Sometimes this stuff is real…right?

As anyone who has spent time in a hospital can tell you, nurses are a superstitious bunch. 

Especially emergency room nurses. Not only is the day-to-day never the same, but it can get hairy quickly. So naturally, we tend to have superstitions about these moments.

Especially when it comes to specific words or phrases. 

While some may deny it, many people still live with superstitions. Even if you don’t personally believe in them, chances are you can name a few of the more common ones off the top of your head. For example: not walking under a ladder; throwing salt over your left shoulder after spilling it; or opening an umbrella inside, which is said to invite bad luck.

So what better way than to chat about some of the nutty, true, believable, and out-of-this-world superstitions that ER nurses have?

Easily the #1 word to never say in the ER is the word “quiet” on a shift. That shift will quickly become a crazy mess if this forbidden word is spoken. Call bells seem to all ring at once, EMS seems to flow like water, and of course, if a code will happen, it’ll happen right after someone says the “Q” word.

This seems to be a universal superstition within the healthcare world, crossing over into other languages and cultures…or so I’ve been told.

While some travel nurses may subtly try and substitute another word for “quiet,” it never seems to play out right. So, by and large, we avoid the “Q” word or any variation. It makes for a smoother shift…or so we think.

Another popular superstition is when there is a full moon, or what one fellow travel RN called,

“night of the loonies.” 

It is said that about “81 percent of medical professionals believe the full moon can make people ill”. Outside the healthcare field, many non-healthcare workers believe a full moon can affect your sleep cycle, mood, or even how people interact with each other. But as with all these superstitions, there’s no scientific evidence to support this belief.

Plenty of travel nurses, me included, stick to the tried-and-true superstition of knocking on wood whenever someone asks if things are going well during the shift. It may sound simple, but it’s one that I believe in and do even when I’m not on shift.

As you can see, there are many superstitions widely held among nurses. 

From the full moon to not using taboo words, superstitions are prevalent in the ER anywhere you go. It has also become a way for nurses, and travel nurses can connect with one another, doing whatever they can to have a smooth shift. While we’ll never fully understand how or why these unsupported, supernatural occurrences are common within the ER – one thing we do know is NOT to say “quiet.”

The final word

Nurses are a superstitious bunch, and ER nurses have their own set of unique superstitions 

– One word that is never to be spoken in the ER is “quiet” – it will bring bad luck and chaos 

– Another popular ER superstition is that a full moon can make people ill 

– Many nurses also follow the superstition of knocking on wood when things are going well

Do you have a superstition? Whether you’re a nurse or not, chances are that you have your own set of lucky charms or rituals that you swear by. In the ER, there seem to be plenty of unique superstitions that nurses follow – from avoiding certain words to refraining from opening an umbrella inside. 

So if you’re ever in the ER and want to blend in, it might be a good idea to avoid saying “quiet” and knocking on wood!

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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