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Monthly Archives: September 2009

Humor From the Frontlines of Health Care

A first post to introduce myself.  I’m a nurse interested in public health, health care policy and management, and nursing.  In other words, I’m interested in the front-line, the bottom-line, and bottoms!

Nurses often share stories with one another to compare what’s going on in our world and to share a laugh.

Some fun situations only a nurse would find herself in:

  • Patient in Labor, about to give birth:       “My butt!  My butt is hurting!”
  • Patient’s mother: “Honey, that’s not your butt hurting, that’s you’re baby coming!”
  • Patient  (who is supposedly alert and oriented):”I spilled all my jelly beans all over the floor and can’t get up to pick them up.  Can someone come pick them up for me?”
  • Me: “Sure, I can have someone from environmental services come sweep up.”
  • Patient: “Well those jelly beans are my favorite!  Can you pick them up and hand them to me so I can eat them?”
  • Me: “Absolutely not!”
  • Patient who was definitely alert, but very disoriented: “Look at the TV! I think that’s Latoya Jackson. She must be sad.”
  • Me: “Where? on TV?”
  • Patient, still disoriented but surprisingly aware of MJ’s death: “Yes, right there, that’s Michael Jackson’s sister.”
  • Me: “Sir, you’re confused.  That is a white Animal Planet cop rescuing an alligator.”
  • Me, finishing up diabetic teaching to patient with uncontrolled diabetes: “So let’s review, name a food that is a starch.”
  • Patient: “A pork chop.”
  • Me, deflated.
  • Friend of a nurse: “Hey, I’m going on a long plane flight to Europe.  I think Vicodin will make it easier.  Can you bring me some Vicodin from work?”
  • Nurse: “Are you kidding me? Absolutely not.  Where do you think I work? A meth house?  They’re not giving the stuff away as door prizes!”

Being a nurse is definitely a crazy job.  Sometimes it makes you wonder what life is like for other people, people with normal jobs who get to do all sorts of things during the day like actually sit down to eat lunch, have a bathroom break and maybe, just maybe check your email despite the possible evil eye from management.

But no one else in health care gets to be so close to the family, to understand what is really going on in their world, and to hopefully bridge the gap between medicine and human being.  Despite the jokes, complaints, and other coping mechanisms, being a nurse is truly a beautiful profession for which I am grateful to be a part of.

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