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10 things to NEVER say to a nurse

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Nurses hear it all: The good, the bad, and the (very, very!) ugly. From pushy patients to bossy doctors, nurses handle it all with grace. But there are some things that can get under the most tolerant nurse’s skin.

NursingLink talked to healthcare professionals, one another and (of course!) nurses to find out what phrases or questions were most irritating. Ever felt like strangling someone with your stethoscope? Then you probably heard one of these 10 things.

10. “Helloooooo, Nurse!”

You’re not an object to be fawned over. You’re saving lives here! You don’t have time to be ogled. Luckily, younger generations probably have never heard the phrase, so you can hope that it will be phased out soon.

Okay. We get it. We’ve all seen the cartoons with the buxom nurse who is swooned over by a wolf, or a man, or an Animaniacs character. It wasn’t funny or original the first dozen times you heard it, and it certainly hasn’t made a positive impact 10 years later.

9. “Do You Only Date Doctors?”

Puh-lease. Anyone who has actually spent any time around a doctor knows that dating one is next to impossible. Crazy hours. Constant stress. Big egos. Who wants to put up with that? Plus, everyone knows you shouldn’t “dip your pen in the company ink.” Spending 12-plus hours with someone can make you form an incredibly close bond, but that doesn’t mean your coworkers will make the best significant others.

Anyone who asks a nurse this is clearly watching too much Grey’s Anatomy and needs their head examined.

8. “C’mon. Nursing is Just Like on TV!”

Showtime
Showtime

What were we just saying about people who watch too much Grey’s Anatomy? While medical shows are a great form of entertainment – tons of nurses watch them, too – that doesn’t mean they are an accurate portrayal of when hospital life is like. Nursing organizations have even taken up arms against nurse-centered shows like Nurse Jackie and HawthoRNe. Prior to these shows, nurses were almost never the focus of a medical TV show. Nurses were merely in the background emptying bedpans or taking orders.

But we know the truth. Nurses are the foundation of any good health system. They don’t have time to be the center of attention because they are always cleaning up a (metaphorical) mess a doctor has left!

7. “Nurses Take Orders From Doctors”

Medical Professional

Nurses work alongside other nurses. They report to other nurses. They belong to organizations and unions just for nurses. Edie Falco of Nurse Jackie put it perfectly when she said “Doctors diagnose. Nurses save lives.” When it comes down to it, nurses are the ones in the trenches. Because they spend the most time with patients, they can be counted on to know when something is wrong or if a patient has made any progress.

Doctors and nurses may work side-by-side, but nurses are responsible for nurses.

6. “What’s Taking So Long?!”

istockphoto.com/Sharon Dominick
istockphoto.com/Sharon Dominick

Patients depend on nurses to keep their healthcare experience a positive one. But we all know that things can get hectic in the medical field. Emergencies and unpredictable accidents can happen on a daily basis which means patients may not always be seen when they thought they would.

Having a patient gripe at you and ask “What’s taking so long?!” can be irritating, especially if you are trying your hardest to make sure everyone is taken care of. It’s in stressful situations like this that it’s sometimes easier to snap instead of calmly explain that you are doing your best.

And the top FIVE (drumroll please)…

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134 Responses to 10 things to NEVER say to a nurse

  1. Sarah

    thanks for warning me lol

  2. c bender

    I agree 100%, but would like to add #11 treating your nurse like a waitress or like the patient is staying at a 5 star hotel, you are in a hospital, I am your nurse. Like my favorite saying goes, “Do you want to talk to the doctor in charge, or the nurse who knows what’s going on?”

  3. Andrea

    Thank you so much for the comment on the “I’m just a nurse” page…re: “I’m just an LPN”. I am so sick of people including fellow nurses (RN”S specifically) looking down on me because I am an LPN. I DO NOT want to be an RN. They do way to much paper pushing and supervisory duties. I became a nurse to take care of people. I love my job as a Hospice LPN.

    • Natasha

      I get the same thing (expect here in Aus, we are EN’s). I started my diploma 12 months ago, and nearly every week I am asked if I am going to take my studies further and become an RN. It doesn’t interest me, but people are always astounded by that. I get “oh but you’re doing so well in this course you would fly through the RN degree”. Most people don’t even know there is a difference

      • SLM

        Except that LPNs are being weeded out. Most hospitals don’t hire LPN’s. Magnet hospitals won’t even hire associate degree RN’s anymore- you have to have your BSN. I think everyone knows there’s a big difference… that’s why they’re all asking you why you’re choosing not to become an RN.

        • jollynurse

          I work at the University of Michigan, and we do hire some LPN’s, especially in the outpatient clinics. I used to be one of them :-) So don’t let anyone tell you they’re being “weeded out” because they aren’t.

          Also, U of M is striving for magnet status, and they will hire an ADN, but you have to agree to enroll in a BSN program, and I *think* you must complete it within 5 years.

        • Eleanor Johnson

          I know of many places I the the Southwest and Southeast that hires LPNs and associate RNs, phasing out is happening, but slowly.

    • You define you own level of success and happiness. Do not let anyone make you feel like less of a nurse.
      P.S. I work with hospice and home care nurses and a home care EMR system administrator.

    • Blvd Cruiser

      Andrea………… Try being a Surgical Tech !!! We are treated about the same as housekeepers or gardeners even by a lot of the Nursing staff. Had a Surgeon tell me one time “If it wasn’t for me you would be unemployed” !!!!! I just looked at him and told him “If it wasn’t for me, you’d be doing this case by yourself” !!!!!!! (I thought it was an appropriate statement but he didn’t share my humor…….. He complained and I got written up. But, it was worth it !!!!!

    • sharri66

      Some of the best and most skilled nurses I have ever worked with are LPN’s. They just wouldn’t allow them to work in cardiac. Such a shame.

      • ICUshiftnurse

        I agree Shari. I was trained on ventilators by ENs (in Aus) and their teachings are what allowed me to continue doing what I love doing. If it weren’t for them I would have walked out the door of ICU the day of my first shift! They took me in hand and taught me to look at the patient and not the machines. They explained all the bells and whistles and what they were for and they managed to make me enjoy mytime in that frightening place, so much so that I have not been elsewhere in over 25 years. Those nurses are the one who taught me to bag and suction a patient by myself.. a dying art these days now that physios have taken over the task. I’m old. I remember when ENs shared all duties equally and were given patients with ventilators and multiple ionotropes on a shift. Now they have to check with an RN to be sure they look in the right direction. So very sad!

