11 Nursing Diagnoses That Don’t Exist…But Ought To

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

Sure, nurses diagnose patients all the time…but have you ever felt like you needed to diagnose yourself? Sometimes your shift (or week, or month) is just that crazy!

We came up with 11 funny nurse diagnoses that don’t exist yet; we’ve got a feeling that you need to start diagnosing yourself and taking appropriate relief measures, STAT (chocolate, anyone?)!

11 nursing diagnoses that don’t exist…but ought to

1. Grumpiness, exacerbated by…
a. sleeplessness
b. hunger
c. full bladder
d. all of the above

2. Stress Overload (this one actually does exist!)

3. Chocolate Deficit

4. Caffeine Deficit

5. Vacation Deficit

6. Irritation, secondary to fire drill called in the middle of a dressing change

7. Inadequate Ventilation (in the air-conditioner sense, not in the respiratory sense)

8. Incomplete Meal Consumption

9. Screeching Beeper

10. Ill-Fitting Scrubs

And finally…

11. Risk for Impaired Interaction with Upper Management

Anything to add? Share in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. Irritation/exhaustion to having ten persons speaking to you at the same time, the doctor on the phone for you and of those people each person feels that their issues is #1 priority, while you have a pt with a pain level of 10.

  2. I have been so stressed that I almost had a meltdown with a patient and that when I said I need a break she is one of those that look at nurses a maids instead of caregivers but I prayed on it she would put her light on every 2-5 min and when you go there to answer her light she would say it took to long for someone to come nevermind .

  3. IGNORAMOUS syndrome: Family/Friends consult you all the time when something seems wrong BUT when a family member ends up in the hospital with something serious they don’t want to hear your experience-based interpretation (AKA: Evidence-based) because “He’s a fighter” “He knows what’s going on” “She told me to go home…she knows.” (when she hasn’t spoken for a week after a stroke)

  4. To piggy back on the stress overload:
    Super human expectation overload.
    We are not perfect, nor should it be expected of us.

    • Absolutely true!!!!!
      No nurse is perfect,,, tho I’ve met some that come close…
      I suffered from “you will never be good enough syndrome”
      Never enough education
      Never enough time
      Never enough experience
      Never enough courage
      Never enough heart
      Never could memorize all those guidelines
      Never could figure out what they wanted.
      They wanted me to be perfect…
      there is only right or wrong.
      Someone has to be wrong.. and management is never wrong.

  5. TMMTC syndrome…. Too many medication to comprehend syndrome! Patients have no clue what they are taking! Sad!

  6. Great list!
    I would add the PIA (what you sit on) patient/resident who is on the call light every 5 to 10 minutes; and doesn’t need ANYTHING or denies they pushed the button {AKA – attention seeking}. Yup, I got one of them. ***sigh***

  7. PTNS: Post traumatic nurse syndrome r/t years of applying nursing process
    As a retired (re=again, tired=all nurses!) RN, we apply assessment skills to every situation. I sat several rows behind a young woman in church with cut-outs in her white shirt showing a large black “mole”. Upon closer look, I was embarrassed (and relieved!) to find out it was the tag of her shirt! Bad backs, leg (varicose veins) issues, being told by family we “worry too much” are signs/sx. ?

  8. #7 struck a chord with me. I was working on the 6th floor of a Level 1 Trauma Center when the primary power failed – and so did the backup generators. We were truly screwed. No elevators, no ventilation, nothing. All the respiratory therapists had to go to ICU to manually bag vent patients as the batteries died. Patients’ beds were stuck in the positions they were in when the power failed. IV pump batteries were failing right and left. It was that way for something like about 5 hours! Thankfully, no one on our floor coded… When we finally got our power back for the first time, the immediate overload shut it right back down. It took two or three tries before the power actually stayed on, and I remember thinking, “Thank God for ventilation!”

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