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13 Things Your Nurse Won’t Tell You

Ever wonder what nurses are really thinking? Real life RNs dish the dirt.

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1. You're A Moron

1. You’re A Moron

 

“I’d never tell a patient that he’s a moron for waiting a week for his stroke symptoms to improve before coming to the hospital, although I’d like to. Especially if his wife then complains that we’re not doing anything for the guy.”
– A longtime nurse who blogs at head-nurse.blogspot.com

(Photo: Thinkstock)

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2. The Hospital Might Be Dirtier Than You Think

2. The Hospital Might Be Dirtier Than You Think

“Despite nurses’ best efforts, hospitals are still filthy and full of drug-resistant germs. I don’t even bring my shoes into the house when I get home.”
-Gina, a nurse who blogs at codeblog.com

(Photo: Thinkstock)

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3. Shows About Nurses are Inaccurate

3. Shows About Nurses are Inaccurate

“Grey’s Anatomy? We watch it and laugh. Ninety percent of the things doctors do on the show are things that nurses do in real life. Plus, there’s no time to sit in patients’ rooms like that.”
-Kathy Stephens Williams, RN

(Photo: Thinkstock)

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4. I Might Tell You a Little White Lie

4. I Might Tell You a Little White Lie

“If you ask me if your biopsy results have come back yet, I may say no even if they have, because the doctor is really the best person to tell you. He can answer all your questions.”

-Gina, a nurse who blogs at codeblog.com

(Photo: Thinkstock)

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5. We Take Our Anger Out On Eachother

5. We Take Our Anger Out On Eachother

In my first nursing job, some of the more senior nurses on the floor refused to help me when I really needed it, and they corrected my inevitable mistakes loudly and in public. It’s a very stressful job, so we take it out on each other.”
-Theresa Brown, RN, an oncology nurse and the author of Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between

(Photo: Thinkstock)

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6. Sometimes, I'm Afraid I'll Get In Trouble

6. Sometimes, I’m Afraid I’ll Get In Trouble

“It can be intimidating when you see a physician who is known for being a real ogre make a mistake. Yes, you want to protect your patient, but there’s always a worry: Am I asking for a verbal slap in the face?”
-Linda Bell, RN

(Photo: Thinkstock)

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7. And Sometimes, I Do Get All The Blame

7. And Sometimes, I Do Get All The Blame

“Every nurse has had a doctor blame her in front of a patient for something that is not her fault. They’re basically telling the patient, ‘You can’t trust your nurse.'”
-Theresa Brown, RN

(Photo: Thinkstock)

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8. A Note of Thanks Goes A Long Way

8. A Note of Thanks Goes A Long Way

“If you have a really great nurse, a note to her nurse manager that says ‘So-and-so was exceptional for this reason’ will go a long way. Those things come out in her evaluation – it’s huge.”
-Linda Bell, RN

(Photo: Thinkstock)

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9. Sometimes, My Attention Is Split

9. Sometimes, My Attention Is Split

“Now that medical records are computerized, a lot of nurses or doctors read the screen while you’re trying to talk to them. If you feel like you’re not being heard, say, ‘I need your undivided attention for a moment.'”
-Kristin Baird, RN

(Photo: Thinkstock)

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10. I Need You To Be Quiet

10. I Need You To Be Quiet

“Never talk to a nurse while she’s getting your medications ready. The more conversation there is, the more potential there is for error.”
-Linda Bell, RN

(Photo: Thinkstock)

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11. Always Ask The Most Obvious Question

11. Always Ask The Most Obvious Question

“There are a few doctors at every hospital who just don’t think that they need to wash their hands between seeing patients. Others get distracted and forget. So always ask anyone who comes into your room, ‘Have you washed your hands?'”
– Kathy Stephens Williams, RN

(Photo: Thinkstock)

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12. Don't Assume We'll Tell You Everything

12. Don’t Assume We’ll Tell You Everything

“At the end of an appointment, ask yourself: Do I know what’s happening next? If you had blood drawn, find out who’s calling who with the results, and when. People assume that if they haven’t heard from anyone, nothing is wrong. But I’ve heard horror stories. One positive biopsy sat under a pile of papers for three weeks.”
-Kristin Baird, RN

(Photo: Thinkstock)

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13. Speak Up If You Don't Understand

13. Speak Up If You Don’t Understand

“If you do not understand what the doctor is telling you, say so! I once heard a doctor telling his patient that the tumor was benign, and the patient thought that benign meant that he had cancer. That patient was my dad. It was one of the things that inspired me to become a nurse.”
– Theresa Tomeo, RN

(Photo: Thinkstock)