1. You’re being floated to another unit
Even if it’s your turn, even if it’s been 6 months since you’ve been to another unit, you just don’t ever want to show up to work to be told you have to go somewhere else… Bummer.
2. Your IV infiltrated
No nurse wants to tell a patient that they’re going to have to be stuck again. And it’s just an additional, unexpected task that’s suddenly at the top of your priority list, even if you have 300 other things you need to be doing.
3. We had a call-in
Nurses live in varying states of short-staffedness, so when there’s a call-in on an already semi-short-staffed day, it’s a total bubble buster. I’m not saying they not really sick, I’m just saying our first thought is “are they dying?!?”
4. Your patient wants to speak to the charge nurse
It doesn’t matter if you gave care that would have given Mother Teresa a run for her money, when a patient asks to speak to the charge nurse you instantly question every comment, look, and gesture you gave to your patient and every single one of their visitors. You’ll analyze the look of the charge nurse when she walks out of your patient’s room—did they have to listen to a complaint, or a compliment? For the record, I hope it’s the latter!
5. You’ve got something on your scrubs
And they’re probably new! But no nurse likes to hear they got something on their scrubs because, a) they were expensive, and b) it’s probably something gross, like urine or blood.
6. Your patient has [insert any contagious disease here]
We know we’ll be careful. We know we’ll wear the right protective equipment. We will diligently wash our hands. But regardless, we do.not.want.to.get.sick. We’re not afraid of getting sick ourselves; we’re usually afraid we’ll bring some life-threatening illness home and spread it around like pollen to our families. And we don’t want to be the nurse in #3.
7. Mandatory call
One day a month of mandatory call doesn’t sound bad, until you actually have to work it. Then we’d rather have a root canal or sit through a marathon of Telletubies (in French).
8. Someone’s been in the employee bathroom
This is never good. People don’t know you’re not supposed to poop in the employee bathroom. Unless it’s you, of course, and you just really… really have to go.
9. Where are you? You’re on the schedule to work today
The dreaded morning wake-up call. A fire couldn’t get you to jump out of your bed any faster.
10. We’re getting an admission
It’s irrelevant if the unit is busy or not. An admission means work. I’m not trying to imply that nurses don’t like to work, I’m just saying that 5 minutes of peace never killed anyone. But when you are busy (and you probably are), it just sucks even more.
11. You forgot to clock in
12. The cafeteria is closed
Of course it is. It’s like an unwritten rule that the moment you finish assessing all of your patients, the cafeteria rewards you by closing its doors. Thanks for that.
13. We need the code team
No one wants to have to get a crash cart or call a code… EVER! It’s one of the hardest parts of our job.
14. Management will be here early (or be staying late)
They don’t even have to be bad management… Good or bad, you don’t want them around. It’s like having your parents chaperone a school dance.
15. Your coworker is being peer-reviewed
No nurse wants to know that one of their coworkers is having to go before a group of people for all of their actions to be reviewed. The only thing worse is if you’re the one being peer-reviewed. Definitely not something any nurse wants to hear!
Until my next delivery!