Sally Smithson, otherwise known as the Nurse, has been an integral part of the Dead by Daylight franchise since her debut. She first appeared in “The Last Breath” as the first new Killer added to the roster, as well as the first female Killer. As a skill-based Killer, the Nurse is one of the most difficult Killers in the game to master. That said, if you’re able to harness her abilities correctly, she is also one of the most powerful Killers in the game. In this guide to the best Nurse builds in Dead by Daylight, we’ll cover everything you need to know about playing and mastering this formidable Killer.
Let’s get started!
DBD Nurse Guide: Overview
After the death of her husband, Sally Smithson accepted a job at the Crotus Prenn Asylum where she worked for two decades until the horrors she witnessed warped her mind. In a final attempt to bring peace to those ailing patients, she slaughtered over 50 patients and four staff members one evening. Staff arrived the following morning to discover the pile of bodies — and Sally rocking silently in a corner.
As a warping and tracking Killer, the Nurse is able to avoid obstacles that impact other Killers and can quickly close gaps to attack Survivors, which make it harder for Survivors to evade her. This is helpful for players who prefer stalking and surprise attacks.
Due to how daunting it is to learn how to play Nurse, she’s a Killer that many players wait to tackle. Her playstyle is considered “high risk, high reward” and requires a lot of practice to master. Inexperienced players tend to miscalculate the timing of her power and are punished with fatigue for missing attacks. It takes a lot of work to hone the skills that make the Nurse almost impossible to beat.
DBD Nurse Power: Spencer’s Last Breath
Although other Killers, like Nightmare and the Dredge, also rely on teleportation for their attacks, none of them have quite the same effectiveness as the Nurse’s Blink ability (called Spencer’s Last Breath in the game). With it, she can teleport long distances in moments, cutting off Survivors’ routes. Even though she moves slower than Survivors (at a speed of 3.85m/s) she makes up for it with her Blinking speed of 13.33m/s or 20 meters.
Another benefit to the Nurse’s Blink power is that you don’t have to worry as much about pallets or walls. While the Nurse can still be hit with a pallet, she doesn’t need to break them. If you time it right, you can Blink and hit a Survivor on the opposing pallet side! If you have an inside map, The Nurse also benefits because she doesn’t have to worry about moving around walls.
Following a Blink, you have an opportunity to enable the “Chain Blink Window,” where you can Blink at least two more times for up to 12 meters in pursuit of a Survivor or to traverse the map. During this time, you can also choose to initiate a Lunge attack with the Nurse’s bonesaw weapon.
By holding the alternate attack button (M2 or L2 depending on your console) you can charge up one of the Nurse’s two to three Blinks before she enters a brief state of fatigue. The longer you charge a Blink, the farther she can teleport — the actual Blinking location is determined by where the Nurse’s gaze falls. It takes the nurse 2.89 m/s to charge a Blink.
After any number of Blinks, the Nurse will be struck with a fatigue cooldown. The time of which varies depending on the number of Blinks expended. The base fatigue duration is two seconds, but a chain-Blink penalty adds 0.5 seconds to each Blink. For example, after three Blinks, the fatigue takes three seconds. There is also an added fatigue penalty of one second if the Nurse misses an attack. This is why it’s always better to wait to ensure your attack lands than to hit blindly and risk missing the attack.
DBD Nurse Weakness: Lightburn
Despite how powerful The Nurse is, she still has a prominent vulnerability. Due to her interactions with the Spirit World, The Nurse suffers from Lightburn, which makes her vulnerable to bright lights.
When a Survivor shines a flashlight directly at The Nurse, she won’t be able to charge a Blink. If she’s already charging a Blink, a flashlight pointed at her will stun her, ending the Blink and forcing her to go into fatigue mode.
Firecrackers and flash grenades detonated near The Nurse when she’s mid-Blink charge will also stun her and cause fatigue.
