Are you a new nurse or an experienced nurse?

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Whether you’ve just hit the nursing floor with your first pair of clogs or you’re rounding the corner to your ten year anniversary as a nurse—you might see a little of yourself in this list (or who you used to be!). Take a moment to peruse and have a chuckle.



Are you a new nurse or an experienced nurse?

A new nurse throws up when the patient does.
An experienced nurse calls housekeeping when a patient throws up.

A new nurse wears so many pins on her name badge that you can’t read it.
An experienced nurse doesn’t wear a name badge for liability reasons.

A new nurse charts too much.
An experienced nurse doesn’t chart enough.

A new nurse loves to run to codes.
An experienced nurse makes new nurses run to codes.

A new nurse wants everyone to know she’s a nurse.
An experienced nurse doesn’t want anyone to know she’s a nurse.

A new nurse keeps detailed notes on a pad.
An experienced nurse writes on the back of her hand, paper scraps, napkins, etc.

A new nurse will spend all day trying to reorient a patient.
An experienced nurse will chart the patient who is disoriented and restrain him.

A new nurse can hear a beeping I-med at 50 yards.
An experienced nurse can’t hear any alarms at any distance.

A new nurse loves to hear abnormal heart and breath sounds.
An experienced nurse doesn’t want to know about them unless the patient is symptomatic.

A new nurse spends two hours giving a patient a bath.
An experienced nurse lets the CNA give the patient a bath.

A new nurse thinks people respect nurses.
An experienced nurse knows everybody blames everything on the nurse.

A new nurse looks for blood on a bandage hoping they will get to change it.
An experienced nurse knows a little blood never hurt anybody.

A new nurse looks for a chance “to work with the family.”
An experienced nurse avoids the family.

A new nurse expects meds and supplies to be delivered on time.
An experienced nurse expects them to never be delivered at all.

A new nurse will spend days bladder training an incontinent patient.
An experienced nurse will insert a Foley catheter.

A new nurse always answers her phone.
An experienced nurse checks the caller ID before answering the phone.

A new nurse thinks psych patients are interesting.
An experienced nurse thinks psych patients are crazy.

A new nurse carries reference books in her bag.
An experienced nurse carries magazines, lunch and some “cough syrup” in her bag.

A new nurse doesn’t find this list funny.
An experienced nurse does.

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Compiled by Andrew Lopez, RN, for Learn more about Andrew at

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66 Responses to Are you a new nurse or an experienced nurse?

  1. Kevin Hyde

    Hey now,I’m a new nurse and not as bad as this would make me out to be… but I won’t actually be able to prove that until I can find someone to actually hire a new nurse!!

  2. tina parks

    when i was a 15year old nurses aide we didnt have to be certified back then i was told to fill up water pitchers. i filled up all the urinals with ice.thought it was funny that only men had those odd shape that i am an experienced nurse i make sure that the cnas know what a water pitcher looks like

  3. acey

    How about the following:

    “New nurses think working with infertile couples is wonderful. Babies, yay!!!!! Experienced nurses know that the couple is throwing their money away because someone’s either got a “bum uterus” or “defective balls.”

    Would you refer to those with reproductive issues as “defective”? Then please don’t refer to patients with psychiatric issues as “crazy.”

    There is already a stigma around mental health. Comments like “An experienced nurse thinks psych patients are crazy”, even in jest, aren’t helping.

    • nurselysha

      Amen! Psych pts get such a bad rap! They are patients with problems just like a med surgical pt!!

  4. Maria

    I’m a new nurse and …I agree 100%!!!! I do think it’s funny, great!

  5. Susan R.N.

    Well, I guess I am officially an old nurse because a couple of these made me laugh out loud.
    Geez Acey, loosen up. Sometimes a joke is just a joke. Not everything is life or death. I’m sure noone meant to malign your psych patients and everyone is sorry your feelings were hurt.

  6. Patti

    This list in my opinion, makes experiences nurses (like myself) sound lazy. I am not a lazy nurse! Usually love your articles…this one hit a nerve.

