The cold hard truth from a real-life ER nurse

I’ve been a nurse for over two decades, and let me tell you, the world is full of interesting people.

You don’t see it usually. But spend twelve hours hustling in a busy ER, and you’ll see strange things start to pop up like mushrooms.

You’ll be surprised how fast “adults” change. You have to treat them like toddlers because, for some reason, logic and humanity often get tossed out the window.

Remember how your mom always saw everything? Like she had eyes on the back of her head? Well, emergency room (ER) nurses don’t miss a thing. What we appreciate most are patients who respect themselves and promote a smooth, safe hospital experience for everyone.

Hey, isn’t that the end game?

I mean, don’t get me wrong. This is an emergency department, and hell breaks loose quite often. But that doesn’t give folks the right to act the way they sometimes do.

Why am I telling you this?

Simply because it’s getting stuff off my chest, and it’s important to remember that nurses are people too.

So, here’s a list of essential things nurses really wish you’d knew. 

1. In the ER, we see you according to how sick you are

We totally understand that to you in is an emergency, but we’re trained and highly skilled. How long you wait has nothing to do with the time you sign in at the front.

A heart attack will get priority over a stubbed toe or a cough.

That’s the way it works. It always has, always will.

Please be patient.

2. We appreciate kindness and respect

Nurses are some of the most hardworking and dedicated people in the medical field.

They often see patients at their worst yet still manage to maintain a sense of compassion and care for their patients. Nurses wish that patients would be more understanding and respectful, as they often work long hours under challenging conditions.

3. We know when you’re faking it

We can tell when you’re faking an injury or illness. It happens all the time.

And we really don’t appreciate it when you waste our time with bogus ailments. Not to mention you take away precious time from folks who really need our help.

4. We’re not always right, but we are usually

If a nurse tells you to do something, it’s probably in your best interest to do it. 

We’ve seen and dealt with countless medical situations, so we likely know more than you do about your particular situation.

That’s not to sound cocky, but rather to let you know we’re pros, and we’ve been at this for a while.

5. Please don’t ask us out on a date

It happens way more often than you’d think. And it’s really awkward. We’re here to take care of you, not date you.

And yes, even as a male nurse, it happens to me too.

6. We don’t like being called “sweetie,” “honey,” or “dear”

We’re not your sweetie, honey, or dear. We’re professional medical caregivers. 

Please don’t demean us by using terms of endearment.

7. We do not read minds

We can’t read your mind, so please tell us what you’re thinking and feeling. 

We need to know everything to provide the best possible care for you.

8. Yes, we’ve seen that before

No matter how embarrassing or personal your medical situation or body parts may be, chances are we’ve seen it before. 

We’re professionals, and we’re here to help you, not judge you.

9. If you could remove your earphones, you’d not need to shout

Got it? Good.

10. We’re not magic healers

We wish we could wave a magic wand and make all of your problems disappear. Still, unfortunately, that’s not how medicine or nursing works. Sometimes there’s only so much we can do, no matter how hard we try.

Plus, it honestly helps a lot when you actually try to take care of yourself, eat healthily, etc.

Feel me?

11. We’re not always able to get to the bathroom

Contrary to popular belief, nurses are not robots, and we do have bodily functions just like everyone else. 

However, we often have to hold it in because we simply don’t have the time to take a break.

12. Please don’t get angry at us

We understand that you’re going through a tough time, but getting angry at us isn’t going to help anything. 

We’re just trying to do our best to help you.

13. Beneath the dazzling smile, we’re just like you

Don’t be fooled. Think that a dazzling smile means we’re happy and content with our lives?

Think again.

We’re wading through a sea of problems, just like you. But we act like ninjas because we know you don’t need to be dragged into our dramas.

That’s what maturity looks like.

14. No. We’re not superhumans

Even though you think we are, and even though the media made us out to be, we need rest too. Without proper rest, we can’t humanly operate a twelve-hour shift day after day.

We need downtime too.

The final word

You may know this but have forgotten, so consider this a reminder.

In a nutshell, remember to act like a human. Respect yourself and others. 

Most importantly, show the utmost respect for your nurses because your life may be in our hands as long as you’re in our ER.

To learn more about the travel nursing opportunity and cities across the country, visit Bestica Healthcare and start planning your next assignment today.


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