I am a new graduate nurse who has been on the floor for a little over 2 months. I had a situation last week with a patient who was being discharged. She wanted a hug when she was getting ready to leave, and when I leaned out from hugging her she tucked a $20 bill in my shirt pocket. She insisted I take it because she and her daughter said I took the best care of her out of everyone that she'd run across since she'd been there. I took it out of my pocket and told her I couldn't accept it because it was my job to be there and to take good care of her but she and her daughter were insistent that I needed to accept it and buy my family a pie for thanksgiving. I tried repeatedly to explain to them that I am paid already to be there and that I really couldn't accept the money, but they would hear none of it.
I feel like its unethical to accept extra money from a patient like that, as well as a risk in case they come back and say you stole it. How would you more experienced nurses handle that situation? I was at a loss at what to do.