DBD Nurse Perks
For new or inexperienced players, it can be tempting to ignore perks in favor of power. That said, perks are an essential DBD gaming mechanic that will help bolster your overall game play. When equipped, perks can increase your main power, as well as provide added benefits to help your Killer better stalk or attack Survivors.
The Nurse has three unique perks: Stridor, Thanatophobia and A Nurse’s Calling. All of these abilities debuff Survivors and make them easier for her to track while they’re injured. With her focus on spotting and tracking, it’s hard for Survivors to hide from The Nurse.
With this perk, The Nurse can hear Survivor’s breathing and grunts of pain at a louder intensity.
- Tier 1 (Yellow): Grunt volume increased by 25%, Survivor’s regular breathing isn’t amplified.
- Tier 2 (Green): Grunt volume increased by 50%, Survivor’s regular breathing isn’t amplified.
- Tier 3 (Purple): Grunt volume increased by 50%, Survivor’s regular breathing is amplified by 25%.
With their courage fading as they stare down their own mortality, each injured Survivor inflicts a penalty to repairing, cleansing, and sabotaging speeds to all other Survivors. If a Survivor is injured, dying or hooked, they will be afflicted with a stackable speed penalty as follows:
- Tier 1 (Yellow): 1% (stacks to a maximum of 4%)
- Tier 2 (Green): 1.5% (stacks to a maximum of 6%)
- Tier 3 (Purple): 2% (stacks to a maximum of 8%)
This perk gets an extra boost if all four of the Survivors are either injured, dying, or hooked at the same time. Thanatophobia will increase the action speed penalty by a further 12%.
A Nurse’s Calling
This perk unlocks The Nurse’s aura reading ability, revealing all of the Survivors who are healing within a set range.
- Tier 1 (Yellow): 20 meters
- Tier 2 (Green): 24 meters
- Tier 3 (Purple): 28 meters
Best Add-Ons for Nurse
The best add-ons for The Nurse are the ones that enhance her Blinking abilities, either contributing to the Chain Blink Window or helping her tracking abilities.
- Wooden Horse: Common. Decreases your post-Blink fatigue for 0.5 seconds if you miss an attack. This is helpful for new players who are still figuring out how to best time their attack on a Survivor after Blinking.
- Plaid Flannel: Common. Allows you to see where you’ll appear once you’ve Blinked. Another helpful tool for new players who are getting their bearings on the Blink ability.
- Heavy Panting: Uncommon. Significantly increases The Nurse’s maximum Blink range by four meters, as well as Blink charge time and duration by 20%.
- Pocket Watch: Rare. Increases your chain Blink window of time by 0.2 seconds.
- Dark Cincture: Rare. Reduces your Blink recovery time by 0.4 seconds.
- Kavanagh’s Last Breath: Very rare. Tremendously increases both the maximum Blink range by 6 meters, as well as Blink charge time and duration by 30%.
- Torn Bookmark: Extremely Rare. Grants you an additional Chain Blink, which can be extremely helpful to catch Survivors. Unfortunately, this effect is tempered by the fact you can no longer Blink through solid objects.
Best Builds for DBD Nurse
With The Nurse being a tracking and warping Killer, the best builds for her include ones with tracking capabilities, or ones that reveal the auras of nearby Survivors for The Nurse to pursue. Using the add-ons from above with these different builds will also help bolster the Nurse’s capabilities.
This build is one of the best if you’re starting out playing Nurse, because the perks are either easy to get or already accessible.
With Nurse’s Calling, you’ll be able reveal the Survivors who are healing. With Infectious Fright (The Plague), you can reveal the screams of Survivors within the Nurse’s 32-meter terror radius. These perks automatically benefit you as you hunt for Survivors.
Similarly, BBQ & Chilli (The Cannibal) will reveal the auras of all other Survivors after hooking one. This gives you direction on the next Survivor to hunt down, and helpfully informs you if any Survivors are close by for the unhook.
