Nursing has its own language with more complex grammar than any known language on the planet. It’s constantly evolving, sometimes obscure and often contains dangerous levels of snark.
Here’s a quick quiz to determine how well you speak Nurse!
1. In report, the nurse from the previous shift offhandedly remarks that there are some psychosocial issues to manage with your patient’s family. By this, he means:
a. “You’ll have to manage some psychosocial issues with this family.”
b. “It might be a good idea to call the chaplain to come and mediate a dispute.”
c. “The patient’s wife is also his stepsister, his aunt is also his mother, they all noodle catfish for a living and not one of them has seen a shower or toothbrush in 30 years.”
2. A patient who is relating her history goes into great detail about her multiple allergies, even producing a three-page-long, single-spaced list of things that she’s had problems with. Strangely, this list includes neither promethazine nor hydromorphone. You say, “Well, this is very interesting.” You mean:
a. “This is very interesting.”
b. “I am interested in hearing more about your situation.”
c. “Been there, done that; please don’t bore me anymore.”
3. You overhear two nurses in report. One of them describes a patient to the other as LOL, SOB, IADL and with an FLK. What do you think this means?
a. You’ve suddenly stumbled onto a secret military acronym factory by mistake.
b. The nurse is being insulting by comparing the patient to an Internet meme and implying that she’s a member of some obscure revolutionary group.
c. The nurse is handing off report on a little old lady who’s short of breath, but who is nonetheless independent in activities of daily living. Oh, and she has a really funny-looking kid.
4. A patient asks you if a particular bedside procedure will be painful. You reply, “You’ll feel some pressure and possibly a little discomfort.” What should the patient infer from your response?
a. That she’ll feel some pressure and possibly a little discomfort.
b. That this will be painful, but not intolerable.
c. That the doctor doing this procedure was the inspiration for the dentist in Little Shop of Horrors, and that she’ll be hanging from the ceiling by her fingernails.
5. A coworker of yours describes a new resident as “neurologist cute.” What does this mean?
a. Like that “McDreamy” guy from that TV show.
b. Like Oliver Sacks—weird, but not unhandsome.
c. Someone that only a woman with an intense interest in twitches, unusual compulsions and five-day stubble would find attractive.
6. You are a nurse at a busy emergency department. Who is the most dangerous person your patients will encounter?
a. Lord Voldemort: “I was walking through the campus, and Lord Voldemort scalded me with a bolt from his wand!”
b. Chuck Norris: “I was robbing a bank, but Chuck Norris stopped me with a flying roundhouse kick!”
c. Sumdood: “I was sitting on my mother’s porch, reading the Bible, when Sumdood up and knifed me!”
7. Choose the correct order, in ascending severity, of the following “up-” terms:
a. Jacked-up, effed-up, stove-up, torn-up
b. Torn-up, effed-up, jacked-up, stove-up
c. Stove-up, jacked-up, torn-up, effed-up
8. You’re a new nurse who hears that some knuckledragger will be gardening this weekend, and that it raises the chances of some ECU admissions. You know that this means:
a. That weird guy from Radiology will be putting in tomatoes, maybe?
b. Somebody doesn’t like what’s going on in the ECU. Where’s the ECU? On the third floor?
c. That an orthopedics resident will be on call in a unit filled with people with brain injuries and other sundry problems, thus raising fears that more of them will be transferred to the Eternal Care Unit (i.e., die).
9. As she’s leaving for the weekend, the intensivist remarks cheerfully that the Critical Care Unit seems very quiet. To you, this translates as:
a. “The unit seems quiet.”
b. “You all seem to have a sense of impending doom.”
c. “I hate you all with the fire of a thousand burning suns, so I curse you and your children and your children’s children with the One Word Never Spoken in the CCU!! (mwahahahaha)”
10. Define a “positive T-to-T ratio.”
a. The patient’s T-cells are in greater supply than his thyroid hormone markers.
b. The patient golfs a lot.
c. The patient has more teeth than tattoos; a good sign in most hospitals.
All a’s: You’re obviously an accountant.
All b’s: You watch some televised medical shows, but probably work in an unrelated field.
All c’s: You’re either a nurse or married to one.