1. You’re late (and we noticed).
    It’s bad enough we’re getting the evil-eye from the nurse who has been waiting to give us report so they could go home. No one tries to be late. It’s hell getting out of the house on time if you have kids. Or if you live far away. Or if you didn’t hear your alarm. Or if it’s hard for you to wake up.
  2. You didn’t chart something important.
    It’s not like we don’t have 5,000 things we’re supposed to chart, that we’re supposed to chart well. It’s a given that there’s probably no nurse out there that is charting every single thing they’re doing. But when we find out we didn’t chart something important, it either means our boss will talk to us, or we’ll envision ourselves in court within the next 18 years.
  3. Your call light is blinking.
    We understand that’s the only way our patients can let us know they need something if we’re not actually in the room, but no nurse actually wants their call light to go off. All that means is that they have one more things they have to do, they need to do it as quickly as possible, and they need to remember to turn off that damn call-light before they walk back out the door.
  4. The board is full.

    Is it ever NOT full?!? “The board is full” is code for “everyone’s busy and you’re getting another patient as soon as one leaves.”
  5. The boss wants to talk to you in their office.
    What? Why? What did I do? Do you know what they want to talk about? Did they look upset? Was anyone with them? I hope they don’t make me close the door behind me when I walk into their office…
  6. You made a medication error.

    No nurse wants to hear that they’ve made a medication error. Then we have to worry if the patient is okay, was there any harm done, has it been written up, and how can we prevent it from happening again. And we’re embarrassed.
  7. You’re getting another patient.
    Nooooooooooooo. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t finished charting on or assessing the other ones.
  8. Joint Commission is here.
    It’s not that we hate them. It’s just that we try to avoid them like the plague. We don’t want them to ask us a question that we don’t know, and then look stupid, and then fail certification for the whole hospital. Is that an urban myth?!
  9. There’s blood on your scrubs.
    And we probably just bought them. Notice how that’s our concern, not whether or not the patient was Hep C positive.
  10. Our Press Ganey scores suck!
    All healthcare providers are trying to do the right thing. We’re trying to please every single patient and every single family member with them. So when we hear our scores are in the red, we know what that means: more initiatives to get those numbers back up.
  11. We’re short-staffed.
    It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve heard this, we’re not immune to these words yet. It stinks.
  12. Education modules are due.

    Again!? Didn’t we just do these like 5 seconds ago? None of us want to know there’s more things we have to add to our to-do list.
  13. There’s a medication discrepancy.
    We didn’t do it!
  14. Call a code.
    No nurse wants to hear, take part in, or witness a code. The only thing worse is when it’s our patient. And then refer to #2.
  15. A patient has fallen.
    Ughhhhhhh. Another incident to report. Another (possible) manager meeting. Another scenario of us praying that our patient is okay.
  16. Your CPR is going to expire.
    And the only date available for you to recertify will be the most inconvenient date possible, at the most awkward hour.
  17. Have you gotten your TB test?
    It’s been a year already!?
  18. Your competencies are due.
    Seriously, again!? It always feels like we just did these. The list of things we have to do outside of work is rapidly growing…
  19. Your patient called administration.

    Unless it’s about something good, which it rarely is, then this is just depressing. In our minds, everyone in the whole hospital will think we suck.
  20. The laziest charge nurse is working.
    Sigh. Most charge nurses are so great, but no nurse wants to hear that we’re working with the lazy one, that one that will watch us drown while she sits in her seat at the nurse’s station.
  21. You need to restart that IV.
    Just one more thing we have to do as soon as possible.
  22. Your nursing license is going to expire.
  23. You’re being peer-reviewed.
    If we hear that we’re being peer-reviewed, it means we were involved in something that we wish we could just forget.
  24. You’ve got to float to another unit.
    There aren’t a lot of things that nurses can count on, and even when our own unit is messed up and crazy, it’s our messed up and crazy. We know what to expect. We rely on the companionship of our coworkers to make it through the day.
  25. Your PTO request was denied.
    Even if it was put in a year in advance. Even if you’ve NEVER had a week off in the summer. This is like the icing on the cake. No nurse wants to hear that they have to cancel their plans or beg someone to work for them!