Nurses and doctors play an immeasurable part in taking care of our health and helping us get better, but they are human and it's only their job. There's bound to be some secrets and things that happen in hospitals that patients are better off not knowing.
Below, nurses share dirty secrets that they could never tell their patients. Check them out! A source to even more secrets can be found on the last page!
For the last few years, it is more important to make patients happy instead of using our skills and knowledge to help make you feel better. This is a dangerous.
Our job is to heal, not to heel. We have way more patients than just you. That means while you're pushing your call bell for the 100th time wanting something menial, we have other patients actively dying. We hate that we can't answer in a timely fashion, but we have to prioritize. I'll run to the patient that is coding before I'll take you your 10th pack of graham crackers. Also, we aren't being mean when we make you take part in your own Healthcare. If you're a drug seeker we fill your IV with saline when you think it's morphine just to watch you be ridiculous and act like you're high, when you really aren't.
We are tired. We are overworked. We have constant changes and new rules. We are overwhelmed. Just be patient and be understanding. There's a whole lot more going on than you can ever see. Also, end of life care, if you are actively dying, usually there is an order for morphine and Ativan that we use to calm your respirations and ease your pain. Almost every nurse I know has given it as often as possible to help you ease into death. This isn't especially a bad thing.
"I would much rather be doing the dressing changes and bathing my incapacitated, sweet patient next door than getting you coffee and your sixth ice cream of the morning, you non-compliant jerk."
Things I've dreamed of telling people, most recent being yesterday.
You really should be aware that when you are a jerk to us, your doctor is aware.
I have worked for doctors who would fire a patient from the clinic for being offensive to the nursing staff/front desk staff.
We recently had a patient arrested for making threats to our operators.
My wife's a nurse. During the night shift, she'd talk about other nurses going and finding empty rooms and taking extended naps in shifts. It irked her, since she has a solid work ethic, but she isn't the kind to speak up.
That some days, for me it's when I'm sick (We can only call in two times in 6 months) I do not feel like taking care of you and I would rather sit at the nurses station and not do nothing but I know that you need me. Knowing that you need me is the only thing that brings me to your room to answer your call bell for the millionth time.
Alzheimer's patients can never sleep and are sneakier then a five year-old trying to get a look at Santa on Christmas Eve.
From the husband of a nurse.
They screw up, and if at all possible, if nothing bad happens, they hide it.
And mean, cruel patients get the bare minimum, "won't get me written up" care.
If you're "dying because I hurt so bad" and tell me your pain level is at a ten, yet you're on your phone laughing at something on Facebook, yeah, I'm not too sympathetic. You'll get your pain meds, but it's gonna be a few extra minutes.
If I've got someone on the floor because their blood sugar dropped in the 30's, you're gonna wait a little longer. And don't even think about giving me a lecture on how to do my job. I am your nurse. I'm here to take care of your butt, not to kiss it. I am not your slave. I'm not your personal servant. I'm sure as hell not your maid. And don't tell me how your kid or your mom or your sister or best friend is a nurse and they do things different. I do my job the way I was trained to do it. I've got 35 to 40 residents on any given night. It's just me. I love my job and I love my residents, but dang, sometimes I wanna scream.
My sister is a nurse who has had surgery for a torn rotator cuff 3 times, fusion on her cervical vertebrae, and more sprains and pulls on her lower back than I can count.
She's in freakishly good shape but lifting, turning, and assisting the larger patients is hurt her. She says that fat is shifty and unpredictable when a patient is in pain and/or under the influence of pain meds. I was visiting when an obese friend was recovering from gall bladder surgery, and watched as he swung one leg over the side of the bed to stand up, and the rest of his mass followed like a mudslide. Sis ran over and caught him and rolled the guy back onto the bed. A bad fall could have really set back his recovery. I heard a bone crunching sound as her back bent under his weight.
Her big secret is she has been ordered to get the lift (an awkward and bulky sling/crane) for any patent over a certain BMI to avoid further injuries.
Most of her patients complain that she's deliberately humiliating them by hauling out the crane each time they must be walked or the linens changed, but there is no safe way for most health care workers to habitually muscle around obese patients.
I worked as a director of nursing and also as a nursing case manager. Patients are often looked at as nothing more than currency in the world of healthcare administration. Patients are regularly discharged from hospitals prematurely due to concerns of the cost of care.
I'm a veterinary nurse. The amount of punches I have nearly thrown due to being told "Why are you a nurse?!" or "Why aren't you a vet?" or "You're just a nurse"
But it's fine, carry on and undermine me, I'll just be here as I charge you extortionate amounts for drugs to treat your dog's ailments that could easily have been prevented had you not fed it fried toast and sausages from the dinner table.
