Getting burnt out with non urgent patients

  1. 1 Hello all I just want to throw out the question. What do you all do to remain sane with the ever increasing non urgent patients? I have been an ED nurse for 10 years and love my job level 2 trauma center. Lately I am becoming more short and basically irritated with the rude demanding patients that are presenting for nonsense care. I am probably one of the nicer nurses at work and I don't want to become one of the non caring type but I see myself heading down that road.
  2. Enjoy this?

    Join thousands and get our weekly Nursing Insights newsletter with the hottest discussions, articles, and toons.

  3. Visit  Lisa9090 profile page

    About Lisa9090

    From 'Vacaville Ca'; Joined Jul '13; Posts: 1; Likes: 1.

    28 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  IrishErin profile page
    0
    Quote from Lisa9090
    Hello all I just want to throw out the question. What do you all do to remain sane with the ever increasing non urgent patients? I have been an ED nurse for 10 years and love my job level 2 trauma center. Lately I am becoming more short and basically irritated with the rude demanding patients that are presenting for nonsense care. I am probably one of the nicer nurses at work and I don't want to become one of the non caring type but I see myself heading down that road.
    It's really hard not to show a little cynicism towards the people that come in for nothing as they ate usually the most rude and most demanding! I have yet to see someone who is seriously ill, treat the staff as badly as the man that comes in with "leg pain intermittently for two years" (saw that one today). They can have such a sense of self entitlement, and "need" to be seen right away!
  5. Visit  Sassy5d profile page
    2
    I'm with you. It is what it is. Never going to change. I think it's gonna get worse.
    NurseOnAMotorcycle and Esme12 like this.
  6. Visit  SweetMelissaRN profile page
    2
    Quote from Lisa9090
    Hello all I just want to throw out the question. What do you all do to remain sane with the ever increasing non urgent patients? I have been an ED nurse for 10 years and love my job level 2 trauma center. Lately I am becoming more short and basically irritated with the rude demanding patients that are presenting for nonsense care. I am probably one of the nicer nurses at work and I don't want to become one of the non caring type but I see myself heading down that road.
    I've only been in the ER a year, I absolutely love my job, but frequently I have to catch myself from openly laughing at patients complaints/requests. I don't hide my sarcasm/cynicism when they ask something barbaric like, "I need a warm blanket and some of those red socks NOW, oh and one of those sandwiches!" (while EMS is wheeling in an active CPR to my room).... I rolled my eyes and said "when I can bring that patient back from the dead then absolutely".... Well we never got him back so they'll be waiting awhile..
    LakeEmerald and afox like this.
  7. Visit  IrishErin profile page
    1
    Quote from SweetMelissaRN

    I've only been in the ER a year, I absolutely love my job, but frequently I have to catch myself from openly laughing at patients complaints/requests. I don't hide my sarcasm/cynicism when they ask something barbaric like, "I need a warm blanket and some of those red socks NOW, oh and one of those sandwiches!" (while EMS is wheeling in an active CPR to my room).... I rolled my eyes and said "when I can bring that patient back from the dead then absolutely".... Well we never got him back so they'll be waiting awhile..
    I frequently direct people that are walking around, texting on their phones and playing on their tablets, to grab their own blankets and they look at me like I have two heads. One woman who was sitting in a chair beside the linen cart told me she couldn't grab her own, because that was MY job. Lol. Sometimes you just have to laugh
    canoehead likes this.
  8. Visit  Esme12 profile page
    1
    Quote from Sassy5d
    I'm with you. It is what it is. Never going to change. I think it's gonna get worse.
    I agree because there will be more.....I have insurance and pay for it...I'm going to use it!!!!
    VICEDRN likes this.
  9. Visit  Cohiba profile page
    2
    Quote from Esme12
    .....I have insurance and don't have to pay for it...I'm going to use it!!!!
    There, I fixed it for you....
    hiddencatRN and Altra like this.
  10. Visit  CarolinaBlue profile page
    0
    Quote from jvencius

    There, I fixed it for you....
    This really sums it up!!
  11. Visit  meanmaryjean profile page
    2
    My own family doctor cautioned me years ago before I took a short but memorable job in the ED. "Every nurse I've ever know to go to emergency has come out the other side jaded and changed." And this thread is the EXACT reason for it, IMHO.

    And that 'free insurance'? Yeah.....
    VICEDRN and canoehead like this.
  12. Visit  rn_abbey profile page
    0
    Ugh, I was very happy to be transferred out of the ER for this very reason. How many times have we all been screamed at by patients because of the length of wait, only to find that the problem being treated is minimal... sigh
  13. Visit  Sassy5d profile page
    1
    I just keep telling myself that everyone's interpretation of emergency is different.

    I do get frustrated, especially towards the end of the month, when the food stamps run out. We get extra busy, with realllllllllly minor complaints. They bring in their entire family and raid the little kitchen area. They stuff their bags full of food.

