Advantis Medical Staffing provided this article.
Hospitals seem to bring out a unique side in individuals that might not typically be seen at home or in public. Nurses go through a wide variety of emotions during one shift while experiencing these behaviors and interesting personalities. We have patients who are generally “normal” and are easy to work with, patients who are angry and demanding, which creates an air of frustration for the entire staff, and patients who are absolutely hilarious, and we leave their rooms with a smile and loving our jobs. Of course, there are always the situations that arise that leave everyone wide-eyed and open-mouthed in disbelief too. It is widely known that nurses generally have a wicked sense of humor with the ability to laugh at things that others might find terrifying, annoying, or offensive. Below are examples of nurse stories about patients we experience and how we find humor in each situation.
Heartwarming & Funny Travel Nurse Stories:
Witnessed by a nurse: an accidental act of kindness.
I had a patient who had a stroke and couldn’t talk. He kept having a woman visitor who shaved him and took wonderful care of him for 3 days. We assumed it was his wife and never thought any different until speech therapy went in to work with him. She asked the wife if she could work with Mr. Doe. She said, “Oh, that’s not his name; it’s Johnson.” The speech therapist looked at his wristband, confirmed it was the patient she was looking for and came to me to verify the patient’s name. I let her know it was Mr. Doe, the person she was going to work with at that time. She says, “well, the lady in the room said that his name is Johnson.” I told her that we do have a patient by the name of Johnson, but he is in room 210. So, I walked into room 214 and asked the lady to step out for a moment. I asked what her husband’s name was, and she told me Johnson. I then walked her to room 210 and asked, “does he look familiar?” She put her hands over her mouth and said, “yessss!!”. She said, “Oh my, 214 looks just like him, only a little puffier, but I thought it was because of the stroke! Please don’t tell my husband what I did; this is soooo embarrassing!” I laughed and jokingly said, “Good luck explaining where you have been for the last 3 days!”. Later that evening 214’s son came to visit for the first time. He said, “Dad looks so good. You guys kept him all shaved up.” I told him the story, and his eyes welled up. He explained that his dad’s wife had died 2 years ago, but this is how she always kept him, well shaved. “I bet he was in heaven those 3 days.”
That time the nurse explained, “it isn’t lemonade.”
I had a very confused patient I was taking care of one night. He had Alzheimer’s Disease and was incredibly pleasant, so I enjoyed spending time with him and his wife. At one point, I saw his wife leave the unit, so I walked down to his room to keep an eye on him and make sure all safety precautions were in place. I stopped dead in my tracks at the doorway when I saw him drinking from his urinal like it was a bottle of juice. I rushed over, pulled the urinal from his lips, and sweetly asked, “whatcha doin bud?” His reply was, “I wanted a drink of this lemonade, but it tastes terrible!” My response was, “I bet it does!” and I proceeded to empty it and leave it in the bathroom where he could not reach it on his own. I informed his wife of this interaction when she returned, and we both got a good laugh out of it (outside of the room).
When the patient teaches anatomy to the nurse.
I was caring for an elderly gentleman during a shift and was completely enjoying my time with him. Older men are often my favorite patients because they can be so sweet but so funny. This man was incredibly witty and had a new joke for me every time I entered his room. My absolute favorite, which still makes me laugh to this day, was, “How do you know what mothballs smell like? I can never get their legs apart!” That one got me, and I wheeled him out to the nurse’s desk so he could repeat it for everyone.
Is honesty always the best policy?
I was taking care of a post-op open-heart patient. We had removed his breathing tube and had woken him up. We start doing education right away with patients, so the dietitian came into the room and was giving him information on what his diet should look like when he leaves the hospital. The patient appeared to understand the education and soon ordered lunch. Of course, he was disappointed by the cafeteria food and was grumbling about it a bit. I was making casual conversation with him in hopes to boost his mood, and I asked him what his first meal will be when he leaves the hospital, thinking he will have listened to the dietitian. His answer was, “a one-pound cheeseburger with a big slab of butter on it.” I kinda waited a minute to see if he was joking, ya know, open heart surgery and all, and he never cracked a smile. My response was, “ok first of all, don’t say that to the surgeon when he comes in, and second, I look forward to doing this again with you soon!”
The sassy patients nurses love.
I was working in a detox facility when two girls broke out into a fight one night. I stepped in to stop the fight and asked what it was all about. One girl started screaming that another girl had borrowed her jeans and she had crabs. She came towards me with a pair of tweezers and said, “See! Look at it!” I had these tweezers coming at my face, so I quickly grabbed her wrist and focused on what she was holding. As my eyes were adjusting, I realized she has an actual crab in her tweezers! I yelled, “Crap! Don’t let that thing go!!” I’m laughing, thinking about having just come face to face with someone’s crab. I put it in a baggie and called the on-call doctor. I related everything that had transpired and then got treatment for everyone!!
Nurses know laughter is the best medicine. Wine, not whine.
One patient I took care of off and on for a couple of years as she fought breast cancer was always a pleasure to work with and had a great sense of humor even though she was going through a fight for her life. She was a wine lover like myself, so we had several conversations about our favorite wines and wineries. During her treatment, she had to have a double mastectomy, which is always a little heartbreaking. Thankfully, she completed her course of treatment as a breast cancer survivor! She chose to have breast implants when she was completely healed and stayed with us for a night post-procedure. When I asked what she thought of her new look, she laughed, pointed to her chest, and said, “I’d like to introduce you to Pinot and Grigio!”
A Nurse’s Perspective
There is really no such thing as a typical day or patient; that’s part of the adventure in a nursing career. But each day presents unique challenges and opportunities that help us grow into better nurses and better people. Treating patients kindly and professionally is core to who we are, and when we can share a joke or a smile with those we serve, everyone feels better. Isn’t that the goal, after all?
We hope you enjoyed this article with heartwarming and funny travel nurse stories about patients. Do you have any heartwarming or funny travel nurse stories you would like to share? Comment those travel nurse stories below.
If you are a new traveler or looking into becoming a Travel Nurse:
Travel Nurse Guide: Step by Step