(or, A Funny Thing Happened in Clinical...)

For more medical merriment, visit "Nursing School Follies, Part 2"

Who else but a nursing student would take out thousands of bucks in student loans for the privilege of sticking things into people (OK, let's not get raunchy) or handling various bodily secretions? Why watch "ER" on TV when you can participate in the real thing? (BTW, ever notice on "ER" that no one sits around with an earache or sprained ankle waiting 4 hours for George Clooney to send them home with Tylenol?)

This page is for your jokes, humorous observations, or anecdotes about those weird wacky occurrences that can happen only in nursing school (like "nursing instructors say the darndest things.") So if you've ever basted your Thanksgiving turkey with a Toomey syringe, send it in!

Thanks to John Collins:

Available on LP albums or 8-track tapes, just $19.95 for the set from K-TEL

Hospital Hit Parade--Not available in Stores--or anywhere else for that matter

"I'll be Sewing You"
"Red Cells in the Sunset"
"It;s Spleen a Long, Long Time"
"It Had to Be Flu"
"On the Bonny Banks of Glaucoma"
"Gonna Take a Sentimental Gurney"
"Yes, We Have No Pajamas"
"Glove Me Tender"
"The Staphs and Streps Forever"
"The Pill Is Gone"
"Old Man's Liver"
"Mammaries Are Made of This"
"Try To Dismember"
"That Old Gangrene of Mine"
"I've Grown Accustomed to Her Brace"
"On the Road to Mend and Lay"
"The Girl From Emphysema"
"Lay That Hypo Down, Babe"
"Secondhand Nose"
"You're Nobody Until Somebody Gloves You:" "Call Me Unresponsive"
"MRI Blue?"
"Let's Cut the Whole Thing Off"
"Some Implanted Evening"
"Blame It on My Tooth"
"My Melancolicky Baby"
"From Here to Maternity"
"Merci, Docs"
"You Broke Your Promise But I'll Get a Lung"

Ann Onimous

While the head nurse was explaining where to document on the numerous and unfamiliar forms my first evening rotation in OB, I had to sneeze. Clipboard in one hand and pen and stethoscope in the other...I tried to cover but the sneeze was upper denture flew out of my mouth and clattered down the quiet hall. In one fell swoop I grabbed the denture plate (unbroken, thank goodness) and headed for the took me 20 minutes before I could face that head nurse. But she was a doll...not a word (or a giggle) did I hear from her. I know I'll never forget it and I'll bet she cracked up all the way home that night.

Gaitha Downing

As a fairly new student I was assigned to take care of an elderly gentleman. Of course everyone knows as a student the bed bath is part of our care. This gentleman was able enough to be up so he said he would go into the bathroom to "wash up". I remained in the room just in case he needed assistance. At one point I asked if I could help by washing his back. He agreed & I stepped in & closed the bathroom door. Withing a few minutes the doctor & charge nurse came in looking for my patient & when I heard voices without even thinking, because I knew why we were in the bathroom I shouted, "We'll be out in just a minute." And then when we did come out there with wide eyes they were waiting, I realized then what it must have looked like. I never heard the end of it!

The History of Medicine

2000 B.C. - Here, eat this root

1000 A.D. - That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.

1850 A.D. - That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.

1940 A.D. - That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.

1985 A.D. - That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.

2000 A.D. - That antibiotic doesn't work anymore. Here, eat this root.

Linda Ruggio

This is a true story of my first insertion of a "Foley Cath" on a "real" Pt....

I was a 1st Semester VN student on my 1st ER rotation in a small community hospital in So. Calif. I was so excited about being in the ER, as this was my dream to become an ER/Trauma nurse, and I was ready and willing to jump in and do it all!!

Soon after receiving a short orientation to the unit, the medics arrived with an older man in his 70's who was suffering from severe SOB. He was only able to speak in short, incomplete sentences and was having a very difficult time. As the ER MD was examining him, the man suddenly went into respiratory arrest. The charge nurse began barking out orders and the ER doc starting bagging the man. Before I knew it, the pt had rapidly progressed to full arrest and full blown CPR was in progress.

