Nurses And Doctors Are Sharing Ways Their Brains Are Wired Differently, And It's So Interesting

    "I have completely lost the ability to wash my hands like a normal person anymore."

    Recently, I stumbled on a Quora question that asked, "What habits did you pick up as a doctor or nurse that most people would not understand?" It's so interesting to see how people's brains have been rewired!

    1. "Looking at peoples' veins. I get super excited when I see juicy, bouncy veins."

    Lana Williams

    veins on an arm

    2. "Second-guessing and critiquing medical shows on television. 'That’s not how you put a sling on.' 'Why do they have a nasal cannula on that person? They need a mask.” My husband has to keep reminding me it’s a show, not a documentary, but I can’t help it. 'Look at the nails on that nurse! Why is her manager allowing that!'"

    Bethann Siviter

    3. "I always know whether my hands are 'clean' or 'dirty.' That is, since I last washed/sanitized them, have I touched anyone or anything such that they need to again be cleaned. I don’t need to think about this — I just know it."

    David Rind

    doctor washing their hands

    4. "There is a lot of information I gather from looking at a person's face. It all happens subconsciously. I'll be sitting in a restaurant minding my own business and glancing across the room. Most times, there would be background noise in my head going like, 'She looks pale. Anemia? No swollen feet...Her thyroid looks enlarged...Hmm, I wonder if it's goitre. Mild proptosis, too...Should I say something? Don't be stupid."


    5. "I am always scanning a room and people. I watch and listen for signs of illness."

    Jill E Griffin

    profile of a man

    6. "I am a pharmacist, and my ears perk up whenever anybody mentions a medication. Movies and books with drugs involved get me all analytical and either disappointed or impressed with the accuracy of the medication event. When they show pills on screen, I look at the markings to identify it. Dramatic drug side effects, which are uncommon in real life, ruin the credibility of the whole story for me."

    Mira Rose

    7. "The six steps of handwashing is an immensely popular as well as effective method of hand hygeine. It is used before all procedures that need a certain degree of asepsis. Having spent a lot of time in the pediatrics department as an intern and junior resident, it is one of the habits that I picked up as a doctor that has successfully transitioned into my life outside the hospital. Sadly, I have completely lost the ability to wash my hands like a normal person anymore."

    Devpriyo Pal

    8. "When writing — whether it be notes, shopping lists, etc. — it is hard to break the habit of using medical abbreviations. They are really handy to use and cut down on a lot of writing. If I am leaving a note for somebody, I frequently automatically use the abbreviations for with, without, before, after, each, once daily, twice daily, etc. Then, I have to cross it out and write the word instead."

    Debra (Debbie) G.

    writing on a notepad

    9. "Few things in life still have the ability to disgust or scare me. I can talk about blood, colorectal cancer, and body fluids over a dinner with my colleagues without feeling anything, and it actually surprises me when i find that people are disgusted by this sort of things."

    Ethar Mahmoud

    10. "I’ve developed an affinity for gloves. I used to hate having my hands covered and the first few weeks of training were yucky and awkward, but I now keep a few stashes of exam gloves around the house for a variety of purposes. It’s familiar and comforting to wear them."

    Tammy Woodbury

    11. "Knocking on every door I come to. Even in my home I find myself knocking on doors. I went to my doctors office as a patient and knocked on the exam room door. My doctor (who knows what I do) noticed and laughed, saying 'You’re not in there.'"

    T.D. Adams; Author of Broken System

    person opening the front door for someone

    12. "When I’m passing by someone and there’s a chance we might bump, I cross my arms in front of me at breast level, each hand on top of my arm, which is how we had to it in the OR to avoid putting our hands in areas of our bodies (above the armpit line, below the waist, at the sides) that are considered contaminated."

    Coral Schmidt

    13. "I wash my hands BEFORE and after I go to bathroom."

    Joseph Grillo

    14. "Wolfing down food. When I started my internship, it dawned on me that when eating with the unit team you cannot be still eating when the others have finished and ready to take to the wards. Also, the possibility of being paged in the middle of a meal. Hence you gulp quickly and, when mercifully still unpaged, enjoy your coffee."

    Khengchat Ng

    nurse eating a salad outside of the hospital

    15. "Forty years later I can still sleep whenever, wherever and on command. I guess irregular shifts were good for something."

    Ronald Van Esch

    16. "I’m a pharmacist and I always check the expiration dates before buying any over the counter meds, vitamins, or other supplements. I’ve seen too many expired pills laying around in the pharmacy that somehow get missed during inspections."

    Jennifer Mittler-Lee

    17. Finally, "Saying I love you to everyone before I leave the house. I worked trauma. People too often wished they could say something one more time. Trauma is often unexpected. If I got in a car accident or had any number of other things happen, I wanted I love you to be the last thing I said to my family, their last memory of me as me."

    Danita Lee Ewing

    two doctors hugging

    Have a quirky habit because of your job? Tell us in the comments below!