​​​​​​​​​Etiquette Tip of the Week: Be Like a Nurse

By Callista Gould, Author, and Certified Etiquette Instructor​​​

Picture yourself as a nurse. It's the end of a double-shift. You're exhausted from being on your feet and you want to go home. Suddenly, there are five new patients to admit. When someone asks you to stay late, you:
a) Roll your eyes.
b) Exhale loudly in exasperation.
c) Huff, puff and stamp your foot.
d) None of the above. You help admit the new patients.

Nursing is one of the most mentally and physically demanding professions.

It's also one of the most rewarding. Where else does a former trauma patient, once at death's door… or a premature infant, who needed machines to breathe, come back to visit and say, "Thanks"? In obituaries, family members of the deceased often express gratitude to a specific nurse or nurses who treated their loved ones with compassion. That's nursing.

There's much we can learn from nurses.

Nurses are the ultimate team players. Health care is a team sport. There are many people involved in the care of one patient: primary care doctors, in-hospital doctors, technicians, pharmacists, administrators, chaplains, not to mention the family.

Nurses are master communicators. They deal with all kinds of personalities – demanding people, angry people, crazy people, know-it-alls, those who get on your last nerve… and those are just others who work at the hospital.

Nurses are navigators. They help patients and family members navigate a complex medical system. Dealing with people at their most vulnerable is a privilege. Nursing is the ultimate etiquette profession, because nurses make people around them more comfortable.

And when the moon is full, patients are climbing the walls and suddenly, there are new patients to admit, nurses are the ones who get it done… without rolling their eyes, exhaling loudly, huffing, puffing or stamping their feet.

This week, be more like a nurse.​


Culture and Manners Institute