Top 10 things nurses have GOT to stop doing at work

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You’ve heard the saying “Your coworkers become like your family.” The upshot: camaraderie, unshakable trust and friendships that will last a lifetime. However, beware that your nurse team goes from being “like family” to just being unprofessional. Letting your hair down a bit too much in the workplace is never a good idea. Here are 10 things to stop doing in the workplace.

1. Stop gossiping about each other at work.
Gossiping can be fun when it’s done all in jest. But when you’re gossiping about a coworker’s love life, job performance, etc, it’s unprofessional and just plain hurtful. Remember, the one gossiping WITH you may also be gossiping ABOUT you.

Next: Stop wearing scrubs that don’t fit. →

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Rachael Rainer

Rachael Rainer is a thirty-something LPN in Mississippi working the night shift. You can find more of her writing on her blog: and get her Twitter feed at

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12 Responses to Top 10 things nurses have GOT to stop doing at work

  1. llellisrn

    Hi Ms. Rainer,
    I thought of one more when I read the “stop being too cool for others.” You referred to the new nurse as “her.” I think we should stop assuming nurses are female.

  2. Blueorchid

    While Ive never used the term “denudulate” I would tend to disagree with number five. Working in an inner city hospital Ive seen patients with varying levels of education. While I certainly mean no disrespect to anyone- when a patient comes in complaining of a high case of “the sugars” or they’ve run out of their “water pill” or they’ve had a “fit” where they “done fell out”- slang terms are something people need to at least be aware of. Granted it is better to use the appropriate medical terms for hyperglycemia, diuretics (…usually HCTZ) and seizures but if you’re trying to get a point across to someone who has had “sugar troubles” for 30 years you’re going to need to start out with slang terms before you transition to something else.

  3. rachaelrainer

    First of all I would like to thank both of you for not only reading my article, but caring enough to comment! It’s rare I get the opportunity to interact with my readers like I can here at Scrub’s Magazine. To llellisrn, I know I should be politically correct and use he/she, but honestly, I had a particular nurse in mind while writing this part of the article, thus the use of “she/her”. And to be honest, I’ve worked with several men that are nurses, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why this scenario has never happened lol. Although where I live, males are not very usual in my field, but I have learned to never assume all nurses are females.
    To Blue Orchid, my section on slang refers to street slang, not medical slang. I work in a nursing home and not a single morning goes by that I don’t say to a Resident, “its time to check your sugar!” Lol! My intent was the way we speak in the real world amongst friends kind of slang. I realize each area has it’s own slang terms for things, which is most likely why my article was edited by the editors. Some of the examples given were not mine.

  4. Mike

    I don’t know how a nurse would even be eating in front of a patient. Last I checked, even having beverages out in the work area was an OSHA violation. (Though that hasn’t even stopped us from having our beverage containers at the desk.) But food in the patient care area is a big no-no unless it’s the patient’s food.

  5. Mike

    Maybe this is a different take on this thread, but the thing I most want to see is nurses and other healthcare professionals apologizing for calling a physician, service or NP on call to voice a concern, problem and/or ask for orders on a patient. I did this for years and was finally broken of the habit at one hospital where I was working agency. The hospital had a wonderful cardiology group whose NPs took first-line call at night. The first time I contacted one and did my standard “sorry for waking you up” routine, the gentlemen told me, “Don’t you EVER apologize for calling me. I assume you are the consummate professional taking excellent care of your patient. I expect nothing less than to be called whenever you have a concern, minor or major, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Now, tell me what’s going on.” I tried not to fall apart on the phone! That was the last time I ever apologized for calling about a patient concern.

    • greenjellybean1975

      I get that. But, in my department (a small NICU) I do feel sorry for waking up the physicians. When I know they have been up most of the night and still have to do clinic tomorrow i feel sorry for them when I have to call.

  6. AnonymousRN

    The gossip is out of control. I do my best not to take part, I’m not always successful. I’m not entirely sure why gossip is so common. I’ve definitely seen the damages it can cause first hand. The worst, I believe, is when the boss(s) role model this behavior.

    I disagree about tattoos. I have a couple that are partially visible and I work with nurses whose tattoos are visible. It has never gotten on the way of patient relations and all of us provide quality professional care for our patients.

    I think those were the 2 that really stood out for me as I don’t know anyone eating or drinking at patients bedside and the issues of loud personal calls Etc doesn’t seem to happen on my unit.

  7. roswilliams

    I think these ten tips are good for ALL nurses. Good manners, whether it be table or otherwise, should NEVER go out of style. Neither should professionalism. You can relay a professional manner while at the same time conveying a neighbor next door image.

  8. roswilliams

    I agree with Blue Orchid. You MUST speak in terms that the patient can understand, and if slang is the ONLY thing the patient understands relating to his/her condition, then so be it.

  9. Granny RN

    Does anyone REALLY think that nurses, or anyone who is Human for that matter, is ever going to STOP GOSSIPING?
    Sorry, but the first paragraph stopped me from reading the rest…

    • Guy Quigley

      We must do our best to not gossip. At one place I know of you can be fired for it.

  10. kristiemiller1969

    I agree with the tattoo one! ANY job that deals with the public, especially nursing, should NEVER have tattoos that show! I like tattoos, it’s creative expression, a form of art. I believe nurses who have tattoos that show are NOT taken seriously and this includes nursing assistants and CNA’s.