10 things only short nurses understand

Shutterstock | Roger Jegg - Fotodesign-Jegg.de
Shutterstock | Roger Jegg – Fotodesign-Jegg.de

Struggling to reach something on the highest shelf at work…again? Standing on your tiptoes for what feels like half your shift? Having to find a stepstool so you can do chest compressions? Vertically challenged nurses, we feel your pain!

We asked our petite Facebook fans for the little on-the-job things that only their fellow short nurses would understand…get ready to chuckle and nod your head in agreement!

10 things only short nurses understand

1. Having to adjust all the IV poles at the start of shift so you can reach the bags!
—Julie Autumn

2. Doing chest compressions while standing on your tippy toes.
—Tracey Amell

3. Pushing a med cart down the hall…and having to look around the side of it to see what’s ahead. LOL! I had a resident say to me once, “What are ya, 4 foot nothing?”
—Donna Goodman

4. Using a footstool to hang anything is almost a requirement. Asking taller nurses to get items off the top shelf of the Omnicell because you cannot reach them. Using a marker to adjust your touchscreen monitor because it’s too high to reach. Having patients question the fact that you will be moving them out of bed: “You’re too small….”
—Krystal Quinlan Actis 

5. I have to stand on my tiptoes to be able to read my MAR when I’m passing out medsI need a stepstool…or my med cart needs to be lower!
—DeAnna Miller

6. Having your body stretched across a bariatric bed to reach your patient…[e.g.,] Foley placement!
—Gretchen Eder Sloan 

7. Transferring a patient from one bed to another, I always wind up in the bed with the patient.
—Lisa Bechard Meyer

8. One of my vertically challenged nursing school classmates said that the biggest drawback was that her nose is closer to ALL of the bad smells!
Brenda Mackel

9. Getting tripped up by isolation gowns because they go to your ankles. Although, on the bright side, you are completely covered and protected.
—Rachel Cole

10. Scrub pant bottoms that collect more bacteria and gunk on them than a pair of latex-free gloves!
—Jonna Renée

Psst! Cherokee offers a ton of petite scrubs pants options—we like the low-rise drawstring, junior fit low-rise drawstring and mid-rise pull-on cargo pants for flattering fits in several different colors. We’re also a fan of HeartSoul’s petite low-rise drawstring and mid-rise elastic waist cargo fits.

What else would you add to this list? Sound off in the comments below! And if you’re at the other end of the height spectrum, check out 10 things only tall nurses understand!

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21 Responses to 10 things only short nurses understand

  1. Sexyknickers

    Trying to measure someone’s height and I need a step stool cause they are way over my height!

  2. Jang

    My resident would tell me”does your parent know that you are here?”…

  3. Cindy Rios

    When you cannot get into O2 tank and biohazard storage closets because the keys hang out of your reach and when you complain to maintenance man he asks “What do you suggest I do when law says I have to keep keys out of residents reach and all the residents are taller than you?”
    Needless to say, I got my own keys! :)

  4. crescami

    I am told that when responding to a code I have to take the stool with me to do compressions.

  5. eaglerr

    I am 60″-in my Danskos. Numerous times I have had to ask a patient’s family member to please hang the I.V. This is usually followed by a comment similar to: “Can I get you a sheet of paper to stand on?” Probably the most embarrassing for me is reaching and my chest is in my patient’s face! A couple of times I thought I might asphyxiate my charge. Of course, I’m always asking those taller (who isn’t ?) to reach items for me. The great team I work with usually pat me on my head and say, “Don’t worry, you’re only short on one end.” Thank you God for calling me into this special career.

  6. klcrn87

    I’m 5’0″ and I’m always stretching, tiptoeing etc!! When I worked in the hospital the IV poles attached to the ceiling were the WORST!! Tall folks would jack them all the way up and there was no way I could reach them….used to work with an awesome orderly that would go around a pull them down for me!! The next nurse would fuss because he/she would hit their heads on them!! I’ve climbed ONTO the bed/stretcher for compressions…I always made sure I was on the “pulling” side to get a pt into bed…otherwise I lost contact halfway across the beds. Used to work at a nursing home that had a MONSTER med cart (big enough to hold 30 pts’ meds)… residents used to move out of my way because the knew I couldn’t see over it and it outweighed me so I couldn’t stop it quick!

  7. NeeNee

    We may be vertically challenged, but we are great climbers. I often have to climb on the counters in the med room to reach things on the top shelf. Also a tip for hemming long scrub pants, use stitch-witchery and an iron (or for those without an iron, a hair straightening wand will work just as well).

  8. rayner

    Being unable to reach across the counter to get anything! I have to walk around to get anything I might have left on the desktop, i.e. stethoscope!

  9. Gemma Hale

    I am always asked whether I am old enough to do the job given my height and decent amount of freckles! Another one is that people always offer to do things for you because I look to small to do it! Frustrating!

  10. Granny RN

    Good things come in small packages, it is often said.
    When you think about it in terms of everything else it is true-sexy sports cars are usually Small; Electronics get smaller as technology advances; and some of the most powerful people I have known are shorter than ME (5’0″).

  11. dolphinbabie

    I also have to stand on my tiptoes to read the MAR.

  12. skjajm

    All of it and peoples replies are right on!! I thought I was the only one who asked family members to get IVs down for me. I also go around and lower the IV poles!! The step stool, I love it!! I do it all the time!!

  13. jalynnro13

    Yeah, no one ever told me that you had to be a certain height to be a nurse…they said height didn’t matter. Wrong! I’m 4’10…constantly stretching to reach 5’0″!!
    1. IV Poles…can someone stop tightening them?!
    2. Top shelves of the Omnicell…why do they put the most common drugs up there?
    3. Yep…did CPR once straddling the pt ’cause I couldn’t find the step stool. Seriously.
    4. In our hospital, washcloths are on the top shelf in the cupboard…along with the emesis basins, urinals and pee specimen cups…all the important things. Thank God for my pen…it’s my reaching utensil 90% of time…coworkers/families the other 10%.
    5. Really? The only open locker is on the top row?
    6. I’ve been a nurse x 15 years…on the plus side…I don’t look my age and get mistaken for a student often! Yeah!!

  14. KELLIEJO48

    I get it every day because i can’t reach the top of the assingment board to place my name on rooms one and two

  15. trooper

    Not being able to reach the things on the top shelf of the Lycos.

  16. Carmen Carrion

    Most petite scrubs fit you if you are 5’3, I am 4’10 so they are still too long! This article is great!! In an emergency I always just jumped up on counter to reach things, because there’s never a step stool handy when you need one! Assisting with procedures was a challenge when you are trying to pass instruments but the table is too high and you’re in sterile gown and gloves you have to keep stepping up and down on step stool, especially when the person you are assisting is 6’4! Nursing is always a challenge and we nurses have always tall or short learned to finagle something to make it work.

  17. Tammy Bialorucki Smidi

    Was asked by a resident when I plan to file my law suit against the city. When I asked him what he meant. His reply, ” For building the sidewalks to close to your ass.”

  18. cliff reed

    I’m a male RN about 5 foot 10 inches and I did all the compressions.

  19. mdrn

    When step stools were not immediately available, I just hopped on the bed with my patient & start chest compression. Better leverage.

  20. Nailil

    I work in a pediatric hospital and most of the time parents to the sick child always offer a hand when I’m fixing the iv line on the drip stand. We also have footstool especially in rooms that have high shelves. I thank God they consider the challenges faced by short people.