Don't Bring Me Your Poop! My Pet Peeves as a NP

Over my years of working as a nurse practitioner, I have developed a few pet peeves in my practice.  My patients all mean well, but occasionally there are things they do that gross me out (yes, even I am susceptible to the dry heaves) or just really annoy me.  What patient behaviors sometimes just get to me?

1. Bringing in the Unsolicited Stool Sample

 

The number of 'poop' related complaints I see is rather astounding, however most patients do not go so far as to actually bring a sample of their 'complaint' with them.  On occasion, however, the unsolicited stool sample arrives with the patient to the ER.  The plastic baggy or tupperware is then plopped down in front of me; "See, if you look closely, you can see a little blood in there".  I am not going to look closely.  I am, however going to adjust my computer screen to block the sight of said tupperware container.  If you tell me your poop is red, green, purple or bloody I believe you.  I don't want to see it.

2. Bugs

Are you itching yet?  There are 2 subcategories of the insect related pet peeve, no, actually 3.

First, I don't like it when people come to the ER because they have lice or scabies.  Icky?  Yes.  Emergency?  No.  Thank you for spreading your infestation to the rest of the population.  Call your family doctor- trust me, they will be happy to call you in a prescription this time.

Second, similar to my poop peeve, don't bring me the dead body of the insect you suspect bit your leg.  I am not an entomologist.  My bug-identifying eye is just as untrained as yours.  If you really want to know what bit you, in the privacy of your own home, compare your insect caracas to some search results on Google images.  The only time I appreciated a dead bug in a jar?  Once I saw a lady who was big by a scorpion.  She brought the scorpion with her and it was kind of cool.

Finally, I am really sorry you got bed bugs, but it is not my job to initiate a lawsuit against the seedy motel where you are staying.  What you need is to pack your suitcase, relocate and pick up some Benadryl on your way.

3. Wimpy Middle-Aged Men

Sorry guys, but I have to say this because it really gets on my nerves.  I hate it when men in their 30's, 40's and 50's are wimpy.  I have seen so many men come in to the ER for finger lacerations that are so tiny I wouldn't think twice about them.  I would find a band-aid and get back to my onion-chopping.  If you cut yourself and it is less and a centimeter long, you can probably take care of it at home.  Put some super glue on it if it makes you feel better.  And no, you do not need a work note for the next seven days or any pain pills.  You will be just fine.

4. Putting Coke in Your Child's Bottle...at 2am

Come on people!  This is common sense.  First of all, do you really want to be giving your kid all that caffeine in the middle of the night? Secondly, have you heard of the childhood obesity epidemic?  Enough said.

What really irks you in your practice as an NP?  I think this could become a series of posts rather than just the one...

Comments

Please don't tell me 98.9 degrees is a fever for you because your temperature is normally 97.0 - everybody says that! 98.9 is NOT a fever, like ever. Thank you.

Jennifer

ER physicians that request a cardiology consultation for chest pain, on a patient that has shingles on their chest. Yes, this did happen, and it took a cardiac NP to diagnose shingles in the ER.

heartNP

Agreed!  Yet another good peeve.  Commonly associated with wanting to get a child's tonsils removed unnecessarily.

Erin Tolbert

Not every sore throat is STREP! Parents act like having strep is a badge of honor.

Randy