  4. Angela

    Why the subtle insults toward doctors when comparing doctors to nurses? When someone asks me why didn’t go to medical school, especially since I had the brains and grades for it, I just say, “Because I do not want to do what a doctor does.” Doctors are great, but I like a nurse’s job.

  5. Melanie

    I agree with Ben–it would have been more enjoyable to just read them on one page
    (yes, scrolling down in better for me than clicking on 7 different pages)
    thanks!

  6. Shawnee

    Thanks for the LPN comment. It made me smile.

  7. Kathy

    I appreciate the follow up comment about other nurses not considering an LPN as a nurse. I have reminded several of my RN co-workers, who have made the comment” I am the only nurse here today ,” that I am also a nurse. I work on a Psychiatric unit and am the only one on my shift that can start an IV and also have med/surg experience which is needed frequently.

    • well now we are really not a nurse in my neck of the woods i was looking at nursing jobs not because i want to change jobs , i recieved a e-mail telling me the only place a lpn can work is in a nursing home or home health . Duh i enjoy my job caring for the elderly paper work/computer take you away from the bedside and i enjoy that part of nursing i am 57 yrs old 32 of them spent with the elderly .that’s me all i know about 50 yrs ago you were grandfathered in and did everything for your resident for me i’m good

  8. Miriam Bookey

    We have now “unpaginated” this article to bring it down to only two pages. :-)

  9. Terrie

    This is a site FOR nurses, but this list (save for #3) appears to be advice geared toward the layperson NOT in the field. It would be great to have other types of lists/articles/humor more relevant to nurses, eg., What Not to Say to Doctors/Patients/Families, Patients Say the Funnies/Sweetest Things, etc.

  10. Cindy

    Thank you for the comments on the LPN’s, I am an LPN and get looked down upon all the time. My nurse mananger would rather send me home, and run everyone ragged, than to have an extra licensed nurse on the floor. I work in a medical ICU and have been for almost 8 years. I love this!!!!! LPN’s are direct care nurses, why do people feel we are not real nurses??????!!!!!!!!!! I LIKE BEING AN LPN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • sallypat RN

      I am a RN, but many of the finest nurses I know are LPN’s.

      • jessER10

        I started my career as a CNA, became an LPN and now am an RN, I learned almost everything I know (and owe a lot) to 2 very intelligent, caring, and damn good LPNs. They taught me more than just how to give meds and take orders from a doctor, they taught me to embrace my profession and take pride in it, no matter what your title is, a nurse is a nurse…..and we should never look down or criticize those who don’t want to advance from lpn to RN, I did it because I was a single mom who needed more income, had I made the money I would have stayed an LPN forever. I started my career as an LPN in the ER doing just as much (if not more) than the RNs and now as I continue my career in the ER I feel it’s a shame they are phasing out LPNs in the hospital setting…..I owe my most in depth ️Nursing knowledge and deepest gratitude to them. Like I said, a nurse is a nurse!!!!

  11. dnurse

    i am a registered nurse and today we had a skills fair and we were told by a pt therapist to have a waitress mentality when it comes to customer service!! we are not waitresses we are medically, mentally, emotionally trained individuals that can save your life. im not sorry to say that a waitress has no clue as to what we do. obviously neither does the world!

    • pilotron57

      Dnurse. Saving life’s or killing patients. 200,000 dead patients and 1.5 million injured patients yearly due to medical errors. The 3rd leading cause of death in the US…Wake up the healthcare system is rotten from top to bottom!

  12. Nancy

    I would like to add “Who is waiting on me today?” or “This is the nurse waiting on me today”. Hopefully this will drop with the aging of our population. It make me grind my teeth even when it is said with a smile.

    • sallypat RN

      It annoys me that patients are now clients. Now you serve instead of care for?

    • Nephretite

      Ugh, such frustration. In all my years the public
      Still sees us as servants and maids. The media is to blame. Well maybe healthcare should just hire maids and servants to “treat their clients”. All nurses should strike. Maybe then the public’s eyes will be bashed open.

  13. Michelee ,RN

    I absolutely love this! I am a Registered Nurse and would never be a Doctor they do not have the flexibility I have! As a Nurse I can work in any environment. This profession allows me to work from home, can a Doctor do that? NO! A Nurse is not a waitress. Yes, we do serve our patient’s, but we do so much more. We are advocates, Doctors simply Do Not advocate. As Nurse’s we do need to advocate for ourselves as well. We also need to mentor the new nurse(s) to assure that their career is successful. It is our responsibility to be role models. We need to guide and recruit people into our profession. If the misconception of our profession is in the public it is our own fault.

  14. i also wanna say thanks for the LPN comments. We are under appreciated, especially in the hospital. After working in acute care, med surg, and nursing homes for the past 10 years I was already fed up. I now do Private Duty as an LPN, which I actually prefer as to working my but off and being downgraded. Yes, LPNs are nurses too.

    • Abby Student

      As a new cna, the nurses that respected me the most and helped me when I was overwhelmed were the LPNs. I am now in school for my RN only because I can get better financial aid for it. I think that we (as in all “nursing” staff) are a team to help the patients, and just because one person has more initials after their name it doesn’t make their role any more important.

    • keeper3102

      AMEN SISTER !!! I have been an LPN since 1990…and I don’t really want to be an RN. I get a thrill when a young RN secretly comes to me and asks me “How do you do that?” I help her like a mother hen. It’s sad, but nursing is a profession that far too often will “Eat their young” like a tank of Guppies!
      And as for the Dr’s,,,, IF there is one out there reading this,,,rest assured I respect you for your hard work in accomplishing your degree,,,,but never underestimate the fact that I strive in every way to know just about the SAME information and education that YOU have,,,primarily to protect my patient and myself from your misnomers, as if I were to harm a patient,,,it would be all MY fault,,,,,,, I’ve seen too many good nurses that have been thrown under the bus by a Dr. that had no scruples. And God Bless you,,,if you are from another country,,,please study our language better so we can understand your intelligence!! And last but not least,,,I am a SOUTHERN WOMAN,, I will not submit to disrespect in any manner because I am a female. Obviously, you have never heard the song by Anne Murray,,”I am Woman, Hear me Roar” Google It !!! the LPN from Louisiana,, that “Roars”

  15. Angela

    I loved the LPN comments too. I taught at an LPN program for a while. I heard from an RN educator “LPN’s belong in a nursing home. They have no place in the current hospital setting. I’m glad your organization is phasing them out!” I don’t know why she feels this way. I have had several LPNs recognize changes in OUR patients that I (as a greener than grass RN who worked as the only RN) did not recognize & they saved the patients! I don’t know what I’d have done without them….they saved many lives while I “learned the ropes” out there

  16. Angela

    I also like the waitress comments. Boy do I feel like a waitress most nights….we have a LOT of patients demanding items all night as if they are calling for room service! I had a patient complain about not getting a very specific soda one night while we were in a code! Management seems to be pushing the waitress attitude more and more; I was not a great waitress in nursing school….

