempting to revive a patient and watching them die to walking into other patients rooms and ask how they're feeling? It's a very hard job, but its also very rewarding. And only three days a week? Three shifts is equivalent to approximately 39 hours a week. And if your unit is understaffed like mine is, you pick up extra shifts, putting you at about 52 hours a week. The nurses I know are some of the most selfless people, so think twice before you go bashing a career you know NOTHING ABOUT!
yournamebitch on September 08, 2014:
Nothing wrong with using wikipedia except for uninformed people who know nothing about wikipedia.
Johnf143 on July 03, 2014:
I really appreciate this post. I've been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You've made my day! Thanks again! ddbedkakbfba
Susan Bailey MSN RN-BC CLNC from Silver Spring, MD on July 02, 2014:
I do have one problem with the article. Patients with severe chronic pain may not display behaviors or act as others might with acute pain might act at a 10/10 rating. So telling a patient to adopt behaviors that make the nurse feel more comfortable with their rating is counterproductive and is exactly the opposite of what any nurse assessing a patient's pain should want. Because very often we can ferret out those who are putting on behaviors and your suggestion may inadvertently cause someone to be labeled a drug seeker vs. someone who is legitimately experiencing pain.
williamd on April 17, 2014:
I had a bad experience with 2 nurses after an operation . They did not introduce themselves , exposed my genitals for no reason,one nurse opened the bathroom door after she directed me to have a shower, she asked if I needed any help to have a shower. This nurse was definitely interested in gawking at my body. Nurses need to communicate with patients in a friendly manner something that was lacking while I was in hospital.
Angie Power from North Cali on March 06, 2014:
I was browsing around Hub Pages and I am really glad that I found this Hub. I have such respect for nurses, who dedicate their lives to helping others. I have definitely come across a few who struck me as purely amazing. I related to so much of what was written here. I am a very hard stick as well, and I tend to avoid going to the doctor or even to the hospital in an emergency because it takes a little less than a million tries from different phlebotomists to stick and poke and fish and search for a vein, and they always joke with me, "How are you still alive with no veins in your body?" Last year, I was in the emergency room, being tortured by multiple nurses with their butterfly needles to no avail when finally, in walks an amazing woman who rolled in some sort of portable sonogram or ultrasound machine with her, she found a vein in my arm like it was nothing and she did it painlessly. I could not believe how good she was! I still can't. I thought of her as I read your hub, and I want to thank you for reminding me how precious a good nurse can be for somebody. Thanks again for sharing.
Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on January 21, 2014:
I accidentally entered my comment before I was through. The end of that dangling sentence should read, "...takes away from their competence at their jobs."
The phenomenon to which I refer above is variously called "nurse bullying", "nurse abuse of other nurses and healthcare workers" and "harassment by nurses." It's also casually referred to as "nurses eat their young" because this bullying or harassment is most often directed toward newer nurses. It is a well-known practice in the hospital industry, but a well-kept secret from most patients and outsiders.
It's difficult enough to work long hours and take care of sick patients without being subjected to bullying by other nurses who are acting like frat boys. Nurse bullying should never be tolerated, and--no matter how much experience a bullying nurse has, no matter what friends in high places, should be warned and, if the harassment continues, fired. Good, dedicated nurses who would never take part in such behavior should not stand by and watch it happen without reporting the perpetrator, either. There's a time to "get involved", and this is one of those times.
Yes, there's a nursing shortage, but other nurses will successfully complete nursing school. Nurses who mistreat their colleagues should not be allowed to continue doing so. They bring shame on the honorable profession of nursing.
Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on January 21, 2014:
One of my granddaughters is an infant ICU nurse. One cousin is a hospital nurse, as is a good friend. I know that each one of these nurses is a dedicated, hardworking individual intent on giving the best care possible to each of their patients. I also know that the majority of nurses have the best interests of their patients at heart. That's the main reason they work 12-hour shifts (some of them for five days straight), which is a grueling schedule. I have nothing but the highest respect for these nurses.
