5 things a nurse should never do

Stories - Carla Scary ReceptionWe all know that there are some taboos in the nursing profession. Leaving a code, losing your temper, and not following up on a patient are some of the most damning actions a nurse can take.

Unfortunately, nursing is full of things that you should not do, and this can be depressing at times. You can still learn a good deal from what you shouldn’t do, though, rather than what you should be doing.

1. Lose Patience with a Patient

You should never lose patience with a patient. They are suffering, hurting, and need you, and if you lose your patience with them, you wind up hurting the nurse-patient relationship.

This isn’t to say that you will never lose your patience. On the contrary, you will often, but you cannot let it show to the patient.

You need to take your feelings and express them to a coworker or even your family at home. If you vent on a patient, you may feel better momentarily, but you will often wind up regretting your indiscretion.

2. Complain about Staffing to a Patient

No one likes to be understaffed, and it can be very frustrating for a nurse to have to deal with the consequences of call offs or just the lack of staff. Patients, on the other hands, can be demanding and may not understand the stresses you are up against.

“Sometimes it feels like you can’t take a break, but you need to find the time.”

However, telling a patient that you are overworked is only going to decrease their faith and trust in you. The problems of your facility are not their fault, and they shouldn’t even be aware of the problem at all.

If you want to talk about staffing, save it for coworkers and management. The patient should not curtail their needs because you have too much to do.

3. Fail to Find Relaxing, Non Nursing Activities

All nurses need to find a way to relax after working a shift. If you don’t find something to take your mind off nursing, you will lose your sanity quickly.

Engage in a hobby, enjoy your family, or exercise to clear your mind from the rigors of your job. Don’t take your work home with you, and try to find a way to unwind that is going to recharge your batteries for the next shift.

4. Confront a Manager or Coworker in Public

Tempers can run high on a nursing unit, and you may have a volatile personality to begin with. If a manager or a coworker rubs you the wrong way, you may be tempted to let them have it right where you are.

Unfortunately, this is the very definition of poor professionalism. You should not lose your temper in public, at the nurse’s station, in front of other employees, or in a patient’s room because you are expected to keep yourself under control.

Instead, take the person who angered you aside, to an office, an empty break room, or an empty patient room. Calmly explain why you are angry and work with your adversary to come to an agreement about the issue that set you off.

5. Skip Lunches and Breaks

You should never skip a break, no matter how busy you are. Breaks are part of recharging, and you can’t be expected to be at your best if you are running from punch in to punch out.

Sometimes it feels like you can’t take a break, but you need to find the time. Your patient’s health may depend on how relaxed and rested you are, so take a break, go to the bathroom, get something to eat, and then come back out onto the floor and do the best job you can.


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