Some patients…


Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I truly love my job. I think I’m one of those nurses that actually enjoys what I do – the good and the bad. I don’t view our profession through a pair of rose colored glasses (at least I try not to). I keep it realistic. There are good and bad days, good and bad jobs, good and bad patients.

Sometimes you wonder what gets into our patients. I completely empathize and understand that we see them at some of the worst times of their life. I also can appreciate the level of fear and anxiety they must endure while they are recovering – but sometimes…. I mean… sometimes… our patients must be ‘outside their minds’!!! (sorry, yet another movie quote)

Here are some things (and some patients) that just blow me away:

  • The patient who thinks that the hospital is really a Howard Johnson hotel/motel. I’m a nurse not your personal assistant. This is a hospital not a bed and breakfast.
  • The patient who all of sudden loses their ability to pick up a glass of water that is within arms reach. There is tired, then there is just down-right laziness.
  • The patient who thinks I won’t figure out they have been smoking in the bathroom. What’s that I smell in the bathroom? No, someone isn’t burning leaves outside your window. Nice try.
  • Honesty truly is the best medicine. Lying will only make you feel better – not get better. When referring to your version of your alcohol use, and I can smell it on your breath – don’t tell me it was mouthwash. C’mon. Seriously?
  • The pain scale is not open for interpretation. Telling me your pain is a 15/10 will not get you your medication any faster. Especially when (according to you) the pain medication I bring you (and that was ordered by your physician) is not strong enough.
  • Oh, along the same lines of the pain scale example, referring to your pain medication as ‘Percs’ or ‘Vics’ or your ‘Oxy’ does not help the situation.
  • By the way, the nursing staff does talk amongst each other. When you tell me, “that other nurse said it was ok / that other nurse allowed me” do you really think I’m going to let you have something to eat when you’re NPO.

There truly is a method to our madness, I promise. We don’t have it ‘in’ for you. We nurses are here to help you get better, get healthier and get the heck out of the hospital. But we can’t help those, who can’t help themselves.

(Please be sure to notice the heavy sarcasm and humorous tone of my sensible nature)

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18 Responses to Some patients…

  1. Margaret

    OMG I hear that all of the time. I would like to add one more. the patient who is a “frequent flyer” who plops down on the bed.. Demands a catheter so that they dont have to get up out of it again “too often” who is in full CHF and refuses to comply with fluid restrictions. Why did they come to the hospital? (Oh yeah, they learned that they can get a “vacation” out of it)

  2. Sean Dent

    @Margaret You are unfortunately so right.

  3. carla

    Love this. these are so on target. I love when they come into the ER and other patients tell them, “just tell them you are having chest pain. You will get seen faster.” I am here to tell you no you won’t if it is fake. . We do know. Lol. I. love being a nurse. No other job like it.?

  4. Sean Dent

    @Carla I couldn’t agree with you more.

  5. Angie

    Yes! So true! I always love when pts refer to their pain meds as “My”… “My oxydone…really??

  6. April

    Let’s not forget the “doting” family members that drop off a demented family member for a little break; or answer all your questions when clearly you’re speaking to the patient. I almost feel sorry for the patient that comes in with constipation—if they didn’t have insurance do you think they’d spend several thousand dollars just to have someone give them enemas??

  7. Sean Dent

    @Angie funny how that word ‘my’ leads to an entirely different dialog.

  8. DIanne Edmundson

    how about when they come in with severe nausea and vomiting, are made NPO, and then get mad as heck because you won’t give them any food

  9. Sean Dent

    @Dianne Oh yes, yet another interesting scenario.

  10. Toni

    How about my patient, THE NURSE, who was caught smoking in her room and claimed she “forgot where she was” – scarier yet, she’s still working!!

  11. Sean Dent

    @Toni now that’s a new one on me!

  12. That always puzzled us; seeing health professionals smoking on breaks…

  13. Sean Dent

    @Fancyscrubs Yes, yes it does.

  14. konadu

    the drug seekers that claim to be in so much pain, but they’re better before you even finish pushing their medicine in their IV.

  15. charity

    @ konadu or better yet the ones who feel much better after you flush their IV with saline before ever giving the pain medicine

  16. charity

    That reminds me, lol, the pt that requests that same medicine again after you flush the IV everytime for pain because it is the best pain medicine they ever had it just knocks their pain right out every time. amazing what NS can do

    • MizRispee

      I’ve never laughed so hard at all your comments!
      I worked for 2 different doctors (ENT for 11 years & Dermatologist for 8 years) and have some wonderful tales to tell about patients we’ve had, too (I was their medical assistant because they were too cheap to pay LVN/RN wages).
      @ Sean: I really enjoyed your article. Thanks!

  17. shortperson210

    oh the frequent flyers that have the dreaded “dsd” drug seeking disease, we also refer to them as suffering from a case of “dilaudid deficiency” it’s a common around these parts…