But not all nurses fall into the "good nurse" category. There is one little secret that they (the "other ones") don't want patients or other hospital personnel--especially someone who could fire them) to know, but it's a big enough problem that it was featured in the healthcare professional's online journal, Medscape. It's the downright brutality of the way those "other" nurses treat any nurse or more lowly employee with whom they interact. Actually, some of these nurses may be competent at nursing practices. But their tendency to play hospital politics and "head games" that create stress and chaos among their colleagues
Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on January 21, 2014:
Brownie83: Thank you for taking the time to write this thoughtful hub. I myself am in the medical field, though I am not a nurse....I do understand the magitude of the stress, high intensity and hetic.chaos that goes on behind the drape. I appreciate nurses and when it gets bad...really bad to just try to keep smiling. Have a wonderful week.
Jai Warren from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas on January 20, 2014:
Just one hospital stay is all it took me to realize that nursing is one of the most difficult professions on earth. As a patient, have a little compassion for the scope of their job.
Shil1978 on January 20, 2014:
Refreshing to read such great perspective. Well written and effective, thanks for sharing :)
I do have tremendous respect for nurses. Yes, they are human too, wish more people realized that, but in a patient setting, I guess the expectation is that you are perfect.
I am sure they don't get as much appreciation as they truly deserve!!
Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on January 18, 2014:
Thank you for an informative, well-written, honest article on your profession. I appreciate your willingness to give us a glimpse into nursing that we often don't get to see! Sharing!
Sunil Kumar Kunnoth from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on January 18, 2014:
My home state Kerala and our people called Malayalees hold a record for sending maximum number of nurses to different part of the glob. Most of them work in USA, UK and other European countries as well some Middle East countries. Their service is appreciated by all. This article is an excellent one. You have covered the topic so well with fine illustration and in a simple style. I would love to share it on FB. Thank you for sharing.
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on January 17, 2014:
I always suspected that nurses knew more than they were allowed to tell. Next time a nurse refuses to answer my question and says she doesn't know, I'm gonna say, LIAR! I READ BROWNIE83'S HUB. Just kidding:)
lakshmivasuki on January 16, 2014:
Nice hub.i will follow you as well.
lesliebyars on January 15, 2014:
This is a great hub. I agreed with a lot of the things that you wrote. I voted up and interesting. I am going to follow you as well.
April Garner from Austin, Texas on January 15, 2014:
This is a very well-written article with an honest inside look at the nurses profession. I have only been admitted to the hospital twice - to give birth - and I had some great nurses with nice, calm, professional, friendly attitudes. One missed my vein with the IV a few times, but that kind of thing doesn't bother me that much. I mess stuff up too sometimes, and nurses are human. Again, I love the honesty and humility of this article. It's something we could use a little more of in the world.
Ilona from Ohio on January 14, 2014:
People need to know as much information about their medical care as possible, good to hear from the nurses point of view.
AdamsGil on January 14, 2014:
Wow, just awesome. I will take care of such things.
But not all of them are same. There's a proverb a bad fish spoils the whole pond.
So, we can't blame the whole profession.
But overall it was an informative and much useful article, voted up!
Missy Mac from Illinois on January 13, 2014:
Recently, I was admitted into the ER for a terrible reaction to ACE Inhibitor Enalapril. Your article piqued my interest, because I found my nurse informative. Great points to remember in this hub.
cjarosz on January 13, 2014:
Wow, this. Is crazy. While most of these are common sense. Some peoples don't really take the time to understand your job. Thinking that you are there make them miserable
BristolBoy from Bristol on January 11, 2014:
As the partner of a nurse, I can safely say most of this applies to UK nurses as well so it appears it is applicable globally!
