10 things only ER nurses understand

Creatas | ThinkStock

Creatas | ThinkStock

Coping with frequent fliers. Eating lunch right after cleaning up a messy trauma. Patients who are, well, impatient. ER nurses, we feel your pain!

We asked our Facebook fans for the little things about life on the job that only ER nurses would “get”–laugh (and nod your head in agreement!) at their responses below!

10 things only ER nurses understand

1. How to overcome the stares of hatred from patients waiting in the lobby who have no concept of the words “triage system.”
Heather Shaw Holliday

2. Patients being allergic to all pain medications except Dilaudid. Or they are allergic to Tylenol, but Vicodin is fine…
Jenny Bronkema 


3. When the EMS radio goes off with a critical patient and everyone runs to the bathroom because it might be a long time before we get another chance to pee!!
Nicki Marquardt

4. Most patients: “I was minding my own business” and “I only had two drinks.” I have now decided that minding your own business and two drinks are the most dangerous activities. :)
Nikki Anjere 

5. Being able to eat lunch right after cleaning up (insert body part/fluid here) from a particularly messy trauma.
Aleece Joy Browdy Ellison 

6. How many nurses are required to “supervise” a procedure when the fire rescue hotties are called in to help!
Elizabeth Gomez

Pages: 1 2 View All

, ,

Scrubs Editor

The Scrubs Staff would love to hear your ideas for stories! Please submit your articles or story ideas to us here.

Post a Comment

You must or register to post a comment.

37 Responses to 10 things only ER nurses understand

  1. Brandison

    A drug seeker that face plants it to get attention and drugs

  2. Snooptulsa

    Parents and I use the term loosley, that bring sick kids in with no coat or shoes and say I didn’t give him anything for his fever because I wanted you to see how high his fever was.

  3. traumamamma1

    Kicking off your clogs and stripping to the buff before you enter the house…who cares what the neighbors think!

  4. traumamamma1

    …a shower and a mug of hot wine and Benadryl before hitting the sack in a cold, dark room after a long night shift….with everyone you know terrified to wake you!

  5. traumamamma1

    Knowing that at the end of your shift, you made the Docs look GOOD!

  6. LUV2RSQ

    Ignoring the looks of audacity from visitors in the waiting room as you tell the frequent flyer who is having a “seizure” to stop flopping around get up off of the floor.

  7. shinebeam2707@yahoo.com

    Got a question how the heck do nursing home pts fall out of bed or wheel chairs that cant walk or move to begin with?

  8. traumed

    Giving a wheelchair lift all the way out the door, not because your nice but because there is no way you allow the patient to”fall” and have to be roomed again for pain meds.

  9. cpeezy

    The deathly ill patient who comes in by ambulance only to walk out without getting even a tylenol.

  10. Jos00100

    Sitting in triage with abdominal pain 10/10 complaining of n/v/d eating a bag of fire hot Cheetos or keep hitting the call bell for a cup of ice when the patient next door is coding.

    • Globespun

      All the comment I can relate too and it makes my day to share my pain!!!

  11. Aegram1127

    Father of infant patient being seen in ER that is about to get a rectal temp: “there’s got to be another way because THAT will HURT!”
    Nurse: “the doctor has ordered it this way, it doesn’t hurt a bit. I can SHOW you.

  12. Bambi

    You are at a party and you scan people’s arms that are talking to you..
    and think to yourself….Geez I can get a 14 in that vein from across the room…

  13. libcom333

    Asked a young girl, “Are you sexually active?” After thinking for a while she states,”No, I just lay there!”

  14. traumamama

    The pt that is allergic to all NSAIDS even the ones you say are new and don’t exist.The mother who brings her child too the ER at 3AM but has no idea if her Mothers, uncle, brother, sister who was watching the child has given him/her something for the “fever” which is 98.2R…..or my favorite…the very young girl who comes in wanting an US so she can show the Daddy that the baby looks like him, she’s missed her first menses.

  15. rviccaro

    Know that any story starting with, “well, I had a couple beers….” Means that first of all, add 10 to that number and secondly, it’s going to be a funny story.

    When they add, “do you think I’ll need stitches?” as their fingers are hanging off their hand is a classic!

    One of the docs told the patient that God protects drunks and fools. The patient said Thank God or I’d be dead as he giggled uncontrollably. Can’t make this stuff up!

  16. jazzrider56 RN

    How about the pregnant young woman who works at the nearby convenience store who comes to the ER with abdominal pain? Turns out she keeps getting pain whenever the cash register drawer opens. I then asked her, “Have you tried stepping back or catching the drawer with your hand? You do know when it’s going to open don’t you?” You just can’t fix stupid.

