Perhaps you don’t believe in superstitions because, you know, they are supernatural in nature. But no matter how silly they may sound, we can’t help but be fascinated by some of the most common, yet unverified beliefs held by nurses both past and present.

Does the idea of working on ‘Friday the 13th’ make you a tad uncomfortable? Do you avoid using the “Q” word on your floor? If you said yes to either of these, you’re definitely a superstitious nurse. If you said no, let’s see if you’re really not superstitious, or if you’re just not aware of it yet!

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This list shows some of the more common Nursing superstitions as shared by nurses on Reddit and other Nursing forums.

  1. The “Q” word
    If you say anything remotely like “It’s a quiet day today,” all hell will break loose not long after. Patients who were quiet before are now ringing the call bells, a stable patient begins to decompensate and your little old lady in room 5 is trying to climb out of bed—again. So rather don’t jinx it.
  2. “We’re full—we can’t get busier.”
    The unit is full, and you have been assigned your patients. The temptation to relax and say that you can’t get too busy because you can’t get admissions is a sure-fire way to make things go haywire.
  3. Remembering a ‘frequent flyer’ who hasn’t been in lately
    All hospitals have them: patients who are frequently admitted because of their chronic illnesses. Some patients are welcomed back, and others…not so much. But as soon as you say to a co-worker, “I wonder how Mrs. B is doing? She must be doing well since she hasn’t been here in a while,” she’ll arrive before your words are cold.
  4. A fly in the hospital means someone will die
    Some nurses swear that if they see a fly, it means someone will die on their shift.
  5. Tying a knot in the sheet for a DNR patient
    If you have a patient who is a “no-code” or DNR, apparently tying a knot in the corner of his or her sheet will get the patient through your shift. Truth is, if every shift does it, the poor soul will never get to go anywhere!
  6. Ordering a pizza or organizing a potluck
    It may be a quiet enough shift to grab a bite to eat, but never order a pizza or arrange the shift before for a potluck dinner, because you just know that this is when the patients will need you the most. Also, don’t bring something to do ‘in case things get quiet.’ They won’t.
  7. Starting IVs
    No matter how beautiful a patient’s veins look, never say, “You have great veins; this will be easy.” Because Murphy will step in and you know that it won’t be now that you’ve said it. Along the same vein (sorry, pun intended), if you forget to bring the extra 2×2 gauzes, go get them, because if you don’t, your IV will be a squirter.
  8. Never leave a room unprepared
    If you have an empty room, don’t delay preparing it for the next patient. If you leave it unprepared (bed not made, supplies not stocked), it’s guaranteed that the ER is coming up with a patient RIGHT NOW.
  9. Never say aloud that you hope the nurse taking over will be a few minutes early
    Let’s say you are having a “Q” shift. Never say, “I hope so-and-so comes in a bit early today. I’d love to leave on time.” This is absolutely a foolproof way for a patient to crash near the end of your shift or your relief will be stuck in traffic, and you will leave late.
  10. Preparing to leave a few minutes before shift end
    Never, ever, ever cap your pens, put away your supplies in your bag and declare that you’re ready to go home. You just know what will happen then….

Do you have any superstitions? Share in the comments section below.

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