    Toothache, but they are hungry. Get them in the room, you tell them they are npo and the family member tells you, I'm not, I haven't eaten all day you need to feed me.

    They ask for bus/cab vouchers. Many times, they don't actually need them, they just want them for free.

    I work in an area where a large population of low to no income population was being served and they closed their hospital down. So we have a large service of minor complaints, hungry, need a phone and a ride home. Of course they can't afford their med u prescribe and I frequently get asked 'this is going to be a free visit right'?
    canoehead likes this.
  14. Visit  mcnini77 profile page
    9
    We have a separate area in our ER for these patients, and we rotate the nurses assigned to it. I actually enjoy working that area every now and then, it's nice to have a day "off," that is, a day where I don't have to worry about my patients coding on me!

    I also get annoyed and frustrated with the BS people present with. We get all the toothaches, knee pain x 2 months, and cough/congestion...but we also see an incredible number of "abdominal pains," aka "needs a pregnancy test and is trying to manipulate an ultrasound." I am less annoyed with these than I could be, because of the high number of women who have a hard time getting in to the clinics for prenatal care (Planned Parenthoods, and the like, are far apart and overcrowded here in Texas).

    If the doc orders pain medicine, I give it with a smile. I honestly feel better at the end of the day if I don't let this stuff get to me. Showing how I really feel won't change anything, and will just leave me feeling angry and bitter. So, I put it out of my mind! One thing I refuse to do, though, is provide food to them. I'll bring them a blanket, narcotic pain meds, water, or socks...but they are NOT getting a sandwich! The sandwiches are in limited supply, and we reserve them for patients who are being admitted and have to wait in the ER for a room assignment. "But I'm diabetic, you have to feed me." Fine, here are some crackers, peanut butter, and a juice =) And if they throw a fit, we have an excellent social worker, who is more than happy to explain that this is a hospital, not a soup kitchen, and that ER rooms aren't required to provide full meals.

    The thing that gets me the most is when people complain about their co-pays, then complain about not being provided snacks. We cut all that stuff down to trim costs!!! I love when they say, "I should have gone to XYZ Hospital, they give me a lunch tray and all my visitors get one, too." I just laugh and tell them it's a free country and they are free to leave and go elsewhere.

    Oh, and I can't stand when one of their friends/visitors asks for food! I tell them we have a cafeteria, especially for visitors. One lady, when I told her that, said, "What! I don't want to pay for it! I want some of your free food, I'm diabetic and you have to feed me!" I told her that if she wanted free food then she would need to go up to triage and register as a patient. Unbelievably, she did just that. They assigned her to another room, and when she demanded her free food, her new nurse brought her crackers and juice, lol. We didn't even have sandwiches that day...LOL.

    Basically, I just treat everyone the way I would expect to be treated, were I a patient or a visitor. That leaves me feeling generally satisfied and not bitter at the end of the day. Also, our nurses station has a closeable door, and we frequently close it so we can laugh about a situation with each other!
  15. Visit  NO50FRANNY profile page
    4
    I have an answer for you but I don't know how helpful it will be. In our department we kill them with kindness. Food is not something we will often dish out regardless, but when being snarled at with the ever so common "she hasn't eaten since yesterday, and we've been here for hours!" (that's our fault of course) most of my colleagues and I will respond as sweet as pie... "Oh, I know how frustrating that is, I will check with the doctor for you and I'm sure we have some snack packs in the fridge but if it is going to impede or delay treatment we need to be very careful."

    We once had a patient who called an ambulance and was transported from an engagement party, a well-to-do insulin dependant diabetic. The hospital was close to the party and he figured we would give him some insulin so he could go back and party. After being sat in our corridor with our Saturday night friends for an hour he found his own way home. People disgust me. The best advice I can give is to be as nice and accommodating as possible within reason, it's hard to do, but wasting your energy on it is even harder. I had a patient at triage present saying "I just need a dressing for my leg". I looked at it, she did indeed need a dressing, nothing more. She was rude, dismissive etc. I just gave it to her, wasn't worth the effort of triaging, arguing and so on, the end result would have been the same. I behaved like an ATM though, emotionless.

    For me, I feel like if I deny undeserving patients my good energy, I save it for the ones who do. They may get a lunch pack, or see a doctor for the pimple they've had for two years, but they didn't get my good stuff, I save that for the sick people. Knowing that gets me through. For the record, I have a little fight every now and then, just to make myself feel better, the rest of the time I let it go and think about all the time I've saved. Nonsense presentations drive me up the wall and I also have trouble after many years, I just vent to my colleagues, and keep my small victories.
    Last edit by NO50FRANNY on Jul 22, '13
    KnitWitch, newrnltc, LakeEmerald, and 1 other like this.


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

Top