10 things nurses are NOT thankful for

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During this holiday season, it’s time to sit back and reflect—to reflect on what nursing is to us and, for one perverse instant, think about what we’re not necessarily “thankful” for.

Here is our top 10 list.

1. Mobile phones. Okay, whose idea was it to tether down the nurses with mobile phones and then give the phone numbers to the patients? It was hard enough before to grab a bathroom break in peace. Now you have to go and hope the phone doesn’t ring while you’re there. Oh—and why does your phone ring right when you have begun a sterile procedure?

2. Computer-generated passwords. How many passwords do you have to remember? You have passwords for your personal computer, your email, your voicemail…just about anything you want to access electronically. If you’re lucky, you get to choose your own passwords and hope they’re easy enough for you to remember while not being too easy for thieves to figure out. So what happens when you get to work and you’re given a computer-generated password that makes absolutely no sense to you, and you can’t change it? Really! Who can remember OioP_892ml2?

3. Punch clocks. We know the importance of time clocks or punch clocks—after all, not everyone comes in on time. But if you’re not allowed to punch in too early, and everyone has to punch in at the same time at the same place, want to bet that someone ends up punching in a minute or two late?

4. Cocky first-year residents. We know: We all have to learn. We were nursing students once. But please save us from the know-it-all, just-graduated-at-the-top-of-my-class first-year residents. If we suggest that you may be heading toward an error, as patient advocates we have to speak up. Please don’t dig in your heels just because you’re the doctor. You may be the doctor, but we know what we’re doing!

5. Paychecks. This one needs a bit of explaining, huh? We love getting paid and are thankful for getting paid, but sometimes when we look at that paycheck and compare it to the amount of work we did…well, you get the picture.

6. Token days for nurses. International Nurses Day is meant to thank us for the work we do all year long. Here’s to hoping someone will institute the International Nurses Each and Every Day, where we’re appreciated daily and have our pay raised—that would be worth celebrating!

7. Hovering visitors. Not all visitors are bad—some are downright nice and pleasant. But others…please keep them away! We could do without the visitors who hover over us as we try to complete a task, who pepper us with questions as we’re talking to someone else and who think that we’re there to cater to their every whim, and all the while they’re not even the patient!

8. Nursing diagnosis. Seriously? We have to figure out a nursing diagnosis on top of the medical diagnosis? Don’t we have enough work to do?

9. Paperwork. Speaking of paperwork, what ever happened to the paperless society we were going to have someday? It seems that we generate a lot more paper now that we have computers and printers than we ever did before. And speaking of papers, how many do we have to sign the same thing over and over again?

10. Long names. Nurses with long names really don’t have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to signing off charts and other sheets again and again…you can thank (or not thank) your parents for that one!

Do you have anything you can add to this list?

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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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8 Responses to 10 things nurses are NOT thankful for

  1. Lowrise scrub pants: I have to look at “cracks” all day. Do I really have to be subjected to my fellow co-workers’ as well?

  2. Terri

    Early home pregnancy tests! While my heart goes out to you if you are a tax-paying, trying-to-start-a-family woman of childbearing age who is miscarrying…I do NOT care to see a less-than-20-weeker coming in on an ambulance for vaginal bleeding. I CAN’T HELP YOU!! Unless, of course, you are literally bleeding to death! If you are loosing consciousness, by all means, call an ambulance. Until then, stay home.

  3. Helen Marshall

    Nursing Diagnoses? NURSING DIAGNOSIS!!! has the person who devised this concept ever taken care of 17 post op patients? They all hurt, have dressings and tubes and are scared to death. During 8 hours they have 20 IVPB’s and multiple drainage devices and worried family. You can say “worried about diagnosis” in a multitude of fancy sweet ways but it all comes down to worried. Pain is PAIN. Give me the 4X4’s, D5NS and the pain meds and let me take care of my patients

  4. William

    Leave it up to nurses to put together a top 10 of negatives! Sigh. Yes, I am a nurse.

  5. Beth

    In response to Terri…

    As a fellow nurse, I agree to an extent.

    As a woman who was instructed by her OB to be seen in the ED to rule out an ectopic, I ask you to not discredit your patients actions.

  6. Oddly enough, thing 1 (mobile phones) can be used to help you with thing 2

    If you own a smartphone (iPhone, Android, or Blackberry) and are allowed to
    carry it while you work, you can use one of the many password manager apps that
    are available. With such an app, you only have to remember one ‘master’
    password that lets you access the app. Then all your other passwords are
    stored, encrypted on the phone.

    I’m pretty sure Blackberries all come with a built-in password manager. There
    were about 85 different password manager apps in the iTunes app store for
    iPhones the last time I checked. And the Android marketplace has several.

    My company, Sheridan Programmers Guild, publishes one such app for both the
    iPhone and Android phones. It is called PasswordRN and was designed
    specifically for nurses working in a clinical setting. It is super simple, easy
    to use, and easy to read. For more info, check out http://passwordrn.com

    (If you don’t have a smartphone or aren’t allowed to carry it, there are some
    techniques you can use to make any passwords you get to choose for yourself
    easier to remember while still being hard to guess. I wrote a short piece on
    this, which you can find at: http://checklistrn.com/2010/09/26/passwords-101/
    But, frankly, none of those techniques can help with the computer-generated

  7. Ashley

    Terri, I hope for your sake you never suffer through a miscarriage. Not only are they emotionally painful but physically painful… and as a nurse you should know those two things coupled together can bring the strongest person to their knees- Every cramp and clot are a reminder that you won’t longer be having that precious baby. I know that there are critical pt’s that you can do something for. At the same time- looking from their “layman’s” perspective wouldn’t you want to go somewhere where their might be the slightest chance that they could do something to save your baby’s life?

  8. Sarah

    As an OB nurse, a mother of 5, and after having 3 miscarriages and a fetal demise, I feel I have the right and responsibility to respond to Terri’s and Ashley’s comments. I totally understand where Terrri is coming from regarding being less than 20 weeks pregnant and using emergency services to rush them into the hospital over a dime sized spot of blood.( This actually happened. ) For one thing, the baby isn’t viable at that stage. The bleeding is minor and is probably only from the vag exam done earlier in the office. The problem is that there is not enough education done with the patients. If they have questions they can always call the hospital or their Dr. before calling 911. Unless its obvious even to them that they are bleeding like a period or more, having excruciating pain, or feeling weak, which I think Ashley is referring to, Also if your Dr. sent you to the hospital, he’s already aware and most likely diagnosed something like an ectopic by the symptoms the pt has described to him. I’ve seen WAY too much waste of Medicaid payouts for something like the above description, and the pts don’t care how they get there. One came in by ambulance because her spouse wouldn’t be home for another hour. We sent her back home after evaluating her.Too much nonsense stuff for what could just be a phone call or some teaching.