Top 10 Reasons You KNOW You’re A Nurse

1. You wash your hands before you use the bathroom.

Isn’t microbiology a wonderful thing? My microbiology class scared the be-jeezus outta me. After that class I never looked at another public bathroom, restaurant, or salad bar the same. Things I notice about the ‘cleanliness’ of society leaves me speechless sometimes. If they only knew what they were really touching.

2. You know the smell of different diarrhea to identify it.

Can you say C-diff? And on that note you can also differentiate different disease processes or infections simply by their smell. Ever smelled GI bleed? How about pseudomonas?

3. You check the caller ID on your day off to see if anyone from the hospital is trying to call and ask you to work.

You’re lying if you’ve never done this.

4. Discussing bodily fluids over a gourmet meal seems perfectly normal to you.

I’m married to a nurse, so we speak freely all the time during our conversations. We have to ‘check’ ourselves – or be told to ‘check’ our topic of conversations when we have family gatherings. It’s not pretty.

5. Every time someone asks you for a pen you can find at least 4 of them on you.

Nurses and their pens. You know very well you hoard and protect your ‘good’ pen, or your ‘favorite’ pen like it’s your stethoscope. I know I’ve scolded a few secretaries, doctors and fellow nurses for havin’ some sticky fingers.

6. Your bladder can expand to the size of a Winnebago’s water tank.

Peeing? What’s that? Bathroom break? What’s that?

7. You find yourself checking out other customer’s veins in grocery waiting lines.

This may only apply to those of us in the critical care world – but you know you do it. You see someone with ‘pipe cleaners’ for veins and all you can think is ‘MAN- I could get a 16 in there’. Besides it’s a rare occasion you start an IV on ANYONE who isn’t in their 90’s and dehydrated!

8. Your finger has gone places you never thought possible.

Whether on purpose or accident we sometimes wish we didn’t share this trait.

9. You think caffeine should be available in IV form.

Oh – dare to dream.

10. You’ve used the word ‘rationale’, the phrase ‘as evidenced by’, or quoted a nursing diagnosis in everyday life.

And I thought this would stop or drop off once I was a couple years out of basic nursing school! Nah. I still do it.


  1. I have done all of these and more…with the exception of checking my phone as I no longer work in a hospital but am doing training for a large insurance company on care coordination. Nursing isn’t just what we DO it’s WHO WE ARE.

  2. Funny my husband and I were on a beach in Mexico a muscular gentleman was standing about 10 yards. My husband looks at me and asks are you checking out his veins I laugh and looked at him and said you know me too well.

  3. i am a retired RN, in fact I retured twice and still do
    home care part time!! i could relate to everyone of these!! I especially chuckled about checking people’s arms fir veins!! Busted!!

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