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How to Spot a Nurse: 5 Ways Nursing Translates to Daily Life


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National Nurses Week is the perfect time to take a moment to appreciate all the ways nurses make the world better just by being in it. By the time nurses complete their educational training and launch their careers in the medical field, certain trademark habits and tendencies make them immediately recognizable as nurses. Here are five of the easiest ways to spot an off-duty nurse. If you’re a new nurse, chances are someone will notice these qualities in you someday — that is, if they haven’t been pointed out to you already!

1. Nurses have meticulous habits

Nurses tend to bring their good hygienic habits homeNursing school creates the positive habits that last throughout a nurse’s career, many of them dealing with excellent hygiene and careful organization. You can often tell if someone’s a nurse by the way they wash their hands or scrub a surface from the center out toward the edges. Even if they aren’t consciously aware of it, nurses have a deeply-ingrained habit of keeping areas clean and avoiding cross-contamination.

If you’re cooking dinner with a nurse, you can count on perfect food safety. If they’re packing a bag for vacation, you know it won’t be a jumble of clothes and loose items. Nurses need to be exacting to get through the trials of nursing school successfully. Those habits last a lifetime, and many nurses rely on their impeccable cleanliness and timing like a sixth sense.

2. Nothing phases a nurse

Learning all about injury and disease can be a character-strengthening endeavor. What may seem gross to someone untrained in the medical field might be pretty ordinary to a nurse. If you ever wonder how your nurse friend or family member is handling an unsavory situation with such a casual attitude, they’ll probably tell you it’s nothing compared to what they’ve seen or heard about in nursing school.

The same goes for emotional situations. Nurses have communication training that helps them broach difficult subjects with seeming ease. This means nurses tend to have a wonderful wealth of emotional intelligence, and they’ve often had the experience of delivering painful news to a patient or patient family member. While nurses are compassionate and feeling people like everyone else, they need to develop this skill in spades.

Related Resource: The 3 Things You Never Stop Learning As a Nurse

3. Nurses notice what no one else would

Have you ever had a nurse comment on your particularly visible veins? Perhaps at one point the nurse in your group of friends was the one to urge the regular reapplication of sunscreen on a carefree beach outing. Though nurses tend to treasure their days off by getting their minds off of medical knowledge, they often notice what others don’t when it comes to health.

This Sherlock Holmes style of heightened awareness is a hard-earned ability that seasoned nurses exercise without even noticing. While it can be helpful for remembering where you put your keys or how long it’s been since you took your last dosage of medication, it can also become suddenly useful in high-stress situations where others tend to lose focus on the details.

4. Nurses come prepared

Nurses are known for springing into action when they’re needed. New stories crop up all the time about nurses heroically coming to the aid of people in need who wouldn’t have the medical training to intervene themselves. Such quick-thinking nurses have saved countless lives, and certainly made everyone in the situation grateful that a nurse just so happened to be in their midst! This happens in big and small ways throughout a nurse’s career.

Being prepared also means that nurses tend to have the ability to grab any nearby objects and put them to use instantly, whether the situation is medical or not. Their resourcefulness is only matched by their habit of carrying around helpful items like electrolyte packets, tweezers, or other handy objects others don’t think to bring with them on a day-to-day basis.

Related Resource: These Are Time Management Skills Every New Nurse Needs

5. Nurses really do care

Nurses cultivate a lifelong commitment to careNurses learn to listen. They know the best ways to make someone comfortable, the right moment to tell a joke, and how to reassure an anxious child getting ready for a shot. While these are all components of nursing professionalism, they translate to everyday life in the form of caring, compassion, and selfless problem-solving. Nurses are great at making people feel listened to or talking them through complicated situations because they do really care about the wellbeing of those around them. So if you’re a nurse, you’ve probably been thanked for easing someone’s worry when you didn’t even realize you were helping them. Caring just comes with the territory!

Do you have any stories about spotting a nurse through telltale nurse skills and traits? We’d love to hear from you! Visit our Facebook page and let us know what you think is the best way to spot a nurse.