RN Culture: One Big Dysfunctional Family


Working in the field of nursing is challenging.   Constant changes are just part of the job.  One thing that never seems to change is the family atmosphere of the nursing profession.   It only makes sense. Staff spend late nights, weekends, and holidays together. Often times we see each other more often than many of our biological family members. It is easy to understand how this level of constant and forced interaction would lead to relationships developing beyond a basic coworker level. Let’s explore some nursing family dynamics.

Cool Aunt

  • This nurse is a keeper.   Cool Aunt organizes after work bar visits, tells it like it is (no bullshit here), and always has your back. Cool Aunt makes sure the mess is handled and often brings the much-needed comical relief.

Weird Uncle

  • The unit just wouldn’t be the same without him.   Stupid jokes, long drawn out stories, and “expert” opinions galore.   Everyone knows that Weird Uncle is generally full of crap, but when push comes to shove Weird Uncle is still family.

Helicopter Parent

  • Helicopter Parent just cannot seem to let those new young nurses gain their independence.   Orientation is over and the newbies are ready to fly, but Helicopter Parent is standing by with a net trying to keep them close.   This is good and bad.  Extra support is always great and learning from the experience of others is priceless.  But Helicopter Parent often needs Cool Aunt to step in and tell them to cool their roll.

Mother Hen

  • There is always at least one Mother Hen.   One nurse who brings a much-needed hot meal or snacks to share.   Mother Hen has a locker full of essentials with a known rule that anyone can utilize them.   Mother Hen has a calming presence in stressful situations and is often the adultiest adult that others can look to.

Father Figure

  • Father Figure brings the calm.   Years of experience have left Father Figure wiser than most.   A voice of reason in unreasonable situations.  Not to mention the endless Dad Jokes!

Obnoxious Little Sister

  • You have to love Obnoxious Little Sister.   Painfully cute, sweet, and oblivious.  Little Sister makes you take a step back, shake your head, and smile.   Little Sister is growing and maturing before your eyes.   Little Sister also provides unintentional comical relief. She will figure out the joke though, eventually.

Badass Big Brother

  • Badass Big Brother is down for anything. Weird procedure no one has heard of, on it. Impossible stick IV start, on it. Call lights blaring, handled. Somehow even in the most stressful situation Badass Big Brother still brings the cool vibes.  Of course you have to put up with his good-natured ribbing, that is just part of the deal.

Crazy Grandma

  • Crazy Grandma has been a nurse for so long that there is nothing that surprises her.   Crazy Grandma can one up any story with a story so bizarre, it has to be true.

Lazy Grandpa

  • Lazy Grandpa is just getting by until retirement.   No shit given and no shit taken.

Like any family we have our ups and downs but we always seem to end up back together. Knowing that regardless of the situation you have a built-in backup family waiting for you at work is comforting. Plus with each RN that graduates and joins the team our family gets to grow a little more. Hopefully the dysfunction does not scare off the newbies.

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