By no means this posting is intended to insult RNs (nurses), especially the geat ones I work with here. It’s just happen that my desk is the only one that’s facing the heavy traffic. RNs calling patients, patients coming out from exam rooms, scheduling their next visit or referral to a specialist, patients going to lab or radiology, etc. I can’t help but smiling when our RNs called out a patient and saying [almost] the same greeting over and over again. For example:”

  • “[Patient’s name]. I’m ready for you”
  • “[Patient’s name]?” -the RN looks around the waiting room only to find that there’s only 1 patient waiting; acting, obviously– “Aah… you must be Britney, you are the only one in the waiting room.”
  • “[Patient’s name]. Hi there… What do you think of the weather? Isn’t it horrible?”
  • “[Patient’s name]. Hi,  we’re gonna go all the way back in the corner…” -9 out of 10 times, our cutest and youngest RN will say this.
  • “[Patient’s name]. Ooh, I like your sweater. Very pretty.”
  • “[Patient’s name]. Front and center!” -seriously, one of the float RNs says this. She also says…
  • “[Patient’s name]. Come on down… you’re the next one for Dr. X.” -mimicking Bob Baker from The Price Is Right.

It’s not easy to make small talk, you know. Especially if you’re shy. But a nurse will always be expected to be nice, smiley, and soothing. Who would like to go in to a doctor’s office with a sore throat and headache and then greeted by a nurse who doesn’t even smile or try to make conversation with you?

In ‘Smart Nursing’ written by June Fabre, there’s a special section about making small talk. She said it’s a learned skill, and one of the tricks is to ask an open-ended questions about common topics such as favorite vacations, books and hobbies. But again, if it was me and I’m in a severe pain, I’d rather have the RN to just hush and not being to bubbly. Ah, life isn’t easy, is it?