Things you only know if you live with medics and nurses

You discuss bodily functions and ask them about lumps

Living with medical students and nurses when you aren’t one yourself can make for a very interesting few years, and here are a few reasons why – from the fascination with urine to an unhealthy obsession with caffeine.

You’ve had your pulse/blood pressure/other vital statistics taken goodness knows how many times

Sitting in a kitchen slightly too small for the number of occupants, the general excitement they seem to get from finding out how fast your heart is pumping makes for an interesting evening – and when somebody whips out a blood pressure monitor there’s really nothing you can do but sit back and offer your arms willingly… often followed by your anxious questions: “What does that mean?” or “Is that good?

Their crazy placement hours make you feel like you’re skiving

Rolling out of bed for a 9am lecture pales in comparison to their 5am wake up for a 12-hour shift, or the gruelling night shifts you’ve heard whispers about. Don’t ever ask them how their day was unless you have an hour minimum to listen to all the drama over a cup of tea taken in a medical-themed mug (Completely recommend. These stories are the best if you can keep up with the lingo, and they even top an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.)

They’ll discuss illnesses and injuries amongst themselves that you couldn’t even guess at.

It’s as if they’re speaking another language when this happens, and you try to keep up by nodding in mock understanding every so often, and diving in when you hear the word “fracture” to impart your (scarily little) knowledge on the matter. Well, it’s better than stopping them every five seconds for a definition like some kind of simplified end of year exam.

They come up with the best solutions

Something in the brains of medics and nurses just makes them incredibly resourceful. Ingenious solutions to seemingly impossible problems are easily found in the lives of these students, and it shows when you enter their rooms.

The bike of student nurse Katie Bradfield, ingeniously suspended by a lanyard

They drink A LOT of coffee

But then , if you were working ridiculous shift patterns and also memorising every inch of the human body, you would be clutching onto your travel mug like a lifeline.

Their notes are just something else

Want to see what meticulous notes and beautifully-labelled diagrams look like, take a look at the pinboards of your flatmates and feel yourself turn physically green with envy. Your scribbles on the use of metaphor in Brontë poetry look dull in comparison.

You have a flat full of people to consult when you’re feeling a little under the weather

Whether you’ve got a bit of a cold that you’re milking or you want a second opinion on that dodgy-looking lump, there’s always someone to turn to – and their warning at the end “you should probably get that checked out anyway” goes right over your head. They’re a professional… almost… right?

Some of the stories you hear make you wonder if they were drunk when they made their career choices

Really? You had to clean up what? And you still want to do this?!

Admiring your flatmates’ bold career choices and extreme dedication make you start to wonder how they chose their degree and whether it was the result of some kind of drunken bet, because, let’s face it, nobody quite parties like nurses and medics.

Bodily functions are freely discussed over the breakfast table

Nothing, and I mean nothing, is off limits. Vomit? Not a problem. The colour of your urine? Scientifically explained to you three times already this term, and you’ve even gotten used to ranking bowel movements on the Bristol Stool Chart, which someone has on a mug.


They’ll point out all the medical inaccuracies in TV shows

The number of times you’ve heard an irritated “but that just wouldn’t happen!” or a disgruntled “that’s completely not how it works” from your knowing flatmates is too great to count these days, and it’s even got you doing the same – taking your subconsciously absorbed medical knowledge home with you over the holidays led to many surprised family members as you accurately labelled injuries on the Casualty Christmas Special. It’s even got you wondering if you should switch courses yourself, given that you know so much.

Even with their toilet humour and constant desire to take your temperature, you’re constantly in awe of their your medic flatmates – and you’re even considering specifying nurses as a future flatmate requirement.

Because let’s face it: who else would calm you down when your leg did “that thing” again?