10 Humorous Ways I Knew I Was A Nurse

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

The day you start nursing school your life changed permanently.

There is the life “before nursing” and then life as a nurse. Two very different worlds.

Here are some of the ways I knew my life had changed when I became a nurse.

1. I started using a different language
“Rationale” and “as evidenced by” became common terminology. Really… (only nurses will understand this one) don’t ask. Heh heh

2. Acronyms became my best friend
Patient history of COPD, CAD, DM, BKA, CVA with some JVD and new onset CHF noted. What??? Can I get a vowel, Alex??

3. I somehow started caring about the type of pens I use
A “fat” pen with some cushion is like gold when you have to write narrative notes that are pages long for EACH patient you care for during a shift.

4. My bladder grew 3 sizes larger
For some strange reason I could go 12 + hours without having to use the bathroom? Is that normal?

5. Coffee was a mainstay in my diet – and still is.
Without it I don’t think I could blink properly some days.

6. My sense of smell not only got sharper, it also got…duller
I could identify a disorder or disease just by smelling the “aftermath” or the preemptive strike. I also found that most smells stopped “bothering me.” How weird is that?

7. Nationally celebrated holidays were simply a date on a calendar
I vaguely remember a time when I didn’t have to work, or worry about covering a shift during a holiday. But, then again, the hospital doesn’t close for the holidays.

8. I began to forget what day of the week it was.
A traditional calendar was useless. ‘What day of the week is it?” Um, when did I work last – let me check my work schedule. That whole “week day” and “weekend” thing…yeah, it no longer applies.

9. I couldn’t call off work anymore.
Not without feeling amazingly guilty! You call off and then remember what it is like to work shorthanded.

10. I stopped answering my phone
Caller ID was an amazing rescue tool. Who’s calling? Is it work?

And, after it’s all said and done, I wouldn’t have done it any differently. I love being a nurse.

So, tell me, how do you know you’re a nurse? Share in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. I am retired now…but I remember starting the shift with 8 pts. During the day I had 2 Discharges, one death, and 1 transfer to ICU,During the day I got 2 Admissions, one same day pt, and one pt that needed Periteneal Dialysis. I had a long night after my shift writing notes. The next day I was asked why I stayed so late. I told my supervisor I had 12 pts yesterday. He said I had only 8pts. I could not convince him that I actually had 12. There is a different kind of math used in the hospital.

    • I worked Nursing Pool for 7 years. I sometimes covered 3 floors in a day, plus rotating shifts. I was experienced, but sleep deprived, bathroom deprived, and rarely ate. After 40 plus years full time, I am still thankful, I lived to retire. We were “old school” nurses trained in a different generation. I am still licensed, go to CEU’s, and help educate others regarding good patient care. Once a nurse, always a nurse. Dana B., RN

  2. I know I’m a nurse because all my nurse friends and I can talk about anything….and I mean ANYTHING, at the dinner table and no one gets grossed out!!

  3. I’ve been a nurse for 40 years now and all of the above are true. If I get to eat something(usually it’s shoving something in my mouth) I’m standing(even at home). I eat what the cafeteria is serving(I’ve eaten things that I never thought possible). And I have no problem eating and describing poop, vomit, drainage etc.
    I have touched things that no human being should have to touch. I have been called every name in the book and as I see it “I’m the nice one”. Notes I write at home(a shopping list) is in abbreviations. Even when I’m off I think about my pts. I think about retiring but I know I have 10 more years in me. I got my RN when I was 20 yrs. old and worked more than 1/2 my life as a nurse. We had glass IV bottles. Remember TURPS(lifting those 3000 cc’s bags), wearing caps, pm care when you gave a back rub and chngd the draw sheet. I’m an old school nurse, really did pt. care(and still do). It’s all I know, it’s what I love(sometimes I don’t know why) and it’s what I’ll continue to do until the state says no more.

  4. I Know I’m a nurse bc I have learned to stay up for 24 hrs like it’s normal. I work nights and never know what day it is except that I have to work or I get to sleep. I forget to stop giving simple commands when i do get to go out and realize everyone does not want to be told where to put what body part nor does everyone out of the hospital want to be educated on something. I know I’m a nurse bc I worked last night with 8 pts by myself 3 of which are on hospice actively dying, I have yet to go to sleep today and i am willingly gonna do this again tomorrow!!!

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