    • annjul76

      I agree, Patti. I can appreciate the humor in some of the examples but others make experienced nurses seem like they are lazy and don’t care about their patients.

  7. Jobi

    I have been a nurse for 25 years and all of these are true! I especially like the one about “avoiding the family”. So true!

  8. Joyce

    These observations are so funny and so true. People really do not respect a nurse for the things we know and do. I feel sorry for those who are too PC to see the humor.

  9. Nursenewbie

    Even as a senior nursing student a lot of these “Experienced” nurse things are strangely familiar. I’d love to not wear a name tag since having anything but MD after your name on a tag makes you a target.

    I don’t like being a target.

  10. Patty

    I’m a student nurse and we have to lug 4 reference books, a binder, lunch, stethoscope, pocket minder, BP cuff, and various items in our “nurse’s bag” up the hill through 2 parking lots to get to the hospital for clinicals. I thought the line about the reference books was too funny!

  11. Kathy

    I have been a nurse for 33 years and I think these are great! They are so funny and so true!

  12. Timmie

    I’ve been a nurse for 25years and find them all funny but very true! Good job

  13. Angela

    I am an “experienced” nurse of 18 years and I totally agree with everything!!! That is funny and very true!

  14. Tanya

    Hysterical!! And it’s not lazy, it’s having enough experience to know what and how much needs to be done. And psych people are crazy, lol! And it’s just a joke, lmao!

  15. joan cheeseman

    rn for 30 years – work on a medical floor – and found this list so funny. most of the nurses i work with are young enough to be my daughte or son. can’t wait to share this at work…

  16. Nemrac

    Reading these makes me realize I’m in a somewhat unique position – while I’ve only been practicing as a RN for 3.5 years, I’ve worked in a hospital in some capacity for over 12, so people are always surprised when I have the mannerisms and confidence of an “experienced” nurse, when I’ve only been a nurse since 2007. You learn a LOT from other nurses, and from the experiences you have in a hospital. Most of the time, I love being a nurse, and I try to set a good example for my students and co-workers by having a positive attitude, answering call lights and phones in a timely manner, and making myself available for families when I think it’s needed (especially relevant in pediatrics).

    • Judy, RN

      You have inside you what cannot be taught in books or in school. You are a what a real nurse should be. Good for you that you are willing to learn from others nurses, because you will be a good teacher yourself. Also patients know what is in your heart and they heal much better because of nurses like you. From a longtime RN.

      • laner

        Judy, I like ur comment to Nemrac. Thanks. I have been a nurse since 1984, I COUNT LPN, RN since 1991. Nursing is special, loving, AWESOME! IF your HEART is not THERE,…then u r not a NURSE!!!!!!What has happened? So what if u have a difficult pt, so what? What? That could be a member of your family. What has nursing become, yes we need to laugh, we cry, we are human. But I know some of these comments, new nurses dont need to hear. They need to experience, ON their own. Forgive me but let the younger nurses form their own opinion. Lets not add to it. Nursing, Nursing is an experience, and it changes everyday. Lets up lift, not put down. Thanks, Robin

    • laner

      U r unique. Thank you. I am 46 been in nursing since 1984. LPN then RN in 1991. Worked many areas. I have worked ED, CCU, etc… dont find some of the comments funny. Thank you for standing up. Not a lot of new nurses do that. Thank you, for u! This world needs to change the NURSES imagine. We are put down, blamed, and we are FRONT line for our patients. Thanks for CARING, thanks for the heart. U go! U go and give your hearts best, everyday.

  17. kristy

    been an RN for almost 2 yrs & this made me laugh cause I used to actually do some of these things :o) You gotta laugh at yourself in this business if not then you’ll never survive.

