Hospital Etiquette: Don’t Be “That Guy”


What Nurses Really Think About The Behaviors of New Dads and Visitors

It seems almost silly to write or read, however, as with any place you are in, there is an etiquette that is unspoken.  Maintaining the appropriate etiquette is essential for peaceful and respectful interactions within our society.  So when it comes to visiting the hospital for the delivery of your child, it is imperative that you maintain appropriate etiquette.

If you are a first time dad and unfamiliar with hospitals, it would be wise of you to gain some familiarity with the hospital you are expecting your child to be delivered at. Once your child is born there is no doubt that you will have a flood of different feelings and emotions. You’re obviously feeling excited about being a daddy, but you also may be feeling nervous, scared, apprehensive, maybe even stressed. Let’s face it, a newborn is a life changer, and if you already have a child, adding another one does not make it any less of a life changer. But let’s keep things in perspective, just because your world has changed, this does not mean that the world around you has changed, nor does it mean the rules of etiquette have magically disappeared.

When my son was born I took the opportunity to survey a few of the nurses and staff about what they found annoying or irritating from fathers or guest in the room with mommy. They did not hesitate to fire off a few appalling behaviors that I would think are no brainers. However they assured me that some people are just that oblivious to the things they do. Some nurses justified appalling behavior by stating that a new father may possibly be so distracted by their new responsibility that they lose perspective.  I think it’s somewhat reasonable for a father to be so consumed with his new responsibilities and life changes that he may occasionally accidentally forget etiquette.  Even though this may occur on occasion the people in the room with mommy should never be a handful for the staff. Here are ten behaviors that nurses find annoying from daddy and visiting guests.

10 Behaviors That Nurses Find Annoying

1. Listen

Listen to the hospital staff.  How would you like for someone to come into your domain and not listen to you, dealing with obnoxious people is a pain in the ass.

2. Be Positive

Don’t be negative around mommy.  Mommy needs love and support, and guess who gets to give it to her.  Any issues or complaints you have need to take a back seat while her body is recovering.

3. Read The Signs

Don’t ignore hospital signage or walk around aimlessly. Hospitals are a labyrinth of corridors and doors, but it is not some magical place to explore.  If you get bored go outside for a walk, don’t just pick a floor and start walking around unless you are ready to be questioned by staff or security.

4. Don’t Wander

Don’t go into restricted areas unless you are told to do so. Hospitals lock access to these areas but on occasion an automatic door main linger open allowing Christopher Columbus to find himself in a restricted area.

5. Keep Comments To Yourself

Don’t make comments about other people’s babies.  Everyone has an opinion and whatever yours is about someone else’s baby it’s probably the same opinion that doctors had upon your birth, just keep it to yourself.

6. Be Courteous

Don’t be rude to hospital staff.  Common courtesy and decency are always in order however there are some who feel they are omitted from being decent.  Asking goes a long way, don’t demand things, this is the healthcare system not the shoe department at Macy’s, people are taken care of based on need, not your social status, welcome to the healthcare system.

7. Stay Awake

Don’t fall asleep before mommy does.  Yes you are tired, but nothing is worse than falling asleep when mommy is awake in pain and needing more ice chips.  Supporting dads need to stay awake and ready to help when and where they can.

8. Be Prepared

Write down any questions you may have.  Be prepared to write down any questions you may have so that when a nurse or doctor asks if you have any questions you are prepared.  The last thing you want to do is hold up a nurse or doctor while they are trying to get to the next patient.  I know the knee jerk reaction is to get defensive and say you will take as long as you have to.  That’s fine, just keep in mind that when you are waiting on the nurse to bring medication for a mommy in pain you will have to wait while the doctors and nurses tend to the other patients that may not be prepared and asking the wrong questions.

9. Avoid Getting Too Comfortable

Be mindful of your hygiene.  Just because you are supporting mommy does not give you the right to subject everyone in the room to your forsaken cheese stinking feet.  Take a plastic bag to put those biohazard shoes and socks in.  If you did not bring a plastic bag don’t take your shoes off.

10. Tech Time Out

If mother and baby are resting don’t take phone calls in the room.  Few things are more rude than jabbering it up on the phone while mommy is trying to get some rest.  This goes for entertainment to, if you need to hear Candy Crush or Clash of the Clans plug in your ear buds.


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