May 2, 2007, 3:40 pm

The Top Ten Things That Every Patient Should Know


Ooooo….I like these!

Tailoring tells the story, alright:

(1) I don’t have the figure for them and

(2) My legs are not 3/4 the length of my body.

There’s a certain 30’s elegance about them.

Probably because they are 1930s uniforms.



In the interest of public education, there are ten things I’d like to tell the patients of my little part of the world:

  • Vomiting is not an allergy. It is a side effect, adverse reaction and bummer all in one.
  • One pain shot does not an addiction make.
  • When a sharp object, like a needle, pierces the skin, it hurts. If an injection of medication follows that pierce, chances are it will hurt even more. Ask not if it “will hurt” but ask “will this hurt a lot?”.
  • Telling us your pain is 324.8/10 is the oldest joke in the book. We will smile, but we’ve heard it before.
  • Showing up in an ER for abdominal pain and then refusing all diagnostic tests is…well….illogical.
  • If you are calling to see how busy the ER is, chance are you do not have an emergency. ER shopping and life-threatening emergencies are not concurrent events.
  • If you got someone into the car, you can get them out of the car. Unless they are dead on arrival, which means they probably needed an ambulance to begin with.
  • The wrong thing to say when asked why you called an ambulance for your hangnail: “Hell, I didn’t have to pay for it!”. This is guaranteed to make your nurse devoid of any and all sympathy. Chances are they join the millions of employed citizens who are paying to give you the right to a “free” ambulance. There isn’t a single sob story in the world that can change the fact that you have abused the health care system.
  • Vomiting a liter of bright red blood is a good reason to call an ambulance, whether the patient wants you to or not!
  • Please, please…..if your child’s pacifier falls on the floor of the emergency department, do NOT give it back to the child. I know the room looks immaculate, but the patient before you was a GI Bleed and blood flows downward, if you get my drift.

I’m just sayin’….


  • Student Nurse Nancy

    May 3, 2007 at 9:29 am

    You are soooo funny! And some people are so, well, lacking in common sense. Let’s just leave it at that.

  • Just a midwife

    May 3, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Addendum to rule 10: Same goes for the floor of your midwife/OB/GYN’s office. I’m not guaranteeing that the woman just ahead of you had chlamydia, but I’m sure as heck not guaranteeing she DIDN’T.

  • MBKimmy

    May 4, 2007 at 6:15 am

    Was lead to you throught ERNursery love this post! I am not a nurse I actually own a construction company in SC but I always dreamed of being a nurse and I have been a patient before … I am sure in my life I will be again … this was neat to read!

  • Jen

    May 4, 2007 at 10:45 am

    I always say to Mr/Ms 324.8/10 for pain “Well, you still have your sense of humour so that’s a good sign…”

  • Max E Nurse

    May 8, 2007 at 5:56 am

    Joking about the pain scale aside, does anyone ever say anything lower than an 8/10? Just an observation!

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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