Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Being a nurse changes everything

  • Comments (9)

We take our jobs home with us like our uniforms.

When I change a bed at home, I tuck in the clean bottom sheet with a  hospital corner. And of course I pull the sheet tight to make sure there is no crease in the sheet - pressure ulcer prevention at all times. 

Even though I no longer practise as a nurse I still notice how much of my nursing experience has seeped into my life. In fact being a nurse colours and changes a lot of the  things that you do – the small things.

Even when you are washing your hands at home, because they are a bit grubby, it’s hard not to wash them in the same way that you would if you were about to carry out an aseptic technique or had been touching a patient. 

I find it hard not to rearrange my partner’s pillows when they look ridiculously uncomfortable even though I know that is the way he likes to sleep.

It’s hard not to apply a plaster to a child’s cut finger in a very specific way. If I visit someone in hospital, even if others are sitting on the bed I find it hard to do so. And I am no keener to sit in the chair that is besides the bed. It just feels wrong.

I still walk faster than all my family and friends, a habit learnt from walking up and down a ward and trailing along long corridors at speed to pick up blood, linen or drugs.

And I still enjoy cheese and onion pasties, a habit picked up  from night shifts. That and lots of tomato ketchup.   

I bet there are lots of bits of nursing that have crept into your everyday life and habits.  Are there any that you want to share?

  • Comments (9)

Readers' comments (9)

  • Anonymous

    Finishing my dinner first- half an hour to get to the canteen, eat and back to the ward

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    my mum did night shifts as a nurse, and she still has the habit of eating really, really quickly. she always finishes before everyone else

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • When I'm off duty I often embarrass myself by trying to check the time by lifting an imaginary fob watch - which results in me looking like I'm cupping my breast in public instead :S

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • love this ... yes i do most of this .. bed sheets - with pillow case openings facing towards the window of course, apply plasters like they are a dressing , checking my left boob for the time and of course the nurse walk !!! fabulous !!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    my Mum pulled the sheets so tight that my Pa had to kick to loosen them every night when he got into bed for around 40 years of their married life until he decided that a duvet would solve the problem. However, then one of them was always too hot and the other too cold and my Dad would turn over in his sleep taking the whole duvet with him leaving my Mum out in the cold!

    My ex-flat mate, who trained at the same hospital as me sometime before I did, told me about the wonderful porridge they used to make in the ward kitchens towards the end of their night shifts for their patients' breakfast. They used to feed it to the housemen as well, before the Night Sister's early round, which made them highly popular with the junior doctors! Everything in the ward fridge and food cupboards used to go into it such as eggs, etc. giving those who could stomach it a highly nutritious start to the day!

    Nursing is excellent training for life in general and I would not wish to give up most of my habits although some sometimes laugh at my need for tidiness and meticulous cleanliness which in view of some of the recent scares does not seem to me to be a bad fault.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • When I'm off duty I often embarrass myself by trying to check the time by lifting an imaginary fob watch - which results in me looking like I'm cupping my breast in public instead :S

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    Nurses' conditioned reflexes - one of the most amusing incidents was when I went to a pizzeria for lunch just round the corner from the hospital with some colleagues from my ward. we were happily chatting and waiting for our lunch when a pinger went off and all five of us had the same reflex to grip the table as if we were about to jump up to rush off to a drip counter before coming back to reality and realizing that it was a microwave!
    This was in the early days of both digital drop counters and microwaves which we still weren't quite used to!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    waiting to hear which direction the ambulance siren is going in case it's in my direction, triaging my partner every time he has a cold, doing his obs and then plying him with fluids, a blanket and paracetamol regularly.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous | 8-Jul-2011 0:54 am

    poor chap? or lucky chap?

    actually I think men usually love to be pampered!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.