  17. Chris

    “They don’t have time to be the center of attention because they are always cleaning up a (metaphorical) mess a doctor has left!”

    This statement is demeaning to the whole health care team.

    I work in an busy ICU, MDs, RNs, PTs, RTs, SW, spiritual, ward clerks and hospital assistants work so close together that everyone is on a first name basis with everyone. I would trust the team with my life, as they would trust me (I always get compliments on my compressions). They look out for us and we look out for them. I hate the phrase “Behind every doctor there is a nurse to save his ass”. Any nurse who says they have not made an error in their career is a liar just like any doctor who says they haven’t.

    Anyways, another phrase I hate is “Are you my nurse tonight/today?”

    No, you have not hired me as a personal nurse, but I will be the nurse looking after you tonight. (well that’s what I say in my head, I just say the last part of the sentence).

    • poorruss RN

      Thanks for the only realistic, reasonable thing that has been said in this entire thread, including the article itself. I can’t possibly improve on what you’ve said. You are a credit to the field.

    • Jackie

      Totally agree. I didn’t like those statements either.

  18. Lynn

    I have a problem with the waitress comments. sorry i have worked as both a waitress and a nurse. both are honorable professions and take special people to fill those shoes( i am a better nurse than i was waitress but i respect the wait person). I am an lpn working on rn. i chose to work as lpn b/c i love patient care. i have no problem calling a doctor when needed nor using my judgement when asked what have you already done for him/her prior to calling. i work in a small hospital so on any given day i may deal with cardiac,respiratory, pediactric, geriatric, psychiatric or terminal patients. I’ve also done nursing home, private duty, and home health nursing. Neither area required less skills than the other. All of them together helped to make me a better nurse. i introduce myself as my patients nurse for the night–that’s my choice of introduction. i am there b/c they CHOSE to be cared for in the hospital i work at rather than go to the next hospital.

  19. Gina

    I’ve been an LPN for 16 yrs, primarily in the ER. I am almost done with my RN program which I decided to finally take because LPNs are being phased out of my ER. Not to mention I do much of the same work the RNs do and I’d like to be paid for it! Sorry to say there is more opportunity for diversity and advancement as an RN too, at least where I live.
    As far as the other comments, I’ve been tempted to wear the T shirt that reads, the H stands for hospital, not hotel. I had an obnoxious diabetic patient demand a diet beverage one day. I brought her the only sugar free drink we had available: WATER. She ended up eloping from the department soon after that!

  20. nan

    My favorite “you are NOT a nurse.. you are just an LVN” …what do you think the “N” stands for???

  21. jas

    I’ve been an RN for almost 20 years and for the first 7 of those, I lived in an area where they utilized alot of LPNs in the acute setting. I’m not ashamed to admit most of what I learned those yrs were from the LPNS. Thanks for all you taught me.

  22. Michelle

    Nothing worse than having patients or family members make inappropriate comments to you when you are trying to ease their pain and help them get well. I had a patient say to me ” I love hot nurses!!!” What makes them think it’s acceptable to make such comments?

  23. Mary

    I work in an ICU. BOTH full time Intensivists said at different times, “If I couldn’t be a physician, I would not be in medicine. I could not do what you (nurses) do.”

  24. shirley

    How about…”Why don’t you answer the call light as fast as they did in ICU?”

  25. Samantha

    I’ve been a nurse for 35 years, am working on a PhD after two Masters in nursing, and as a new nurse, I learned almost all the practical stuff about medicines from the LPN on my unit. Thanks, Susie!
    When I’m asked by patients “Why didn’t you go all the way [ become an MD]?” I answer “oh, I did! I’m an NP AND a clinical nurse specialist!” I teach my nursing students to say “Medicine and Nursing are different jobs – and I prefer doing what nurses do!” When we value ourselves and show it, so will the general public.

  26. Cathy

    LPN’s are real nurses, but they are not , at least in our hospital, allowed to perform the same duties as an R.N.. They should not be mad about their pay difference. They don’t have to take “charge”, push IV meds, access or even use a central line, they aren’t allowed to administer blood or chemo. When the supervisor asks” who was their nurse?”, if you answer an LPN’s name, she will ask, “well who was the R.N. covering her. We don’t just push papers or do administrative work. We are in the trenches too!!! But there are times a LPN can say, “I don’t do that”, but, unless it’s a Dr only procedure, I can’t. I love most of the LPN’s I work with , but just like some R.N.’s , some just won’t bust their butt for anyone.

    • Sarah

      I’m a BSN who is proud to admit that much of my hands-on knowledge came from CNA’s and LPN’s. I started as an LPN, then went on to ADN, then BSN. I enjoy school, so I chose to continue my education to this point. IT DOES NOT MAKE ME A “PAPER PUSHER” OR EVEN A BETTER NURSE FOR THAT MATTER. I do the same work as the other RNs and LPNs I work with. As far as the waitress comment is concerned, as nurses, we are servants. We are serving our patient’s medical, social, spiritual, and physical needs. If you are “too good” to be a servant, then maybe you’ve hardened your heart to what nursing is all about. Mothers “nurse” their infants, it is not coincoidence that the term is the same…we nurture our patients and support them and anticipate growth

  27. Donna Turner

    I’m just 4 months away from completing my RN program. My mom actually had the nerve to tell me that she thought the ASN program was to short, and if she was ever in the hospital she wanted a “real” BSN nurse to take care of her! I told her too late, last time you were in the hospital I’m willing to bet it was an LPN who took care of you, while the ASN RN did your specialty work and the BSN pushed your papers!