Standing there looking like the typical "dumb-struck nursing student", the charge nurse said to me, "Have you ever inserted a Foley cath?" My reply was, "Only practicing on the dummies at school." "Well", she said, "go get a Foley kit out of the supply room and put it in this man, quickly." So, off I ran and retrieved the kit.

Now, trying to recall my "sterile techniques" I was kind of slow in the set-up department. This was becoming quite annoying to the charge nurse ,who finally said to me, "Forget the sterile technique, honey, this is the real world of ER, just put the damn thing in him!"

So, I grab the man's penis with my left hand and begin inserting the cath with my right hand. Just then the ER doc decides it's time to jolt the guy with 300j. He yells "CLEAR", and looks around to make sure everyone is CLEAR. Well, here I am with this man's penis in one hand and the cath in the other. I'm "Sterile" and can't let go or I'll "break my sterile field".

The doc then yells again, "CLEAR" and again is waiting for stupid me to let go. Instead of letting go of the poor man, I just take two steps back, while still holding on to his penis. Now before I knew it, I had taken about a total of 5 steps back from the bed and still had this guy's penis in one hand and the Foley in the other, stretching him to kingdom come. Finally, an xray tech grabbed me around the waist and pulled me back from the bed so hard that I had no choice but to let go of the man.

The ER doc then zapped the poor guy and CPR continued for quite some time. Needless to say the poor man expired, without ever getting his Foley. I often wonder if I had let go of him the first time I was asked, would he have been saved?

Any way, later at the end of our first semester, during our capping and pinning ceremony, I was given the "Purple Heart" award for bravery during "Near Electrocution" by my classmates. The award still hangs in my living room to this day as a reminder of what can happen if you insist on "never breaking your sterile field."

Hope you enjoyed the story, as I said, this was a true story that really happened to me. I enjoy telling to new grads and nursing students. Maybe this can get me into the Catheter Clubs Hall of Fame. But if not, that's OK, I just pass it on anyway for laughs.

Amy Murray

I'd like to add my first catheter insertion story as "one for the books." The patient was an 84 year old male;actually it was his birthday. Lucky me, I was to give him his birthday cath. I walked into the room with my instructor and a fellow student, perfectly calm and confident in my skills. I knew every step by heart and was sure to keep utmost sterile techniques during the procedure. However, the fellow student was dying to do the procedure as well....she was just WAITING for me to falter. I anxiously open the cath kit and begin. Everything goes just as in skills lab until I get to the point of cleansing the "work area"...the point where one hand goes unsterile while keeping the other hand sterile for insertion. It was at this point that I felt the need to "adjust" the penis...breaking sterility with my other hand! I stood there and my instructor winced. She was about to allow the other student to step in when I asked for her to run and get

From my demented deutsche pal Heidi


For years 'n years they told me,
"Be careful of your breasts.
Don't ever squeeze or bruise them,
And give them monthly tests."
So I heeded all their warnings
And protected them by Law. . .
Guarded them very carefully,
And always wore a bra.
After 30 years of careful care,
The Doctor found a lump,
He ordered up a Mammogram
To look-inside that clump.

"Stand up very close," she said,
as she got my tit in line,
"And tell me when it hurts," she said,
"Ah yes! There! That's just fine."
She stepped upon a pedal....
I could not believe my eyes!
A plastic plate was pressing down
My boob was in a vice!!
My skin was stretched 'n stretched
From way up by my chin,
And my poor tit was being squashed
To Swedish pancake thin!!

Excruciating pain I felt,
Within its vice-like grip.
A prisoner in this vicious thing.
My poor defenseless tit!
"Take a deep breath:' she said to me
Who does she think she's kidding?
My chest is smashed in her machine
I can't breathe and woozy I am getting
"There, that was good:' I heard her say
As the room was slowly swaying.
"Now lets get the other one."
"Lord, have mercy," I was praying.
It squeezed me from the up and down,
It squeezed me from both sides.
I'll bet she's never had this done
to her tender little hide!
If I had no problem when I came in
I surely have one now. . .
If there had been a cyst in there,
It would have popped - Ker-Pow!
This machine was made by man,
Of this I have no doubt...
I'd like to get his Balls in there
For months he'd go without!

