10 New Year’s resolutions that nurses wish patients would make


iStock | JulNichols
iStock | JulNichols

There needs to be a list of New Year’s resolutions that patients and their family members can make.

That is, there used to be that need, because here is that list:

  1. We resolve to use the call bell at all times with the understanding that retrieving a phone from across the room is easier than retrieving our rear from the floor.
  2. We resolve to learn and use the words “please” and “thank you,” as well as to unlearn the words “pop a cap in/kick your/otherwise mess up [nurse’s anatomy].” The first two phrases make things easier. The others do not.
  3. We resolve to be honest when discussing our alcohol or drug use. No more “two beers.”
  4. We resolve that if we must be confused, we will be pleasantly confused, not unpleasantly so.
  5. We resolve, both singly and as a group, to bathe once or twice a month.
  6. We resolve to keep our nuttier family members away from the hospital.
  7. We resolve, as family members, to remember that such things as not permitting unlimited visiting hours or requiring ID are not violations of our human rights and do not therefore justify threatening legal action.
  8. We resolve that we will no longer attempt to feed our family member when they are intubated and sedated.
  9. We resolve that, if we should feel one-sided weakness or chest pain, or if we notice brisk arterial bleeding, we will call the nurse rather than wait for it to go away.
  10. Finally, we, the patients and family members of the world, resolve to do everything in our power to keep ourselves and our loved ones out of the hospital.

I was going to come up with one for the doctors, too, but it would’ve run on for pages and pages. Maybe next year.

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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