The 5 Most Important People You Meet In The Hospital

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

Ever wonder how to prioritize your relationships at work? Here’s a handy-dandy guide for how to divide your time!

1. The doctors
You can’t live without ’em, true, but you also can’t live with ’em. They’re handy for writing orders and discharging patients, but they also tend to clog up the hallways on rounds and eat the last brownie in the breakroom. Maintain a collegial, polite relationship. Do not, under any circumstances, put your fingers through the bars of their cage. They might get frightened and bite, or explode in a shower of index cards and tongue blades.

2. The folks who serve on the lunch line
A consistently polite and kind attitude will get you larger portions of mashed potato and less of that weird broccoli stuff the cafeteria serves on Thursday. A corollary to this is the guy who delivers sandwiches: Tip well and smile. Never antagonize the people who feed you.

3. Housekeeping
Let’s be real: Without housekeeping and janitorial services, nothing would ever get done. Save cookies for these folks when you bake a batch, as they have the grossest, heaviest and least-respected job in the hospital. Be ebullient with your thanks when somebody stat-cleans a room in a way that’s really stat and really clean.

4. Your unit secretary
Unit secretaries aren’t hired off the street. Instead, in a process that I can only imagine mirrors that of the training of a reincarnated lama, they’re inculcated in hospital mysteries over a period of years, then sent to us mortals as guides and teachers. Most unit secretaries are bulletproof, and all of them glow in the dark.

5. The dude who delivers the coffee
Do not antagonize this person. One mistake, one wrong word, and you’ll be drinking that decaf Nescafe that’s been sitting in the cabinet since the place was built. Nothing, and I mean nothing, happens in a hospital without coffee. Scientists in secret laboratories are frantically working at this very minute to devise a way to pump aerosolized caffeine through the air ducts, but they’re not there yet. Until they succeed, the coffee dude is the most important person in the American healthcare system.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. I would also list housekeeping as most important. They are so hardworking and will do anything to help. I have also found them to be the most friendly and to know by looking at the nurse when we are stressed to the limit. Always a kind word.

  2. We sometimes give the physicians a hard time but lets face it, they are the backbone of the hospital. If they are liked by the patients then the hospital that they service will be popular as well. Physicians perform needed and necessary surgeries and help to heal wounds both mental and physical. And although most physician would and do bend over backwards for their patients, sometimes they get a bad rap. Lord help them if they make a bo-bo as human beings sometimes do. So as health care workers, we must support each other, we must love our mds. The next time you see a physician, give him or her a hug.

  3. Nurses aides as they spent the most time with the patient in the nursing home setting. They were the ones who could tell me if the patient was acting out of character. They also knew all the families REALLY WELL which saved me loads of time.

  4. Pharmacists. Saved me from a mistake at least once. Assisted on codes, all around knowledgeable and glad to help.

  5. Oh to have been a hospital nurse when there was a coffee guy! I’ll replace that dude in the list with nursing assistants. They are the most important. A good one saves everybody’s butt if we aren’t too uppity to listen!

  6. When I first started nursing as a nursing supervisor in a nursing home, the cleaning staff were the most helpful of all staff. Even though most of them spoke poor English they were able to help as the patient’s would always tell them their true feelings.

  7. Security Guards. They, along with the aforementioned Housekeepers, are the ones who truly know what’s going on, and are almost always your best sources of information. They are also fastest to respond to your needs if they consider you someone who takes the time to care about them.


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