6 Reasons Nurses Shouldn't Date Doctors

By Kathleen Colduvell, RN, BSN, BA, CBC     

Most nurses have seen the Grey’s Anatomy episode where Rose, the nurse, and Derek, the dreamy surgeon, take their relationship to the next level.

But it's not that simple.

Nurses rarely sneak off to on-call rooms in the middle of a shift. In fact, hospital call rooms have very small, squeaky beds and very thin walls!

Doctors used to marry nurses -- it was a more common practice in previous generations.

Now, nurses are choosing NOT to date doctors. Here’s a list of reasons why you may not want to either.

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1. They have crazy hours

Typically, nurses enter into relationships with first year interns or residents. After all, most fellows or attending physicians are engaged or married.

Interns are assigned quite possibly the worst schedule and on-call rotation in the hospital. So, a relationship can be tough.

At a facility I’m familiar with, interns in the ICU and cardiology are on call every third day and cover one week of night call per month.

Residents (second and third years) are on call every fourth night.

My advice: avoid dating medical trainees. That is, unless you want to coordinate your crazy hours with those of the intern or resident.

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2. You get the looks, gossip, and questions

When a nurse and a doctor date, it becomes everybody’s business.

Coworkers feel invested in these relationships and need details.

Hospitals are comprised primarily of women, and women tend to gossip. Keeping a relationship with a coworker private can be impossible. 

Surprises can be ruined and rumors can start. A relationship constantly under scrutiny from female coworkers can be exhausting, and most nurses don’t need the added pressure at work.

3. It's impossible to leave work at work

It's hard enough for most people to leave work out of dinner conversations. But when both partners are in the medical profession, it's virtually impossible.

Conversations center on patients, surgeries, an exciting diagnosis, or sometimes a patient's death. Let's be honest - who really wants to talk about bowel movements and splenectomies over a romantic dinner?

4. Student loans, low salaries, and massive debt = cheap dates

A General Surgery resident at the UC San Diego School of Medicine earns an annual salary between $54,947 to $70,702, according to the UC San Diego School of Medicine website.

The average student loan for a doctor is $200,000 for medical school alone.

If you date an intern or resident, you can expect cheap dates, small gifts, and a lot of nights watching movies at home.

Don’t expect expensive nights out and diamonds until after residency and fellowship are completed!

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5. Forget about parties, birthdays, and anniversaries

Once a call schedule is determined by the chief residents, it’s virtually impossible to change. Residents get minimal flexibility with their schedules.

Generally, weddings and births will take priority over other planned events.

Switches require planning and massive amounts of bargaining. The majority of the time, the doctor has to give up holidays or multiple weekends to get a specific night off.

Get used to attending weddings alone and reminding everyone that you’re dating a doctor!

6. Vacation? What’s a vacation?

Residents are allowed approximately four weeks of vacation in a scheduled year. This time is used to catch up on their own medical appointments, reconnect with family and friends that have been neglected, and more importantly - sleep!

Just recently started dating a doctor and want to take a romantic tropical vacation together? You might just have to wait until the next schedule comes around. Vacations are requested almost a year in advance.

So, does dating a medical resident still sound romantic and fun?

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Kathleen Colduvell RN, BSN, BA, CBC graduated with a degree in English and journalism before going back to nursing school. After graduating from Villanova University, she became a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse. Currently, she works at one of the leading children’s hospitals in the country in the NICU, PICU, and CICU, as well as working as a Certified Breastfeeding Consultant.



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