7 bad habits to steer clear of as a nurse

For this list story, I’d like to thank the Mighty Nurse users who commented with their own suggestions for habits nurses should be watching out for!

Many of them are here, with a few additions to round it out!

1. Talking to adult patients like children. Most nurses that end up doing this aren’t trying to be demeaning, and just develop this without realizing it! I know it’s happened to me before. After interacting with patients with dementia, patients who push boundaries, and the patients who actually do act like children, it’s sometimes hard to get out of that mode.

2. Losing respect for privacy. We see so many private parts, and so many ‘organic’ elements, that we might sometimes lose our perspective on how other people value their own privacy. We forget that not everyone who enters the hospital is comfortable being naked or being exposed in any way. We’d do well to remember: if you don’t need to access it, cover it up!

3. Taking your CNA for granted. This is inspired by a comment that really rang true. CNAs are often called on to do all the little things: bring this here, fetch that, get that call light. But we have to remember – we’re all qualified to do these things, and they have plenty of work to do during their shift, just like us. We all need to pitch in with the ‘little’ stuff.

4. Condescendence toward other healthcare workers. Pride in nursing is a good thing, but careful lest it become ‘nurse’-centrism! (official definition of egocentrism: having little or no regard for interests, beliefs, or attitudes other than one’s own.) Nurses will sometimes start forget everyone else’s perspective. Even though the work we do is major and direct care for the patient, CNAs, therapists, social workers, cleaning staff, and doctors should all still get the respect they’re due.

5. Watching the patient’s TV. On a lighter note, I do sometimes find myself mesmerized by some movie or sports game playing on my patient’s TV! It’s sometimes hard not to (think of the hearing impaired patients who have their volume set to ‘ear-ringingly loud’). But, alas, we’re here to work, and so I tear my eyes away from the TV and get to it!

6. Forgetting inside voices. It’s sometimes easy to stand outside someone’s bathroom door (“Hey, are you done in there!?”) or shout down the hallway (“Did you get room 331’s vital signs!?”). But, remember, the hospital is supposed to be a place of healing – and although it can be impossible to make it a completely serene and peaceful environment, many patients appreciate some quiet for them to rest (god knows they need it!)

7. Showing Impatience. We’re always in a time crunch, but when it starts to show in our faces and postured (foot tapping, crossed arms, lack of focus), it can make people or patients feel uncomfortable. They might start to feel like a burden. This weakens communication. It hurts a trusting relationship. So even if we’re about ready to explode on the inside, let’s be careful not to show it on the outside!

Kevin is President of Brilliant Nurse, a nursing education company that offers live online courses with NCLEX coaches. Start your free trial now!


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