Sunday, September 27, 2020
Home Career 7 Terms Nurses Should Stop Using — And 6 You Should Say...

7 Terms Nurses Should Stop Using — And 6 You Should Say More Often

“Just a nurse.” This phrase is said often in healthcare settings, but it belittles the invaluable service nurses provide patients and the rest of the care team every day.

That’s why these three words were were the topic of a rousing discussion earlier this month during a #TweetRN Twitter chat hosted by Lessons from the Bedside. During the conversation, dozens of participants revealed what terms in the workplace bother them and why.

Terms to stop using

“MD aware”

The phrase demeans nurses’ autonomous assessment skills.

“Refuse” (instead of decline)

When “refused” refers to a patient’s response to a nurse, it sets up an unnecessary power dynamic.

“That’s above my pay grade.”

Again, this reinforces the idea that there’s more that nurses can’t handle than they can.

“Mid-level provider”

Referring to NPs and PAs as this implies that they’re less than physicians.

RELATED: 6 Common Professional Terms That Hold Nurses and PAs Back

Nurses as “angels”

Sure, the work you do saves lives, but does this analogy end up demeaning other members of the care team?

Apologizing for not knowing

Especially for students and new nurses, it’s crucial to recognize the learning that’s happened rather than what hasn’t.

Terms to say more often

The conversation then turned to phrases that emphasize the importance of nurses’ work and empower them to provide even better patient care.

“Nurse scientists”

Rather than trying to reduce the scope of care and work that nurses do, emphasize it with phrases like this one. “Nurse leader” sends a similar message.

“Nurse worry factor”

Nurses have a unique ability to sense when something is going wrong with a patient, as research has shown. And that phenomenon deserves a name!

RELATED: Nurses’ Intuition Serves as Valuable Predictor of Patient Decline, Says Recent Study

“Professionals” who make “assessments”

This coupling highlights the education and training required to practice nursing and the high quality care nurses provide as a result.

“Master coordinators of care”

Now if that doesn’t explain the varied tasks nurses are equipped to handle, what does?

“Nursing judgement” or “clinical judgement”

One more time for the people in the back: Nurses use their “education and reason to make a decision.”


If you’re fortunate enough to work at a facility where nurses’ needs and concerns affect positive change, then everyone should acknowledge it.

The #TweetRN chat takes place every Monday at 9 p.m. ET. Participate using the hashtag #TweetRN.

Do you have terms you try avoid or use more often? Share them in the comments below!

Subscribe to Newsletter


Must Read

healthcare provider coronavirus

How to Keep Migraine Patients From Coming Back to the ER

Quick, what's the best thing to do with a patient who presents with an excruciating migraine headache? If you're not quite sure,...

Sign up for the Daily Huddle newsletter today!

Consider this your nurses station news fix. Give us 3 minutes and we’ll update you on all the news that pertains to you and all you do.