10 soothing phrases no nurse wants to hear

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You know when you have a bad day? I mean, a really, really bad day? And you get home, or meet non-nursing friends for a drink after work, and somebody tries to calm you down?

And then you turn into Huge Green Monster Nurse and start smashing glassware?

These are the phrases that do it for me.

10. “Don’t worry; tomorrow’s another day.” That is exactly what I’m worried about.

9. “It’s a 24-hour job, you know.” I know I can trust my coworkers, but sometimes it feels like *my* 24 hours.

8. “I’m sure nobody will notice.” That I dropped a bottle of gazillion-dollar medication, hemolyzed blood samples and had a patient fall? My inbox disagrees with you.

7. “We’ve all been there.” Dear, if your office job has caused you to be covered in poop and vomit, with a patient swinging as you try to put down an NG tube, I’d love to hear about it.

6. “But you only work three (four) days a week!” You. Have. No. Idea.

5. “At least nurses get paid well.” Not enough, my friend. Not nearly enough.

4. “Well, you’re off now!” Aaaand I have to go back in (checks watch) seven hours.

3. “But you get three (four) days off a week!” I need every one of them. Seriously.

2. “It’s not as hard a job as being a soldier.” I’m not disputing that at all, but a bad day is a bad day.

And the No.1 thing guaranteed to land your butt in the next room if you say it to me?

1. “Oh, my day was worse.” As I once told a paramour, “Darling, a bad day for you is when somebody doesn’t tip. A bad day for me is when somebody dies.”

What would you add to the list?

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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