10 signs you’re a burned-out ER nurse

Ron Chapple Studios | ThinkStock + Scrubs

“Never, ever lie to your ER nurse. Their BS detectors are excellent, and you lose all credibility when you lie”–Allen Roberts, MD

Calling all ER nurses! We recently stumbled upon an excellent list of humorous signs you might be getting a little burned out on the job. Check out our favorites below and head to NursingDegrees.com for the full list….do any of these sound familiar to you?!

You’ve been an ER nurse too long if…

…you assume every patient with back pain is a drug-seeker until proven otherwise.

…you find yourself telling the Motrin overdose which of her medicines are really dangerous.

…you consider it a compliment when certain patients swear at you.

…you know what Norbest Syndrome, Porcelain Titer, Feather Count, and FOS Syndrome mean.

…you consider yourself an unwilling specialist in vague symptoms of long duration.

…you believe patients taking two or more psychiatric drugs will never have real pathology.

…you know the sign language for “shot,” “pain,” and “x-ray.”

…you assume new ER residents should know what to do, and should do it without being told.

…you no longer leave the room when the portable x-rays are taken.

…you mistake the new resident for a high school volunteer.

Are you an ER nurse? Are these funny because they’re true? What would you add to the list?

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8 Responses to 10 signs you’re a burned-out ER nurse

  1. angelnursern

    You tell a patient which way to really cut their wrists. Just kidding not!!!

    • msjudie

      That’s how you know whether it’s a suicide attempt or attention seeking – which direction they cut.

      • anibee615

        I am not an ER nurse, but I am a SANE nurse. I’m also a survivor of sexual assault. I just wanted to share with you some insight about cutting as it was a part of my own attempts to call attention to my situation at home (12 years sexually abused by my brother and never believed by anyone). I hated to think of my actions as attention seeking (as everyone told me it was) until I realized I WAS trying to attract attention, but not just teenage angst attention… it was to get someone to pay attention to what was happening to me and help make it stop.

        Please, even if you’re burnt out, and I promise I’ll laugh along with nurse jokes like the rest of you because they are funny!, but I can’t sit by and wonder if you pass by these patients with that judgment. It’s the general population of course who maintains this attitude, but please take time with these patients it may be their final cry for help.

        • desoto875

          Thank you for your input. I will certainly take an extra second to absorb what the patient is trying to say through their actions.

          Working with these Victims is a vocation I would not have expected, but I am sure your Clients are happy you are there for them even though you cannot share your personal history with them.

          Keep doin the good work.

  2. tom combs

    You consider ‘blood alcohol level’ the fifth vital sign.
    You expect to see a leprechaun riding a unicorn before you see an empty waiting room.

  3. seasoned nurse 1

    I can not even bring myself to chart as part of the patient’s history when they say ” I have the Fibro”. In my head I finish the sentence with “and I’m bat shit crazy”.

  4. nurseshellyrose87

    Your fellow nurses give you high fives and congrats when you have been “kicked out” of the room by a patient.

  5. desoto875

    The best remedy for FOS after a Complete Metabolic Panel to check the Potassium level is to give Kayexalate 30 grams PO. The FOS will resolve.