The Top 10 Funniest Pieces of Advice You Got in Nursing School

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

Nursing schools are notoriously tough, and soon-to-be nurses typically are given all sorts of advice on how to survive. Is most of the advice helpful? Sure. But usually it’s dry, dry, dry. We asked our Facebook community for the funniest pieces of advice they received when they were in nursing school. Not only are these tips helpful, but they’re also hilarious!

The top 10 funniest pieces of advice you got in nursing school

1. I had an instructor who was a nun. When doing my first male catheter, she said to me, “You have to grab it like you own it.” Not sure who was more embarrassed, me or the patient!
—Terri H. 

2. “Never trust a fart.” :-0
—Carrie B.

3. “Keep your fingernails trimmed, but leave one sharp and pointy to pop the blister packs the meds come in.”
—Tina P.

4. My teacher would say, “When washing your hands, scrub until your boobies shake!”
—Sarah S.

5. “Always document through the eyes of an attorney…a lying, dirty attorney!”
—Kryston S.

6. “Always, always wear two gloves when giving a supp. Because do you really want to depend on one glove when you’re knuckle-deep in a stranger’s rectum?”
—Melinda G.

7. The first and best advice I got from a nurse on the first-ever day of clinical: “When you have to pee, pee, ’cause it could be 10 hours before you get another chance!”
—Jessica J.

8. “Don’t stand too close when cleaning up a Code Brown—there may be more coming!”
—Connie L.

9. “If it’s wet and it’s not yours, don’t touch it! Put on gloves first!”
—Roxanne S.

10. “When you can eat lunch with poo/blood on your scrubs, THEN you’re a real nurse!”
—Tina S.

What’s the funniest advice you received when you were in nursing school? Share in the comments section below.


This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. Always remember that nursing school is not an educational process, it is an endurance contest. They’l do everything they can to knock you down..

  2. Wear good comfortable ugly shoes and support pantyhose while on duty if you want to have great legs your whole life!

  3. My tough as nails ex-navy (male) nurse would smack our hands when we broke sterile field and yell, “dirty girl!” as that was what his nursing teacher would do to him. He was taught by nuns “back in the olden day.”

    To this day, I yell “dirty girl” when one of my colleagues breaks their field and laugh.

  4. I had an instructor who always told me if I did not get it right off not to worry because one day I would be working along and “ding” I would get it. She was right ! I call them ding moments: when it all comes together.

  5. While in nursing school (lo these many years ago – a hospital School of Nursing in Amarillo TX) and in the pediatrics class, the instructor was a wonderfully wise lady named Emily Earthman. Emily (AKA Mother Earth) was maybe 5 feet tall, if she stretched, and had a voice like Carol Channing. When talking about hydration in newborns and infants, her stock phrase was “Don’t forget to check the fontanels!” – very valuable advice, if you have seen a dehydrated baby brought into the ED. This advice was so hammered into my psyche (especially with the Carol Channing voice) that when I was taking my nursing boards (in the ancient method of paper tests three times a year around the state) and assessing hydration in children was asked and fontanels was an option, the almost-Pavlovian response was to hear that voice and inwardly chuckle to myself. Emily has gone to a better place, but her advise has stayed with me and I am sure with other nurses who had the good fortune to learn from that wonderful woman.

  6. An old school clinical nurse told me what you do with your right hand, learn to use left hand and vice versa. The next day, I had my clinical in a nursing home. The patient bed was against the wall. Yes, I straight catheter the patient with my left hand without a hitch. The old school clinical nurse stated, “And that’s why they pay me the big bucks”. Debbie P.

  7. During our last semester, we had a Law Day. My group walked into one of the stations and on the chalkboard in large letters was “C.Y.A.”
    We students all giggled because we knew the instructor who wrote it,and she would NEVER say a bad word! In she came, looked at us, smiled and said ” “C.Y.A.- cover your Assets. Because no one else ever will – Including your employer – others may try to take them away from you.” That is why as soon as I graduated I bought my own malpractice insurance, and still carry it.

  8. When giving a suppository you have to push it in as far as your finger will go and wait for the rectum to stop quivering before you remove your finger….

  9. When I was in school we had a few sayings:
    All bleeding stops eventually.
    Never put your arm in front of a patient, they will take a large bite out of you.
    Beware of the full moon!
    Never trust an intern…
    If you can take a break, then do so!
    Comfy shoes… you will wear them out. Have done that every three years!!!

  10. I know what advice I give them…right before they start clinicals….Have lots of sex, read a book you want to read, cook lots of home cooking favorites, and practice saying “I can’t I have to study”….because once you start….you are too tired, too busy, too worried, too everything to do any of the previously listed items!

    • While in nursing school we were going over soap-suds enema procedure in lab. The instructors advice “Make it high, hot, and a heck of a lot!”


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