The Signs Of An Off-Duty Nurse, On-Duty Parent

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

Never mind how difficult it is to be part nurse, part parent. Let’s talk about how difficult it is to be the child of a part nurse, part parent.

A BB gun for Christmas? Forget about it. Sick days? Maybe once every six years. Fell out of a tree? It happens—no need to get all worked up over it.

Yes, that whole “childhood” thing is simply different when good old Mom or Dad is playing double duty as a nurse and a caretaker. Yet all the qualities that nursing encompasses (compassion, savvy and skill, to start) are the same qualities that make nurses the very best kind of parents. Funny how that works out, isn’t it?

Certain that there would be a recurring tendency or two, we asked your fellow nurses to share with us all those funny little quirks that practically scream “off-duty nurse, on-duty parent!” Needless to say, the responses we spotted on our Facebook page had us thinking everything from “too cute” to “let’s hope social services doesn’t get the wrong idea.”

We recommend that you check ’em out below—parent or otherwise, you may be guilty of a few yourself:

“My son went to school one day and told his kindergarten teacher he was rubbing his eyes because he had copious amounts of eosinophilic leukocytes in his eyes. She called me right away. I told her that the Sandman visits a lot because of his allergies. That cracked me up that he remembered what they were called. Still laugh over that almost 20 years later.” —Julianna L.

“On a scale of zero to ‘stepped on a Lego’? What’s your pain?” —Kelley C. 

“When your four-year-old knows what a UTI is, and she calls germs ‘microorganisms’…LOL.” —Claire A.

“I’m a psych RN. When my son was around three, before he’d go to sleep at night, I’d read him a story and then start to question him about his day. ‘How was school? Anything you want to talk about with Mommy?’ One night, before I had a chance to start, he said, ‘My day was fine. No problems. I’m really tired. Can I just go to sleep now?’ I got the message!” —Marci S. 

“When my first kid was born, I worked in the PICU. Every time she pooped or peed, I wanted to write it down and report it to someone.” —Joan A.

“‘Are you bleeding? A lot? If you’re not bleeding, it’s not that bad.’ My mom is a retired nurse and my dad is a retired pediatrician. I swear, we could walk in the house with a limb hanging off and they wouldn’t bat an eye. I now get it, as I am a nurse, too.” —Catherine H. 

“She closes a gaping wound by cleaning it and applying crazy glue…so well, in fact, the ER MD says, ‘Nothing more to do here’ and sends you home!” —Denise R. 

“When my four-year-old son knows his body parts in medical terms, like cranium, veins, arteries, abdomen, phalanges, spinal cord and scapula, and also dreams about being a doctor someday. Also, when my son was in the ER at one time, two nurses failed the IV insertions. I was like, in my head, ‘Can I just do this? I’m a trauma nurse. We can start an IV on a prune.’ LOL!” —MJ S. 

“I worked in the OR, so my kids always got a big hug when I came in from a big trauma case—no matter the time of day or night.” —Carla S. 

Did we miss any? Well, then—looks like you’re going to have to tell us in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. My son sometime after high school graduation,told me that all of his friends would come to him if any of them got hurt. His friends trusted him to know if they were “ok”. He said he would look at them and ask, “Are you bleeding?”, and “Can you move it?”. If they answered, “No” and “Yes” respectively, he told them, “Ah, you’re ok”. And they would go about there business. LOL

  2. My younger son had sutures several times for various injuries from falling and hitting his head on a boulder or a newspaper box to jumping up underneath a desk to practicing jumping for volleyball and hitting his head on the I beam. When he was eleven we went to an urgent care. M.D. told him he was going to staple his laceration. My son said ” no, use the dissolvable sutures”. M.D. said he did not know what they were. My son said, “find someone who does, you’re fired.”

  3. Back in the 80’s when boys were using styling products in their hair, my 15 year old son accidently grabbed his 16 year old sisters depilatory gel thinking it was his hair stuff. Several minutes later, his head was tingling and his hair started to fall out into his cereal. As funny as that was, it was not nearly as funny as what happened a week later. I got a call from his gym teacher and he asked me if I thought my son should really be playing so hard during gym, since he was taking the chemo. I had to think about that for a few minutes, and then it hit me. He had been too embarrassed to tell people what had really happened, so he had developed an imaginary case of cancer. As impressed as I was with his creativity, I could not let that kind of whopper slide, so I had the coach put him on the phone. I let him know he had until the end of the school day to come clean about his bout with cancer, or he was going to the bruising all over his body to go with the chemo. His friends and teachers laughed so hard at what had happened, they had a hard time being too awfully angry at him, and his baldish head seemed punishment enough.

  4. My daughter was in second grade. She went to the school office and told the school nurse she wasn’t feeling well and she had a “history of asthma”. So they let her lie down. She was just sleepy. After her nap she told them she felt better. By the way she does not have asthma. And she has never had any episodes of shortness of breath.

  5. My son had several episodes of the”flu” before I actually had him checked out for appendicitis which quickly lead to an appendectomy and a short story later in high school!

  6. When I taught my daughter the proper names for genitals and she proceeded to ask every mother with a baby if their baby had a penis or a “bagina”. I had to explain the proper question is, is your baby a boy or a girl and then we will just keep it to ourselves what part that means they have.

    And all nurse mothers are notorious for telling any child with a belly ache to try to poop. Thank God I was not home when my 16 year old had severe abdominal pain. He took her to the ER, she ended up being admitted for acute abdomen and then rushed to the OR in the middle of the night or peritonitis. Glad I wasn’t home to say, go try to poop!


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