10 nursing rules you’ve never heard of

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It’s said that ignorance of the law is no defense—but how do we know we’re breaking a law if we don’t know it exists?

Luckily, we do know the serious laws, particularly those that have to do with practicing nursing. We know about HIPAA, that diverting narcotics is a Bad Thing, and that we can’t strangle a visitor who is getting on our last nerve.

But there may be other laws with which you might not be familiar. So, to further your legal education, we are going to share a few laws from here and around the world—you just may be spared a trip to the police station.

Next: You can’t be an obese nurse in Japan

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Marijke Durning

Marijke is a professional writer who began her working career as a registered nurse over 25 years ago. After working in clinical areas ranging from rehab to intensive care, as a floor nurse to a supervisor, she found she could combine her extensive health knowledge with her love of writing. Although she has been published in a wide variety of publications for professionals and the general public, her passion is writing for the every day person to promote health literacy.

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26 Responses to 10 nursing rules you’ve never heard of

  1. Teri

    Hope nobody in Wales is colorblind.

  2. Beverly Meetze

    I am glad I wont be nursing in Japan no time soon!!! LOL

  3. Beverly Meetze

    I am glad I wont be nursing in Japan no time soon!!! LOL

  4. kathy richey

    I like color coding for departments because at my hospital,housekeepers.kitchen workers,med. staff,clerical staff all wear scrubs and it confuses the patients and family members.

    • salliemae

      I know! why all the different shades of blue? seems the colors would have been more distinct seeing how the issues was being able to recognize a persons job.

  5. Mimay

    If I had a dollar for every time I have heard nurses, docs, or other health care workers speak to each other in their native language in front of another nurse, patient, etc…I would be a wealthy woman by now….

  6. Arlene Romero

    I used to work in a hospital that color coded for pt purposes. I always thought it was stupid because the pts never got a list explaining what color each person wore so it didn’t mean anything. They just called everyone nurse.

    I live in a state where most people speak Spanish as well as English. My co workers and I speak in Spanish to each other all the time. I hope we aren’t breaking any rules!

  7. Kryoma

    I didn’t realize it was illegal to put caffeine in clear sodas in Canada….I work in Halifax, Nova Scotia. No more mountain dew for me on night shift!

  8. clarissa

    i am planning to work in japan and i am surprised with their law ’bout being obese,,so gonna reduce first before i will enter their world..tnx for the information..

  9. Heather

    Wow! I don’t recall ever hearing a doctor say “please” for anything from a nurse. Can you imagine not following through on the orders written by a doctor because he/she didn’t write “please” in the order. I’d be kissing my job goodbye if that were the case.

  10. benclark

    These are so nuts!

  11. jennylb2002

    I think set colors would be a good thing. In most hospitals I have been at, even the housekeeping staff wear scrubs and patients can get confused.

  12. sharonlvntx

    The correct way to phrase this would be that the employees were speaking Tagalog, the language spoken in the Philipines

    • casey1185

      It’s not the only language. There’s also Ilocano. Sorry if I spelled it wrong.

      • AFNurse

        I think the main point is there is no language called Filipino.

      • Julia

        And hundreds of other dialects. But lets be honest, it was probably Tagalog. Doubtful you’d find a crowd of people here all speaking Ilocano in a hospital here stateside..not most common.

  13. pennyrnc

    The hospital I worked for implemented the color coded scrubs. In part because of the unprofessional way some staff were dressing.

    • Maplessharon

      I found the same thing when I applied to an American university. I have a BAin English literature, went to an English speaking nursing school and English is my mother tongue but still had to take an English test. I’m from Ottawa, Canada.

  14. annemf

    If you are from many places in the world including parts of Canada you have to take an english test to practice nursing in the USA. The funny part was where the testing was held…at an accredited “english” college in Montreal Quebec (Canada)…where I just happened to have graduated from!!! Yet every 5 years I have to take this test again and again! Some things make no sense to me!

  15. Granny RN

    One of the local hospitals uses a Red Jacket for the Charge Nurse in the OR so that he/she may be immediately recognized by the staff and MDs. The Red Jacket is actually a warm-up jacket which is provided by the hospital for this purpose of identification.

  16. NurseAbbers

    We have Sphygs in my hospital, sometimes you need to do a manual BP. Sometimes I prefer doing my Obs manually.

    • Granny RN

      There are times, even with all of the ‘high tech’ approaches that we have, when you still must go ‘back to basics’ and trust your instincts.
      Think about how you would assess/treat if you did NOT have the high tech stuff around or the power to use it, as in Hurricane Katrina.
      You are wise to keep such abilities in your head and to actually USE what you were taught in basic training!

  17. salliemae

    That is not so different here in the US anymore :(( Christmas is quickly becoming “just another day” as evidenced by the number of business that are now open, even if just for 3-4 hours, on Christmas day. It used to be that Businesses were ALWAYS closed on Sundays, and ALL Holidays even non-religious holidays. The almighty dollar and lack of respect for family life has been the biggest cause of this, in my humble opinion.

  18. Sister_Eve

    We have to prove we have English education even though we have studied and were born in Australia for our “licence” or as we call it registration.
    We also get provided uniforms in all the public system, although each state is different. Where I work, all clinical staff now wear scrubs (this is new) they are all navy blue except EEN/ENs have a light blue stipe on their arms leaves and midwives wear purple scrubs
    Non clinical staff wear cotton blouse: NUMS/Managers wear purple stipe, community nurses wear aqua green, administration staff wear light green stipe. It helps differentiate people for patients and families I agree

  19. ERfromER

    At a local hospital not long ago, a nurse new to the med/surg unit was accidentally electrocuted during a code due to a language barrier. All of the other nurses working the code spoke phillipino as their primary language, and were running the code purely in phillipino. The English speaking new nurse didn’t hear the call to clear and was zapped faster than you can say “workman’s comp.” #10 is a very necessary law in my opinion.

  20. sanbros

    In Denmark we dont have to buy and wash our own uniforms. There are 2 types of uniforms. One for surgical nurses and One for wards nurses. This is basically the same at all hospitals in Denmark.
    I always found it weird that you guys have to bring home your uniform/scrubs. Hygiene people would never allow that here.