“If it makes you feel any better…”

Thinkstock | Wavebreakmedia Ltd
Thinkstock | Wavebreakmedia Ltd

Did you just start out as a brand-new nurse and [feel] totally overwhelmed? I was, too! There is hope; it does get easier. You’ll get through the tough period where you feel like you don’t know anything. If it makes you feel any better…

I had those mini panic attacks before work.
I freaked out every time I had to call a doctor.
I cried in the bathroom the first time a doctor yelled at me.
I cried after a terrible day in the car on the way home.
I called a patient’s wife his mother.
I took report on the wrong patient.
I had to admit a med error to an attending physician and four of her residents.
I accidentally discharged a patient too early and had to call them to go to a clinic to get a follow-up BMP drawn after potassium replacement because I misunderstood the physician’s order.
I stayed late because I hadn’t charted a word until 19:30.
I hid in an unconscious patient’s room just so I could chart in peace and watch Family Guy.
I was terrified when I floated the first time, but it wasn’t so bad.
I froze during my first code.
I farted when I was alone in an elevator and then a doctor got on at the next floor.
I wasted a lot of time doing patient care, getting behind on my charting, because I was too scared to delegate to the tech playing on her phone.
I sprayed tube feeding residual all over myself and my patient because I forgot to flip the stopcock.
I’m still not the best IV starter in the unit three years later, but there’s more to nursing than that.
I still ask questions every single day.
I still fart in elevators.

To read more, visit NurseEyeRoll.com.


Learning how to be a great nurse at the bedside while maintaining your sanity at home is no easy task. Becoming Nursey: From Code Blues to Code Browns, How to Take Care of Your Patients and Yourself talks about how to realistically live as a nurse, both at home and at the bedside…with a little humor and some shenanigans along the way. Get ready: It’s about to get real, real nursey. You can  get your own copy at at NurseEyeRoll.com (pdf), Amazon (paperback) or Goodreads (ebook).

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6 Responses to “If it makes you feel any better…”

  1. Kwarda

    Oh my gosh!!! Thank you for writing this! I am laughing so hard right now! I think we all have this beautiful Florence Nightingale picture in our heads of how majestic we are going to be as new nurses. And lo and behold we graduate from nursing school only to find out that we don’t know anything at all and we are all ready to climb right back into our nursing whites and find the nearest clinical instructor to follow around!

    Get out there! It’s ok! You are going to have “those days”….10 years later, I still do. It comes with the territory. Hopefully, you are working with a group of people who are team players who are ready to keep teaching, coaching, and helping through the tough days.

    And farting in elevators? Please!! We crop dust through the entire department! It’s that or spontaneous combustion! What nurse has time to go to the bathroom?!?!

  2. Jan Gibbs

    Nurse Kati you really nailed it! Wonderful list you wrote on so many levels. Probably because you are a Carolina Nurse like I am. Thanks, Nurse Jan, B.A., LPN in Laurens, SC

  3. Tammy McGhee

    I once was questioning a patient to sign onto hospice for cancer. He wasn’t answering any of the questions. So I asked, “what’s the matter, cat got your tongue?” Wife says no, he had a stroke. I just froze then apologized! I wasn’t warned ahead of time.

  4. hotrod41

    I told a person wearing street clothes to get off of the bed that turned out to be the patient.

  5. ThreePalms

    Oh, my those had me laughing!!!! Ok, here’s one.

    We had to give a Lactulose enema to a patient. We gloved up, gowned up, masked up, got ready and the “reluctant” CNA helped me hold up the equipment as I slowly poured the goopey concoction into the container, then we watched it flow ever so slowly into the patient’s behind. Then in s-l-o-w motion, we gasped in horror as giant fart bubbles appeared at the end of the tubing and inched their way upwards towards the container, still containing liquid Lactulose!!!! Dear God, the CNA was swearing at me that she would NEVER ever work with me EVER again. We watched as the first bubble exploded into the container and a combination of liquid stool, Lactulose and fart blew straight up and rained down on our heads!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We were screaming and the patient was plain old unconscious from ETOH. All the bubbles exploded and sprayed us. Dear God, that CNA never spoke to me again. We had to go shower and put on fresh scrubs and to this day the people on that floor are still laughing at us. Lesson? Move the patient to get farts out first, and wear caps with the rest of your protective gear. Hello?