More medical miscommunications!

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When you work in medicine, it’s important to be clear when you speak. Unfortunately, the presence of equipment, psychoactive drugs and hearing-impaired patients can make this primary task challenging on a daily basis! Here’s a list of all new medical miscommunications! Share yours in the comments section below.


  1. One older gentleman called the nurse in to complain about the Kentucky jelly sent up by the cafeteria. When he showed her what he used, it turned out to be K-Y Jelly the nurse left on the over-bed table by accident.
  1. A nurse went into a patient’s room to give him Cepacol. She instructed him to open his mouth, but he refused. He said that the medication was supposed to be sprayed on his neck because that’s the way the other nurse did it.
  1. One postpartum patient absolutely refused to take a sitz bath, despite hurting from her recent birthing. She said that the long tube used in the bath was too uncomfortable on her already swollen birth canal.
  1. A patient with dementia was offered some Robitussin for a persistent cough. She replied to her nurse, “Oh, I would love to rub a husband!”
  1. The patient was wearing an oxygen mask and asked his nurse, “Are my testicles black?” She lifted the sheet to confirm that they were the normal color. He took his mask off, thanked her for looking and then asked, “Are my test results back?”
  1. Some nurses apparently didn’t learn their abbreviations in school. One nurse followed a newer nurse and found a suppository shoved up the patient’s right nostril. When she confronted the new nurse, she admitted that she thought PRN stood for “per right nostril.”
  1. One nurse read an order that stated “2 gtts R ear.” She obediently put two drops of the medication in the patient’s rear, and the patient didn’t even think to stop her!
  1. A CNA with a heavy Filipino accent approached an elderly patient and said, “Let me see your teeth.” The patient only blinked at her, and the CNA asked the patient again to see her teeth. Reluctantly, the patient pulled up her shirt and exposed her chest. The CNA shook her head, saying, “No, I don’t want to see your teats. I want to clean your mouth!”
  1. One time a doctor asked a nurse to change a patient’s socks. Confused but compliant, the nurse dutifully went and changed the garments. The doctor came back to find her, and she asked, “Why did you want me to change his socks?” He replied, “No, I wanted you to check a pulse ox.”
  1. A nursing student informed a patient that she would return soon with clean sheets. The patient replied, “No, thank you. I don’t care for cream cheese.”

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Lynda Lampert

Lynda Lampert is a registered nurse and a certified third shift worker. She has worked with many different patient populations, including post-op open heart, post-op gastric bypass, active chest pain, congestive heart failure, poorly controlled diabetics and telemetry 'wonders'. She now focuses all of her effort on educating the populace -- both the nursing world and the normal folk -- through her web writing. She hopes one day to publish another romance novel, travel to England and become a web rock star. She feels she is on her way . . . mostly. You can learn more about Lynda and her work at

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3 Responses to More medical miscommunications!

  1. Nurse Rene RN

    One of the most misunderstood concepts of the late 20th Century is the difference between a legal Power of Attorney and a Power of Attorney for Healthcare. Most people understand the first one but not the difference in the two,

  2. wahela LPN

    Once a doctor had come to chart in a patient’s chart. He wrote LOC, several of us nurses discussed it, “She didn’t have any loss of consciousness!” So I grabbed the chart and took off running to catch the doctor as he was pulling out of his parking spot. “Doc, our patient didn’t have any loss of consciousness!” He just sat there and gave me a “doctor’s look”. “Its laxative of choice.”

  3. jewelofmind LPN

    When I was a student I had to trace an infection that was beginning to streak. I was watching the spread throughout my shift and tracing the spread with my pen, as we had learned to do. One of my fellow students happened to notice the “drawing” and asked me why I was drawing an anatomically correct penis on my little lady’s leg.