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6 Pet Peeves All Nurses Would Understand

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By Rozzette Cabrera, R.N.

Nurses are warm and loving individuals who unconditionally take care of their patients despite the vomitus, urine, and cursing they get. This, unfortunately, doesn’t mean that they are, or at least their patience, are invincible.

To give you a clearer idea on what irritates nurses the most, you’ll surely want to read this list of pet peeves.

Pet peeve n: something that a particular person finds especially annoying.

1. When the patient doesn’t understand the pain scale.

To understand how much pain a patient is experiencing, nurses need to use the pain scale and ask the patient to rate the intensity of the pain from 0 to 10. While the scale can help nurses get an idea, there are some behaviors patients exhibit that just don’t match up.

A pain rating of 10 and a smiling face just don’t add up.
A pain rating of 10 and a smiling face just don’t add up.

“I spent 5 minutes in my patient’s room trying to make him understand what a 10 in the pain scale means. He smiled politely at me and insisted that he’s on a 10. He was laughing hysterically with his friends when I left the room,” a ward nurse shared.

2. When the patient thinks he owns you.


Some patients have a hard time distinguishing a hospital from a hotel. They’ll end up asking you to do things out of your job description. While certain requests are forgivable, being asked to clean up after their relatives or to get them snacks from the restaurant across the street are surely way out of any nurse’s league.

3. When your co-nurses complain like they’re doing all the hard work, even if they really not!

Whiny nurses aren’t only irritating to the ears, but they can really pull your team’s positivity down. Because they spend so much energy on complaining, they often end up not completing a single task which means they have to ask you for help in the end.

“During a busy shift, one of my co-nurses spend about half of the eight hours complaining about how difficult her patient was and how it’s hard for her to the do job. When the shift was nearly ending, she asked who among us were finished with our routines so she can get some help. Although we’re through with most of our work, we pretended like we weren’t. It’s a mean action but, hey, we’re all tired too,” a nurse shared.

4. When the people you know see you as a walking pharmacology book.

Nurses know a lot of things when it comes to medicines, which makes a lot of people think they have all the answers to their questions. Some of them can even approach you to write a prescription for them. This idea isn’t limited to your patients. As a matter of fact, even your relatives and family members think the same way.

Via allnurses.com
Via allnurses.com

However, even if you are legally allowed to prescribe, make sure that you only write the right medication for the right patient to avoid creating complications.

5. When your co-worker takes away your pen.

For nurses, pens are probably as essential as stethoscopes. Unfortunately, not all nurses feel the need to bring their own as they have their co-workers to borrow a few pens from. Although it may not hurt to share, some nurses can really get very insensitive.

I don't know if you have my pen, but if I do, I will find you and I will kill you

“I literally have to stick my name on all of my pens so that when one of my co-workers claims it’s hers, I get to prove my pen’s identity,” an ER nurse said.

Now, if you think it’s only nurses who hog pens from co-workers, then you may need to get your facts straight. Doctors often borrow pens (and stethoscopes) from their nurses, too, and they can end up taking the pens with them to another floor or, worse, to another hospital!

6. When nurses are used to threaten kids.

Although we poke people with needles, and we make children cry because of it, it doesn’t mean we’re bad and mean individuals.

Nurses are not monsters.
Dear parents, nurses are not monsters!

Parents who use nurses to threaten kids create a negative impression on their young minds which makes it difficult for nurses to interact with them. Aside from this consequence, parents can also struggle with bringing their children to the clinic even for just a simple consultation.

Are you irritated by the same things? What are your biggest pet peeves as a nurse?

Rozzette Cabrera is a registered nurse pursuing her childhood dream of becoming a professional writer. She spent a few years putting her profession into practice until she decided to take her chances with freelance writing over a year ago. Her life has never been the same since then.

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