From NetHackWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A nurse, @, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. They are human monsters with a single attack that is unique and can actively heal the player under certain circumstances.

If a nurse attacks you while you are unarmored and empty-handed (as in not wielding a weapon), and you are not generating conflict, the attack will instead heal you for that same amount. Chatting to a nurse results in various messages, based on what needs to be taken off or unwielded before they can heal you.[1] If you are a Healer, a non-cancelled nurse will not damage you even if you are wearing armor or wielding a weapon, and you may occasionally receive a special message.[2]

Eating a nurse's corpse or tin has a 1115 or ~73% chance of conveying poison resistance, and will always restore you to full HP while curing blindness.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Nurses can now heal you even when you are wielding something, as long as it is not a weapon or weapon-tool.


Nurses are always generated hostile, and are not an eligible form for polymorph.


Main article: Nurse dancing

If you encounter a nurse, and there are no other dangerous monsters nearby, the easiest way to strip yourself is to press shift + A and select all of your armor, plus your wielded weapon, for removal. Once disrobed and disarmed, you can let the nurse start healing. Letting many nurses heal you at once this way is known as nurse dancing, most often done by reverse-genociding nurses on a non-teleport level - see that article for more details.

Healing attack

While you are unarmored and not wielding anything, the nurse's attack will restore 2d6 HP per hit and cure food poisoning and illness;[1] being healed this way has a 13 chance of exercising strength and constitution.[3] After healing you, a nurse has a 133 chance of teleporting away - if you are on a non-teleport level, the nurse will become scared for a while instead; if your maximum HP was raised, the nurse also has a 113 chance of vanishing entirely.[1] A cancelled nurse will attack and damage you as normal.

The chance of a nurse raising your max HP is 17 for each hit, provided that your maximum is less than 5 × XL + (2 × XL)d10 - nurses are thus most effective when you have fewer than 7 HP/level, and become completely ineffective at 25 HP/level.[4] No such restrictions apply to polyself, but any max HP increases acquired while polymorphed will only last until you revert to your original form.

Tinning nurses

Characters with a tinning kit should ideally tin nurse corpses when possible; the tin and/or the kit itself should be blessed, as it will take two turns at most to open and eat without a tin opener. Tins of nurse meat are often carried alongside blessed potions of full healing during the late game and the eventual ascension run, as they are comparable major sources of healing.

Nurse meat will always restore you to full HP, while potions of full healing are limited to restoring 400 HP at most; the latter is still sufficient for a majority of cases, and quaffing non-cursed potions while under 400 maximum HP can increase that maximum by up to 8 per potion. Tins of nurse meat in open inventory cannot be destroyed by cold or fire, but opening and eating a blessed tin may take two turns, while a potion can be downed in one go - do not wait until you are one turn from death to consume tinned nurse.

Eating nurse meat is also cannibalism for humans, with the exception of human Cavewomen and Cavemen - those playing humans in other roles may still want to keep a few tins on hand for dire emergencies, as they may consider it better to live as a cannibal and eventually restore lost Luck than die of hit point loss.


The nurse first appears in Hack 1.0. From this version to NetHack 2.3e, nurses used the n glyph - in NetHack 3.0.0, the nymph was split into its three subtypes and moved to the n glyph; nurses were moved to the @ glyph with other human and elven monsters.

The blindness-curing property of nurse meat was introduced in NetHack 3.6.1 via commit 0840974.[5]

A bug prevented nurse meat from properly conferring poison resistance; this was fixed prior to the release of NetHack 3.6.2 via commit a97d0b7.


"Put that weapon away before you hurt somebody!"
You chatted to a nurse while wielding a weapon or other item.
"Please undress so I can examine you."
As above while you are wearing armor, possibly hiding a shirt.
"Take off your shirt, please."
As above while you are only wearing a shirt.
"Relax, this won't hurt a bit."
You chatted to a nurse while fully disrobed and wielding no weapon.
"I hate this job!"
You chatted to a cancelled nurse.
The nurse hits! (I hope you don't mind.)
You were hit by a nurse and were healed instead of damaged.
"Doc, I can't help you unless you cooperate."
You are a Healer and wearing armor or wielding something while a nurse is "attacking" you.[2]



In SLASH'EM, the prison in the northern half of Grund's Stronghold has a 25 chance of containing a peaceful nurse.


In GruntHack, nurses are included among the various racial monsters.


In dNetHack, nurses generate with worn healer uniforms and wielded scalpels, and are capable of wielding other weapons. A nurse named Nyx inhabits the front hall of the Windowless Tower, and several hostile nurses are generated wielding sickness-poisoned scalpels in the Madman quest.

Nurses no longer have a special selective healing attack - it is replaced with a single 1d6 weapon attack, and they can separately heal adjacent targets for 2d6, with an additional d6 for every third monster level they posses above level 9. The amount healed is based inversely on the target's DR: the higher damage reduction you have, the less HP the nurse will restore. This means that nurse dancing is no longer possible. Nurses are also tameable via the charm monster spell, and will only apply their healing to allied monsters: tame nurses will heal players and pets, while hostile nurses will heal other hostile monsters.

Nurse services

You can pay a non-hostile nurse to have your health fortified through a number of services, with the price depending on the service and the effect that it replicates. Any gold used to pay for these services is removed from the game - peaceful nurses add a 10% surcharge, which instead goes into the nurse's inventory. With the exception of the first service, they will only be available if you have an applicable condition that they can cure.

  1. "Fortify my health" (2000 zm) - This has the same effect as a potion of full healing, restoring up to 400 hp and additionally increasing max HP by 8 if this would fully heal you.
  2. "Something for my nerves" (1000 zm) - The nurse applies a course of tranquilizers that behaves like a blessed potion of sleeping, with 15 sanity restored per application.
  3. "Steroids" (1000 zm) - This has a similar effect to a blessed potion of restore ability from vanilla NetHack, restoring all lost attributes to their former maximums.
  4. "Extract morgul shards" (4000 zm) - This removes any and all morgul shards from your person, and generates 1 metal shuriken per shard with the "lesser morgul" object property.
  5. "Antibiotics" (2000 zm) - This cures any sickness you currently have.
  6. "Remove slimy green growths" (2000 zm) - This cures any sliming.
  7. "Fertility treatment" (1000 zm) - This cures any sterility you have, which prevents you laying eggs in oviparous polyforms and will always result in detrimental effects when consorting with foocubi.
  8. "Brain surgery" (6000 zm) - Brain surgery removes one chosen thought granted by an insight: the process will lower your sanity by 10 points, reduce your wisdom, intelligence and constitution by 1, halve your current HP, and creates a glyph on a shard in your inventory. You can read the shard at any time to re-implant the thought in your head.


In xNetHack, nurses have a 15 chance of generating with a scalpel.

Encyclopedia entry

See Human (monster) § Encyclopedia entry.