15 of the Most Common Nursing Pet Peeves

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nursing pet peeves

Nurses, being regular humans like everybody else, have nursing pet peeves. Sometimes, we just can’t avoid the quirks that get into our nerves as nurses. These peeves give us an unexplainable wrath inside our heads that only our fellow nurses could understand.

Can you relate with the following common pet peeves nurses experience nowadays?

1. Patients That Think They Own You

Some patients are just dumb-headed. They see nurses either as a slave or a servant they bought after paying for their hospitalization. They have unrealistic demands and are full of medical drama. Have you experienced tagging them as PIA or Pain in the Ass?

From S.C., Utah:
“I have one patient that constantly uses the call light and requests for ridiculous demands like getting the remote, adjusting the AC and helping him put on his socks. Maybe he thinks that he’s the only patient I’m handling!”

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 Also Read: 250 Funniest Nursing Quotes and Ecards

2. 10/10 Pain Scale with a Smile

As you and I know, patients claiming to have 10/10 pain scale while managing to smile and talk clearly actually exist. They look fine but they claim to have the worst pain ever felt in history. Their facial expressions don’t exactly match up to the intensity of pain they are supposed to have.

From G.F., Wyoming:
“Patients in the ER will sometimes drive you crazy. Imagine receiving complains of unbearable pain, with 10/10 pain scale, while the patient can still manage browsing his phone? Sorry sir, you will not get your requested narcotics.”

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Also Read: 100 Funniest Nursing Memes on Pinterest – Our Special Collection

3. People Who See You as a Walking Pharmacy

Have you experienced being asked to get medicines for your friends and family? Some people do not understand that you can’t just take home all the medicines from your floor. They mistakenly think that having you as an acquaintance also means a lifetime supply of free medicines.

From J.F., Florida:
“My neighbor always asks me if I could get her maintenance medicines from our floor. She believed I could get as many medicines as I can, anytime!”

4. Patient’s Relatives That Take Advantage of You

Your patient may be as sweet as an angel but it’s the relatives that will really test your patience. Some patients’ relatives think that they are also your patients.

From T.M., Louisiana:
“My patient’s relative asked me to clean her up after she used the bathroom. I wanted to say sorry our facility won’t allow that since you are not a patient here.”

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5. Taking Orthostatic Vital Signs

Taking orthostatic vital signs is a tedious task especially if you are working on an obese or an elderly patient. It’s a time-consuming task where you will need to get the patient’s vital signs when standing, sitting and lying flat on bed. What’s more annoying is when it was ordered in the middle of the night and you don’t have a choice but to awaken the patient.

From D.V., Indiana:
“Orthostatic vital signs ordered in the middle of the night on an 80-year old patient is cruel. Imagine waking up an elderly patient and instructing him to assume different positions while getting his vital signs. Explaining the whole procedure is already tiresome!”

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6. Careless Doctors Doing Their Rounds

There are careless doctors that mess up a patient’s contraptions and dressings to complete their assessments. The worst part with this practice is how they don’t inform the nurses on duty after. You will just be surprised to see your patient’s dressings all messed up on the floor.

From S. G., New York:
“Some random resident doctor removed the dressings of my post-appendectomy patient during his rounds without informing me. He even left the soaked bandages in the bedside. Five minutes later, I’m just shocked to see my patient’s wound weeping down the bed sheets!”

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7. People That Don’t Know the Difference between a Doctor and a Nurse

This is one of the most commonly reported nursing pet peeves. Your non-medical friends and relatives see you more as a doctor rather than a nurse. They enumerate the signs and symptoms they have and expect you to diagnose them. They even ask you what medication or diagnostic exam they should consider.

From H. H., Maryland:
“My cousins really believed that I can legally prescribe some medications for their illnesses discussed over the phone. They are even pressuring me to diagnose them!”

you know you're a nurse

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

8. Tangled Cords and Cables

When you are having a bad day, the cords of BP apps, stethoscopes, cardiac monitors, infusion pump cords and many other types of equipment seem to cooperate as well. NOT! They are all tangled up whenever you are about to use them!

