How to be “That Nurse”


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We all work with “That Nurse.” Have you ever wanted to be “That Nurse?” Are you looking to get a new job or move out of the profession completely, and need to make it easier? Do you find your relationships with your coworkers to be too good? Then read on. You, too, could be “That Nurse” in a few easy steps.

  1. Be late for report and take a long time, but don’t do it every time. If you’re predictably late, you won’t irritate people as much. Try to suss out busy days and be late on those days.
  2. Omit important things from your report, like who’s on a titrated drip.
  3. Constructive criticism is underrated! Be sure to offer it to everyone, even if you’re not quite sure what their jobs are. It’s best if you try to correct people who know much more about the subject than you do.
  4. Don’t ever, ever make the mistake of restocking a room. Your IV bags should be nearly empty, your patients’ rooms a mess and your toilet paper or paper towel holders like howling deserts before you leave your shift.
  5. Cultivate at least one irritating habit. Picking your teeth is good, especially if you can do it during report, when you’re in close quarters with others.
  6. Be absent when other nurses need help. If you can’t be absent, be the last person into the room.
  7. It’s good if you can develop some sort of malady that, while not life-threatening, can be turned into hours of complaining and multiple sick calls. Make sure it doesn’t stop you from doing what you like to do—it should only prevent you from working during crunch times. Random work-related injuries are good, plus they offer the possibility of workman’s compensation payments.
  8. Speaking of working, be sure you have an absolutely inflexible schedule, or at least that you never try to accommodate anyone else’s schedule changes or emergencies. Cooperation is for weenies; you’re not here to make friends.
  9. Patient education is an important part of nursing. Impart erroneous information with every educational encounter. If you can manage to destroy the rapport that a patient or his family has built with other disciplines, like physical therapy, so much the better.
  10. If there’s a potluck, baby shower, wedding shower or other celebration, do not bring anything or donate. Instead, eat free food and offer your opinion on everything from decorations to recipes.
  11. Finally, and most importantly, muster every set of initials you can after your name. If you look good on paper, nothing else matters.

Do you know anybody who fits the qualities of “That Nurse?” Tell us about it in the comments below!

Agatha Lellis
Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at

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