When Nurses Become Patients

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

We asked our amazing Facebook community why it is that we keep hearing the phrase “Nurses make the worst patients,” and we received a lot of feedback! If you are as curious as we were, keep reading and see what some of our fellow nurses had to say:

  • I think I made a great patient! I kept my I and O, fixed my pump when it occluded, and hardly ever pushed my call light unless my IV went bad. – Teresa F.
  • A lot of times nurses try to do everything themselves even when their current condition doesn’t allow them to. So the nurse who just had a TKA (total knee arthroplasty) thinks they can handle getting up on their own right after surgery and they end up falling because they didn’t call for help. – Devin M.
  • I was a pt on MY unit once (Med/Surg)… I worked nights so when I couldn’t sleep, Id take my IV pole, sit at the nurse station and answer the call lights! Obviously I couldn’t “do” the work, but I took messages! lol This was over 20 yrs ago… I probably couldn’t get away with that these days! I was young and bored. ? – Lynn M.
  • I’m a great patient, but I admit to being “that” family member. when my loved one is in the hospital I expect their nurse to be taking care of them just like I would their family. Take 30 minutes to get my pain pill? Okay you are busy and I know how that goes. Take 30 minutes to get Grams pain pill after hip fracture surgery? Absolutely not. – Ashley Y.
  • I don’t do exactly what the docs tell me to do, because of what I know! I am kind to new or inexperienced staff because I love to teach! I’ll talk them through procedures!
  • Could it be that as nurses we are used to being the “control” of the room and as a patient we feel like we have lost that control? – Leslie W.
  • When I was a patient, I had to verbalize the steps to my nurse of how to put an IV in and where to stick me. I’m an easy stick to, very visible and palpable veins. I then had to hold stuff and help her secure it because she just couldn’t do it alone. She’d been a nurse for over a year. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt.
  • I think I’m a good patient once admitted but waiting in the ER, I’m just as antsy and impatient as everyone else! –  Amy B.
  • It’s because we are picky and know the possible outcomes. Yet we can be super nice and awesome! So we send those caring for us through an emotional/physical roller coaster. ? – Jacci K.
  • My mom is an ICU charge nurse and she was the worst. The IV RN came in and started looking at her arm, poking around for a vein. Mama watched her, unimpressed, and said, “Um, is there anyone else who can do this?” Then all her nurse friends came in to visit and titrated her fluids without permission! – Sofia W.
  • When I had my brain tumor removed I actually assisted in calming down my room mate while she was getting a catheter placed! Once a Nurse, always a Nurse – it will never leave you! – Michelle F.
  • As a student nurse, I like to have nurses as my patients. They teach me many things (the right way) when on the other side, who wouldn’t want the best for themselves. – Socheata N.

Have any good stories? Be sure to let us know in the comments! 

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. I just had surgery, was discharged, and readmitted a week later due to post op complications for 4 nights. My friend, who is not a nurse, was advocating for me after my surgery. She can be pretty demanding and over-protective. I had a lot of pain and abnormal swelling in my neck, and I almost choked 3 times. They gave me IV steroids. I turned into a grizzly bear. I am sure we were the talk of the unit!
    I was much better to handle during my re-admission (at the hospital I work at, but a different unit), where I was not in agony. I did my I and O, self care, tried to bundle requests as much as possible. Sometimes unexpected, unbearable pain and swelling makes the most pleasant of us, and that includes nurses, just the worst patients ever.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Can Job-Hopping Hurt a Nurse’s Career?

How long have you been working in your current position? For your current employer? And would those numbers matter if you went looking for a...

Smart Bandage Could Promote Better, Faster Healing

Imagine a bandage made of electrically conductive fibers coated in a gel that can be individually loaded with infection-fighting antibiotics, tissue-regenerating growth factors, painkillers...

What’s The Most Surprising Thing You Have Accidentally Taken Home From Work?

We’ve all done it. You check your pockets when you get home from a long shift and bam, there it is. Something you didn’t...