  28. Janet Cantwell

    One the N.A.’s I work with said to me tonight,”I wish your were a nurse.” My reply was, “I am a nurse.” She then went on to clarify meaning and R.N.
    Funny how LPN’s aren’t considered nurses. We go to school and take a state board to be licensed, too bad many don’t recognise that. I have taught many RN’s skills that they were lacking,durng my years working as an LPN. I am confortable with my postion and proud to be an LPN!

  29. Rosie Cothertn LPN

    I am a Lpn, been out of school for a year. I work at a nursing home and one day a residents family member asked me a question.I answered her, but she didn’t like me anwser so she asked to speak with the RN on duty. Told her she had left for the day. I called the RN on call asked the question and she gave the same answer as I did. It just old people wanting to talk to the RN in charge. I can anwser their question just as well as the RN can and if i don’t know the answer I will find out.

  30. Maggie, RN, CCRN, BSN

    I found it disconcerting that so many of the LPN/LVNs have experienced such discrimination. In the Deep South there is more of a move BACK to 2-year Associate Degree programs through the technical and community colleges because of the very real shortage of RNs.
    While I have always encouraged LPNs to go back for the one more year in order to become RNs in order to increase their options and income potential, I have also been known to pick a knowledgeable and skilled LPN or PCT/Nursing Assistant OVER another RN in a specialty care ICU because the one which I chose ‘knew the territory’ and was of greater assistance than having an RN who did not.

    • misskeena

      That’s actually really nice to know. Here in Michigan (and most of the region, I believe), the hospitals are requiring a BSN. Well, okay, they don’t outright require it, but it’s stated as preferred, and if you are hired with an ADN (and the Magnet hospitals can only have 30% of their staff as ADNs) you have to sign a contract stating you’ll go back within X amount of years. It’s usually 5 years, but my current employer requires you to go back in a year. It’s okay, I guess. I’ve been an NT for going on 13 years and will have my ADN in 2015; I just know I’m not done when I graduate in 18 months.

  31. Jen, RN

    I’ve found that the best teachers are LPN’s, and not always RN’s. A nurse is a nurse, no matter what their specific letters are. I don’t care if you’re an LPN, RN, ADN, BSN or MSN. We all take care of patients, and help each other out.

  32. Mary, RN

    I am an RN in the emergency room and when I saw the “what’s taking so long” I was like UGH! Because I hear that almost every night. Why is it taking so long to get my _____ upstairs? Because your loved one is not the only patient I have! Some are more critical. eh.

  33. Laurie

    I worked in the PACU and hated when the pts woke up looked at me and said I must have died and gone to heaven…uggh or U look just like an angel….then ofcour hey puked all over me from the anesthesia! What a way to spread the love!!!!! People have no idea ehat we do..Or the comment u don’t look very busy esp when coming from a Doc….ow he hck do u know wht it wil be like 5 seconds from now???

  34. Sherry

    Does it help to know that the same descrimination occurs in education? It didn’t matter that I already had a bachelors before entering a Master of Arts in Education; some teachers looked down on what I taught, Family & Consumer Science classes, making me feel as if I weren’t a real teacher because I didn’t teach a “core” class. Sorry to hear that haapens in the med field as well. By the way, I stopped teaching, for many reasons, and have begun my training towards an RN certification.

  35. Joni

    Why is it taking so long? I only wish the public actually knew that 8 people cannot get meds given by one nurse at precisely 8 AM. Not to mention how slow the computers are at times and that we don’t just give little yellow or big blue pills. We have to know each person’s vitals signs, lab values, and perform at least some kind of assessment before giving them,, plus we have to know what the drug is, what to do if it causes an adverse reaction,etc, On top of calling Docs for extra pain med orders and taking people to the bathroom, and removing and restarting an IV that infiltrated. Oh yeah, If we get an admission at that time we have to initiate all the orders and Core Measures before the patient can get treated at all. ( CPOE ). Then there are those stubborn bar codes that won’t scan or the little elderly lady who enjoys chatting and has to take each of her 26 pills one at a time. And….. just trying to find out which hospitalist is seeing the patient that day can be stressful. I once had to call 4 different Drs just to get a diet order so my early admit could have something for breakfast. SO THAT IS WHY IT SOMETIMES TAKES SO LONG!

  36. Carmen

    There is a great push in the institution where I work for every RN to earn their BSN. At the moment, I’m juggling a full-time job, a 2-year-old, a husband who’s going back to school (for his RN, incidentally), and very little support from family, so I’m perfectly content with “only” being a RN. The hospital would like to get their Magnet designation. Well, i say quit barking up all the wrong trees – there is so much more work to be done besides RNs getting their BSNs, such as people in the OR charting all of their I&Os and administered meds, and treating the “floor nurses” as co-workers and not obstacles! It amazes me how nurses can be so contrary towards one another when thing would go so much more smoothly if we ALL WORKED TOGETHER!

  37. Mark

    I’m an LPN, too, and have been for 34 years. I’ve looked into a few RN programs over the years, as recently as a year ago. What I have found is the same everywhere: My experience counts for almost nothing. I spent 17 years working in acute psychiatric settings, but I am expected to sit in a classroom to learn some instructor’s take on psych nursing. Plus go get “clinical experience” for a job I did for over a decade and a half!
    The other 17 years of my carreer have been in med/surg, ICUs, CCUs, ERs, and Rehab, but none of that counts, either. I’ve forgotten more about real nursing than most of the MSN “instructors” (most of whom spent little, if any, time doing bedside nursing).
    So, state, NLN and ANA boards? how about it? You want everyone to be RNs, right? Fine. Give experienced LPNs like me more credit for actually DOING the job you claim you want us to learn.

    • keeper3102

      This is SOOOO true !!! I’ve been and LPN/LVN since 1990 !!! I’d love to see a petition go to congress lobbying for a change !!!!
      From the Louisiana Nurse that “Roars” (read my comment earlier)

    • salliemae

      I agree! from an RN

  38. Thank you! I have been an LPN I am working on the RN and all I hear is “you are SO smart why are you ONLY becoming a nurse? Why not become a Doctor” my response is “Well then I will be one super smart nurse huh?”

    I’m so tired of being asked why I didnt chose med school. Here’s a news flash…Nurse’s and Dr’s do different jobs!! And I happen to like the Nurses job better. I have nothing against the Doc’s in fact I love working with them and do my best not to foster that Dr/Nurse animosity that people always talk about. But I simply dont want to do a Doc’s job.

