Seven Thing Nurses Wish They Could Tell Patients, But Can't

I love my patients. but some of them can be a real pain. Nurses don't really like to admit that, believing that somehow it makes them bad nurses if they do.  But the reality is patients are human and, well, all people can be a pain. Heck sometimes I'd rather be with my dogs than hang out with people, I guess you could say I'm not really a people person, and I'm fine admitting that. 

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I do enjoy helping others who need my help and watching them get better. So, I chose nursing.  But there are a few things I, (and most nurses) would like to say to patients, but we can't.  So, I'm gonna bite the bullet here and lay it all out. Here are seven things we wish we could say to patients, but can't

1. We are nurses, not magicians. If you've neglected your body for decades, chain smoked, drank till you turned yellow, think your exercise equipment is a place to hang clothes and ate a whole pizza and Fried Chicken while watching Jerry Springer on a daily basis, I can't help you.  

Your number one priority in life is to be your own doctor. Take care of yourself and take responsibility for your health. Give us something to work with.  If you're a train wreck, you can't expect us to fix years of abuse. 

2. We are nurses, NOT waitresses.  If I'd have wanted to be a waitress my whole life I could have saved a ton of money on tuition and served up some awesome coronary artery meals. We go to school for years to do what we do, and we are very busy doing it.  While we don't mind grabbing family members the odd cuppa Joe when we have time; if you insist on having ten family members with you, and they expect to be waited on by nurses, I've got news for you: The "H" is for Hospital, NOT "Hilton."  If I don't bring you your coffee right away, it could be because I'm saving someone's life next door to you! Please be patient and appreciative. 

3. We don't like whiners.  We know you're in pain and suffering, or you wouldn't need our help. But when you're a 50-year-old woman, and you're whining because we have to start an IV, that ain't cool. Get it together and understand that life isn't pain-free.  Pain is inevitable in life, suffering is not. Before we can truly help you, you have to want the help yourself. This isn't kindergarten. Put your big girl panties on and suck it up buttercup. 

4. We HATE call lights. There's a special place in hell for them. It's not that we mind answering them when there is a true need, but the abuse is ridiculous. Call lights are for emergencies. The "help me, I've fallen and can't get up" kind of emergencies, not the "can you tell me how to change the volume on this TV?" kind. So, if we seem a little ticked when we answer yours for reasons like this, we are. We have a real job to do and may be involved in administering medications to patients who are in severe pain, or giving CPR to the guy next door to you. Can you blame us for being slightly miffed?

5. Memorize your medications guys. C'mon now, do you really expect us to know what the "little white pill" is when there are literally thousands of pills that are little and white.  Know what you're putting in your body. If you can't memorize them, then keep a list of them in your wallet or purse. This has to be one of the most annoying things we deal with on an everyday basis. 

6. We don't care if your Mother's friend's Grandmother's Uncle is a nurse. Really, we don't. It won't help us do our job, and it doesn't make you an expert. Nor does reading the stuff on WebMD.  Sure, we like knowledgeable patients, but no one likes a no-it-all and some of the garbage and misinformation you find on the internet these days does not replace a trip to your local doctor's office.

7. Don't lie to us. It's drives us insane and we know when you're lying. If you smoke 100 cigarettes a day, and you tell us you've never smoked, we're gonna know you're lying. Believe me, we don't ask these questions because we're nosey, we ask because this information is important for administering the appropriate care.  Some lies can cost you your life. If you tell is you haven't eaten or drank anything for at least 12 hours before surgery, and you really ate a Big Mac a fries an hour ago, you could die on the operating table!  Be honest!

We enjoy nursing because we enjoy making patients well. It's the biggest reason most nurses chose this career. But keep in mind that we need your help to help you and we can't be a good nurse if you're not a good patient.