10. THE SCAM ARTIST
“You need anything? Help with a turn? A sheet change?”
Actually, yes, your patient is soiled in C. diff diarrhea, down to his knees.
“Cool, cool,” says The Scam Artist, walking briskly past your room, “let me just refill this pitcher, and I’ll be RIGHT IN.”
Ten whole minutes later, you’re still waiting for The Scam Artist to pop his head into the room. The Scam Artist is always offering favors he can never quite make good on. He is particularly obsessed with “fine-tuning” the schedule — wheeling and dealing for a holiday or a night shift off, always looking for some mathematical edge. You swear he hasn’t worked a weekend shift in two years.
It always seems like The Scam Artist is busy — power-walking through the unit, his arms full of linens — until you follow him after night shift, and realize he didn’t chart vitals for the last six hours, bathe either of his patients, or give any of his meds.
—Can talk a combative drunk into voluntarily submitting to hard restraints
—Once convinced a fully oriented post-op patient that she’d accidentally been given a brain transplant, just for laughs
—A bit of a sociopath
9. THE NICE GUY
Good ol’ Whatshisname — you wonder what happened to him. He was “such a nice guy” — why did he quit? Did he quit? You can’t imagine he was fired, he was so helpful and goodnatured and all. You remember something about him having a sick aunt in Buffalo — maybe he went to take care of her? Really standup guy — if a bit of a pushover. What the hell was his name?
As you’re puzzling all of this out with a coworker, The Nice Guy walks by with a tray full of meds, and you both make a startling revelation: Not only does The Nice Guy still work on your unit — you’ve worked the last four shifts in a row with him.
—Has a highly involved and bracingly earnest OK Cupid profile
—Eagerly awaits your acceptance of his Facebook friend request
—Prone to volatile, irregularly-timed eruptions of bottled-up rage
—Is one romantic rejection away from showing up to work with a gun
8. THE ONE-UPPER
Don’t tell The One-Upper you bought a new car — he’ll tell you his dad owns a car dealership. Oh, you just paid off your student loans? He went to school on a full scholarship. You inherited a boat from your uncle? He’s got a small yacht docked in the Chesapeake. Got into NP school? Yeah, he could have gone to med school, but didn’t want to deal with all the eggheads.
Should you find yourself the beneficiary of some small stroke of luck, The One-Upper simply can’t let that shit slide. He NEEDS YOU TO KNOW that he’s luckier than you, more blessed than you, and, above all else, that his patient is sicker than yours.
—Is somehow able to afford a Lamborghini on a $65,000/year salary
—Is also four hundred thousand dollars in debt
7. THE CASANOVA
Going through the hell that is nursing school seems like a pretty roundabout way to “holler at the ladies” … but that’s The Casanova’s game!
He just digs women, man. Loves everything about ‘em. The Casanova fancies himself a bit of a player, but he’s acquired a bit of a … reputation … on the unit. Every nurse you work with has, at one point, gotten some random-ass text from him, usually at three in the morning, and always some variation of: “U down 2 hang?”
—Says things like, “What’s up, baby doll?” to geriatric female patients
—Actually does, in fact, love women
—Always sneaking off to flirt with “the hotties from X-ray”
—Must never, ever be paired with a student nurse
6. RN, MD
His nursing license is just as good as a medical degree — or so he likes to claim. Constantly.
RN, MD will scrutinize your patient’s chest X-Ray, searching for the “smoking gun” to your patient’s pneumothorax, as if it’s the goddamn Zapruder film. He will drone on about afterload and SVR for five straight minutes before you realize he’s just talking about fucking blood pressure. Given the chance, he will crack open the crash cart and attempt to push epi on a patient he believes is asystolic … until you gently take the syringe out of his hand, and point out that the patient is disconnected from the monitor.
—Will gladly take your place during nurse-led rounds
—Will suggest an arterial line for a patient who is hemodynamically stable, on room air, and about to be discharged
5. THE HIPSTER
Will someone please tell this guy he’s not at a Brand New concert?
It’s bad enough that he came to work with a septum piercing and a half-shaved head — but then you saw that the rest of his hair was dyed pink. He has silver-dollar-sized plugs in his ears — which HR told him to remove — and which somehow made things even worse — as his earlobes have been permanently deformed into gaping, sagging loops of skin. On the hottest summer days, he shows up to work wearing Long Johns and turtlenecks underneath his scrubs, to cover up his increasingly extreme body art.
The Hipster has to be strategically assigned to patients who are visually impaired — or outright comatose — as he tends to frighten and enrage the elderly. You’re not sure you would let this guy wash your car, let alone give an insulin shot to your grandmother.
