When Nurses Become Patients


We asked our amazing Facebook community why it is that we keep hearing the phrase “Nurses make the worst patients,” and we received a lot of feedback! If you are as curious as we were, keep reading and see what some of our fellow nurses had to say:

  • I think I made a great patient! I kept my I and O, fixed my pump when it occluded, and hardly ever pushed my call light unless my IV went bad. – Teresa Marie Fox 
  • A lot of times nurses try to do everything themselves even when their current condition doesn’t allow them to. So the nurse who just had a TKA (total knee arthroplasty) thinks they can handle getting up on their own right after surgery and they end up falling because they didn’t call for help. – Devin Marquise 
  • I was a pt on MY unit once (Med/Surg)… I worked nights so when I couldn’t sleep, Id take my IV pole, sit at the nurse station and answer the call lights! Obviously I couldn’t “do” the work, but I took messages! lol This was over 20 yrs ago… I probably couldn’t get away with that these days! I was young and bored. 😉 – Lynn Murphy
  • I’m a great patient, but I admit to being “that” family member. when my loved one is in the hospital I expect their nurse to be taking care of them just like I would their family. Take 30 minutes to get my pain pill? Okay you are busy and I know how that goes. Take 30 minutes to get Grams pain pill after hip fracture surgery? Absolutely not. – Ashley Marie Yard

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5 Responses to When Nurses Become Patients

  1. mrsmilkmover

    apparently I was a horrible patient, I had a saddle and bi liateral PE’s and was on ITU for 5 days and on the acute respiritory ward for 12 days……I wasn’t needy enough for the nurses because I wouldn’t let them wash me and I wouldn’t call on them often enough.
    I stopped my syringe driver from occluding and as I’m not scared of needles in the slightest (luckily as I was having bloods done every 6 hours for the heparin infusion) I let nurses and phlebs “practice” with venepuncture and cannulation. I know how busy nursing is on acute medical wards and as I was quite able to do stuff for myself, although a little breathlessly, I would do it for myself

  2. Allisbella

    Being a nurse makes us more aware of when the care is substandard.
    The worst part of being a patient in an hospital I had previously worked in was the appalling care I was given in the ward after major surgery. (My anonymity was busted by another staff member.)
    I couldn’t wait to get out!
    They put my call button out of reach and then accused me of abusing my PCA because I thought it was my call button. I was delerious because I was given a codiene based medication after identifying as having an allergy to opiates. I was vommitting violently post cervical spinal fusion.
    Fortunately I as sharing a room and my room-mate (another nurse) called the nurses.
    The nurses left me stripped naked, uncovered, lying in my own bile vommit in what I knew was one of the coldest rooms in the ward at 4am (remember I used to work there, on permanent night duty).
    It was only a short 3 years since I had worked there. The crew of nurses I worked with would have mortified, embarrassed an apologetic to hear of that care.
    I never received the post stay questionnaire.
    I received better care at an hospital where I was identified as being an RN but never an employee. They respected my privacy and acknowledged that I would call if I needed anything other than normal basic care.
    Both are private hospitals and the former claims to be one of the best in Australia.

  3. Brdunnrn

    I know I am the nurse’s worst nightmare and I tell them as soon as their fresh smiling faces skip into my room and tell me they have picked the short straw today and are gonna be my nurse. I am always a terribly complicated case one because I have Lupus and two because I am so non-compliant and wait way too long to go to the ER. I am also impatient, demanding and just nasty if I don’t feel well. I won’t wait for my pain meds or wanna hear no you can’t go smoke or diet mountain dew is not allowed on your diet and never try to take my salt stash especially if I am on a no added sodium diet cause I will rip your arm off. I always say thank you and please and appreciate them I just want it my way!

  4. dermnurse01

    As a retired Registered Nurse, I remember caring for patients with cancer pain, the terminally ill, and also helped them through the side effects and adverse reactions of treatment. I didn’t fully understand the courage it took to battle cancer every day until I became a cancer patient myself. I can relate to and feel what they went through together with their families.
    Working in oncology, I remember having a young patient with lung cancer. At one point, as I sat next to his bed with his wife and young children around him, I couldn’t hold back my tears. I felt embarrassed about crying and thought, “I should be strong and supportive for the patient and his family.” I apologized to his wife, and she told me, “You wouldn’t be a good nurse if you didn’t care enough to cry with us.” Now I see in my doctors, nurses, clerical staff and volunteers the same commitment towards my family and me.
    A serious illness certainly will change the way you think about your time, but why must it take something like this to happen? Sometimes you think it’s a blessing to be given this experience in order to value both time and life in a way not previously experienced. As a patient, I will focus on what is meaningful in my life. I value the relationships I have with my family and friends and don’t let things go by without fully experiencing them. I am grateful to God for every day I have with my family and friends. So valuing each person in my life and each experience is extremely important to me.
    As a cancer warrior and survivor, I appreciate the small things in life and value myself more than ever. I will not let cancer become the main dish in my life. This time, I’m in charge and confident with my new treatment regimen. There will be side effects, symptoms, good and bad days. The other side effects, while not visible, can be just as challenging–fatigue, nausea, and chemo brain (the mental and cognitive difficulties associated with treatment, which is one of the most frustrating side effects of chemotherapy).
    I will focus on one day at a time and one treatment at a time. I will maintain my faith and a positive attitude and recognize that each treatment is a closer step to remission.

  5. Maplessharon

    When I was a patient I didn’t like how my bed was made so I remade it.