We never believe how much alcohol you tell us you drink. Whatever amount you say, we double that and report to each other the suspected amount.
In many areas of the United States, thanks to brutal cost-cutting measures, chances are your nurses on some level are worried about hurting or having a patient injured for simply lack of time. They have to check orders, safely give medications, provide other treatments like wound care, admit and discharge patients, make sure tests and other exams get done, bathe/feed/ambulate patients, monitor and assess your condition, and communicate with you/your family/Doctors/, and all the other tasks to get done.
Then do endless charting on each and everything. For between 4-7 (or hell more, if someone called off or your facility sucks) patients on a floor. Lots of times they barely have a chance to pee, grab a snack (much less a meal) or an actual break. This is over a 12+ hour shift.
My dirty secret is that if there's no respiratory symptoms occurring or that I'm watching out for a medication, procedure. I'm putting your respirations at 16 because I likely skipped counting them.
You're naked in front of medical personnel, we don't care that you're naked. And literally 4 seconds after you're clothed or no longer in our presence, we've forgotten what you look like naked. You only remember what people look like naked because you've seen a small number of naked people. We see naked people all the time, and yeah whatever. That's a penis. Those are boobs. Look, an anus. Stretch marks, fat folds, whatever.
I don't think anyone really realizes what kind of hours doctors and nurses do. Junior doctors were supposed to be working 100 hour weeks in the UK and when I found out I was horrified. There's 168 hours in a week and that works out at like 14 hours a day and we're not supposed to have a fully 7-day work schedule so it's even more than that probably.
A lot of the time, I think the doctor taking care of you, or another nurse or the PA is absolutely awful. They don't know what they're doing, they have bad outcomes, and they are too arrogant to work on fixing what needs to be fixed. Some of them are distracted because they are having affairs with coworkers. Some of them are alcoholics or are abusing prescription medications while at work.
But I can't say that to patients. In fact, a few years ago, the hospital instituted a new policy requiring nurses and other staff to say positive things about their patients' other caregivers. So I will find something relatively honest and seemingly reassuring to say to patients, which improves satisfaction scores and reimbursement.
How often doctors make mistakes; they send for a medication, and the nurse gets it and realizes something is off/the medication is completely not what the patient should be getting, and they have to contact the doctor to get a correct script.
If you and your family are nice to me, I will go above and beyond to make sure that you're comfortable and I will do whatever extra I can to help you. However, if you're rude to me or your family becomes verbally abusive or aggressive, I will do my job and I won't do anything nice or extra for you. I'm not neglectful but I certainly won't want to go in your room any more than necessary.
Sometimes, I would love to just be honest with some family members who are aggressive and just be like, "Listen; we are on the same team here. You want them to get better, I want them to get better too. I spent lots of money and four years of my life to even get licensed to do this. I want to take care of your loved one and make sure they go home with the best quality of life. Please stop fighting me and the rest of the medical team like we are on opposite sides of this issue."
Patient falls are a huge issue in hospitals. Insurance/the government doesn't reimburse hospitals for any injury or increased length of stay due to a fall; the hospital simply eats the cost. So, when you fall, we get in trouble. Lots of paperwork, meeting with our manager, hell, we can get written up or fired if it's a frequent occurrence. I work on a neurosurgery unit which has a high risk for falls because our patients have either had strokes/brain surgery and are confused or impulsive, or had spinal surgery and are on high doses of narcotics.
I've had three patients fall in my nursing career and all three times, my initial response wasn't, "I hope they didn't get hurt!" It was, "Are you kidding me? Ahh crap, now I'm gonna get in trouble!"
I work at an New York City ER. I'm not joking at all when I say the nurse to patient ratios are usually 1:18, up to 1:30 on very bad nights. I am literally the only person to care for all of these people/their extensive families and field complaints and true medical emergencies, especially because my techs are off in the back texting or hiding away, or get pulled to do constant observations of high risk patients.
I have varying degrees of sick patients, but I find the ones that are most stable are the biggest complainers who threaten to leave the hospital. I tell them they're free to leave at any time.
Also, I have had people who complain of 10/10 pain, walking around and talking on their phone and laughing. They follow me around. Pain medications cannot be given earlier just because you follow me around. I once had a sickle cell patient tell me that the patient I'm working on at the moment is already dead, so I better give her pain medications. I told her she better leave.
The curtains between beds (I don't even know the definition of the words "private room" when it comes to a hospital) are not good for privacy. Isolation patients are sometimes right next to another patient because we are so full.
If I'm running around, a person needing a bed pan or water is the least of my concerns. I work trauma bay very frequently, and family members get in the way, to a point where they impede their loved ones care.