Why don’t nurses ever get real vacations? 7 solutions…



Here’s the issue: No matter where you go in the world, you’re still a nurse, and you’re compelled to do “nurse-y” things, like save lives when people are choking or having an allergic reaction or drowning or whatever.

So how do you, dear nurse, get a REAL vacation from nursing?


1. Avoid places that have things that people might fall off of.
Colorado is beautiful, as are the cliffs in Northern California. Gravity, however, is the same
everywhere and might lead to broken legs or skulls.

2. Don’t go to any restaurants that serve peanuts, shellfish, dairy or anything large enough to choke on.
The Heimlich maneuver can be a real chill-killer. Learn to love smoothies! Especially the ones that don’t combine peanuts and shrimp.

3. Avoid airplanes.
I have never heard an announcement on a train asking for a medical professional to press their call button. Of course, the last time I rode a train I was two years old. It might be safer just to take the car.

4. Don’t go anywhere with water.
You might be the only person who knows how to perform CPR on a drowning victim.

5. Don’t go to places with lots of poisonous, stinging things.
You might be the only person who knows how to deal with anaphylaxis.

6. Don’t go anywhere where the median age is over 50, there are babies or anybody has diabetes, a heart condition or asthma.
This applies to everyone, but especially intensivists.

7. Just stay home, turn off your phone and hide under the covers.
This is the best vacation of all. Nobody can reach you to offer you critical overtime, you don’t have to answer the door and there’s plenty of food in the fridge.

Statistics show that the majority of accidents happen in the home, though…so maybe you ought to stay in bed.

Agatha Lellis
Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at

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