Nurses have been voted by the public as one of the most trusted professions year after year.
Let me share a secret with you, nurses lie. Of course all nurses are not saints. It is possible to run across a Nurse Ratched or Nurse Jackie from time to time. That is not what I mean. All GOOD nurses lie. Nurses may pride themselves on being honest and having integrity in their personal lives, but they can not stop lying at work.
Seven lies that nurses tell:
1. It’s just allergies.
Nurses are constantly exposed to illness. They work long hours with little time for resting, eating, drinking or potty breaks. Many nurses work the nightshift which further weakens their immune systems. The nature of their work leaves nurses vulnerable to illness. It is not possible to stay home every time a nurse is sick. Patients need cared for 24 hours a day. Bills still need to be paid. Hospitals fire nurses when they take too many sick days. All these factors create tremendous pressure to take an over-the-counter cocktail of medications and head on in to work.
2. You are dilated to 9cm.
This may be true. Maybe not. It depends if your doctor is impatient with moms while pushing. Three hours of pushing is normal for first time moms, but not all doctors will wait that long. Your nurse may be buying you time to avoid a cesarean section. She may see that you really need to rest before you start pushing. Maybe you are waiting on a family member to arrive and she is trying to buy you time. Maybe she needs to eat a snack before she passes out and she knows you want to start pushing right at 10 cm.
3. Don’t worry, it happens all the time. It’s not a problem.
Chances are it doesn’t happen all the time, but your nurse wants you to feel comfortable and not embarrassed. Even if it is a common occurrence it probably is still a problem. A patient passing gas while a nurse is inserting an urinary catheter does NOT happen all the time and it IS a problem. Nurses will lie through their teeth while they try to not inhale and also try to not break sterile technique.
4. You can’t have any more Dilaudid.
Chances are you technically could have more. When a patient is asking for more narcotics in between snoring sessions and they can’t tell the nurse from the IV pole, they are not getting any more Dilaudid!
5. I have time for you.
Nurses wish that statement was always true. It is often a lie. Heavy patient loads and mountains of charting take time away from the time at the bedside. In a rare moment when a nurse is caught up with his shift work he still has hospital, unit, certification and licensure education requirements to complete. Nurses will stay at the beside and make the time for you that is needed. Then they will stay late to chart and come in on their days off to complete their continuing education requirements.
6. I need to go check on a lab result. (or any excuse to get out of a room)
Sometimes this is nurse code for “If I don’t go to the bathroom right now I am going to have to call a code brown on my self.”
7. I don’t smell anything. Yes they do! They smell it. They are just being nice. If it is within the nurses power to fix the problem then they will bathe, deodorize or bandage up the offending odor. When there is nothing to be done about the smell, they will lie to preserve the dignity of their patient.
Nurses lie. Should a nurse share her battle with irritable bowel syndrome and explain how it will affect her time management of her patient care? Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Despite a history of lies, nurses deserve to be the most trusted profession.
© 2014, Carrie Halsey. All rights reserved.