Voice of experience on January 10, 2014:
Lauren you are an example of what makes patients with Acute on Chronic pain refuse to be hospitalized. The desire to avoid killing your patient sounds noble but, your reasons you would not give a scheduled dose of med at the time it is due lacks understanding. I suspect you are so focused on thinking your patient on chronic narcotic pain management is drug seeking that you miss the most significant signs indicating a problem. Take a few classes on assessment of acute pain management for patients with chronic pain issues then your patients will appreciate you which is far more important than thinking your doctors know you so well
Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on January 02, 2014:
Congratulations on your success with this going viral! This is a great hub and I can see why it is so popular and well read. It is because it is well written and from your viewpoint. I have been fortunate to have always had professional nurses who knew their job well. I have never run into a bad one and I am in the ER frequently with angioedema attacks. So, thank you for your tireless work and sunny disposition and no one is perfect on the job - some of us understand that!
passion77 on December 30, 2013:
I am a nurse.... it is not my profession but who I am. Are we all not nurses at some point in our lives? Whether we hold a degree or "nurse" our dying father, we all our nurses!
Coming from a lower class family, I have seen my share of struggles. My father doing an extremely physical job at a factory and my mother working long greuling hours as a nurses assistant, I was brought up with morals and values. I never heard my mother complain because she wasn't able to enjoy a holiday dinner with her family but she always reminded me when she walked out the door to remember those who are experiencing very difficult situations. When I looked into her eyes I knew I wanted that same compassion I saw within her.
As with any other profession, nursing has its pros and cons. I do not feel that my life as a practicing RN is any more difficult than any other (you couldn't pay me enough to be a checker at walmart) but in this profession mistakes can be fatal and that is a huge responsibility. Also with every other profession, there are always some who can reflect negatively on the profession.
I enjoyed, laughed and was able to relate to this. I believe the author was attempting to shine a comical light on the nursing field.
Truthfully patients & families do not always understand what all is going on behind the scenes, the calls made to get pain medicaton increased so the patient is comfortable, contacting pastoral services to consult with the 25 year old breast cancer patient who has just been told that she is terminal and only has a short amount of time left, we are constantly prioritizing what has to be handled first and attempting to ensure all 8 of our patients know that we are working diligently to give them the best care possible. There will be a time when all nurses seem to be just going through the routine and completing task but I assure you we don't stay that way long because in this line of work we are faced with very heart wrenching and humblevus very quickly.
I will apologize to all that have had bad medical experience and I hope that you are someday given the opportunity for a nurse to touch your life and are able to change you opinion.
As I nurse I am blessed to be given the chance to make an impact on the life of others everyday. My goal is always to make friends with my patients, because when they know I care they are more likely to forgive me for my short comings.
I chose to be a nurse and there isn't a day I regret it (even on the days that are completely mentally and physically taxing, that doesn't mean I don't complain from time to time..... we all do!!!!
Think about it!?
Martie Coetser from South Africa on December 27, 2013:
So wonderful to know all of this from the horse's mouth. You seem to be a serious and dedicated nurse. Down here in South Africa we have dedicated and professional nurses working in private hospitals, but in the provincial (state) hospitals we have the chimpanzee-nurses with no compassion and empathy, working like creepy-crawlies. You can die behind their back while they're BUSY doing their job with the patient who happens to be next on their agenda. My friend was seriously injured in a car crash and landed in the nearest provincial hospital. They didn't bath her, they didn't try to make her comfortable, the let her lie in her own urine for hours.... Sorry, I should not use your excellent hub to rant about the poor hospital care in my neck of the woods. I should write my own rant, including my own sad story.
Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 24, 2013:
This is useful and respected firsthand information from you, Brown83, and I hope it continues to be viral. Congratuations on your baby as well! Rated Up and more.
Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on December 24, 2013:
I had to come see this viral hub. It's neat to read the inside scoop from your perspective. I've worked with a lot of nurses and have a great appreciation for them. Good job on the hub and congrats on its success! Congrats on the baby, too! :-)
moonlake from America on December 24, 2013:
Congratulations, on your hub going viral. I'm so glad for you. I once had an emergency nurse tell me to stand up for myself with doctors and nurses because I had a long haul ahead of me and I was going meet some medical personal I would not be happy with. She was right and I did use her advice not only for me but for family members.
Voted up on your hub but it looks like you don’t need my vote. Great hub.
Chuck Nugent from Tucson, Arizona on December 23, 2013:
Congratulations on your Hub going viral.