    Oh yeah and it’s NOT because I dont want the responsibility or because med school took too long or was too hard…I just LOVE being a nurse.

  39. karen

    sheesh.. infighting amongst nurses even here. sigh.

    BSNs and ADNs and diploma RNs all do the same job for the most part unless they are the unit managers.
    we have to maintain a servant;s heart to do this job properly… and to be honest, most of those comments aren’t terrible offensive (except for the one re: LPNs and why aren’t you a doc) thicker skin is needed anytime you deal with the public. ha.. I wouldn’t mind being a heeeyyy nurse every once in a while! 😉

    • poorruss RN

      Great attitude, Karen. Apparently you know how to see things realistically. How refreshing.

  40. I am also an LPN, and have been for 33 yrs. I can not believe the attitude of the RN’s that are suppose to be an educated person. I started out as an CNA and loved it so much, that I went on. I have worked in most all of the units in a Hospital, Psych, Nursing Home Private Duty….you name it, and for the RN that said LPN’s should stick to Nursing Homes, has obviously never worked in one. I have taught RN’s how to hang tube feedings cause they had never done it, I have taught RN’s in the Hospital trach care cause they didn’t know that either. I also have seen RN’s that worked ICU in the Hospital, and they made serious mistakes in the Nursing Home setting, which is a difficult job to do, and more work than a Hospital nurse has to do. If you get to leave on time, and not work 12 hrs instead of 8, and take care of up to 60 pts doing tx, meds, DO, charting for sometimes more than half of your pts, and can’t leave till you do, feed pts, and deal with unruly CNA’s, and take care of the bed sores that pts receive while in the Hospital, cause RN’s are sometimes too busy or to good to do pt care, THEN you can tell me you are a better nurse than me. And RN’s are quick to blame their short-comings on the(lowly) LPN. I had an RN who was supposedly over me, tell me to do something, and I did not agree, and she was going to write me up, so I did it…and she was wrong, and I got in trouble, cause she denied she had told me to do it. So don’t tell me about the glorious rn, that thinks she is holier than thou, I am tired of hearing it. We are all humans, and I agree with the RN that said we are suppose to be servants, and do as we were sent there to do, and not be too good to empty a bedpan or urinal. I think that was the original reason Florence Nightingale started the ministry of nursing, not to belittle others….but to serve!!So get off of your high horse, it is childish, and not very professional!!!!!
    I have worked with RN’s that say “your only an LPN,” then when I tell them, this only LPN can go home, if they don’t want my help, they say oh no…. and shut up!!

    • salliemae

      Here is one RN who stands with you on every word you have said! I was taught as a new Grad. How to do many things that I had only been taught about in school. I have a great deal of respect for EXPERIENCE, not necessarily the letters behind someone’s name! THAN YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

    • Jewoods7@comcast.net

      @GGuinn:

      Amen to everything you said! I’m an ADN RN (23 years), with 5 classes to go before I complete my BSN (& then hopefully on to my ARNP). I unfortunately was not a CNA/LNA prior to becoming an RN, but wish I had been. I’ve learned some of my best skills from LNA’s, and I can honestly say that at my first Med/Surg hospital job, that it was an LPN who saved my job by telling me what cardinal signs to watch out for in my post-op patient! I have the utmost respect for LVN’s/LPN’s, and wish they weren’t being ‘phased out’. The average age of a nurse now is 46.8 years old; that means that fewer and fewer young men & women are choosing nursing as a career! I understand hospitals wanting “Magnet Status”, but what they’re doing is pushing prospective nurses away! I’ve learned more in my practice as an ADN RN than I’ve learned going back to school got my BSN. The BSN classes teach theory; NOT how to care for a patient or how to know what to look for/save a life. So what if o can write an exceptional care plan? There needs to be nurses who can carry out those interventions!! I’m not putting down BSN’s – we’ve all worked hard to get where we are – but I think that we should all respect one another regardless of our education, we should respect each individual’s strengths and the skills they bring to the floor and the profession! (I also hate the expression “just a nurse”, because we are so much more than that! We are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers and friends to our patients at different times.
      It is a noble profession, and one I’m proud to be a 3rd generation part of.
      Thank you – and all of you/us – for your contribution to our incredible field. May we all continue to grow & thrive together, despite our failing economy and the struggle to get people to commit to becoming nurses.
      Nurses rock!!!
      ~ Jenn

      • Jewoods7@comcast.net

        (Please pardon any grammatical errors, as I use talk-to-text, and it frequently substitutes words it “thinks” are correct). Thanks!! ~ Jenn

  41. Laurel

    We are all nurses regardless of our designation. I have been an LPN for 25 yrs and love what I do. Yes it is offensive when some asks to speak to a “real” nurse but we all need to be thick skinned and politely educate the public about our profession. I am proud to say both my daughters have decided to enter the medical profession. One is working on her BN and the other wants to be a MD. Different choices for different people. So proud of them both :) After all the years they have lived with a nurse, they still chose this path! Can you imagine that? :)

  42. OhioPsychNP APN

    A father of one of my patients asked me, “So, are you going to go on to become a doctor?” I told him that (1) nurssing and medicine are two different careers, (2) I held a PhD degree and that I worked much harder for that than any physician did for an MD degree and (3) if physicians really wanted to know about their patients, they should go to nursing school. I had already built a rapport with him, so he accepted what I had to say without feeling insulted. But gee-ee-ee-ee-eez!

    • Venivu5

      Anyone who has a Ph.D. has worked extremely hard. But unless you have actually been to medical school, you probably shouldn’t say that you worked harder than a physician did for an MD. Most of my doctor friends did 4 years of pre-med, 4 years of medical school which includes a test every week for the first 2 years and 50-100+ hours a week for the last 2, and 3-7 years of residency, again with frequent 60-100+ hour weeks. a doctor without a Ph.D. cannot and should not say that they worked harder than you did for your degree because they don’t know what it took for you to get it just like you don’t know what theirs took. Both sound like butt-kickers.

      • Jewoods7@comcast.net

        Amen to your statement, Venivu5, you are absolutely, 100% correct!!
        ~ Jenn

  43. vasallese

    When a little child saw me in the grocery store in my scrubs and with my stethescope, he said “Look, Mommy, there’s a doctor!” . I told him I was better than that, I was a nurse.