  18. rhonda

    After being a nurse for almost 15 years i find this hillarious. There is some truth to it, probably more than we would like to believe. Who cant say they haven’t listened to that beep down the hall hopeing the new nurse next to you would jump up and check it, or who has seen a difficult family member come down the hall and decided it was a good time for a bathroom break. lol…we all need a good laugh after a hard night

  19. Naomi

    RN for 23 yrs….LOVE these! so true and so funny!!

  20. Robbin

    As an experienced nurse of 37 years ….so many of these describe me to a tee …I love my career choice as a nurse but this is right on target..

  21. Sharon Hogue

    I am a psychiatric nurse of 20 years experience, and I am taking these to work to show my patients. They’ll love them. Psychiatric patients like a good laugh, too!

  22. Dawn

    Acey must be a psych nurse…and we ALL know about them! Just like we know how type A critical care nurses are, how OR nurses don’t like patients who are awake, and how ER nurses can wait for that gory trauma! Acey’s mentality is the same “politically correct” paradigm that has ruined the friendly bedside nursing practice that uses common sense as a basis for care, rather than a flowsheet! Sorry, acey, but you sound like you don’t like your profession.

  23. evie

    lol, i love these although some nurses need to lighten up,,is an experienced nurse and I agree, but we all were a new nurse at one time and I remember doing all these things, the experienced nurses would laugh and say you will learn,,I did :)

  24. Kelly

    OMG! Too funny! I loved this. I am a New Nurse (3 months now) and work in a nursing home. I see all of these traits in varying degrees in all of the nurses I work with! I have quite a few of the New Nurse ones, but some of the the Experienced Nurse ones as well. Thanks for the laugh! (By the way, I did find the psych joke a little wrong, but heck, aren’t we all a little crazy to want to clean poo, stick needles in skin or generally take care of the ill?) Gotta love a nurse!

  25. i’ve been a nurse for 15 years in all types of care settings and i feel we need more “testosterone” in the workplace!–Male nurses seem to be much more “easy going” and not so critical and easier to communicate with. Male nurses don’t make “emotional decisions”, they stick to the point. But this is just my opinion. Give me a male nurse anyday to work with, i could care less about their “physical strength”.

  26. star

    i’ve been nursing 27 years and my daughter graduated rn school last year . most of the experiences describe me because i see so much of the new nurse in her and the old in me.We work at same’s a hoot to hear her talk about the ”DISASTERS” that occur on her shift as i laugh to myself.

  27. J Cochran, MSN, RN

    Yes, I do agree with moch of this list. I’ve been nursing for over 20 years, so I guess that qualifies me as an experienced nurse. Now days I get to train BSN nursing students during their first days on the floor. It’s entertaining how how they process all the new information and learn their tasks.

  28. Anon.

    I agree with Acey, there are a lot of stigmas surrounding mental health patients, have some compassion and empathy, as well Nursing a profession, so at least have the decency to respect the profession and ACT that way.

    • Belasko

      If I always did that I would burn out. Sometimes you just have to through out the PC thought process and play into your pt’s delusions.

  29. I am a fairly new nurse (1 year 5 mos) and I still run to alarms, but only because it means a ton of paperwork if someone falls.
    Just because I think my psych patients are crazy doesn’t mean I’m going to treat them with anything less than the respect they deserve as people.
    I think this list is hilarious! Thanks for the laugh!

  30. Leeza

    17 yrs experience here and all I can say is that this article is hilarious! How funny to see myself written about it and it be so very true!! Acey and Anon need to lighten up…this is just a short time in reality where we can let our hair down and laugh at ourselves and our profession, I cannot believe any trained professional would act otherwise when actually on the job..relax we all have compassion…if we didn’t we would not be nurses as we could all be working less hours for more money!

  31. An experienced nurse

    I find the list funny – only I replace the words “new nurse” and “experienced nurse” with “GOOD” nurse and “LAZY” nurse.

    I’m sure people say, oh lighten up. But, I am just appalled at the amount of “experienced” nurses that say they recognize themselves in this blog. I think you’ve been in the field way too long, sadly.

