They're cold, they smell like disinfectant, and they have dead bodies in the basement. What else do you need to know about hospitals, other than the fact that they're where you end up if shit hits the fan?
A lot, actually. Nurses -- you know, the hard-working professionals who do the dirty work of keeping you alive -- have to put up with tons of literal and metaphorical crap at their job. The least you can do is try to understand the realities of their work environment (and your healing environment!). Here's what five nurses wish more people knew about hospitals.
Hospitals are frigid and bare-bones for a reason
Hospital rooms aren't exactly hotels, but couldn't things be just a little more inviting? Sure, they could… and you could invite a staph infection. "The bare-bones decor of rooms is so it's easier to clean and thereby sterilize," says Jennifer*, a nurse in New Orleans. "It's cold for a reason -- to kill bacteria. It can't survive in cold temperatures."
Don't expect a good night's sleep, either: "You will not get much rest -- inpatients typically have their vital signs checked every four hours," says Nancy Brook, RN, MSN, a nurse practitioner and educator at Stanford Hospital and Clinics.
You can sleep when you're dead, which hopefully won't be anytime soon, because nurses are fantastic in so many ways. However…
Nurses aren't maids
"Nurses are highly educated medical professionals. Do not ask them to fluff your pillow," Brook says. "They do not work for doctors, but are actually part of a healthcare team optimized to give you the best care possible."
Nurses aren't your servers, either, so don't complain about hospital meals to them. "People don't check in for first-class accommodations or gourmet food," Brook adds. They check in because they're in need of medical care. Which brings us to the next point.