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You’re a nurse, right?

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Why are his hands swollen?! What does this bump mean?

These are the somewhat arbitrary but sometimes serious questions I get asked from my ‘non-medical’ friends and family. Fraught with good intentions and a need-to-know mentality, I somehow get ‘consulted’ to answer the ‘why’ questions for the medically and physically unexplainable signs and symptoms that they or their friends experience.

I don’t know if I should feel blessed or cursed sometimes. I am of course not a doctor, nor do I play one on television. I cannot offer medical advice. It’s not only dangerous but extremely illegal.

I AM a Registered Nurse. Yes, I have specialized medical education and training. And yes, I have treated and cared for many patient’s with many illnesses. But, no I do not have an answer for everything.

I will offer suggestions and can talk of my own experiences, but dodging the flurry of bullet-like questions can be very challenging. I do not, and cannot offer medical advice or give medical direction. I’m not qualified, nor permitted to do so.

My answer always ends with the phrase, ‘You should REALLY have them follow up with their family physician’ (whomever they may be).

And with a perturbed grimace I always hear, ” Well I thought you were a nurse?”

Quieting my offended inner-voice, I calmly reply, “Why Yes, I am.”

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Sean Dent

Sean Dent is a second-degree nurse who has worked in telemetry, orthopedics, surgical services, oncology and at times as a travel nurse. He is a CCRN certified critical care nurse where he's worked in cardiac, surgical as well as trauma intensive care nursing. After five years practicing as an RN, Sean pursued and attained his Masters of Science in Nursing. Sean currently practices as a Board Certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP-BC) in a Shock Trauma urban teaching hospital. He has been in healthcare for almost 20 years. He originally received a bachelor's degree in Exercise and Sport Science where he worked as a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC).
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3 Responses to You’re a nurse, right?

  1. frogeyes10

    Loved it! Soo true..

  2. amy mickschl

    i wonder if these situations happen because people are more comfortable approaching nurses than doctors. Also nurses are less likely to use medical mumbo jumbo to explain things.

  3. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Amy I think you may be on to something there.