Whole Parenting Family

dear nurse having a bad day

bad nurse day

So you have a bad day, taking . . . down. Sing a sad song just to turn it around. You say . . . don’t lie. Something something something. You had a bad DAAAAAY. You had a bad day. Maybe I should sing this for Kelly’s lip-sinc contest?

Dear Nurse Having a Bad Day,

I’m so sorry my two children and I are bothering you at your workplace. I’m so sorry that one of them is in the sling, fussy and unhappy because I interrupted his nap to drag him to this place of needles. I’m so sorry my four year old is inquisitive and squirmy and trying to read his free copy of Highlights {doesn’t that take you back?} from the lobby–a copy which you are quick to inform him MUST STAY IN THE LOBBY.

Did you have a bad night? Did you not get enough coffee? I am genuinely sorry. I understand. I also had a bad night with a four year old who couldn’t sleep, a thunderstorm with lightening and thunder so pounding I literally leapt up in bed and snatched my baby to my chest shaking when I thought our house had been hit. It hadn’t. He didn’t like that kind of middle of the night wakeup that didn’t involve immediate nursing.

I also haven’t had breakfast. Because I was sleeping til the last minute, trying to avoid the puddle spots all over the bed, some dried, some fresh of either spit up, or a leaky diaper. I was hoping to rest my eyes for one minute after a hurling morning of rushing to fix my husband’s lunch, make a special breakfast for him as he’s been working all hours lately, and trying to soothe the cat who was freaking out from the storm.

I’m sorry that when my children and I arrived at the clinic for vaccinations, you couldn’t figure out which ones they were in for. I’m sorry we messed up the normal schedule by opting for the modified schedule, but that’s how our awesome family practice doc rolls.

I’m sorry that you wanted to pin my 3 month old’s legs down for his shot, and squeeze the oral meds into his mouth and he screamed the whole time. I’m sorry his legs were flailing. He’s three months, you see.

And when I tried to distract my distressed four year old who thought his brother was being hurt by talking about baseball, and tried to loop you in on the conversation, and you declined to engage, I was merely trying to avoid the massive meltdown he would endure when he got his own two shots.

You’re a male nurse. I think that’s really cool. I tried to tell my son all about how he could be a nurse if he wanted to, because lo and behold, here’s a male nurse right here! I’m sorry you somehow thought that was stupid or not a good line of encouragement. Maybe you really hate your job and think the field is for crap and others shouldn’t enter it, in 20 years or so.

And when my four year old was screaming he didn’t want the shots, and you were taking your very sweet time with the disinfectant wipes and your very slow time with the actual needle, I’m sorry you were annoyed that I was bouncing my (now) screaming baby in the sling while holding my son’s hands. Down. Away from hitting you. In the face.

Oh, and I’m sorry I nursed in front of you, but don’t you expect that when you inject a 3 month old with a needle? And didn’t you study this body region in nursing school? I’m a greasy mom of three–believe me when I say it wasn’t to be in any way inappropriate. I was literally soothing my baby.

And when I asked about maybe having the bandaid actually cover the injection site and you were annoyed? I’m sorry I was asking too much. Oh, and when my now calmed down son asked for stickers for he and his sister back home and you vaguely pointed out the door toward the hallway, I’m so sorry he was bothering you about something that seems so inconsequential. You see, to get him through the shots I had promised stickers. Big deal for small kid.

You may have had a genuinely awful day. Maybe someone you loved passed away or is suffering greatly. Maybe you’re suffering greatly. I’m sorry for that. But maybe you’re just not very nice to small children. And in that case, could you please not work in a clinic that treats them? Happily I’m a pseudo veteran mom with three kids or I would have had a complete fit to the clinic manager that a nurse could be so rude to small kids getting shots.

I’m not going to because maybe you just really had a hard morning and I don’t want you to get in trouble at work. But next time we’re in, I’m going to make sure my kids don’t see you again. Sorry you had a bad day, but you made theirs bad too.


Nell, the nursing-children-wrangling-unwashed-mom



  1. Sabrina on August 25, 2014 at 9:39 am

    I’m so sorry you had to go through that. It’s hard enough getting the vaccinations for the little guys, but to have a rude, insensitive nurse… the worst! 🙁

    • Natural Mama Nell on August 26, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      Thanks so much for your care, Sabrina. It is really the pits! I was hoping for a positive male role model, too. Sadly mistaken.

  2. Lauren on August 26, 2014 at 2:25 am

    Oh man. I stand behind vaccinations 100%, but I dread those visits. Ugh. I can’t imagine with two. I’m glad y’all made it through, but hopefully you’ll have a more helpful nurse next time.

    • Natural Mama Nell on August 26, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      I know! Sometimes they’re just fine–other times it’s the pits. My older boy had a bad reaction topically this time around and we had that to deal with as well. It’s a sucky thing for the kids and a helpful nurse can really help! 🙂 Thanks for popping in, Lauren (I almost accidentally wrote “pooping in.”–haha)

  3. Kathleen on August 28, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    That makes me really sad, as a nurse myself. And it’s also a good reminder for me to keep my personal life personal and out of work.

    • Natural Mama Nell on August 30, 2014 at 11:19 pm

      I’m sure you’re never like this, Kathleen!

  4. Carol on August 28, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    I am a nurse that has worked most of my career in pediatrics including the intensive care unit. When you discribed your vaccination experience I instantly thought that this male nurse was practicing in the wrong area and not just having a bad day. He definately had no knowledge of the growth and development (physical and psychological) of children. In addition, he seemed to lack the concept of pediatric nursing which is family oriented. I am sorry that you and your children had this poor experiance. Hopefully the other nurses in the clinic are more family oriented when you return. Even better will be that the male nurse will have left, as pediatric nursing wasn’t for him!

    • Natural Mama Nell on August 30, 2014 at 11:21 pm

      Thanks, Carol. It’s helpful to hear this from a nurse–wow–what a giver you must be as ICU work is not for the faint of heart–I do think I’ll say something to my doctor because I love her and have always had great experiences at the clinic prior to this. It was bad enough to make me reconsider where I take my kids for care!