Top 10 Ways Nurses Boost Their Moods on the Job

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

More code browns than you can count? Patients driving you up the wall? Tired of being, well, tired? We feel ya! Nursing’s a tough job, and it’s guaranteed that every once in a while, you’re going to have one of "those days" when you wonder what possessed you to become a nurse in the first place. But on those days especially, it’s super important to have a way to cheer yourself up on (or after) your shift! We asked our Facebook fans for their top mood-boosting tips when they’re having rough days—read on for their funny and helpful ideas!

The top 10 ways nurses boost their moods on the job

1. I remind myself, “Self, as long as your patients are alive and pain-free at the moment, your day isn’t that bad and half the battle is over…the other half is charting to prove that my patients are alive and pain-free.” Deep breath, looooong sigh and carry on, girl, because you’ve got this!”
—NiKisha J.

2. Maybe eat lunch or go pee…those are always nice. LOL!

—Jen S.

3. We adopted a five-second dance-off at the top of the hour. Regardless of what you’re doing in the ER, when the music comes over the intercom, you have to stop and break it down! Doesn’t go over well with the director, but what he doesn’t know…and it really works!
—Casie T.

4. I use my break to call the ones I love. My husband and my mom are great for reminding me why I do this job. My mom—one of my favorite people to call—is also a nurse, and has done three deployments in more than 25 years of military nursing. If I think I’m having a bad day, I know for sure she’s gotten through worse ones, and she gives great advice. A little perspective goes a long way.
—Elizabeth M.

5. Hand puppets. Life is better with hand puppets. Seriously. They make you laugh.
—Rachael A.

6. Sometimes I look at job listings for positions outside of the medical field. Every time I read them, it reminds me I would never, ever make as huge an impact on anyone’s lives like I can in nursing.
—Victoria M.

7. I’m gonna go with “drink.” After work, of course.
—Coleen C.

8. As corny as it is, I go into the bathroom, stare at myself in the mirror and start making funny faces. Gives me a chance for a breather, and hey, if you can’t laugh at yourself, then who can?
—Raquel G.

9. We send jokes to other departments via fax or tube system to try to brighten someone else’s day. It’s very rewarding. ?
—Taffiney A.

10. I remind myself that if I’m having to nurse someone for any reason, they are having a worse day than I am. A smile goes a long way, and seeing and making someone else smile ALWAYS makes me feel better…and them, too!
—Jody K.

What do you do to boost your mood when you’re having a rough day on the job?

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.



  1. I’m a Hospice nurse and deal with death on a daily basis and sometimes it does get to you but I try to remember the reason I chose this field and I remember the hugs 🤗 from family members and the tears we shared together. Then I remember the words of gratitude they say like “you made this awful experience bearable and we don’t know what we would do without you here”. On really rough days I cry 😢 in my car and listen to music 🎶 that is upbeat and say a little prayer 🙏🏼 asking our Lord for strength to continue being the best nurse I can be for my patients who need me and he reminds me why I love 💗 my job.

  2. I’m an OR RN; we have several white boards in our OR’s, for patient Time Out info, one for counts, another for messages about our scheduled cases for that day (extra equipment/instruments needed, positioning devices, medications needed, etc.). This is the one I draw silly faces on just for laughs; googlie eyes, tongue sticking out, etc. Good for a few laughs from colleagues!

  3. Music, music, music from the time I leave the floor for a break or lunch ( if either even happens ) the ear buds go in and the music goes up !!

  4. Critical thinking and nursing action have been replaced by stupid. The computer charting has replaced some of those vital minutes that used to be spent assessing, listening and teaching your patients. If you save a life by taking those important minutes back and spend them on the patient, you would not have to play “Back yard quarterback” to try and save a life that should not have been placed in jeopardy by the rules and time constraints set up by inexperienced administration and inexperience nurses.
    It’s time to get back to the most important person in this business and that is the patient.
    Put the administrators at the bedside every month for at least a 12 hour shift per week and see if changes for the better happen. We have more infections in the hospitals today, more nurses getting burned out or dropped from their hospital contracts, bullied, lied to and abused, then 30-50 years ago. Where did experience and “Human Kindness” go. Get rid of Administrative Bullshit and get back to real nurse caring, experience and kindness. NOT JUST WORDS BUT ACTION. TREAT THE PATIENT AND NOT THE COMPUTER

    • You’re right Patricia. Way back when I was a Nursing Assistant and just starting nursing school, the Head Nurse on the unit always took it upon herself to work a shift as a staff nurse about every month or so. She told me that she felt as if this was the way to truly understand how her nurses felt while working. This really impressed me.

  5. I get out from behind my computer (I am an administrator) and I find a waiting room full of kids and I start a conversation, like do you have a job or did you drive here …did I mention the kids here are newborn to about 12. Or if they have a boyfriend, or who is the boss at your house or the most fun game ever..who does what the worst in your family, like who snores the loudest, who falls down the most, who is the best helper….you get the idea. One day I little guy told me he was four, by holding up 4 fingers, so I flashed my fingers until I had flashed him 55 of them, then I said that is how many I am…and he stood, mouth hanging open, and said “wow, that is a lot”

  6. Worked post op medsurg unit. When post op arriving on unit became overwhelming, we would break out in song “Rolling, Rolling Them, Rawhide!” Patients loved as we rolled back to their bed!


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