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20 bad habits that will drive your coworkers crazy


Digital Vision | Jochen Sand

Just like every other profession out there, nursing has a good side and a bad side. We always emphasize good nursing practice, but bad nursing practice also exists. We all know it. We’ve all seen it. Heck, we’ve all (bashfully) probably been guilty of performing one or two of these practices from time to time.

Whatever you do, don’t be that nurse who is known for any of these bad practices:

1. Leaving (full and empty) vials of medications in the patient’s room

2. Looping IV tubing back into itself when traveling

3. Not cleaning off the IV port when using it (scrub the hub!)

4. Disconnecting a running IV to take a patient to the bathroom and leaving the bare end dripping

5. “Borrowing” supplies from a fellow nurses’ station and not notifying them

6. Continually “not hearing” the phone ring or the call bell go off

7. Leaving garbage (med wrappers) all over the floor while the trash can is a foot away

8. Leaving a medicine cup of loose pills at a patient’s bedside (assuming they’ll take them all with their meal)

9. Leaving the oncoming shift with an empty IV bag or an empty TF container, or a patient with a full colostomy bag or full foley catheter bag

10. Never restocking your med drawer or room supplies

11. Never placing a date on a dressing—when was it changed?

12. Always being late for report, but johnny-on-the-spot to give report to the oncoming shift so you can get out on time

13. Turning monitor alarms off

14. Failing to label the spaghetti mess of IV lines

15. Repeatedly “forgetting” to do I/Os so that the oncoming shift has to blunder through the correct balance for the providers

16. Disappearing from your unit without reporting off to someone

17. Disregarding isolation precautions because it’s inconvenient

18. Conveniently helping to “hold” the patient when turning or cleaning, but never volunteering to do the cleaning

19. Being the first to want/need time off, but never volunteering to pitch in extra when the help is needed

20. Logging on to a computer that is clearly being used by another nurse without first asking if they were done charting

Don’t be that nurse.

I’m pretty sure we all could name a dozen more…what would you add to the list?

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10 Responses to 20 bad habits that will drive your coworkers crazy

  1. carolslee1949

    Nurses not taking off gloves when they leave a patient’s room. I worked with 1 nurse who was notorious for doing this. Usually she had forgotten something and not done anything with the patient yet, but it still makes you wonder……where have those gloves been!

  2. Karen Meade

    Asking me to start an IV and I stop taking care of my patients to help them and there’s no supplies in the room. This tells me that they didn’t even try to stick the patient first, and besides, it’s just not cool to make me get supplies too. Also when other RNs leave the unit for smoke breaks 3-4 times a shift. It’s annoying when their patients ask for things and they’re off the unit so much.

  3. Kayla Ball

    I had a nurse track me down in another patients room, to tell me that my other patient needed the sheets pulled down under her feet, I was the CNA at the time, I followed her back to the room where she let the patent know she had returned, she pointed to the feet and said “just pull the sheet down” and the patient lifted her feet. I tugged it down, and the nurse just stood there talking. I thought maybe she needed help doing that. Nope, she was being lazy. There was no reason she had to pull me from another room to do it.

  4. LadyAer1979 RN

    The nurse that always wants to be the first to get called off or sent home early when the census drops.

    • srichrn

      I don’t know any nurse that doesn’t want to go home if they can.

  5. Melissa Karr

    Where I work, the previous shift has a terrible habit of needing to “finish a little charting” at the end of the shift. Sometimes they will even say, “I haven’t charted anything all day.” This means they will be holding the WOW they used throughout the shift hostage until they finish charting. At times, there have been as many as 3 nurses chatting and charting at the end of the hall well beyond the end of their shift (once it was 3 hours past shift change!). In the meantime, due to a limited supply of WOWs, I can’t do anything on the computer until they’re finished. It’s so irritating! Basically, since another nurse has poor time management, I get to start my shift behind the 8 ball.

  6. Jet City Jim RN

    When nurses extend their break or lunch time consistently. 15 minutes becomes 25,, 45 minutes an hour, etc.

  7. bettymerchen RN

    What drives me crazy is staff chatting about whatever at the nurses station, oblivious to call light, alarms, or other work-related tasks, as though the only reason they are at work is to enjoy socializing, while a few staff members are running around like crazy trying to put out all the fires! If you think no one notices you’re slacking, you’re wrong!

  8. bettymerchen RN

    Have to add to my earlier statement. I just got off work, a 12.5 hr shift with one 20 minute lunch break and two bathroom breaks. When supper trays came I asked the PCT to help my very weak patient to eat. She said “in a minute” and proceeded to shop on eBay. She didn’t want to go into the room because the patient is in isolation. Sadly, she gets away with this all the time because her Grandma is an RN and good friends with the manager.

  9. rebzim51

    Leaving an incontinent patient lying on soiled linens for the next nurse to clean up.

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