    This is a job that requires 100% work ethic, and I don’t see it very much anymore. And, frankly, I am tired of working with “experienced”, i.e., LAZY, nurses that they speak about in this blog.

    You younger, newer nurses, please don’t allow yourself to become “experienced” in the way this blog speaks of. Always work your butt off on the floor. Realize that it takes a TEAM to take care of one patient, and if you are sitting down, there is probably something else you could be doing. Especially helping your aides. THEY run their butts off. THEY usually have no choice because of “experienced” i.e., LAZY nurses. Please – be a good nurse. Do your job duties, and then assist your assistants. You’ll get more respect and feel better about your job performance at the end of the day, and your patients will benefit. And, I promise… there are other nurses/aides out there that will make your shift MISERABLE if you are one of these “experienced” nurses.

  32. Kathy

    I agree with everyone! These are true to an extent. Everyone has wanted to avoid tough families at some point or felt someone was crazy yet still treated them with compassion. There are some bad “lazy” nurses out there who live the “experienced” nurse creed in this article. But for the majority of us, we all have felt this way at some point in our career… And if you say otherwise, you are only kidding yourself!

    I agree with Leeza! She nailed it on the head!

    So… Here’s a joke for those who can take it…

    What’s the difference between a psych nurse and her patients?

    …the nurse has the key! 😀

    • Karen

      I’ve been a RN for 12 yrs. 9 spent in L&D, now I’m a psych nurse and altho I understand where Acey coming from, I love the key comment. We often say, “who is worse, the patients or staff”. Humor is the key to a successful nursing career, no matter where you choose to practice!

  33. Gail

    An experienced psych nurse-me- knows that everyone is “crazy” in their own way. Many are on the wrong side of the desk, many WILL BE on the wrong side of the desk, and some of us had to be on the wrong side at some point to get to the “right” side!

  34. Kat

    I am an ” experienced ” nurse of 21 years and I found alot of these to be true and funny. “experienced nurse” needs to lighten up. I am not lazy and its rare that I am sitting down. I would like to know if she is so busy helping her Cna’s, who is doing her charting and rounds?

  35. jonri

    yes so true and funny reflects myself from yesteryears to present. haaahhaaahhaaahhaah!!!!!!

  36. Jessie

    Ha!! I almost found this list offending… then I got to the last item and laughed. I almost said, “WAIT. That’s bad nursing, right?!”

  37. J Ayres RN

    Hey, I thought these were great! Made me laugh and smile, thinking of the past when i was a new nurse, realizing now i actually did those things as a “new” nurse! Wow, I must be getting old!

  38. Sherry

    Ok, I have to tell you what happened today on my day off. My husband and I pulled up to a gas station to fill up.He got out to pump the gas but left the key in the ignition and the door slightly ajar.There was that constant and annoying dind,ding,ding,etc…..
    I finally let it get to the best of be and yelled across the vehicle to him: can you PLEASE answer that light! Then realized I was not at work and he called me crazy.Imagine that!LOL

  39. Susan

    I’ve been a nurse 30 some years and find this pretty funny. I’m definitly not lazy as a very busy Home Care RN. I was in a nursing home setting as an admissions coordinator prior to this. I did find it disturbing that the newer nurses’ documentation really sucked! I am a very thorough charter and as my future daughter-n-law says, “document to SYA”. She just graduated and took her boards. I’m glad she knows to document to “save your ass”. It will not only save you but your facility/agency also!!

  40. As a nurse in a long-term facility, I can relate to the bed and chair alarms, afterall, we ONLY have 42 in the facility! It keeps you busy jumping up and down to catch up on charting, med passes, txs., etc. But think of it like this…you’re saving that elderly person alot of pain from a potential fall, and yourself alot of “paperwork” if that person falls, not to mention protecting your job and license. I think the younger nurses remind us of what we experienced nurses learned and hopefully it helps us to keep our jobs. In nursing you can’t overchart as long as it’s true. Someday when they become “experienced” nurses, that extended charting could CYA.

