Top 10 phrases that nurses say most

Shutterstock | racorn
Shutterstock | racorn

We’ve conducted the World’s Most Unscientific Survey! It’s amazing: Our methodology was completely arbitrary. Little, if any, effort went into ensuring rigid scientific standards were observed. In fact, we thought, “Hmmm…isn’t there supposed to be a control group for this type of thing?”

No matter!

We’ve talked to approximately 37,034,686 nurses, give or take a few million, and we asked them: What is the single phrase you say most during the day? Now, some of the nurses gave us practical, useful answers, and we didn’t like those, so we threw those right out, as clear outliers.

Examining the remaining answers (approximately 65,023), we discovered that the following phrases cross nurses’ lips more frequently than any others:

10. “No problem! I’d be happy to change your TV station again. What else would I do with all of my free time?”

9. “Sorry, your insurance doesn’t cover the good Tylenol.”

8. “You won’t feel a thing.”

7. “You’ll have to ask your doctor that. And after he answers, could you clue me in?”

6. “This won’t hurt a bit. Trust me, all the times I’ve attended this procedure, I’ve never felt a thing!”

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The Journal of Nursing Jocularity’s quarterly publication for nurses (Spring 1991 - Spring 1998) was written, edited, illustrated and published by nurses and health professionals. Filled with satire, true stories, cartoons, and all around funny stuff related to nursing and health care – it established its place in nursing history as the only humor magazine for nurses. You can now find the JNJ online at

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35 Responses to Top 10 phrases that nurses say most

  1. Laurie

    Also: “The bedpan will be much warmer AFTER you use it!”
    or “Yes, I’m JUST an LPN!”

  2. gg

    No, I don’t know when the doctor will be in to see you today.

  3. Teena

    Also, “No, you have have foley in. Go ahead and pee.”

  4. Cory

    I’m a MA floater so my most common phrase I say is, “No I’m not new and no I’m not an RN” :)

  5. jojo

    How long have I been a nurse? Well,just started yesterday!

  6. jojo

    How long have I been a nurse? Well,just started yesterday!

  7. marya

    On postpartum we would have to take care of dying patients and I would say post partum post mortem we bring them in we take them out. The boss didn’t like that too

    • ConnieLou

      What?????????? Who was the post mortem, the mother? The baby??

    • marda

      I work postpartum too…we get a lot of female overflow… We say from the womb to the tomb…

  8. Glik

    O no, its not you that rang your bell???

  9. Stacey

    I work on an Alzhiemers unit and I just love it when a resident ask when do I check out of here. My answer “Well this is Hotel California, you check in but you don’t check out, sorry”

  10. Merie

    You’re in the hospital, don’t pull on that, you need to stay in bed. I use these everyday!

  11. Lana

    Take a deep breath!!

  12. kidapa

    No, the flu shot will NOT give you the flu.

  13. erccrn

    Gee, the catheter went in just like the book said it would.

  14. Hatcher

    I’m not just a pretty face…I actually DO know what I’m talking about, just ask your doctor.

  15. alaskanurse

    How would you rate your pain with “0” being no pain and “10” being I’m-being-mauled-by-a-bear.

  16. Bsugg

    You forgot “walkie talkie” a patient who has an illness but is not readily apparent. They are usually independent,just awaiting test results receiving IV antibiotics,bowel rest or just pain control.

  17. mnmedrn

    Don’t grab me!

  18. Ahallrn

    Another common phrase….”on a scale of 1-10, ten being the worst pain you have ever felt, what would you rate your comfort level at this time? Of course the usual answer is 12, this almost always comes from a pt that was laughing and joking with visitors, or texting on their cell phones when you entered the room.

    • Mike RN

      “Well, just like your old teachers, I have to curve your score by 75% since you went over 10. That makes it a 4.” Laughing patient suddenly has shocked look.

  19. mabel1 RN

    shoot me (said under my breath of course)

  20. kgrn

    “it shouldn’t be too much longer” when patients in ED are waiting on test results.

  21. randee

    I will ask the doctor….I will tell him what to say, and I’ll get back to you.

  22. rotating shifts

    No, please don’t, that’s not a toy, no I’m not a cna, please stop knocking on the bathroom I just want to pee please!!

  23. notme

    NEVER say, “I’m sorry to wake you/bother you doctor.”
    You’re undermining your co-workers.

  24. Bbonrn

    Doctor…who has the patient in room 7. Me…I do, why? Doctor…she says she hadn’t seen a nurse in 3 hrs. Me…yea well she told me she hasn’t seen a doctor in 3 days. Doctor laughed…busted!!!

  25. smbrnc

    My favorite comment is….
    Yes, Herbs are medicine. Where do you think Digoxin came from.

  26. Britta Thompson

    Nurse – this pt is going to have an EKG.

    STUDENT nurse – how do you spell “EKG”

    Swear this actually happened

  27. hotrod41

    After you ask your dr. and he doesn’t have time to really answer your question, ask me, i’ll make the time.

  28. Spunky

    Why, yes, you *are* the only patient I have! (Eye roll)

  29. wilsonbl5150

    To patients who refuse their meds-“Almost any pill can become a suppository.”

    As a hospice nurse, to a family member. “Everyone’s different so there’s no way to tell. Only God knows and he doesn’t tell me”

  30. JohannesL

    Being a registered staff nurse in the third most busy CathLab in South Africa with very unpredictable lists and difficult to please Cardiologists, each with their own set ways (which is fair), we always joke and motivate each other before a list by saying “8 patients are better than 9, and 9 patients are better than 10, so let’s take it one patient at a time.”

    And after each highly demanding list we pause, look at each other, smile and say “yeah doctor raised his voice at you, but at least nobody died…including us.”