  17. Devildocmom

    Regarding #8, when they have to wait in the lobby, they are eating Doritos!

    Or their child had a fever for ‘half an hour’.

    In relation to #2, “I don’t know the drug that helps…it starts with a ‘D'”

    They have been in so many times they know the docs who are more generous with meds and try to have us make sure they will see that doc.

    Being shocked when an ambulance does not guarantee them a room and they are sent to triage. This does not happen enough.

    Expecting to be admitted and bringing a lot of luggage…and then are sent home.

    Taking an ambulance from the other side of town and leaving shortly after they arrive because they only wanted to see someone on this side of town!

    Sadly, older folks who do not call an ambulance when they should, because ‘someone else might need it more’…and that someone else stubbed their toe!

  18. kidsgalore

    Why the patients from the local meat plant are put by the exit doors….

  19. darylo

    The patient who asks for phenergan because she ate so much and wants to take a nap. (true story)

  20. Dawn Touchstone

    Getting ready to start a IV and tell the patient “you will feel a little prick” and the patient say’s “that”s what my boyfriend told me too the first time we had sex” lol

  21. shlock

    Worked 25 years in ER….best and worst years ever…loved it!

  22. shlock

    Terminology…the best from ER…ie: Smiling Mighty Jesus_ spinal meningitis, Tecnical shot_ Tetanus shot, one male patient who had a Hemorrhoid hysterectomy…..flea bites to babies heads, and Dorito breath on 2 year olds …that have vomited all nite…ha..this site could be fun….

  23. Marina Dedivanovic

    When patients act dead or unconscious yet a good ole sternal rub wakes them right up! 😉

  24. Peg Sunflower

    You forgot that CHF at 630am, when you were praying to get out on time!!!!!!!!!

  25. Nurz911

    I’ve yet to insert a conscious male’s Foley catheter without him commenting on or apologizing for the size of his penis before I start. “It used to be bigger”, “it’s had better days”, “old age has done a number on the big guy”. Seriously guys… It’s a body orifice, I want urine. Nothing else. Don’t make this more awkward please.

    • slong123

      I’m so glad I never worked the ER, only podiatry

  26. Nurz911

    Blue dye! Yes people, rubbing your hands on a pair of new jeans all day will turn your hands blue. It’s not some evil deadly disease. I’ve seen this three times in my career and one additional was blue Gatorade that exploded during an MVC. She thought she had major trauma to the backs of her thighs that I cured for her with a wet facecloth. Bruises aren’t sticky!!

    • Traumaqueen7

      That is one of the funniest complaints (blue dye on the hands) actually had a pt come by ambulance. We all laughed when we she realized it was her jeans. She and her friends were so worried.

  27. slong123

    Or needing pain meds after a simple procedure that requires one tylenol and a bandaid. However I had a very bad personal experience with Skyline ER in Nashville. Took my son in at 1am when he was 3 with a 104 temp and vomiting. I gave him tylenol before leaving and water. No one in the waiting room but someone who brought some I ne else in. He was taken right back immediately. 2 hours later his temp went down, but not even a nurse, doctor, no one had come into the room once. I went to the nurse station. About 8 nurses standing around. I noticed the patient rooms were open, and my son was 1 of 2 patients that were in the ER. I asked for a cup of water or a water fountain for my son and was told I could take him to the bathroom sink! We left and I had plenty to say when we left. Same ER, a coworker worked in triage and told me about a man who was brought by his son, obviously in pain, in a wheelchair, the nurse said he was faking and was a med seeker and made him wait in the waiting room; he died 20 minutes later. She shrugged. That is the only ER I’ve seen that behavior with the nursing staff. When I worked at St. Thomas you would be fired for acting that way

  28. Traumaqueen7

    When the mother of a grown child come to the desk to say they have been waiting 15 minutes to get to triage and from what she can see, NO ONE in the waiting room is even sick.

  29. vettern403

    Pt askes”What doctor is on tonight?”( wanting to know, because Dr …… didnt give them pain meds the last time they were here) Then say” I dont want to see Dr” ….”

  30. ERSticker

    Using a “fake” dead body to scare the EVS personnel!

  31. ERSticker

    Or – the frequent flyer who wants to call 911 from his room and when you call him out on it (after getting mad @ e’one) leaves AMA after coming in comatose!!!!

  32. Pompilot Caption Contest

    In reference to #4, we must not forget that infamous ‘Sum Dude’. As in, “I was just having a couple of drinks, minding my own business, when Sum Dude knocks me out of my seat”.

  33. Jorjastorm74

    When a patient comes in with loads of tattoos and piercings and states they are frightened of needles