The Forbidden Word: Krucial Krew’s Superstitions

By: Morgan Clark

“I’m not superstitious but I am a little stitious.”
-Michael Scott, The Office

Whether you admit it or not, superstition is a part of many people’s lives. These widely held, but unjustified beliefs are indoctrinated in us from a young age. Even if you’ve been able to logically dismiss superstitions, we bet you can still name off some common ones. Such as not walking under a ladder, throwing salt over the left shoulder after it’s been spilled, or welcoming bad luck by opening an umbrella inside a building.

According to TED Ed, many “Superstitions are based more on cultural habit than conscious belief” (TED Ed, “Where Do Superstitions Come From?”). In other words, groups of people with common backgrounds, experiences, or professions have formed superstitions that they believe to be true, and the medical field is no exception. In fact, some would argue that healthcare staff may be more superstitious than most. The popular television drama, Grey’s Anatomy, addresses this topic in Season 2, titling the episode “Superstitions” (clever, right?). The episode depicts a wide variety of medical superstitions to viewers, ranging from the most common to the more…peculiar ones.

We recently asked our Krucial Krew what their superstitions are on Instagram and many of you were on the same page. Our Krew seems to respect these superstitions as if they were the law and treat them that way on the unit floor. The top response to our Instagram story was not saying the word “quiet” on a shift. If this forbidden word is spoken, that shift will quickly become hectic. Codes will start going off, patients all need care simultaneously, or there are multiple admissions. This seems to be a universal superstition within the healthcare world, crossing over into other languages and cultures. We had someone message in with an example, “In Miami where most of us are Hispanic…we don’t use ‘Tranquillo.’” Some other variation of the word, “quiet,” is stating how there are too many nurses on the shift or how slow the shift is going.

The second most popular response was the superstition of the full moon or what another Krew member referred to as a “night of psychosis.” Apparently, “81 percent of medical professionals believe the full moon can make people ill” (Healthline, “How Does a Full Moon Affect Our Physical and Mental Well-Being”). Outside the healthcare field, many non-healthcare workers believe a full moon can affect your sleep cycle, mood, or even how people interact with each other (Healthline). But as with all these superstitions, there’s no sturdy scientific evidence to support this belief.

A few other more universal superstitions that the Krucial Krew sent in were patient deaths happen in threes, opening the window when a patient passes, and deeming some hospital rooms to be cursed.

We also received responses from Krew members who shared more personal superstitions. One Reservist replied and said if it happens to be stormy outside, they will switch their tennis shoes before clocking in for the night. One nurse wrote in, explaining how they avoid wearing white scrubs to work because she always has to give a patient a blood transfusion when she does. We also had a medical professional share a cultural superstition that one should not eat noodles saying, “Filipino nurses know this.” Another no-no, according to our followers, is printing a new armband for your patients because it seems to cause a commotion when this happens. One of our Reservists sticks to the tried-and-true superstition of knocking on wood whenever someone asks her if things are going well during her shift.

As you can see, there seem to be many superstitions widely held among medical professionals. From the full moon to the changing of shoes, superstations are prevalent in the medical field. It has also become a way that Reservists can connect with one another doing whatever they can to have a smooth shift. While we’ll never fully understand how or why these unsupported, supernatural occurrences are common within the medical field – one thing we do know is NOT to say “quiet.”

Interested in contributing to the Krucial Kollective? Send us an e-mail at marketing@krucialrr.org and let us know what you would like to write!

According to TED Ed, many “Superstitions are based more on cultural habit than conscious belief."

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