However, it is not difficult to see why it was so popular. It is a well written and very informative Hub on a topic that is of concern to many. You did a great job and deserve the success this Hub has had.
Keep up the good work both as a Hubber and in your regular job as a nurse.
John Hollywood from Hollywood, CA on December 21, 2013:
Mister Hollywood likes what you have here.
Barbara Badder from USA on December 21, 2013:
Thank you for all the valuable advice. I hope I'll never need it again, but it will help me be more patient if I do.
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on December 21, 2013:
2013 was a bad year for us. I had knee-replacement surgery, and before I could fully recover, my husband's condition deteriorated, and he spent 3 months of the summer in the hospital more than he was out! It was a rough go, but sitting there with him, getting to know the nurses on each shift; which ones were persnickity and hard to deal with, and which ones bent over backwards to ensure patient well-being, I was able to help out with many things that saved the nurses from constant call-backs to his room (usually for urinal use--a frequent interruption for a patient on Lasix...and bedridden as a fall risk.) He had so many blood draws that they collapsed his veins, and he had to have a central line put in; it was the primary nurse who made that call.
We have a dear friend who is a home-visit nurse, and I am constantly in awe of her knowledge of procedures and medications once thought the exclusive province of doctors.
I am very interested in the medical field, and can 'speak the language' to some extent, but I did not pursue a career there for two reasons: I am totally inept a math, and I don't have it in me to stab anyone with a needle.
But my hat is off to nurses and what they have to deal with daily.
Voted up, useful, awesome, shared and pinned.
Suzie from Carson City on December 21, 2013:
Congratulations, Brownie83! I just read about this viral Hub of yours, in the news article posted by Christy, on our Hub Community site. I enjoyed the interview and am happy for you.
What a nice thing to happen just in time to welcome your precious daughter!$$$$
Great hub of course....and I know it's all very accurate. I have a sort of "inside track" on nurses. I hold nurses and teachers in high regard.
Best of everything to you and hubby as you begin your parenting journey!.........UP+++
MD on December 21, 2013:
I wish the nurses would stop putting down the MDs to make their position more important. I understand we (MDs) make mistakes and we really do NEED our nurses but this whole status thing will not get better with comments such as, "If you read an MDs report you would shut your mouth." Come on now, medical school is known as one of the hardest programs to go through and we work very hard. On top of a bachelors we go through a very rigorous 4 year program along with extremely difficult board exams. Nurses are so crucial to the healthcare profession so everyone who is saying negative comments need some education on the healthcare system. My point is- MDs and nurses we work together. Nurses make mistakes on a regular basis that MDs correct and vice versa. No need for putting down the MDs though. That really upsets me to see those posts.
Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on December 20, 2013:
After having read your hub, I understand why your article was so popular. The title alone grabbed my attention. My nursing days are long past, but some of your information rang a bell. Congratulations on your outstanding work.
Jean Bakula from New Jersey on December 20, 2013:
I spent a lot of time in hospitals as a child, and only wish I had nurses that were as sensitive and honest as you. I do truly believe many of you are psychic about the needs of your patients, and know for sure you don't get the respect you deserve from doctors.
The last time I was hospitalized I had a nurse that scared me so badly that I felt like I was in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. My doctor would not accept my insurance for my surgery, so I got one from the same practice who I didn't really like. To add insult to injury, he called in another specialist to attend the surgery, as it was the first time it was performed in the hospital. All that was happening as the OR nurse was arguing with the Dr. about that as I was being wheeled in for the surgery.
I awoke to the Nurse from Hell, and was in terrible pain. She wouldn't do anything for me. I finally called the Dr. at home to ask what was going on, and he told her she could give me morphine. But she kept letting my IV get empty and stabbing me every time she needed a vein, and was so incompetent I was afraid to take the pain meds, and stayed up most of the night.
Later on I heard the voice of a sweet, Jamaican nurse. I knew at once I was safe again, just by her voice and her touch. She gave me something to help me sleep, and after that I got discharged the next day. Most of you are angels like her.
Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on December 19, 2013:
I can only add one thing to this wonderful article. I was a 'lab technician' (M.T. A.S.C.P) for 38 years and it still amazes me how tight nurses will make the tourniquet before attempting to draw blood. The first photo in this hub makes me cringe.
The purpose of a tourniquet in phlebotomy is to DISTEND the vein, NOT cut off the flow of blood. This is one of the biggest reasons for the lab to be giving you "erroneous" results.
Backed up veins start hemolyzing blood and building up excess potassium and glucose. They also quickly go 'flat' and you can't get blood out of a stopped up vein.
Please spread the word, and thanks for this really excellent hub on nursing!
Noor on December 19, 2013:
Anyone who says that following the doctor's orders is the name of the game is lying about being a nurse. Clearly, you know nothing about this profession.
ERnurse08 on December 19, 2013:
To the author of this article, it was spot on! To those with criticisms, either you haven't ever been in the healthcare profession, or you really haven't been exposed to the inpatient aspect of nursing personally. To say that it's an easy junior college degree is quite distasteful. You won't find any other program that has the same grading scale as nursing (most programs you have to pass with an 80% or higher) and you learn 10+ chapters weekly to take your weekly test. And the hardest part about nursing tests??? All the answers can be right, but which one is the best?? Nursing isn't a profession that's printed in black and white, it's a whole lot of gray. You have to understand how a normal body is supposed to function and how it functions and compensates otherwise to disease processes.
Shit could hit the fan in the blink of an eye for a patient. That's why nursing is an art, and it is a skill that needs strengthening constantly. Nurses have to continually connect the dots to a much bigger picture that is running behind the scenes. We have to constantly assess patients and continually question, why and what. Whether it be the reason for the symptoms, the diagnosis, the reasons for the medications prescribed. And the thing is, nurses continually have their asses on the line when they are working. One wrong medication, one wrong turn, one time you don't question the doctor, it's the nurses arse. And do we think our job is more important than others? Heck no!! My dad is a retired electrician, and I'm saying, regardless of what we do in life, we all have a profound purpose of making others' lives safer, better, and, at times more tolerable. So the next time any of you critics want to get your panties in a wad, remember this, the most humbling moments in life are at times of humiliation. And as a nurse myself, patients who come in, I don't judge them, cuz it could be me someday that needs that help, and I'd hope that I too would be treated the same as I treat my patients.
DoctorSuckit on December 18, 2013:
There are only two things a nurse needs to be good at - wearing a tight little outfit and making the doctor a good scotch and soda when HE asks for it.
Kelly Wagner (author) from Arvada, Colorado on December 18, 2013:
I still can't believe how popular my hub has become. Thank you for all the comments (and criticisms) alike. I wasn't aware of my popularity until just a few days ago, here's a link to an interview I recently answered for Hubpages that may provide more insight into the article. http://blog.hubpages.com/2013/12/viral-hub-case-st...
mdc on December 18, 2013:
I am a nurse but not in acute care so much of this article doesn't apply to me. ER nurses I have known frequently refer to themselves as "lifesavers." But the nurse to champion recovery or comfort the family of a dying loved one shouldn't be valued less because we don't do as many tasky things like blindfolded IV starts. Nursing is more than tasks and skills. It is about recognizing the potential that docs can make mistakes, advocating for patients and trying to smile through internal tears because it can be one if the absolutely most thankless jobs. Everyone wants to say they have it bad. I don't. I want people at large to realize that just because I chose this career doesn't mean I chose to be subservient to every other member of the interdisciplinary care team. where I work, I am "below" charge nurses, supervisors, managers and doctors while also viewed as secondary to PT, OT and ST. Even recreation therapists have walked into rooms while I was talking to/assessing a patient and I had to ask them to leave because she interrupted without apology to talk with my patient. there is little respect for the profession which is opposite of my impression of nursing prior to actually becoming one and this really saddens me.
Emsibob on December 17, 2013:
I'm not a trained nurse, nor had the intention of going into nursing until recently. However during my training the amount of people that have said to me "I couldn't do the job that you're training to do, it takes a certain st