Nurses are amiable by nature, really. If they are not overworked and have had time to rest, it is pretty easy to have a conversation with a nurse.
Some people, though, can rub a nurse the wrong way, and this makes for awkward conversations. Most people are trying to make conversation and are not looking to unleash the rage of a hard working nurse. They mean to be kind, but there are questions which are not appropriate that make a nurse want to roll their eyes and throw their drink in the asker’s face. These are some of the worst questions to ask a nurse.
How much do you get paid?
Why does it always come down to money, and why is there this pervasive thought that nurses make a ton of it? Sure, it is more than minimum wage, but it isn’t the riches that some people like to imagine it is.
If you work for nothing but money as a nurse, you will be disappointed. The money in no way compensates for the mental and physical stresses that the job puts onto a person.
Yet people seem to think that a hefty paycheck makes up for this egregious oversight. If you get paid more than I do, then you should put your body and sanity on the line… they think.
Asking a nurse how much they make is akin to asking someone how much they weigh. It doesn’t matter, it won’t get you anywhere, and the person will be disappointed anyway.
Why are you always working?
Not all nurses are always working. In fact, some have four days off per week, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t get called in – frequently.
It is hard to say no to overtime, and nurses often feel a sense of comradery by going in when the unit needs them. For this reason, it can seem like a nurse is always working.
The unit is always calling, so it stands to reason they will break down your defenses eventually. This question, though, has more to do with who asks it.
When asked, it usually means you aren’t taking care of that person enough, giving them enough of your time. Nurses don’t usually have much time, but maybe you need to think about how available you are to family, children, and friends.
Should I see a doctor about this?
For some reason, people seem to think everyone in the medical profession is capable of making a diagnosis. The best answer is, “Please don’t show me, and yes, see a doctor.”
As nurses have been told over and over, we are not doctors. People who expect us to be doctors don’t understand what a nurse’s job is all about.
That doesn’t mean that we can’t make guesses, but that’s all they are. We don’t have lab work, a full assessment, or a history.
It is impossible to make a diagnosis under those circumstances, and you really shouldn’t have to. When you are out of work, you don’t need to be answering questions about symptoms that really should be addressed by a doctor.
We are not a walk in clinic. Nurses are friends, neighbors, and family, but we can’t help you diagnose that boil on your butt. So don’t ask.