A man was complaining about his sore elbow to his friend. The friend said, "Have you heard about the amazing new computer down at the drugstore?" You put in $10 and a urine sample, and the computer analyzes the urine and tells you what's wrong and what you need to do."

The man went to the computer, put in his money and urine sample, and got back a printout which said, "You have tennis elbow. Put cold on it for 24 hrs. then use heat, take aspirin, and give it rest."

The man decided to really test the computer's accuracy, so he took a specimen cup and put some tap water in it, along with a stool sample from his dog, urine samples from his wife and daughter, and a sample of his own sperm. Then he went down to the drugstore again and put the money and sample into the computer. A few minutes he received another printout. It said:

  1. You have hard tap water. Add water softener.
  2. Your dog has diarrhea. Feed him rice for a few days.
  3. Your wife has a urinary infection. Make sure she increases her fluid intake and give her cranberry juice.
  4. Your daughter is pregnant.
  5. Your tennis elbow will never improve if you don't stop playing with yourself!"

Michelle G. Samo, SPN

My very first day in clinicals at a local nursing home there was a gentleman that needed to be cath'ed because he had a bed sore on his coccyx. Stupid me, I volunteered. The nurse in charge informed me that the man had not been circumsized, I thought ok, no problem. I get in there to do it - get my sterile field set up and all my stuff ready. I stick the catheter in the guy and it wont' budge - it will only go in about a quarter of an inch. Of course by then the sweat had started to roll. I had my instructor there along with the head nurse. I twisted and pushed and couldn't get that thing to go in. I pulled straight up on his penis and it still would't go in. Finally I gave up and let the nurse give it a try - she couldn't get it and neither could another nurse. Needless to say they shipped him off the the hospital for a urology consult. The ER Dr. couldn't get it in either. Poor guy!

Come to find out this 85 year old man with Parkinson's masturbates, he pulled the foreskin down and caused a stricture. The poor guy had to go through 6 people poking at him until one of us finally figured out the problem. One of my fellow nursing students informed me that that was probably the best "hand job" that guy had had in years. I guess that will be one of our class funnies that we will all remember.



  1. Discussing dismemberment over a gourmet meal seems perfectly normal to you.
  2. Your idea of a good time is a full code at shift change.
  3. You believe in aerial spraying of prozac.
  4. You believe that "shallow gene pool" should be a diagnosis.
  5. You believe that government should require a permit to reproduce.
  6. You believe chocolate is an essential food group.
  7. You believe unspeakable evils will befall you if anyone says, "Boy, itís sure quiet around here."
  8. When youíre out in public, you compliment a complete stranger on their great veins.
  9. You have ever referred to someoneís death as a transfer to the "Eternal Care Center."
  10. You hate working on nights with a full moon.
  11. You donít think a referral to Dr. Kevorkian is inappropriate for this patient.
  12. You have ever wanted to hold a seminar entitled "SUICIDE, . . getting it right the first time."
  13. You think caffeine should be available in IV form.
  14. The most commonly uttered phrase after midnight is, "What changed tonight, at 0200, that makes this an emergency after six months??"
  15. You believe that the waiting room should be equipped with a Valium saltlick.
  16. You have ever wanted a terrorist to deliver a Ryder truck to the lab.
  17. You have been exposed to so many x-rays that you say, "No, I donít worry about birth control, . . Iíve been irradiated.:
  18. Your patient states, "I have no idea how that got stuck up there."
  19. You can identify the "positive teeth vs. Tattoo" ratio.
  20. You have your weekends off marked and planned for a year.
  21. You encourage an obnoxious patient to sign out AMA.
  22. You use your status to get out of speeding tickets.
  23. You use the word "G.O.M.E.R." in a sentence more than once a night.
  24. You have ever bet on someoneís blood alcohol level.
  25. You have threatened to use "the hose" if your patient doesnít give you a urine specimen. (This is called "friendly encouragement.")

