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Nursing Etiquette

Have you ever been in those awkward situations where you just didn’t know what to say to a patient?   Have you ever blurted out something completely inappropriate?  For some strange reason it happens to me a lot.  Recognizing this shortcoming in myself, I have taken it upon myself to prepare this guide for nursing etiquette so it won’t happen to you.  Please study carefully.  You will be tested soon – by a patient.

Situation Say This Not That
Patient tells you that he and his wife are going on an Alaskan cruise next summer It’s always nice to get away I hope you didn’t pay for the tickets in advance
A patient tells you that the other nurse didn’t hurt her so much during dressing changes. Nurse Susie is a very good nurse Yes, Susie is very good at dressing changes when she isn’t smoking crack and sleeping your husband.
You inadvertently drop your only IV catheter on the floor. Would you mind if I come back later today?  I need to replace some supplies. Lemme just rinse this off so I don’t have to make an extra trip.
Your remove your patient’s shoes to examine a wound and find maggots. I’m going to step out for just a minute. Oh, Sh*t.  I’m gonna puke.
Your patient has called the office three times since you left ten minutes ago to complain about his pain. I’ve called the MD to see about increasing your pain meds.  She’s very good about returning phone calls. If you were hurting as much as you said you were, you probably wouldn’t be able to scarf down an entire pizza and keep up with ‘Days of our Lives‘.
Your terminal patient asks about her condition. Things are pretty much as expected right now.  Are you comfortable? Look at the bright side, it really doesn’t matter that your retirement plan is tanking.
Your paranoid patient has called the state office three times to complain about you watching her house in the middle of the night. Any time you have a concern, you can call our administrator or the state office.  It is your right to do so. I am so sorry for being late.  I was up all night across the street watching you and didn’t get a chance to rest before going to work this morning.
Your patient asks you out claiming he has a lot to offer. It is strictly against policy for nurses to date patients. Since you’re obviously not long for this world, can I look at your financials before answering that question?
Will this new medicine affect my sexual performance? A small percentage of men experience difficulty achieving an erection when taking this medication.  If that happens, let me know and we’ll get with the MD about an alternative. Based upon the most recent report from your cardiologist, there is no such thing as safe sex for you.
A patient tells you that she is out of her medications but feels just fine without them. Many conditions like hypertension do not have any symptoms until you have a stroke or a heart attack so it is important to take your meds every day even when you feel good. Glad to hear you’re feeling fine.  It won’t last long but I have too many patients anyway.
Your patient is reminiscing about his wife who passed away a year before. It is hard to lose a spouse.  Would you like me to set you up with a bereavement support group? There’s plenty of fish in the sea who do not nag as much as your wife did.


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