I'm a newer nurse in ED. I love my job so much. So far I have a high tolerance for BS... however, there's something that really bothers me and I need advice on what to say to the patient without sounding like a jerk... This situation happens at least once a shift, sometimes more... and typically it's with our frequent flyer friends.
Most recent occurrence that almost made me be a big B-word:
Pt comes into the ED c/o chest pain
Me: "What brings you to the ER today?"
Pt: *walking, speaking full complete sentences, NAD, EKG normal in triage, etc* "I have 10/10 chest pain and it's been going on since like this morning. I'll need 2 warm blankets, the TV channel list because the channels are all messed up here, a cup of water and a separate cup of ice... and might as well get me a meal tray going for me and my boyfriend too because I know these chest pain work-ups take a long time...and it's 5:30 and we've been in the waiting room for about 45 minutes so we missed dinner."
The warm blankets - no problem... The TV channel list - sure!... The meal tray - NOT IN YOUR LIFE WILL I GET YOU A MEAL TRAY! THIS ISN'T A DAMN RESTAURANT!! AND DON'T EVEN THINK
I WILL GET YOUR BOYFRIEND A MEAL TRAY! HE CAN GO GET FOOD FOR HIS GROWN-MAN SELF! THERE'S A CAFE UPSTAIRS! AND DON'T TELL ME HOW YOU TAKE YOUR WATER; 2 SEPARATE CUPS FOR ICE AND WATER! PLEASE!
I must suffer from some suppressed anger from early childhood about meal trays or something, but when a patients tells me to get them food, I just get so mad. Luckily I still have self-control, so I give the pt the policy about how they can't have anything to eat or drink until everything is resulted, MD approves, etc... But sometimes the patient's can't take that for an answer and they think I'm being a jerk for not ordering them "room service" even though "They always get a meal tray for me and my boyfriend when we come in this place."
My question is: How do I nicely tell a patient that this isn't a hotel or restaurant when telling me I need to order them food? And how can I stop getting so MAD when people ask me for a meal tray?!! It's so weird how this irks me so bad!