    • salliemae

      It struck me while reading your post that even small children see the Doc. as the “almighty” in healthcare, hmm………

    • Venivu5

      Again, why the doctor bashing? Nurses aren’t better than doctors any more than doctors are better than nurses. Just different. I hope that that kid’s mom set that straight.

  44. #2: Yeah right why is there a shortage of nurses then? Not many can finish the classwork it takes to become a nurse, let alone work as one!

    #1: Oh yeah, by the way, working on my doctorate, IN NURSING! For some reason, a doctorate in nursing would be the best choice for me, why?, because I love nurses!

  45. ruralnurse RN

    I get quite annoyed when men say to me, a man, “I wouldn’t let you nurse me!!” They seem happy enough to accept care when the chips are down.

    • poorruss RN

      It’s sad that you’ve heard that from men. Also a male RN, I’ve been fortunate to have had male patients who were, for the most part, a pleasure to take care of. Except for the occasional dementia patient, who probably gives ALL nurses a hard time, I’ve manage to strike up a great rapport with my male pts.

  46. poorruss RN

    This article is about as far from reality as you can get. It could have been written in the 50’s and been more accurate, but only a little. Why would anyone want to dwell on out-dated ideas and then present them as though they were the way things are now? No wonder we have such a hard time being treated as professionals.

    • RNHeather RN

      What world do you live in, Russ? I’ve been a nurse for 20 years, have worked just about everywhere a nurse can work, and have heard all the things that were put in the article numerous times with numerous variations. I don’t think the article was meant to “dwell on” the negativity, but rather as a humorous “venting” on the extremes of public perception of our profession.

  47. Pingback: – 10 Lines Not to Use on Your Nurse

  48. Figlets123

    These are great, and I have no doubt that nurses feel like every nerve has been touched.

    However, what about the patient? They are not all like 1-10. A growing number of people are using the ER for simple scrapes and perhaps an ingrown toenail. If that is 80% of what you see, where does the left over bedside manner go for those of us that really DO NOT want to be there?

    Here is a list of 10 things nurses need to understand from the patient’s point of view.

    1) The majority of patients do not want to be there.
    2) An ER department can only do so much. Leaving people in the waiting room for hours upon end does nothing but piss off the receptionist.
    3) No one visits the ER on their best day. Therefore, opinions need to be kept inside. Laughing and giggling while whisking a patient through what ends up being an expensive “parking” area, does nothing to extend understanding toward the Nursing Field. Patients can hear, and I guarantee they are less than enthused about you buying those cute little Penguin scrubs.
    4) Keep notes. There is nothing quite as disconcerting as having a nurse come in asking for some other bodily fluid, and check her notes and say, “I’m sorry”. Makes the patient feel as if they came in for removal of the spleen, they could just as easily been thrust into surgery for removal of a kidney.

    Nursing has got to be one of the most difficult jobs in the world. Not many have the capacity of caring to extend beyond their social circles. Just please remember, not every ER patient is trying to bilk the system. And in a life or death moment, we could care less if you have penguins or puppies on your top.

    • DougW

      well said there

    • salliemae

      Very well put sir! From an ER RN

    • misskeena

      Well put. (I don’t have puppies on my scrubs though–ew. The hospitals in my city have solid-colored uniforms. 😉 )

    • devil or angel

      I am a nurse. I have also been a patient in the ER several times. I hear what you are saying, I have dealt with what you are saying. “Hee-Hee-Hee, kids soccer games, spousal problems” is what I had to listen to on the other side of the curtain. Medical professionals- in- training should have to spend 3 days in a hospital, dependent on a stranger for care – as part of ANY medical profession training. Gives you a COMPLETELY different outlook on your job.

    • Nurse420

      First, I never wear printed tops. I hope the nurse naming off wrong tests realized her mistake before any were done. When you have pt overload esp in ER that can be as simple as a wrong room but she caught it. We are human. We try not to make errors or we try to catch them quick. At the nursing home we find the wrong residents in the wrong bed. Have to be very careful. As long as no one was harmed it was a good learning experience for us to build on

  49. DougW

    Hi, first of all I am not a nurse or in the medical field at all, I just wanted to comment on the why is it taking so long one. I realize y’all a busy, have other things to do besides take care of me what few times I have been in the hospital. However I would like for you to remember that when you are in pain, maybe a little scared, frustrated and etc, a minute can be an eternity! You’re not being asked that because someone is bored, its probably because they are hurting and etc so just try to see it from their side. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some great care from nurses, seen nurses give my wife great care and was and still am very appreciative of them.

    • misskeena

      I mentioned in another comment that, working in the emergency department, I get the “What’s taking so long?” comment daily. I totally understand where you’re coming from, and can respect that. I don’t mind people respectfully asking me how long their test results will take, or how long it might take for their med to kick in, or something like that; you have a right to know and SHOULD ask. But I’ve had people outright yell at me because they’d been waiting for 30 minutes for lab/radiology results, or because we want to run tests that will take a while, and they don’t want to be there, and why can’t we just figure out what’s wrong without making them wait? I think there is a general lack of public knowledge of how things (specifically in the ED) work. Test results take a while. The provider I’m working with has 8 or more other patients that they’re seeing, some of whom may be critical. Some meds have to be mixed/ordered and/or verified. The tech who is going to apply that air cast to your ankle probably also has an EKG, blood draw, and a wound to irrigate. Trust me, the last thing we want to do is make patients wait, but we can only do one thing at a time and the most emergent thing is what gets done first.

      • hunurse23

        It’s because the most critical, that get hep first, is why I tell my friends and family: The ER is for emergencies! Not for your childs being sick at school and you don’t have time to take them during clinic hours. You will wait a long time before being seen. It’s not because the doctors or nurses are lazy. The ER is being used for things they weren’t designed for and wasting valuable time.

  50. josiekellie

    At the long term care facility where I last worked as a treatment nurse, a new DON was hired and on the first day that I met her she repeatedly made the comment that I was “just an LVN.” She stated that she preferred RN treatment nurses and asked me how long I had been an LVN. When I told her that I had been an LVN for 8 years (at the time) she snickered and asked why I wasn’t an RN yet and asked what was taking me so long. I immediately resigned my position and moved on to a setting where my skills and experience were valued.

