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Do Nurses Really Make the Worst Patients? Healthcare Providers Weigh In

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There’s an adage that says nurses make the worst patients. It’s like going out to eat with someone who waits tables. They might start criticizing the waiter or telling their friends what they would’ve done instead. 

The same is sometimes true for healthcare providers. Nurses know what it’s like to take care of people, so they may have a few notes for the person taking care of them. We asked millions of nurses whether they like caring for one of their own and here are some of the best responses:

Not always. I think my nurses loved me when I was hospitalized. I pretty much left them alone unless I really needed something.

-Amber

Ummm yeah… I’d send a friend to the ER for two stitches, yet I wouldn’t go myself unless my liver was hanging out…

-Danie

We have a sound base knowledge & ask appropriate logical questions. We have a sensitivity to what his/her day is like and don’t use the call button as hotel room service. We don’t view MDs as God and we challenge why certain meds have been added without any explanation. Nope. We are the right kind of patient.

-Cheryl

And watch out for RN mothers of pediatric patients! You don’t want to face that wrath!

-Donna

I try to be good. But sometimes I can’t help it! Took hubby to ER. Due to Covid he had to go in alone. He had body aches, chills, and difficulty breathing. The nurse advised him it would be cheaper if he went to a COVID testing place because ER will “test for everything”. I told him [that’s] exactly why you are there, now go back in! COVID – Heart attack & pneumonia +. 😡. Luckily, I didn’t find that nurse.

-Liz

I always found higher ranking military men and teachers [to be] the worst.

-Kathleen

False…it’s doctors. I had a doc change his own PCA pump settings!

-Danette

I don’t tell them I’m a Nurse…. I just judge them quietly

-Dan

My dad was hospitalized recently, and I had to sit on my hands or play on my phone to keep myself from micromanaging.

-Sarah

Spent the night in the hospital after surgery recently and I think I was pretty easy. I did my own Is/Os, walked without having to be told, pushed my call light only once I believe bc I couldn’t reach my SCDs to unplug them, and worked out a plan with my nurses for when I would take pain meds at a time they’d already be coming in 🤷‍♀️

-Tawny

No, I actually was a great patient. That’s what the nurses said to each other. I rarely call, bought them dinner and gave them thank you cards. I think we are either the world’s best or worst, but it’s reflective of what kind of nurse we are to our patients 😎

-Amy

We know good care and expect nothing but that! So, I would say we are judgmental and often difficult to care for.

-Roxanne

I was just a patient, the nurse that stuck me 3 times and missed the vein then infiltrated and filled three tubes with blood she knew was not viable. Because I didn’t get pissy, I was a great patient

-Daniel

Nurses are more likely to ask tough questions that require more than just a casual answer. They’re also more likely to question things that don’t look right. If that makes them bad patients, then so be it.

-Richard

I’ve literally told my Practitioner that I refuse to do a test because I felt it was medically unnecessary. 😂

-Alyssa

We Band-Aid/doctor ourselves and think we are fine! However, I HATE it when people ask for advice and then totally disregard anything I have to say. Especially when I 💯 know I’m right

-Jamie

I was a good pt. I stripped my bed and let the enrolled nurse hide in my room while she pretended to do my [chart] for 30 minutes. I answered her questions as she was studying [to be an] RN.

-Justin

No, the worst [patients] I ever took care [of] were Doctor’s wives.

-Barbara

Sometimes. When I was pregnant with my middle child, I was at my first appointment with a nurse practitioner. She asked when my last pelvic exam was. I answered with, “Did I mention I am a nurse on the women’s unit at the hospital?” She said, ” I will put down can’t remember”.

-Mellodie

Don’t leave us with a pump that is beeping and expect us not to fix it!

-Antoinette

I do not mention I’m a nurse. Unless they are doing something unsafe.

-Shurn

I’m terrible at taking any oral meds and hate injections!! Don’t mind injecting others though🤷🏾‍♀️

-Gillian

I confess. I hate being sick and know too much. Who needs WebMD when you are a retired nurse?

-Lynda

Nurses may not always make the best patients, but at least they know what it’s like to be on the other side of healthcare. A big thanks to everyone who responded on Facebook. These responses have been edited for length and clarity. 

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