You might be a nurse if…

OJO Images Photography | Veer

There’s no secret handshake. There’s no furtive wink.

But there is a way to spot a fellow nurse at a holiday party.

Do you see yourself in the list below?

1. Look for the person who’s compulsively adjusting the heat on the slow-cooker full of queso. Bad bacteria can live at temperatures below 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If there’s a person who can’t help but keep that cheese dip boiling, it’s likely he’s a nurse.

2. Likewise, who’s wrapping up the leftovers as soon as the snack table is abandoned? That person is concerned about salmonella breeding in the crab cakes.

3. Look for the person furthest from the bouncy. Is there a bounce house or other potentially dangerous fun thing nearby? Folks who patch other people up for a living try to maintain plausible deniability when it comes to hazardous recreation.

4. Nurses and doctors have much experience with prepared foods, especially the sweet kind. Who knows the difference between the good ready-made cream puffs and the bad ones? Two people discussing the relative merits of different brands of frozen sliders are likely in the medical business.

5. Finally, who’s got the highest tolerance for booze? It’s a stereotype, but like most stereotypes, there’s a smidgen of truth at the bottom of it. If you see a woman re-enacting the bar scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark, it’s likely she works in the intensive care unit.

How do you spot the nurse at YOUR holiday party (and how can people tell that YOU’RE a nurse?)

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Agatha Lellis

Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at

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3 Responses to You might be a nurse if…

  1. wpoofs

    The one who always brings a first aid kit. Or the one who worries about the one who passed out in the yard during cooler weather (hypothermia).

  2. moaRN

    Hand wash technique, I got outed as a nurse by the way I washed my hands one time. A good through clean, not a muggles throw your hands under the water job.

  3. cmorell

    If a guest at the party starts coughing while eating his/her food as if choking and several people rush over to help and look across the room at you because you’re still perusing the snack table. You look up and shrug saying” what, they’re still moving air!”