20 Funniest Things Only Nurses Would Understand

nursing humor

Nursing humor is sure funny as nurses can be comical no matter how busy their shift is. They are exposed to lots of patient-family dramas, gross body fluids, and life-and-death moments.  Still, they never fail to find funny things at work.

Here are some of the funniest things only nurses would understand:

1. Code Brown

Yes, we all have a basic knowledge about what code blue is, but code brown? This is a code nurses use to refer to a bad case of bowel movement in a bedridden patient. Some nurses even call themselves “gastroenterologists” whenever they have plenty of code browns in a shift.


2. The Q Word

If you don’t want to start a war, never mention the Q word in the middle of the shift. Nurses know the curse of the “It is sure quiet now” compliments as chaos will surely follow. If you notice that the shift is progressing peacefully, just keep the compliment to yourself for a harmonious relationship with your co-nurses.

funny nurse memes

3. How the Patients Say It

Imagine the little joys of nurses when patients try to use medical terms and fail. Just like when a resident says he is afraid of dying from “Old Timer’s Disease” when he meant Alzheimer’s disease, or when an old lady complains of frequent urination because she took a “latex pill” when she meant lasix pill. Worse, a patient insists of having a prescription for his maintenance medication named “peanut butter balls” when he means Phenobarbital.


Read also: 30 Funniest Things Patients Say

4. LOL (Little Old Ladies)

LOL is a code nurses use for little old ladies. These LOLs are frequent source of nursing humor in hospitals and hospice care facilities. These sweet and nice old ladies will make you laugh with their hilarious comments about different things. It’s like how they call perineal care as “washing the laundry” and how they see death as “Damn, I’m going to be next in line”. You can also hear the darkest comments about your body from them!

5. Charting Bloopers

Sometimes, nurses are so preoccupied with multi-tasking that they end up with charting bloopers. Most of the bloopers are typographical in nature like “Patient denies visual, auditory and old factory hallucinations” and “Incorporated 20 meqs of Kay Ciel to running IVF”. These bloopers are good ice breakers when reviewing the chart.

Read also: 30 Funniest Things That Nurses Say Or Write

6. Baby Names

Some parents are very creative in naming their babies and nurses have the first privilege to enjoy these moments. Naming a child after household items like “Chandelier” or “Cup” – is this for real? Some names are even expressive like “Misery”, “Precious”, “Rejoice” and “Holiday”. Sometimes you just can’t imagine how these babies will fare in school someday.


7. Wake-Up Miracle

There are patients who are really good at faking unresponsiveness. Nurses know the drill for this case – initiate the miraculous awakening. If you want to determine if a patient is faking a coma, just lift his arm and let it drop on his face. The patient’s arm will magically avoid hitting the face if he is faking unresponsiveness. In some cases, just mentioning insertion of a foley or a straight catheter is enough to awaken the patient.


8. Nicknames for Hospital Items

Nurses are so acquainted with some hospital items that give them funny nicknames. Do you know that propofol is also known as milk of amnesia? When you want to talk in “codes”, do you know that Ativan is also called Vitamin A? Bulb aspirators are often referred to as the blue sticky thing while the humidifier is just simply called as the bubbler. These are just some of the coded names nurses give to common hospital items.

9. Golden Time of The Shift

The last 30 minutes before the report is the golden time of the shift. This is the time when you are praying that nothing will happen until you finish your report for the incoming nurse. But sadly, this is usually when patients complain of chest pain, IV infiltration and worst, code blue.


Read also: 250 Funniest Nursing Quotes And Ecards

10. The Curse of Switching Shifts

As seasoned nurses say, don’t attempt to change the schedule made for you or else you will regret it afterwards. When nurses try to switch shifts, the changed shift always ends up the busiest shift of their lives. Nurses commonly laugh at how they shouldn’t have changed their shift schedule in the first place.

11. The Abusive Call Light

Nurses usually swear that whoever invented the call light will have a special place in hell. Some patients are so naïve that they think hospitals work like hotels – servants come with a push of a button. How many times have you experienced being summoned by the call light right after leaving a patient’s room?


12. Mystery of Frequent Flyers

Every hospital has its own list of frequent flyers. What is a frequent flyer? This is a term nurses use for loyal patients who keep coming back for admission. The funniest thing about the myth of frequent flyers is when you remember them or mention their names, they will surely show up in the next hours for admission.


13. Speak in Acronyms

In the fast-paced lives of nurses, they usually talk in acronyms or abbreviations.  It’s easy to say DSD (Desperately Seeking Drugs), FORD (Found on the Road Dead), TFB (Too Fat to Breathe), SPS (Stupid Parent Syndrome) and DRT (Dead Right There). Although there is no formal recognition about the meanings of these abbreviations, it’s amazing to see that nurses instantly understand them once heard.


14. Resourceful Eating Utensils

Have you ever seen a nurse eating a cake using a tongue depressor? Having adequate time to eat is a rare opportunity for most nurses. The funny thing is, when this opportunity comes, most nurses are not prepared with their eating utensils. For this reason, it is quite common to see clean tongue depressors and syringe plungers on mugs and plates at the station. Some nurses are so resourceful that they use a clean bedpan as a bowl for microwaved popcorn.

tongue depressor

15. You Will Know When It’s a Full Moon

Nurses have a special way of knowing if it’s a full moon or not. How? The flock of patients, complaints and how the shift progresses crazily throughout the day are somehow consistent with the appearance of the moon. Some nurses are even more careful about this phenomenon that they file their rest days along with the days of the full moon.

you know you're a nurse when

16. The Power of Micropore Tape

Don’t underestimate the power of micropore tape. It comes handy when you need to attach and secure anything within the patient’s contraptions. It is also useful in doing little repairs within the station. Can you imagine that it is also great for quick fixes for scrub suits and lab coats?

Read also: 250 Funny Reasons You Know You’re A Nurse

17. Getting Creative During Holidays

Don’t expect too much when nurses get creative during holidays. When you tell them to decorate, they will use hospital items like gloves, vials and many more. Who can’t be resourceful if you have so many things to do during your shift, but you still want to decorate for Christmas?

christmas tree gloves

18. When You Give Compliment to a Stranger, It Starts on the Veins

When nurses make new friends outside work, their compliments start on the veins. Isn’t it weird to hear “Your veins look good for venipuncture” from a stranger you just met for the first time? Seeing the reactions of strangers being given these weird compliments is wickedly priceless for most nurses.

bulging veins

19. Getting Compliments for Wearing Civilian Clothes

Only nurses would understand the weird feeling you can get from being complimented by just wearing civilian clothes. Some people are so accustomed to seeing nurses in their scrubs that they get surprised to see them wearing normal clothes outside work. Nurses, people seemed to forget that you also have a life outside work, don’t they?

20. Treasures in the Bottom of Washing Machine

Only nurses know the treasures hidden in the bottom of the washing machine. The gloves, vial caps and IVF bottle openings you forgot on your uniform pocket can be found piled up at the bottom of your washer. On some occasions, you will know you had a rough day at work if you also find syringe plungers, penlight, gauze, micropore and bandage scissors in your washing machine.

Do you know more funny things only nurses would understand? Share your nursing humor experiences below and let us all have a good laugh!

About the Author: Je Abarra is a nurse by profession and a freelance writer by passion. She is working as a staff nurse in the pediatric ward of a private city hospital for more than two years. During her free time, she usually writes about her fascinations in health and nursing. She loves to provide tips and fun facts about nursing and healthy living.