November 11, 2011, 8:53 pm

50 Nursing Secrets? 48/50 Ain’t Bad….

I’m using my favorite ad council promo, the one that made me realize that I was damn proud to be a nurse.

Because right now I don’t feel like posting something funny, or cute.

I need to see this ad again.

Having a bit of a burnout/compassion fatigue/why-the-hell-am-I-still-working-in-ER-at-my-age life crises.

Been there, done that a few times.

A case manager is in this ER nurse, why is it invisible on my resume?

Feel like chucking it all and moving to Portland and being a totally cool full-time grandmother who takes her grandson to all the NASCAR races…

Okay, he isn’t born yet, but you get the idea.


Reader’s Digest has published an article, “50 Secrets Nurses Won’t Tell You“. The link will take you to the article itself, and Sandy Summers has written a review of the article at The Truth About Nursing.

There are some interesting “secrets” here – and you’ll recognize a few of the names!

Gina from Code Blog is in there, and so is Jo from Head Nurse!


I’ll be the first person to tell you that I am not a perfect person, and not a perfect nurse, but two of these “secrets” really ticked me off.


The first one:

3. “Feel free to tell us about your personal life, but know that we’re here for 12 hours with nothing to talk about. So the stuff you tell us will probably get repeated.” A nurse in St. Petersburg, Florida


I have steam coming out my ears.

Maybe my colleague works in a thumb-twiddling clinic, but we have plenty to talk about in my emergency department. We talk with the patients, not about them, and we are too busy hauling our derrieres around to gossip. When we do, finally, have a chance to sit down, the last thing we think about are the personal lives of patients, unless it directly affects their care.

But thanks, now everyone who reads this “secret” thinks that nurses are lazy asses who have nothing to do but gossip on their 12-hour shift.

Good stuff.

Remind me to stay away from St. Petersburg…

4. “A lot of my patients are incontinent, and I’m supposed to just use a wet washcloth to clean them. But if it’s a patient who’s been really nice and appreciative, I’ll go all the way to intensive care to get some of the heated wet wipes, which are a lot more gentle. Somebody who’s constantly yelling at me? I just use the washcloth.” A nurse in St. Petersburg, Florida

So… excellent patient care is only given to those who “deserve” it. Everyone else gets “good enough.” Got that, general public?

They didn’t teach me that in nursing school, good thing this “secret” filled me in.

For anyone in the general population who is reading this – these are not nursing “secrets”. These are descriptions of the personal practices of one nurse. I read all 50 secrets and I’ll go with the other 48.

Rest assured, your personal life is not customarily dismantled at the nursing station and your care is not based on your disposition.

Nurses are too damn busy to gossip and too damn professional to base your care on how nice you are.

I guess 48/50 ain’t bad.


  • RehabRN

    November 12, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Thanks Kim!

    I had to read it after that (and I recall jo mentioning it).

    Some people! Hello…I’d love to talk about my people for 12 hours because that would imply I had EXTRA time.

    Personally, I prefer to talk TO them, if I really have extra time. You find out some interesting stuff talking to your patients.

    BTW If I had a blanket or wipe warmer, I would BE queen! I miss my warmer from Saintarama big time. People really appreciate warm blankets (and towels after a bath or shower).

  • The Nerdy Nurse

    November 12, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    oh my goodness.

    Some nurses… well you know, one bad apple does have to go and spoil the whole bunch. I sure hope she/he doesn’t have a blog. I don’t think we want them running their mouth on the internet!

    Just a wet cloth… I just don’t get that one. Skin is skin, people are people. and if you have the means to make an awkward and uncomfortable situation any less awkward and uncomfortable, then it is your duty as a nurse to do that. Guess they missed the memo.

    You’ll get your case management job. Don’t give up! The right one just hasn’t found you yet, and perhaps you are greatly needed in your ER. Who on earth could hope to fill your shoes?

  • NPs Save Lives

    November 12, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    I also agree some of the “secrets” made the nursing profession look badly. Even if I did some of those things, you can better believe that I wouldn’t admit to it on the internet for goodness sake! Process of elimination and you can get fired (though some should be fired for being bad nurses).

  • Melissa

    November 14, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I just wish that a few of our fellow nurses would just step back for one moment and think…”how will this make my profession look” before speaking. I would like to think that most nurses are too busy to gossip about patients and that we provide top notch care to everyone…like they were our own mother!

  • Vic Mackey

    November 15, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    As a cop for three decades in the City of New Orleans before 2006, I have seen many things that nurses in the ER have said and done that were not professional and in question. When a gun shot wounded fellow officer was brught in to the ER (around 1990), a medical professional person leaned against the light switch, turning the lights off while the injuried officer was being treated. That so-called medical professional giggled and thought it was funny. The injuried officer was shot five times.

  • Tina

    November 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Oh! Come on! I work in a clinic, and I DEFINETLY don’t have time to sit around “thumb twiddling” Shame on you!

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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