—A nuanced understanding and appreciation of TV’s “Breaking Bad”
—Backstage passes (to some band you’ve never heard of)
—MRSA-infected facial jewelry
—Often mistaken for Housekeeping
—Should probably be drug tested
4. THE SLACKER
If “being lazy” were an Olympic event, this guy would set the world record.
A lovable layabout, The Slacker can be found — eleven hours out of twelve — sitting in the nursing station with his feet up and his ear buds in while his patient’s APNEA alarm blares at top volume. He’s been known to wander off to the gift shop or the cafeteria — like a beagle tracking a scent — after transferring a patient to the floor. Once, during night shift, you caught him trying to hook up his Xbox 360 in an empty patient room.
Oddly enough, The Slacker works ALL THE TIME, and even picks up extra shifts at competing hospitals. He thinks this nursing thing is the best gig he’s ever had, as he’s literally being paid to do jack shit. No one has the heart to fire him, because he doesn’t seem to have anywhere else to go — or even to know that he’s at work.
—Excels at beer pong, table tennis, and couch surfin’
—Pioneered the “two-hour lunch break”
—Real “feel-good vibe” about him
—Bums smokes off of his COPD patients
—Calls off of work with “Nintendo thumb”
3. THE SPACE CADET
You went to nursing school with this cat, and never once saw him pick up a book. And yet, he graduated valedictorian from your class, and breezed through the NCLEX in 75 questions. Which, everyone on your unit agrees, is weird, since he still can’t figure out how to use a glucometer.
Book smart, but with not a shred of common sense, The Space Cadet knows more about medicine than most of the residents, and is an outstanding resource for newer nurses struggling with the theory of fluid dynamics. Just don’t ask him to watch your patient while you run out to the vending machine for a bag of SunChips. You’ll come back to find your patient hypotensive, half out of bed, and fully engulfed in flames.
—Is able to remember tricky but wholly inapplicable concepts from pathophysiology, like cell histology
—Got into Johns Hopkins anesthesia school … but forgot to mail in his intent to enroll
—Also forgot to renew his BLS, ACLS, PALS, and nursing license
—Once gave a flu shot via IV push
2. THE GYM RAT
This beautiful beefcake might be trying a bit too hard to offset the feminine connotations of his job title.
A man of few words, and even fewer brain cells, The Gym Rat is a welcome addition to any unit, as he can be given the “heaviest” patient assignments, or function as an extra layer of security for all the intoxicated, psychotic patients that roll through the E.D.
You’d think The Gym Rat would be of great help with boosting, turning, and lifting your morbidly obese patients — were it not for the fact that he’s constantly injuring his groin from hulking out too hard in the squat cage.
—Looks fantastic in Grey’s Anatomy scrubs
—Breaks up fights between warring family members
—Subsists entirely on Muscle Milk, creatine, and Animal Stak supplements
—Wildly fluctuating T levels
—Wretched protein-shake flatulence
1. MR. PERFECT
He’s everyone’s best friend and closest confidante — always willing to lend an ear when you’re having a bad day, or to offer sage advice on your latest romantic crisis — or just to sit there silently, with his hands folded primly in his lap, as you vent about that bitch Christine from phlebotomy.
Mr. Perfect is, of course, fantastic at his job — but he can also let loose, and will join you for drinks at your favorite bar at a moment’s notice. A bit of a gossip, a bit of a lush, Mr. Perfect is even more perfect because of these trifling character flaws. He will confiscate your phone when you’re tempted to text your ex, drag you out of Rumshaker’s when you get too mouthy with the bartender, pay for the Uber ride back to your place, and hold your hair back as you barf up those Lime-A-Ritas, leaving a glass of water on your nightstand before slinking off into the night. Sure, he’ll tell the whole unit you got trashed and showed your underwear to an off-duty firefighter, but you can’t even blame him, because he’d say the same thing to your face, and really, girl, you were a hot mess that night, like top-20 wasted.
You’ve been crushing on Mr. Perfect pretty hard ever since he started working on the unit; and sometimes — maybe it’s just your imagination, or the way the light falls on his expertly feathered blond hair — it seems like he’s picking up what you’re putting down.
Indeed, Mr. Perfect would be an excellent candidate for dating, and even marriage, were it not for one small thing:
Let’s just say you’re not exactly his type, honey.
—Up to date on all the “Real Housewives” shenanigans
—Sings lullabies to his end-of-life patients
—Organizes and even alphabetizes the items in the stock cart
—Says abrupt but piercingly accurate things like: “You need to get over yourself, sweetheart.”
—Constantly swiping left on Tinder
—Really not that into any of you