Superstitions exist in even the most serious of locations. For many readers of these blogs, whose duties can differ from triage to invasive surgery to diagnosing cancer, it likely will not surprise you to hear that most medical settings have lingering superstitions that become part of your every day routine.
When you are most used to them, it can be hard to point out some superstitions, so we thought that hearing it from someone on the outside might get you thinking. Check out some of our favorite healthcare superstitions and tell us yours in the comments below!
- Saying a patient’s name in the emergency room will almost ensure that person comes in that day.There are several versions of this, but the idea that you can summon patients to the ER just by mentioning them is more than a little spooky.
- A code cart next to an unstable patient is said to ward off evil spirits. This one is fairly self explanatory, but the code or airway cart next to where it seems like it might be soon needed is a good way to tell evil spirits that you’re ready for them!
- Open the windows after a death so the patient’s soul can leave. The idea here is to allow patients to pass on so that they do not haunt the room or the hospital as a whole. The window gives them a fast and clear exit.
- Black Clouds attract trouble, according to popular superstitions. Black Clouds are healthcare professionals who attract death, bad situations, difficult cases, and other causes of stress. While there is no proof that this title actually causes more (or less) issues, it can wear on the professional and their coworkers all the same.
- A fly in the hospital means someone will die. Some nurses swear that seeing a fly while on shift is a sign that someone will be dying during their shift.
- Tying a knot in the bottom right hand side of a dying patient’s bed sheets will help them last through the night, or at least your shift. While there is no distinct reasoning behind this one, it seems to have stuck around as a sign of hope or control during difficult situations. That being said, if every professional does this, how does the person ever move on?
- Bad weather causes increased spontaneous labor. While this started many years ago as a superstition, recent research seems to be backing it up. Sudden or extreme drops in barometric pressure have been tied to increases in spontaneous labor. It is an odd correlation, but certainly one worth keeping in mind if you work in Labor and Delivery.
- Speaking of Labor and Delivery, another exclusive superstition to this area comes down to prep work. Being prepared should always be applauded, but opening the sterilized materials needed for a C-Section at any point before it is absolutely necessary is thought to cause the C-Section to happen.
- The opposite of the above is also true in some areas. When trying to be prepared, it is often warned that you should not prepare too far ahead. Doing so is considered an open invitation to be jinxed, leading to either an underwhelming day with wasted materials or an overwhelming day that your preparation was not enough for.
- If a patient is unable to make it to a room that was prepared for them (for any reason), you are never supposed to shut the light or un-make the room, as this will almost always cause the room to be immediately prepared and needed right after.
- Avoid the “Q” word at all times! Parents and healthcare professionals alike know that there is no better way to jumpstart mayhem than by jinxing it. It is believed that, by describing any part of your shift or duties as “quiet” or “calm”, you are summoning chaos, so be careful with your descriptors while on shift.
- Lucky charms are more than just cereal in a healthcare setting. Often, medical professionals of any level might have some sort of lucky talisman that can get them through hard days. These can be socks, a specific color of scrubs, or even shoes!
- Never organize a potluck or order a pizza while you are on shift. This is a great way to ensure that your day is going to get much busier right around the time your food is supposed to be ready or arrive. Best to eat in peace without risking a jinx!
- If you have a routine of where you put your stethoscope after a shift, never change it or you will lose it! This means that the stethoscope will genuinely disappear, never to be seen again, not simply be misplaced or forgotten until a later date, so try this one at your own risk.
- As a variation of our first superstition, it is believed that saying a frequent patient’s (also known as a frequent flier) name is a great way to summon them Talking about how you have not seen a patient in a while and mentioning them by name is considered a guaranteed way to bring them in, especially if they are difficult.
From serious to silly, superstitions are involved in all kinds of healthcare habits. Let us know below about the superstitions you have seen or done while at work! If you are looking for a new opportunity, we can be here to guide you through all the superstitions that come with getting a great new job! We have positions open for all kinds of healthcare professionals on our job board or, if you are looking for something different, then send us an updated resume here and we’ll connect with you as soon as possible!