“I walked in on my patient…”

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Ahh, patients. They’re what make the nursing world go round, but sometimes they can drive you crazy! And sometimes, they drive you crazy with laughter. We’ve all seen our patients do some funny things…particularly when they’re caught by surprise. We asked our Facebook fans about the funniest thing they’ve ever walked in on a patient doing, and boy, did we get some strange and hilarious answers! Read on for a few good laughs!

“I walked in on my patient…”

1. …washing her clothes in the bathroom sink, underwear and all. How did she dry them, you ask? She hung them all over the bathroom, of course…it looked like I was walking into a 1930s “Hooverville.” She even tried to get me to smell a pair of her “freshly laundered” panties, asking if I thought they smelled clean! I explained to her that not only had we been sending her laundry out to be cleaned, since we anticipated her being at the hospital for a number of months, but that it was also not a good idea to do her laundry in this manner for multiple sanitary reasons, as well as for the risk of her belongings becoming accidentally misplaced. The things you see on the night shift….
Desiree Fisher

2. …chewing on the inflated balloon end of the Foley catheter she had pulled out. When asked what she was doing, her reply was, “Chewing gum.”
Renee Stanley Dittmar

3. …who had crawled up under the bed, and when I asked, he said he was “fixing his car.” He proceeded to get very technical about the make and model, what was wrong and what he needed to do to fix it. When I went back to the nurse’s station to relay this, another nurse asked if I filled out an incident report because he was on the floor, which led to a whole debate on whether or not I needed to because he was on the floor on purpose!
Virginia Haunz Phillips

4. My CNA walked into a patient’s room while doing a room check and came running back into the nurse’s station yelling that there was a snake on the ground in the patient’s room. We ran down to the room, only to find that the long snake was not a snake, but the patient had pooped on the ground. Needless to say, there was more than one snake in the room…ugh!
Jennifer Foley

5. …going code brown in the bottom drawer of a treatment cart drawer that a newer nurse had left open. Funniest thing was the look on the face of that young nurse…unforgettable!
Johnnie Stone

‎6. …urinating in his roommate’s water pitcher. The horrible thing is that earlier in the shift, the roommate told me that his water “tasted funny” and had me get him another pitcher. Obviously this wasn’t my patient’s first trip to the bathroom….
Alicia Frank Ruiz

7. …crawling on his hands and knees to the bathroom (because we told him he wasn’t allowed to walk there on his own). I think it was pretty creative!
Alyssa Barnes

8. … masturbating with his wife sitting in the corner watching him. The funny part is, I told the doctor. After I quietly left the room, the patient was leaving and came to shake the doctor’s hand…the MD laughed out loud, then shook the man’s hand and told him to have a great day. Ewww!
Keli Fountain Callaway

9. …holding her nurse call button. She had chewed completely through the electrical cord…and her oxygen tubing. We are talking chewed all the way through!
Jenn Jeffries

10. … (a sweet little 94-year-old resident) insisting that her Foley bag was really her purse and she was trying to open up said “purse” to put her money in it. :)
Ashley Cozart

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen when walking into a patient’s room?

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13 Responses to “I walked in on my patient…”

  1. Katie

    Clearly, most of these patients have dementia. Nothing to laugh at here. No compassion here either!

    • Candace RN

      Katie, I realize that our dementia patients and those suffering with hospital psychosis is nothing to laugh about. In our profession we see it all funny or not. We have to find ways to smile and chuckle. It’s our way of balancing the good with the bad and the happy with the sad. The compassion is in caring for those who are confused and not laughing at them, but keeping it together in the patient’s room, keeping them safe, caring for them day in and day out and having the patience to repeat the tasks over and over. The beauty of the patients in these stories is that the nurses/CNA’s caring for them were there for them each and every moment to catch the humor in the situation.

    • Belasko RN

      Have to agree w/ Candace. If you don’t endulge in the black humor periodically you will eventually burn out or go mad. Not to mention the times that getting the pt to do what is in their best interest sometimes means ignoring the phych nursing class rule to not play into your confused pt’s fantasy/hallucinations.

      • Robin Barrett

        At times I am afraid it is either laugh or cry. I work with “pleasantly confused” patients often and I love them dearly. If one does not laugh I am afraid caring will consume you. However you have every right to refrain from this yourself as we are all different.

  2. @Katie,

    Clearly you have no sense of humor. I’m sorry, but as both a nursing student and someone who has cared for four elderly grandparents with dementia, all of these still made me laugh. Our job is a difficult and sometimes sad one and I commend these nurses for finding humor in what is often a stressful and trying environment.

  3. loochof4

    Katie, Sometimes you just have to laugh, because otherwise you will cry until your heart breaks. Most of these patients with these types of behavior are some of our favorite patients. They are often remembered as the ones that made us realize that we are all human. I had a patient with dementia who fell and broke her hip. She said I don’t remember my name at times, but I am pretty sure I broke my hip! I told her she was right and she said about what, that I can’t remember my name or that I broke my hip? Katie, believe me we are laughing so we don’t cry

  4. icu4real

    Walked in on my hypertensive ICU patient having her thick, long toenails being sucked on by her boyfriend! He packed her see thru red “chemise” in her bag that he brought! She was 300+ pounds, no bath in weeks, he was 130 pounds at the most!

  5. narna

    I walked behind a patient’s screen at 2am and found her sitting on the side of her bed slugging out of a bottle of brandy. She was clearly feeling no pain as she defensively explained the doctor told her she could have it for “medicinal purposes”. I would probably have been more accepting of her explanation had she been able to pronounce “medicinal” on the first or even second attempt and had she not hiccupped repeatedly while speaking! This dear lady was in her 80s, had mobility issues and was a fall waiting to happen. I still shudder to think how on earth I could have worded the incident report.

  6. mpl62

    Post-open heart patient- 6hours out of surgery, standing on headboard, yelling ” Hey Mom Watch me .I’m going to do a triple somersault. ” Spent 20 minutes tslking him down.

  7. EllieMae

    -Seeing one of our residents who stripped naked, pried open the door and was laying inside the bird aviary, rolling around and covered in poo and feathers….

  8. Loupatient

    Wow this is old, just showed up on FB still funny tho. I’m not a nurse but work in mental health and yes, you either learn to laugh or you burn out quickly.

  9. Tara Shallenberger

    we had a poor male lab tech come out of a room saying he needed help. I went in to see the patient (confused little old lady with a broken hip), totally naked, pulling at her pubic hair saying “get it off!!! get it off!!!” Poor guy had no clue what to do.