It’s either the staff nurses that used them earlier didn’t bother to organize them or the cords just became tangled all by themselves.

From A. K., Illinois:
“I hate it whenever I find our BP app’s cords tangled. There’s one circumstance where I need to get my patient’s BP quickly as he looked like he’s going to arrest and yet I have to waste time untangling the BP app’s cord.”

9. Patients Who See the Hospital as a Hotel

Some patients expect that a hospital works like a hotel. They look for the unrealistic hospitality vibe and ask for perks you’d typically find in a ritzy hotel. You can’t believe you are dealing with these requests when your other patients are hanging on to their lives by the skin of their teeth.

From R. D., San Diego:
“Some patients admitted in the ward are expecting for a hotel-like service. They ask for all sorts of extra packages like pillows, blanket, toiletries and even meals! I even had a weird patient before that packed all the bed sheets from the room when he was discharged.”

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10. Pushy Nursing Managers

There are nursing managers that will test your patience with their unrealistic ideals for staff nurses. Their classic line never gets old – “Back in my day, we can do more with half the staffing you enjoy now”.

From F. K., New Jersey:
“Our nursing manager always compares our situation with her nursing days 20 years ago. Back in our days we can do this and that. Why don’t just be open-minded that nursing days before and now are totally different?

Also Read: 15 Funny Differences Between A New Nurse And An Old Nurse

11. Patients with All Sorts of Body Piercings That Freak Out Over a Needle Prick

It’s unbelievable to see a patient with lots of body piercing and even tattoos freaking out over a single needle prick. How did they get all that body art without needles? Sometimes, you have to remind them of their piercings just to calm them down.

From S. V., Idaho:
“I have to ask help for my patient when I‘m putting his IV line. He totally freaks out just as I’m about to stick the needle! I just can’t believe it after seeing all his tattoos and body piercings.”

funny nursing meme

12. Whiny Co-Nurse

There is always that one nurse you’re working with that complains about everything. It drags everyone’s positivity down. During these times, you will be glad that you’re doing bedside care.

From D.C., Michigan:
“We have one co-staff that is full of complains about her work. I wanted to tell her to go ahead and file a resignation! She spends her time doing unnecessary things and ends up asking help from us. You should have done that earlier, we’re busy too!”

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13. The Doctor that Abbreviates Everything

Have you read a doctor’s order full of abbreviations you don’t know yet? These doctors like to shorten things with unofficial medical abbreviations. Depending on how much time you have, it’s either fun or stressful to decode these abbreviations when carrying out their orders.

From H.C., Pennsylvania:
“We have this resident doctor who likes to shorten all the things he orders in the chart. One time we had difficulty decoding TIVB. We had no choice but to call him only to learn that TIVB is Through IV Bolus.”

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14. Parents That Use Nurses as a Threat to Calm down Their Kids

Have you heard parents telling their kids to behave or else the nurse will give them a shot? For this reason, pediatric patients are scared to death whenever they see nurses. It’s not supposed to work this way since nurses provide direct nursing care to pediatric patients.

From J. D., Texas:
“I work in a pediatric clinic and I hate it when parents use me to keep their kids behaved. They would say I will give them a shot if the kid will not behave properly. So once I get the kid’s weight and height, he is already scared and screaming on top of his lungs!”

15. Nurses That Ignore Alarms

Nurses that ignore call light alarms because the concerned patient is not their patient is irritating. Why ignore it if you can answer and inform the nurse assigned to the patient? The same thing goes for pump, cardiac monitor and mechanical ventilator alarms. Some nurses do bother to stop the alarm but they don’t inform the nurse who is handling the patient.

From S.V., Portland:
“My co-nurse didn’t inform me that he turned off my patient’s infusion pump because it kept on sounding. Ten minutes later, the IV line became clotted and I had to deal with a difficult needle stick.”

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We all have our own versions of pet peeves at work. Some are funny while some should be seriously tackled. Do you have more nursing pet peeves to share? Let us know in the comments.