The only nursing mnemonic you’ll ever need


Somebody asked the other day if I had one good rule for new nurses. I do, and I’ve had it for years now—and it’s applicable to practically everything in life, not just nursing.
I say it to myself at least once a day, and it keeps me from making mistakes when it comes to cooking, nursing, relationshipping and even writing.

What is this magical phrase? I’m so glad you asked.

If you have to mess with it, it’s wrong. (The original is slightly less safe for a family magazine.)

We’ve all heard stories of the inexperienced nurse who puts tube feeding through a central line after connecting 16 things inline to the tube feeding bag to make that possible.

We all know somebody who made excuses and twisted themselves into knots over a relationship with somebody who just wasn’t quite right for them.

And we’ve all had the experience of trying to thicken a sauce or fix a soup after the sauce has separated or the soup’s gotten scorched.

If you have to mess with it, it’s wrong. The nurse is messing with things to make something come out the way she thinks it ought to, with horrible consequences. The person dating the not-quite-right person bends like an acrobat in order to accommodate somebody who’d be better off elsewhere. And don’t get me started on how hard it is to re-thicken a broken cream sauce.

Most things in life should at least be logical, if not easy. If you find yourself having to add steps, add equipment, add stopcocks, add excuses, stop. Look at the problem. Look at the setup of your stuff. Check your monitors. If you have to mess with it, something basic somewhere is wrong.

That’s it. Nine simple words, one simple concept. That’s my motto.

Scrubs Contributor
We welcome your ideas and submissions to Scrubs Magazine! Here's how to submit your own story or story idea to our editors.

    Doctoring the ‘Doctor’ title?

    Previous article

    When is education not a good thing for all patients?

    Next article

    You may also like

    More in Scrubs