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You Know You’re a Nurse When…

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Being a nurse is more than a job. It’s a lifestyle. Your work absorbs so much of your life that it seeps into your off-hours. Before you know it, being a nurse becomes a fundamental part of who you are, despite the stress that it brings. Sometimes, you’ve got to take a step back and appreciate the culture that nurses share…better yet, the inside jokes. We’ve collected some of the internet’s best for your enjoyment. You know you’re a nurse when…

  1. You check out people’s veins in the mall, at parties, or in line at the store.

  2. Coffee is your best friend, and you wish it came in IV drip.

  3. You know what a “hat” is.

  4. You have a bladder the size of a watermelon.

  5. You watch Grey’s Anatomy and other hospital shows for the comedy and to point out the inaccuracies.

  6. You understand that there is no medication for stupidity.

  7. You wash your hands before you go to the bathroom.

  8. Seeing naked people is just another day at the office.

  9. You have no problem talking about any body function or product while eating.

  10. You can identify the different kinds of diarrhea by smell.

  11. Your finger has been in places you never thought it would. (from Sean Dent at Scrubs Magazine)

  12. You understand that your patient is trying to say “dilaudid” instead of “diahila.” (from Kathleen Mefford, RN on Scrubs Magazine)

  13. People approach you outside of the hospital and say, “Remember that problem that I had down there? It’s better.”

  14. A graduate is your backup cup. (Timmie Yastremski, RN on Scrubs Magazine)

  15. Summer means fresh first year residents.

  16. Bed alarms inspire dramatic, slow-motion, Olympic sprints to your patient’s room.

  17. You lose more pens than you lose socks.

  18. Designer clothing is printed scrubs.

  19. You can hear the beeping sound of an IV pump in your sleep.

  20. You have used or seen someone use biohazard bags to wrap a sandwich. (from Sh*

  21. A post-op patient farts and it’s music to your ears.

  22. You involuntarily associate the song “Staying Alive” with CPR.

  23. Signing for your credit card, you put “RN” after your name.

  24. “Mars” is not a planet to you, but a Medication Administration Reference Sheet. (from

Anyone who says that nursing is easy needs a reality check. It’s a physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding job. Sometimes, it’s hard to laugh or smile at the small things. You can get crabby and frustrated with patients, head nurses, doctors, and people outside your workplace. You can feel trapped, overwhelmed, and alone.

What you have to remember is that you aren’t. There are hundreds of outlets nurses have found online. Looking for some work-related laughs? Go check out Sh*t Nurses Say on Tumblr. Neuro Nurse Jo will tell you like it is and then some over at Head Nurse, as she’s been doing since 2004. Frustrated with your attending and need proof that not all doctors are like that? Check out Doctor Grumpy’s (an alias—in real life, he’s a neurologist) post on how nurses make good doctors.

We came across a Tumblr from an ICU nurse who had been celebrating her first six months at her hospital. “I kind of lost touch of why I fell in love with nursing,” she wrote. “I catch myself yelling at my patients for trying to pull their tubes…[getting] more focused with charting and getting things done instead of sitting down and listening to my patient about his anxieties about being in the ICU. What happened to me?”

She solved it by the end of the post, saying, “I need to always remind myself why I worked so hard to get here…I love nursing, and I love seeing the power of medicine and caring combined together to save lives.”

You aren’t the only one who has “those” days. If you reach out, someone will be there to answer—and maybe share a laugh, a story, or a shoulder.



 on /Posted in Nursing
Contributor Tera Rowland

Tera Rowland is the vice president of Soliant and has worked in the healthcare staffing industry for almost 20 years in public relations, social media, marketing and operations. In addition to Soliant, Tera worked at the Mayo Clinic as an internal communication manager and for the Children’s Miracle Network. She is a member of the American Marketing Association and the American Staffing Association. Also, Tera has served on the board of directors for the Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum as part of the communication committee. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations as well as a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of North Florida and has been published in the Huffington Post, Healthcare Finance News, Healthcare Traveler Magazine, and Scrubs Magazine. Make sure to read the rest of Tera's blogs!