16 Nurses Share Things They Can’t Believe They’ve Had to Explain to Patients

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Nursing is one of those thankless professions that it mostly filled by people who truly feel called to the job – why else, honestly, would you deal with the public day in and day out – and not only that, but deal with things that come out of the public day in and day out?

As with everyone who has the pleasure of interacting with “regular folk” as part of their job, there are some conversations you’ll just never forget.

Here are 16 times nurses stopped and thought “omg I can’t believe I have to explain this to an adult person.”

16. She could not have been serious.

Got a phonecall in the ER from a diabetic who said her sugar was reading “high” (that typically means over 400 or 500) and I told her she should come to the ER asap, and she asked “Should I drink some sweet tea until then?”


15. That’s one of those moments you have no idea what to say.

Oh man, I had a lady set up an online appointment for vaccines and she signed up for literal every vaccine available online. Yellow fever, polio, Hep A/B, Japanese encephalitis, rabies, EVERYTHING.

I saw those standard travel vaccines (yellow fever, rabies) and when the lady came in, I asked where she was traveling. I wanted to make sure she would get all her vaccines in time and that her doctor was sending in prescriptions for malaria/polio prophylaxis if needed.

She responded with “I’m not traveling anywhere, I just wanted to get updated on everything before I lose my Medicaid”.

And then refused to get her flu shot because “that makes you sick”.

14. Those poor ladies.

Painkilling suppositories come in individual foil packets.

After my c-section, the nurse handed me one and said “Don’t forget to take the foil off.” I looked at her and went “… nooooooooo! Somebody did that?”.

She gave me this really tired look and nodded.


13. Laughing at her wondering specifically about her neck.

Was giving a grown patient IV Benadryl for a rash and itching on the upper body.

The IV was in the right arm so I started to give the medication into the right arm. The patient panicked when I said I was done. “What do you mean you’re done? You only put it in my right arm my left is itching too!”

I calmly explained that putting medication in the IV sends it to the whole body.

She exclaimed “you mean it even goes to my neck?” I said yes and she said wow.

12. These are the people who should definitely be wearing condoms.

I’m not a nurse but i was in the Navy and i had to explain to a guy that having sex in hot tubs does not prevent std’s. also i once had to explain to a group of sailors that sharing a pocket pussy is why they all had the same std.

11. You just can’t make some things compute.

Spent WAY too long having to explain to a celiac patient that white bread was still made out of wheat and that’s why she was still sick. Nutritionist had already been over it several times and then called me in to try to convince her.

10. It’s either starve or die, you choose.

I used to work on a cardiology unit and we often would get patients that had surgery either later in the day or be next day.

I was a nurse assistant and would constantly be arguing with patients because they think we are evil for not letting them eat. “I HAVEN’T EATEN IN 15 HOURS”

I’m like I’m sorry dude but either you don’t eat or this process will begin again because these doctors don’t want to possibly kill you.

9. Now he/she has seen too much.

Not a nurse but my wife is about to get her tubes tied.

She had to sign a document stating that she would be rendered infertile after the procedure.

We laughed and the doc straight said “I used to think it was funny too.”

8. I don’t even know how to handle this information.

Did labor and delivery for awhile. We typically inserted catheters after the epidural. A lot of women would ask how they could push the baby out if something was in that hole…had to explain to many ADULT women the urethra and vagina are, in fact, not the same hole.

Also had a couple where the husband fucked the wife’s stoma and it got a gnarly infection. Explaining that you should not ever put your dick directly into someone’s stoma was a hoowee of a conversation

7. Maybe he has a thing for the shock.

Had to explain to a patient, and his family, multiple times that although he does have a defibrillator now he still needs to take his heart medicine …. a real headache of a conversation

6. I blame his stupid family, really.

I’m a neuro nurse. I once had a patient who was going into surgery the next morning, meaning they couldn’t have anything to eat or drink after midnight.

Well at 4am I go in there to check on him and he’s drinking a cup of milk and eating cookies that his family had brought him. I asked him why he was eating because he had surgery in a few short hours and his reply was that he has a bowel movement every morning so he figured we would be okay to eat because it would be out of his system before surgery.

That’s not how this works grandpa!!! ugh surgery canceled.

5. Oh my goodness and these people were procreating.

Working at ob/gyn clinic.

Had to explain to a concerned husband that his pregnant wife will not strangle the fetus if she eats spaghetti.

That’s a completely different system of organs.

4. There’s something that’s hard to believe.

Not a nurse, but I work in healthcare.

I had to listen to a dialysis patient explain to me very seriously that he had gained 6 kilos of water weight in 2 days because he had “sat in the tub for too long” and had magically absorbed over 13 lbs of fluid.

That was not a fun conversation.

3. I mean. He/she tried.

Oh man, not a nurse but I work in pharmacy.

Had a guy come who wanted malaria tablets but wasn’t sure what area of the country he would be traveling in.

Rural he would need them but the cities he wouldn’t.

He said “what’s the worst that could happen?”

“You could get malaria.”

“Yeah, but how bad can that be?”

“Dead. The worst it can be is death.”

He left the shop anyway.

2. Come on, that had to be a prank.

I, a male nurse, had to explain to a 25 year old female what her period was. She came to the ED and was concerned she had cramping and vaginal bleeding monthly.

Thought for sure I was being pranked by co-workers.


1. Did she think someone was going to come and do it for her?

Got a call from a discharged patient.

“So I’m wearing these depends…”


“Do I need to change them everyday?”

“Uhh yeah… or when they’re soiled.”

“Okay and should I clean myself up after that?”

“Yes. Yes, please.”

We thought we were being punked.

I’m dying, y’all, but not a bit surprised.

If you’re a nurse (or work in a similar profession) please share your own stories!