Advice - I'll need a meal tray too

  1. 14
    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!

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. 67 Comments...

  3. 21
    Wow, Yeah.

    I NEVER FEED AN ED PATIENT UNLESS IT IS AN EXCESSIVE HOLD, DM RELATED, OR I AM IN A FREAKING AWESOME MOOD!!!

    You will soon grow antennas out of your head that are invinsible and pick up on what ED is all about, and what it is not.

    WHAT IT IS.

    a great place to come if you are dying.... OR, . . . If you are near dying. If you are greater than 8/10 pain scale. If you are bleeding uncontrollably. If your chest hurts. If you have a limb missing or traumatic brain injury. If something inside of you that should remain inside of you is now out (NOT INCLUDING TEETH, SNOT, OR HAIR). If you have recently turned a land vehicle into an airborn vehicle. If you are tired to the point of needing a DIRT NAP, thats the only time you should be resting in this ED!!!!!

    WHAT IT IS NOT.
    It is not a Motel or Hotel. It is not a bed and breakfast with dope. It is not a Full Service Restaurant complete with treatment for the after effects, . .heartburn, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea,. . .It is not a clinic for three day old colds, It is not a place to come with the FLU!!! (Actually a joke, I know many Americans actually die with Influenza, But common' if you are 21, and otherwise healthy, chances are in YOUR favor!!!!! It is not a first aid station. It is not a place to ask for clean needles for your dope habit!! It is not a Wendy's or INSERT YOUR FAVORITE FAST FOOD STAND!!!! It is not Family Crisis Therapeutic Facility. It is not a nut house calling for open season. It is not a coffee house, DO NOT ASK ME FOR COFFEE DAMN IT!!!!!!!!! It is not a balloon stand, so quit blowing up and tying our latex gloves. It is not a doctor shopping stop. We are not a refill mill. We are not a crisis pregnancy center, or a place to find out if you are pregnant. We are Not an occupational health clinic!!!!

    And for the poor that don't have the money, there is MEDICAID MEDICARE FREE CLINICS AND STATE UNIVERSITY MED CTRs

    For the illegal immigrants nearly the same.

    For the "We don't have any other access to Medicine,. . ." Patient education is needed, but not by an ED Nurse, they are standing by to save a life, if they arent busy trying to do that now.

    For the but it just got worse tonight, or I finally got tired of it, 4 more hours until the clinic opens will not kill you I promise!!

    I ACTUALLY HAVE A REALLY HIGH TOLERANCE FOR ED PATIENT BS, BUT IT DOES AFFECT YOUR ABILITY TO PUT ALL YOUR ATTENTION WHERE IT NEEDS TO BE WHEN YOU ARE STUCK CARING FOR GROUP 2.
    Zookeeper3, funnyliz, Purple_Scrubs, and 18 others like this.
  4. 3
    Incremental behavior modification, done with a smile. It takes some time, but it works.
    Pixie.RN, imintrouble, and Esme12 like this.
  5. 24
    "Well, so sorry, but I'm not everyone, and you are NPO, until we rule out a heart attack....... Whereupon, you will be going home where you can cook your boyfriend a delightful meal. "Said with a smile on my face.
  6. 7
    "Well, the test that we need to run for your safety require that you not eat or drink. Also, I am sorry but we dont give out meal trays to anyone but the patient because of food allergies."

    I work tele and it really puzzles me why some patients ask if their family can bring in 3 shot espresso frappe drink for them.....
  7. 6
    i really want to know who these "everyone" folks are who give meal trays to r/o mis and their boyfriends, allow visitors to use cell phones in the icu and just general ignore all of the rules in favor of giving folks what they want. i'd like to do some education with "everyone".
    lindarn, wooh, imintrouble, and 3 others like this.
  8. 12
    I am just a student so I don't have an opinion on your patient except for that does sound over-the-top! However, I do have a comment as mom who had to admit her child to the ER one morning very early. I had not eaten anything and my dh had been up since 5am scraping snow off a parking lot. Ds was in the bed having blood drawn, IV's put in, catheter, etc...as he was in diabetic ketoacidosis. My husband started to pass out (he can't handle the sight of blood being drawn). It was brought up that he was probably hungry because he hadn't eaten. They quickly offered and brought us some food. That was very appreciated. When we were transferred to a childrens hospital in "the big city" I thought it was really nice that they gave me meal vouchers every day to cover my food. I could zip down to their amazing food court style cafeteria and get a meal to take back to my son's room. Sorry, I know I veered off course, but sometimes it is the little things that make a difference.
    sharpeimom, funnyliz, annietart, and 9 others like this.
  9. 5
    certainly, i learned from the best regarding the issue of standing your ground and say no with a smile. consequently, during my travel nursing days, i worked in several facilities in atlanta ga, and these nurses have it down pack. let me give you an example: if a person is not attractive they would say " oh! she's not that pretty... but so intelligent, blessed her heart" therefore, if you ended everything with blessed your heart it makes it okay:d having said that, every time i get a pt. with the demands that you are confronting i say "oh! until the md approves you're in npo (then you look at them with a smirk-like smile and say) blessed your heart" and move on the the next pt. soon enough they get the picture. unquestionably, they will grunt, but they won't bother you again.
    willowLA, nursel56, lindarn, and 2 others like this.
  10. 6
    Quote from LalaJJB
    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!

    This really made me think of this:
    Things ER Patients say - YouTube

    Hopefully some comic relief for you.
    ybq2008, rnin0513, RH-CC2011, and 3 others like this.
  11. 6
    "if you ended everything with blessed your heart it makes it okay
    :d" so true!!!!! i was raised in the midwest but have lived in nc for 20 years. my husband and i have discussed how people think it is ok to gossip about others as long as you throw on "bless your/his/her heart" on the end of the sentence!
    Hygiene Queen, willowLA, canchaser, and 3 others like this.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top