Paramedics & Nurses & the World We Live in


The following note once hung on the wall of the nursing lounge at Mercy Hospital, San Diego. We pulled it down long enough to make a photocopy. You see it here first:

To all new staff nurses – make sure you understand the following:

  • 25% of doctors are a poor excuse for protoplasm.
  • If it’s too dry, add moisture.  If it’s too wet, dry it. Congratulations. You’re a dermatologist.
  • Always remember to never say always or never.
  • Bleeding is fine. It’s the natural fluids that kill you.
  • Treat all patients exactly the same, until they piss you off.
  • “Too stupid to live” will someday be a recognized diagnosis.
  • Some patients are demonically possessed.
  • Learn how to play, “specimen, who’s got the specimen?”
  • It is entirely possible to order food from the O.R. phone.
  • For some patients, a referral to Doctor Kevorkian is totally appropriate.
  • There really is such a thing as a, “shallow gene pool.”
  • In this place, we restrain folks even when it isn’t sexual.
  • Considering the cooties in hospitals, you will either die young or develop immune systems that can attack kittens on your front lawn.
  • When you get home tonight, build a shrine to the makers of Haldol.
  • Fine dining is anywhere you can sit down to eat.
  • At least once a month, you’ll get to hear an administrator muttering, “who in the hell is in charge of this place?”
  • Gambling on hospital property is forbidden.  Betting on the blood-alcohol level of adolescent male trauma patients is a respected art form.
  • Please contain your laughter until you exit the patient’s room.
  • Don’t worry. The lab understands if you call to order a “dumb-shit” profile.
  • As a condition of employment, you’ll be expected to sign the petition demanding aerial spraying of Prozac over downtown.
  • You will learn to compute the brain-cell-to-tattoo ratio.
  • Refrain from uttering “great veins” when meeting family members. It just makes them nervous.
  • Someday your nursing shoes will be enshrined at the CDC.
  • If you choose to slap a doctor for grabbing your breasts, try to wait until after the procedure.

God bless nurses. They stand on the front lines with no firearms at all.

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