Basya Nemoy sent in these contributions:

A nurse keeps sneezing.
A second nurse asks, "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm okay," says the first nurse, "but I can't stop sneezing."
"Hey, that's terrible!" says the second nurse.
"Well, it's not that bad, because each time I sneeze, I have an orgasm."
"Wow, are you taking anything for it?" asks the second nurse.
"Yeah, pepper."

(AFAIK, a true story )

A woman came into the doctor's office to schedule a circumcision for her husband. After the procedure she questioned, "Are you sure he won't have no babies now?"
"Mrs. X, he had a circumcision, not a vasectomy."
"Damn, that's the word I was looking for."

Donald & Camille Carbee

Just thought that since you were looking for jokes- I would tell you of one of my best "practicals":

I like to "mess" with the staff on my ward (jokingly, and in good-taste for the most part). When I meet someone that is new to me (RN), I patiently wait for the see I work on a busy Medical/Surgical floor and we often have patients that are placed on TPN and Lipids. They get a peripherally inserted catheter for this, and often times the "heparin/saline lock" is taken out. Whenever I get an order to discontinue an IV site for someone who has gotten a PICC line, I go up to the charge or other RN that gave me the order and say, "you know, I pulled out that catheter, but it was REALLY long". Needless to say I stop them before they go running into a patient's room to see what damage I did. As long as you have judged their personality as acceptable for this type of "practical joke", it is really funny.

At any rate, I hope you don't think that this is really crude. When it does come to the actual job, I am 100% PROFESSIONAL.

  • barium -- what you do to dead people
  • benign -- what you wanted when you were eight
  • carpal -- someone with whom you drive to school
  • cauterize -- what the guy did before winking at the girl
  • chiropractor -- an Egyptian doctor
  • dilate -- to live long
  • elixir -- what a dog does to his owner when she gives him a bone
  • intubate -- what a fisherman is
  • nitrate -- what the phone company charges after 5 p.m.
  • varicose -- nearby
  • vitamin -- what you do when friends stop to visit

Becca Arvin

Well, it was my first catheter....only a few days ago and I graduate in 3 months! Anyway, it was an in & out for a quad. My instructor suggested that I use the new straight cath that comes in the bag. I agreed because let's face it, it would be extremely difficult to contaminate! Well, all goes well and I hit gold! I had done a bladder scan so I knew about how much urine to expect. I moved the bag to read the measurements on the side. Well, guess what..... the urine began to gush out of the bottom of the bag! It was defective and didn't have a bottom! Well, needless to say, the instructor and I learned a valuable lesson....always check for the seam on the bottom of the bag! All I can say is thank goodness for chucks!

"Ogre" strikes again! OUCH!!

My clinical group was learning how to use the finger stick machine for blood glucose (we call it the "one touch" machine) on clinical at the hospital, and we all took turn sticking each other to get practice. Well, we all did just fine, each in turn etc. etc. and then it happened.

My friend took her turn "at the wheel" and what happened next will be forever remembered in the annals of nursing schools...she took the lancet, loaded it, and put it aside (as is the practice with this machine) then proceeded to clean the other girl's finger with alcohol and allowed it to dry... in the mean time she put in the slip and got the machine all ready... all was well so far...then she picked up the lancet and pressed it to the other girl's finger...she pushed the button... nothing happened. So she loaded another lancet and got the finger ready etc. etc. ...she pressed the lancet to the girl's finger and pressed again...and suddenly the girl who was administering the finger stick jumped up in a yell!!! Turns out she pricked herSELF in the finger, and not the other girl as was her intention... needless to say she turned beet-red, and we all laughed our asses off... she never made that mistake again..

A big "10 Q!" to Eran "Ogre" Marer Patient Care Associate / Cow Milker Extraordinaire for this funny list of definitions.