Sloppy Butcher (general perk) is another useful perk because it imposes the “Mangled and Hemorrhage” status to Survivors with wounds inflicted by successful basic attacks. This means you increase their bleeding frequency by 50/75/100%, depending on the tier level, as well as increase the regression rate, which impacts a Survivor’s partial healing progression.
Together, these perks will elicit more damage with your attacks and make it easier for you to find and track Survivors.
Once you’re able to upgrade your build with more perks and add-ons, this build gives you more range of power and versatility.
Both Nurse’s Calling and BBQ & Chilli (The Cannibal) will make tracking Survivor’s whereabouts easier through their auras, but adding Tinkerer (The Hillbilly) will help you monitor generator progress. When the generator is 70% repaired, Tinkerer will trigger a loud noise notification and grant you an Undetectable status effect. This means Survivors are unable to hear your terror radius as you approach.
I also recommend switching out Sloppy Butcher for Blood Echo (The Oni), because it inflicts the “Hemorrhage and Exhaustion” effect status on all Survivors after hooking one, which impacts their cooldown for 45 seconds.
Together, these perks work together to give the Nurse a broader build.
This is a build that encapsulates the Nurse’s “high risk, high reward” playstyle. With the introduction of Hex Perks, which depend on the totem mechanics, you’ll have to keep an eye on those auras to keep Survivor’s from cleansing and potentially deactivating it.
This build focuses more on generator interference, which aims to slow down Survivor’s progress and keep them in the game longer so you have more opportunities to kill them. Hex — Ruin (The Hag) is one of the more powerful hexes, as it affects all Survivors’ generator repair progress. It causes any generators that aren’t being worked on by a Survivor to immediately and automatically regress. This helps you know where to focus your energy, as Survivors won’t want to lose their generator progress and will be easier to spot. Doubling that with Tinkerer will also inform you whenever a generator is close to completion and give you further opportunities to mess with their tasks.
While running the Ruin Hex, Survivors are going to try and cleanse the totem to deactivate the perk. To counteract that, use the Hex — Undying (The Blight) perk to maintain more control over your totems. This perk reveals the auras of any survivors that are close to any totem.
I also recommend using Nurse’s Calling for this build, because it adds an unexpected element of hunting Survivors. With the other perks focusing so heavily on generators, it adds a level of diversification and tracking that we love to see when playing this Killer.
DBD Nurse Guide: Tips & Tricks
Finally, let’s close out this Dead by Daylight Nurse Guide with a few tips and tricks to help you master your abilities and terrorize your prey.
Practice makes perfect.
The Nurse is one of the most difficult Killers in DBD for a reason. The best way to master her powers is by playing her a lot — even though it’ll result in some rough games as you’re learning. This is especially true of her Blinks. If you Blink too close to a Survivor, they may be able to “loop” the Nurse and escape while you’re fatigued. If you land too far, your second Blink may not be able to reach in time to attack.
Try to Blink behind a Survivor, so you give enough space for your second teleportation. Eventually, you’ll be able to determine the timing to accurately pinpoint your Blinks, and it’ll become muscle memory.
Allow room for trickery.
The Blinking power also gives the Nurse the option to try and fake out their Survivors. You can control the length of a Blink by holding down the alternate attack button, which hits it max when Nurse closes her first, or by aiming down before releasing if you change your mind on the Blinking distance.
This is beneficial if you want to trick Survivors into thinking you’re going to Blink further away because you used a longer charge, and it can position you perfectly to attack.
Remember your vulnerabilities.
With how powerful the Nurse is, it can be easy to forget her downsides. Her slow walking movement and fatigued state will give Survivor’s ample opportunities to escape her grasp, so mastering your Blink technique will be crucial to finding success in cutting off and attacking Survivors. Also be mindful of her light sensitivity when pursuing Survivors with flashlights — you may need to adjust your playstyle accordingly.
Join the High Ground
That’s it for our Dead by Daylight Nurse Guide — thanks for reading! Let us know which Killer we should cover next in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more content like this.