Study Shows “Hold On, I’ll Get Your Nurse” Most Common Phrase Doctors Say to Inpatients

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nurse helpingA new survey published this month reveals the sentence “Hold on, I’ll get your nurse” to be the most common thing doctors say to inpatients.  The phrase, reportedly used in over 93% of daily patient interactions, narrowly beat out “Hello” and “How are you?” in the survey of 10,000 physicians from over 30 specialties.  Health care providers laud the oft-uttered sentence for its versatility and applicability to a wide range of situations.  According to the study, the phrase is used most commonly as a response to the following statements from patients:

“I need to use the bathroom.”


“There’s an itch I can’t reach.”

“Why don’t you sit down and stay for a while?”

“Can you hand me that urinal?”

“My mashed potatoes aren’t mashed enough.”

“What are you gonna do about this leaking catheter?”

“I just pulled this _____ out of my ______.”

The survey reports “Hold on, I’ll get your nurse” is used on average within 2-3 minutes of a physician entering a patient’s hospital room.  The habit of using this sentence is apparently so ingrained in physician culture that it’s often used in nonsensical situations, such as when the nurse is already standing in the room or when the patient asks about the weather.

Ryan Johnson, a general surgery intern, reports that he can’t use the phrase soon enough during morning rounds.  “I’ll usually start off by saying ‘Hold on, I’ll get your nurse’ as soon as I walk in the room.  Then, I’ll get my whole exam done during the ensuing confusion as the patient tries to figure out why they need a nurse.  Eventually they think of something.  They always do.”

When asked why he and other physicians rely on nurses to perform mundane, menial tasks, Anderson paused for a moment, then confidently responded, “Hold on, let me get the nurse.”

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