  51. lmthomp90 LPN

    Thank you for the LPN comment! When patients learn I’m an LPN, some say “Oh, so you’re not a real nurse?” That is my biggest pet peeve EVER! My sister is an RN and we went to two different schools, but used the exact same book. I had a year to go through an RN book and had twice the clinical hours that my sister had in 2 years! The school I attended told us they were preparing LPN’s at RN level and they certainly did.

    • salliemae

      CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

    • shadowchaser360

      LoL!!! As a LOL with 17 years experience, one of my first patients right out of school read my name tag and commented, ” Oh, Your a little play nurse! I want a real nurse!!” Made me lol coming from a 98 year old. I’ve worked with many nurses.. and I’ve come to the conclusion that there is good and not so good in both lpn’s and rn’s. I’m finally working towards my BSN, but not because I’m unhappy with being an lpn. Life sometimes hands you a bad deal and one has to play with what your dealt. :)

  52. Mommynator Student

    Helloooooooooooooooooo Nurse!! reminds me of the Animaniacs. I’d probably laugh if someone said that to me. 😀

  53. BarrySchoenborn

    There are many great professionals in a hospital, but it seems to me that the RN for a unit has unique responsibilities. He or she is the one who must “know everything about everything.” Some questions from patients and family are entirely appropriate. For example, “What is this med and why I am a taking it?” Of course, the doc should have made this clear, but that doesn’t always happen. Barry Schoenborn, co-author, “Medical Dosage Calculations For Dummies.”

  54. glamb

    You talked to healthcare professional AND nurses?? Nurses are healthcare professionalsl!!

  55. mrsk1026 LPN

    #3 really gets in my craw!!!! I am an LPN and super proud of it! I get crap from many people, medical or not, just because I choose to be an LPN. “Why aren’t you an RN” or “You are far too smart to waste your time being just an LPN.” Let me tell you something, I busted my @$$ to get where I am and I don’t see myself being anything else. I LOVE being an LPN; It brings me joy, sorrow, headache, frustration, happiness, and laughter. Another thing, I don’t want to be an RN or go back to school while I am “young”, I have kids and they are my #1 priority, so I don’t want to miss a single thing with them. They only get to be kids once and I want them to be able to say that their mom was ALWAYS there. I will step off my soap box now :-)

    • salliemae

      Thank You! I am an RN who has had a great deal of education, support, and many other things(too many for this forum)from LPN’s. I have friends who also love being an LPN and do not want to change that. Just like people asking me “why didn’t you become a Dr.?” BECAUSE I WANTED TO BE AN RN! God’s Blessings to you my dear, and THANK YOU for being what YOU want to be!

  56. salliemae

    In response to “I’m just an LPN”… I am an RN and when I was a new Grad. I worked in a 102 bed hospital out in an extremely rural area, farming country. Many times on the 2nd shift there might have been only 1 RN, 1 LPN and a handful of Nursing Assistants. If you are in charge, who do you go to for help?! The LPN’s and NA’s were the BEST teachers I ever had! Those gals saved my life and my mind many, many times and I than GOD they were there for me! SO, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS “JUST” AN LPN OR NA!!!!God love you for everything you do<3

  57. DudeRN

    I think it’s time to stop assuming every Nurse is female. Same goes for assuming every doctor is a male.

    I was seriously surprised to see #1. I realize this profession is predominately female; but I didn’t know my female counterparts put up with this one. Patients just can’t accept a male in my profession. But when the XXL patients need to be moved; I am the one they call.

  58. wannaBRN

    As somebody with chronic illness, I spend a lot of time in hospitals. So I see nurses (of all types) working to get me better while my Dr.’s just fly in the room for 5 minutes everyday… Even though I have high respect for nurses, I find it offensive for the “Why do u take so long?” So here’s a tip I’ve learned… When fluid bags run out and that hideous alarm starts, you should make it very clear to the patient where the “silence button” is… have an “unspoken conversation” about it. It keeps my frustration levels down and the nurses have appreciated it. I turn it off, roll over and press the call button and tell them “Room 123, new bag, no rush” and go back to sleep. If I didn’t know that, and was ill, lacking sleep and dealing with that ear piercing alert… I’d be frustrated and maxed out. Also, being in a hospital is not an everyday thing for most people, I am fascinated by it! Definitely not boring and my curiosity rises. So yes, I’m guilty… I have interrogated some nurses! It makes me want to learn and help too. Unfortunately, I don’t have the level-headedness for quick thinking in a critical situation; I’m a spazzer. Plus, the whole chronically ill thing. Which is why I love reading responses and digging around in this site. It’s cool. I do appreciate y’all!

  59. misskeena

    I work in an emergency department. I hear #6 DAILY.

  60. Dana Steen

    Sitting down for the first time in 5-6 hours. I ask another nurse about a pt as I’m just starting charting for a 12 hr shift. A pts husband walks by hits the desk and says “Break time is over now ladies!” Really!! He’s lucky someone grabbed my arm, I almost went over the counter after him!

    • hunurse23

      I think every nurse has heard that. Over the years I’ve learned to ignore it or answer with,”really? Well I think you forgot to serve me my supper.”

  61. hunurse23

    I don’t find #1 annoying or disrespectful. My answer is always the same. “I believe in working for my money” If I was a doctor I wouldn’t be able to do the things I can now. Unless I was in private practice with my own office.lol

  62. Milam12310

    I really love the creepy feelings that I get from male inmates at the jail where I work. Of course, there are also the snide comments of “you ain’t no real nurse”. Sexist plus ignorance equals “pigus stupidus”. Ha! I’d love to see just anyone try to be a corrections nurse.

  63. Cubby46

    Why didn’t I go to medical school? They checked my background and found out my parents were married when I was born. AND…I passed the literacy test.

  64. travelingp

    I have more people ask me if I am in school to be a doctor than any other nurse that I know just because I am a man. Men can be and are just as good if not better nurses than their female counterparts. Don’t get me wrong there are some male nurses that I wouldn’t want to touch me with an 18ga needle but there are just as many that I do trust.

  65. Tori

    “You know what they say: Behind every good doctor is a better nurse!”

    And behind every ‘better nurse’ there is an unappreciated CNA running their butt off to make your life easier.

    • wifeymars

      Thank you! It’s annoying how many RNs and LPNs don’t take the time to acknowledge or thank the CNAs that are running themselves ragged doing ADLs and catering to every need of patients. It’s like CNAs are invisible when they really are the ones who know more about the patient than anyone because they spend more time with them. Not all nurses do this but there are plenty that do especially in an LTC setting. Thank you to all the nurses that associate their CNAs. I wish this site would acknowledge them more, they’re important too!

