Things Nurses Shouldn’t Do

Elena has just passed the board exam and is now preparing to start working as a newly Registered Nurse. Excited and anxious. She is both. This is the moment that she’d been waiting for, the moment she’d been working hard towards for in so long. Finally her dream became a reality. However, despite feeling ecstatic, she also couldn’t help but feel nervous.

As a newbie in the profession, she doesn’t know what to expect. Sure, she had been exposed to the clinical area but only as a nursing student, and never as a professional nurse. Yes, she has a bit of an overview of what she’s expected to do, what with all that she has observed from staff nurses during their clinical duties and what she has read from books and online sites, but she has no idea of what she should not do. Is there, somehow, something she should avoid doing? What are the No-no’s in the nursing profession? Specifically, what are things nurses like her shouldn’t do? Let’s find out.


  • Don’t tell your patients lies.

Sure, it’s tempting to tell your patients that ‘everything would be okay’ whenever they feel anxious or if they keep asking you about their condition, whether they’re still going to recover or not. However, no matter how tempting it is, don’t. Don’t give false reassurance. Don’t tell your patient lies if you don’t know for sure whether they’ll be okay or not. We may think that this will help make our patients feel better, that this might help ease their anxiety, but no. There are still other ways to provide comfort to our patients.


  • Lose patience with your patient

Yes, every nurse has had their own dose of toxicity coming from patients and their families. We’ve all, new or old, experienced wanting to pull our hair out because that one patient keeps on stressing us out, asking questions here and there, complaining over the littlest of things and trying to get your attention, while we at the same time are bombarded with tons of nursing tasks waiting in line to be finished. Yup, we’ve had and continue to have those days and it’s easy to lose your patience and just let it all out. However, that is not how we should react.

Remember, our patients are hospitalized for a reason, may it be a condition or maybe because they’re due for some tests that they are not very familiar with, making them anxious. Them not knowing about what is and what’s about to happen to them, stresses them out and they might feel like wanting to vent it out. However, it doesn’t always end up well as they eventually extend their stress to us.

We, as their nurses, should learn how to lengthen our patience as we know that being hospitalized and sick is not actually a pleasant experience. And if in case that we do lose our patience, we should not show it to our patients, instead, find other ways to vent our frustrated feelings out.


  • Confront a coworker in public

There may be times when your colleague or even a manager frustrates you. You get so upset with them that you just couldn’t help but feel like you want to confront them immediately. Not that it’s wrong, but if you do decide to confront them, you should do it discreetly. You should refrain from doing it in front of the patients or anybody else who shouldn’t be involved as it’s very unprofessional. You should learn to keep your control even at stressful situations and not let yourself lose your temper in public.

Take them to the restroom or any place private to discuss and work up ways to deal with your issues. It’s not necessary to embarrass one in front of many people.


  • Skip lunch breaks

Yes, we nurses are always busy and the hours per shift are usually not enough for us to finish all the nursing tasks bombarding us. However, despite our busy-ness in taking care of our patients, we should not forget to take care of ourselves. Walk your talk. Learn to manage your time wisely. Refrain from skipping lunch breaks and meals, you need all the energy you can gather so as you can also lead your patients towards recovery. If you really lack time, try to squeeze a few seconds to pop in some crackers or a drink of water. You wouldn’t want to be the next patient, would you?


  • Complain about another caregiver to your patient

The same as what was said earlier about confronting in public. This time, however, you are trying to vent out your feelings of frustration towards a colleague to your patient which should not be the case as they might cause your patients to lose their confidence on or feel suspicious about the other caregiver. If something really bothers you about your colleague, do talk to him/her in private. Don’t just backstab him/her with your patients present.


  • Tell your patients you are unsure of what you’re doing

Don’t, just don’t. Patients are usually anxious of what’s being done to them. Us telling them that we are not sure of what we’re doing would just add more to their anxiety and would lead to them losing their trust on us. As healthcare providers, we should be knowledgeable of the actions that we are performing. We should know why they are done, and how they are done. However, in cases wherein a patient asks you a question of the care given to them and you were too busy to review their chart, just tell them you’ll find out and get back to them.



Liane Clores, RN MAN

Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric, Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.

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