Blonde's Glossary of Medical Terms

  • Artery. . . . . . . .. . Study of Painting
  • Bacteria. . . . . . .. . Back door to the cafeteria
  • Barium. . . . . . . .. . What doctors do when treatment fails
  • Bowel. . . . . . . . . . A letter like A, E, I, O, or U
  • Caesarean Section. . . . A district in Rome
  • Catheter. . . . . . . . String instruments
  • Cat Scan . . . . . . . . Searching for kitty
  • Cauterize. . . . . . . . Made eye contact with her
  • Colic. . . . . . . . . . A sheep dog
  • Congenital . . . . . . . Friendly
  • D & C. . . . . . . . . . Where the White House is
  • Dilate . . . . . . . . . To live long
  • Enema. . . . . . . . . . Not a friend
  • Fester . . . . . . . . . Quicker
  • Fibula . . . . . . . . . Small lie
  • Genital. . . . . . . . . Non Jewish
  • G I Series . . . . . . . Soldier baseball
  • Grippe . . . . . . . . . Suitcase
  • Hangnail . . . . . . . . Coat hook
  • High Colonic . . . . . . Jewish religious holiday
  • Impotent. . . . . . . . Distinguished, well known
  • Labor Pain . . . . . . . Getting hurt at work
  • Medical Staff. . . . . . Doctor's cane
  • Morbid . . . . . . . . . Higher offer
  • Nitrate. . . . . . . . . Cheaper than the day rate
  • Node . . . . . . . . . . Was aware of
  • Outpatient . . . . . . . Person who has fainted
  • Pap Smear. . . . . . . . Paternity test
  • Pelvis . . . . . . . . . Cousin of Elvis
  • Postoperative. . . . . . Mail carrier
  • Prostate . . . . . . . . Flat on your back
  • Recovery Room. . . . . . Place to do upholstery
  • Rectum . . . . . . . . . Dang near killed him!
  • Rheumatic. . . . . . . . Amorous
  • Secretion. . . . . . . . Hiding something
  • Seizure. . . . . . . . . Roman emperor
  • Tablet . . . . . . . . . Small table
  • Terminal Illness . . . . Getting sick at the airport
  • Tibia. . . . . . . . . . Country in North Africa
  • Tumor. . . . . . . . . . More than one
  • Urine. . . . . . . . . . Opposite of you're out
  • Varicose . . . . . . . . Near by
  • Vein . . . . . . . . . . Conceited

Pharmacology: The study of medications, their chemical composition, and their actions on the body.
Farm ecology: The study of agriculture and the environment

Charlie was the meanest, nastiest, most obnoxious patient ever to inflict himself on a hospital. Day after day, he tormented doctors, nurses, lab techs, and other hospital personnel with his constant demands, complaints, and threats. He was a real SOB (and we don't mean shortness of breath)!

One day an orderly prepared to take Charlie's rectal temperature. "Why the @#$%^& can't you take it by mouth?" Charlie demanded. "Because the doctor wants a rectal," the orderly replied. "Now just lie there and relax. I'll be back in a few minutes."

While he was lying there, a nurse passed by his room and stopped by his doorway in utter amazement. "Well, what the &^%$#@'s your problem?" Charlie growled. "Haven't you ever seen anyone get a rectal temperature taken before?"

"Yes," the nurse replied, "but never with a pinwheel."

The world's first ever testicular transplant was under way. The patient was anesthetized, incisions made in the scrotum, and just as the surgeon reached for the donor testes, they slipped and fell to the floor of the operating room -- SPLAT!!

"Quick -- you've got to find something -- anything -- to transplant!" he ordered the circulating nurse. She rushed down to the hospital kitchen, took two small onions, and returned to the OR, where the surgeon implanted them in the patient's scrotum.

Several weeks later, the doctor was examining the patient. "It's weird," the patient told the doctor. "When my wife and I have sex, I get heartburn. When I urinate, my eyes burn. And whenever I pass by a McDonald's, I get an erection!" (My obstetrician told this one in the delivery room right after my son was born!)

Graphics courtesy of