  41. mchelle11

    hahahahahaha! so true… a month ago, i had to orient a new nurse and at least 90 percent was true… especially on the code, cleaning up and family dealing part…never thought i was an experienced nurse…

  42. Serenyd

    Not a fan of this one. It makes us “experienced” nurses sound lazy and uncaring. And that’s just not true!

  43. Nic

    OK, Im a new nurse (7 months) I find this funny I tell everyone Im a nurse because I worked hard for this. I keep a notepad on my cart because it helps me stay organized. However, I check my caller ID, families scare me, and the CNA would give the bath. I work with a great group of girls and help them a ton, Im very easy going… well usually. They like me, have respect for me, and know what is and isn’t acceptable.

  44. Tonya Self

    Im a seasoned LPN and rescent Graduate Nurse..I can appreciate both sides…and I cant stop laughing!!

    • DonnaT

      So are you saying that now as a “rescent Graduate Nurse” you’re a “real nurse” as opposed to being a “seasoned LPN” or let’s pretend nurse? I’m very proud to be an LPN and consider myself a “NURSE” period. Doesn’t matter what letters are behind your name.

  45. chioma

    am an experienced nurse to an extent and i agree with what the writer wrote.

  46. Lee Ann

    I’m a 25 yr LPN and I thought this was hilarious. I got a new orientee RN just out of school. She said she knew how to insert a foley, so I let her go do so. 45 minutes later, she came to get me, it wouldn’t go in. First, she had used ONE foley for 45 minutes. I put on sterile gloves and she smirked at me, I opened a new foley and she laughed. I had the CNA turn the patient on her side, and I inserted from the back, hit gold the first time. I filled the balloon, picked up my trash and walked out. Went to my DON and said, “I have been validated. Yes!!” We had a good laugh. Some things you just learn on the job.

  47. Lauren

    I agreed with most of these except the family one. I love being with the family. There’s so much you can learn about your patient that sometimes (especially in ICU and ED) that can only come from the family.

  48. sardine

    Instead of
    “A new nurse loves to run to codes.
    An experienced nurse makes new nurses run to codes.”

    I prefer
    “An experienced nurse recognizes subtle signs of early decline and prevents a code.”

    • laner



    A new nurse thinks psych patients are interesting.
    An experienced nurse thinks psych patients are crazy.

    An experienced nurse knows that psych nurses are crazier than the psych patients!!

  50. Pat

    I love it I really had a good LOL

  51. nurseleigh

    Anon, Acey, and Experienced Nurse: This blog is facetious. I believe it wasn’t meant literally! Relax! If you can honestly say that you’ve never ducked into a supply room to avoid the family member that has already taken up 20 minutes of every hour of your shift so far, and you’ve never thought to yourself “oh goodness, will the doctor ever call back and order something for Ms Doe who keeps stripping and insisting on walking up and down the hallway at 11am with visitors and administration around”, you’ve never rolled your eyes back when no one was looking at the IV pump that beeps every 5 minutes because the patient forgets they can’t bend their arm when they have an A/C site IV… then I’m happy to meet you, because you are truly Mother Theresa Incarnate. :)

  52. nurseleigh

    And Donna, I don’t know where you got anything out of Tonya’s post to possibly be offended or insecure at, she was merely stating her experience and qualifications. We should be congratulating her on finally getting paid for what she’s been doing for years!

  53. Nonners

    I’m a psych nurse….psych patients *are* crazy!

  54. kimmykins

    I’m a new nurse, but have worked at the same hospital as a CNA for years. I like to think I land somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. But I did get a good laugh!

  55. Carolyn Hause

    Oh, my. You do live in my world, don’t you? I laughed until my sides hurt.

  56. Deidra47

    I’m still laughing on this one. Obviously, I’m an experienced nurse….over 40 years in the profession.

  57. VAnightnurse

    I’m an experienced RN who thinks most of the new nurse statements are true but less than half of the experienced nurse statements are true and I don’t think it is funny.