Friday the 13th Hospital Superstitions

Friday, January 13, 2017

Are you the kind of Nurse that knows the difference between a full and new moon? On every floor of a hospital, you’ll find that Nurses know what superstitions are held towards certain circumstances. When there’s a full moon, it’s guaranteed that the unit will be full and you will be short staffed for the shift. These occurrences are unexplainable except for the fact that some “forbidden” actions or objects lead to unfavorable events. So if you’re a new Nurse working at the facility, make sure to familiarize yourself with these superstitions. Friday the 13th is one of those most feared days to work on. Start telling your stories and superstitions, because we know you absolutely love sharing them with each other! 

1. Frequent Fliers

You’ve seen it happen one too many times to count. Never mention a frequent flyer’s name! Even thinking about one of your patients, who hasn’t been admitted in a while, will have him or her crossing your path before you know it! Instead, try using their initials – “Do you remember, DM? I wonder how he’s doing.” Introduce this new rule to your floor: If you are the person who says the name, you have to take care of them when they come in.

2. Forbidden Words

This goes without saying. Anything close to “it’s _uiet today”, should never be uttered. Make sure to knock on wood three times if anyone says the Q-type words. This is one of the ways you can reverse the imminent effect. If you didn’t know already, saying that your shift hasn’t been busy will jinx it and result in a hectic day or night.


3. Celestial Discharge

When there is a “no code” patient or a DNR order, tying a knot in the corner of his or her sheet will help prevent the patient from “celestial discharge” during your shift. Everyone has their own ways of doing this. Some swear by the using the top sheet and the corner facing the door. If there are knots already then tie one anyway, but remember to never undo another nurse’s knot. The only explanation we have of this is: If the patient is terminally ill then they are literally “hanging by a thread.”

Another way to buy some time is to put a quarter under the pillow of a pending celestial discharge patient. If you suspect that a patient is not doing well, try and check the earlobes to see if there is a definite crease or if the earlobe is folding up. When the patient is “ready” to die, some believe opening a window will help their spirit leave peacefully.


5. Plan Ahead, But Not Too Far Ahead
People say that deaths happen in 3’s or 7’s. We’re not encouraging you to have those types of expectations. The bottom line is that you should always be ready. If you leave a room with the bed not made or the supplies not stocked, it’s guaranteed that the ER Nurse is coming up with a patient right now. So don’t delay! Always plan ahead by bringing extra gauzes, IV caths, and a foley insertion tray when drawing blood.

Although you must remember not to get ahead of yourself. This is what we mean: Preparing to leave a few minutes before the shift ends will probably lead to you having to stay much later. It's always nice and possibly good luck to get things started for the next shift. You would be helping them get a head start just in case it gets busy later on. Never cap your pens or put away the supplies and declare you’re ready to go home too far ahead of the actual time!

Now you know some of the top nursing superstitions, take heed and avoid them.
Especially on a full or new moon and on Friday the 13

Leanne Leuterio

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