  66. djwainie

    What drives me crazy is when people say, “You only work 3 days a week?!” Like I’ve got it easy or something. Yeah I’d like to see you do what I do for 12+ hours. And if you include my drive, I’ve got a day that starts at 5am and ends at 9pm. Do that 4 days in a row and tell me how easy it is.

  67. realnut

    Bunch of hogwash in my opinion. It’s a matter if your own perception if an LPN feels looked down upon. Everybody’s role in the medical arena has its place, and a valuable role. I started as a PCA, then HHA, then NA, then LPN, then RN.
    There are major differences in each level so don’t kid yourselves. Yes basically a few things an LPN can’t do is hang blood, and take a T.O., however, they are also not taught the ‘ theory’ of the tasks they perform without the R.N. education. For example, they may know how to give an injection, and the different sites, but they aren’t taught why different sites are used, or for which dosages etc; also if an LPN makes a mistake, the RN in charge is usually the one held responsible. continue your education if that is your choice. Criticism will not earn you more money.

  68. katy beth

    One thing that really bothers me is when people call themselves nurses when they aren’t. If you are NOT an rn or a lpn, you are not a nurse!! Does this bother any other nurses? Don’t take on a title you did not work for. We worked for it!! If you want to be a nurse then go to nursing school. Everyone from cna’s to unit secretaries are now calling themselves nurses!!!

  69. ruralnurse RN

    Yu cannot be a nurse, you’re a man! I’m not having a man looking after me. Yet they don’t mind male doctors!

  70. ernurdwl

    I have been reading a lot of people comments on the difference between lvns and rns, as a RN, I’m a firm believer that anyone can do the job, but their are things that the board of nursing has determined that a LVN cannot do just based on their education back ground. I have read many commints from LVNS bashing RN s stating that they have to trained the rn, news flash you TRAIN a dog, you educate a human. And please remember that LVNs are educated by RNs thank you

  71. jeyba

    toxic duty another term for super busy duty

  72. sharri66

    I had my other cardiac nurse pulled to CCU one night and they sent me the dumbest nurse on the planet to “help” me. 3 of HER patients coded at the same time and I was trying to handle all 3 of them even though I had 7 patients of my own. When I finally found the other nurse, she was calmly pulling her 2100 meds. I told her to about the patients and she continued to pull meds. I had to finally yell at her and tell her that they wouldn’t need those meds if they were dead!!! After that a fresh heart attack came in and after I got him hooked his up to monitors, she went in and let him go down the hall and get in the SHOWER! This ended up with our most fierce cardiologist 1 inch from my nose wanting to know why. Duh!!! I had to go fix that. Have you ever tried to shock a wet patient?? I hope not. It was absolutely the night from hell!

  73. Shirl Hrycko

    Re: #8…”Yes Sir, nursing is exactly like on TV. Just let me know when you’d like your bolus of K+, your VERY BIG BOLUS, & I’ll summon the camera crew!”

  74. heyyou86

    I had a family member of my ICU patient in room 1 pull back the curtain of my patient in room 4…while I was suctioning that patient and tell me “I need a cup of coffee with cream & sugar”. Hey people I am your FAMILY MEMBER’S NURSE …NOT your waitress…ann by the way Respect other patient’s right to privacy. Do not stare at them or enter their rooms.

  75. Valerie VanOurkerk

    Oh hey nurse, just one more thing…..

  76. cheyannm

    This whole LPN, LVN, CNA, NAC, RN, BSN…and so on, has always drove me crazy. I started as a CNA and a surgical aid (glorified surgical suite mopper) so I have felt first hand this insulting pecking order. i did go on to get my BSN but simply for finical reasons. i’m not sure how that makes me a “better” nurse because I have a BSN, but some very ignorant professionals feel that way. We all work hard within our scope of practice for the common goal of caring for our patients, so I have zero respect for nurses or other staff who feel the need to put others in their place. The next time someone disrespects you for your credentials, put your head up high, smile big, and simply do the bobble head. Trust me, it gets the point across. Our practice should be judged by our skill, compassion, and work ethic. Never the silly string of credentials after our name.

  77. Joanie Ho

    i’ve also been asked by family “how long do you think the patient has to live?” And when I couldn’t answer.. she goes “well aren’t you a nurse?!” Don’t expect me to have the knowledge of a doctor!!

    • Nurse420

      I say “I don’t make those decisions”

    • Jewoods7@comcast.net

      Joanie –

      I’ve worked on-and-off in Hospice for many years and not even an MD can always answer that question. Death comes when the patient is ‘ready’ – not a moment sooner or later!

      ~ Jenn

  78. reymel888

    When patients say ‘I’m paying for your salary!’

  79. Venivu5

    Nurses rock! But, at the risk of seeming humorless, this article has a bit too much doctor-bashing. The introduction,#1, #8 and #9 include put downs against doctors. The jobs that nurses do are distinct from what doctors do. But if a medical publication said about nurses what this article said about doctors, there would rightly be an uproar. I know nurses can elevate and describe the wonderful career that is nursing without denigrating doctors.

    • Nurse-Paula

      One point is always the same…no matter the title patient care is everyone’s job. I love being an LPN and no one will make me feel differently about the care I give to those who need me.

    • Jewoods7@comcast.net

      Agree, Venivu5 – there’s no need for an “us versus them” mentality here. We should be building up our profession and not tear down others in the process of doing so. 😉

      ~ Jenn

  80. Nurse420

    After seeing me work as a nurse all her life my daughter said you work too hard for nothing I explained I liked helping people- she said I want to work in medicine but not hands on….she’s in pharmacy school

  81. Nurse420

    And I’ve never felt inferior as a LPN. I don’t know everything but I’ve helped RNs with regulations especially in the nursing home with state guidelines. I have hospital experience, hospice, school nursing, peds. I have learned at every job. I have no desire to return to school. I’m happy where I am. When the supervisor said “try this IV but its hard so never mind” I went anyway one stick-success. I’m not the best ever but don’t underestimate me because I’m an LPN. Years exp helped there not the letters behind my name.

  82. luvlee

    I had a patient tell me once that I had access to all kinds of meds that I could give them another persons pain med if they were not taking theirs. Grrrrr.

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