"You need to learn to tolerate abuse"

  1. I work at an inner city, religious based hospital. Our patient population is frequently difficult to work with as many are plagued with problems that are found in these areas. Our patient advocate for the hospital is a religious official. Recently, I heard her telling another hospital staff member, that "You need to learn to tolerate abuse." This made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I feel like I need to respond to this comment, as I don't believe anyone should tolerate abuse. I am not sure as how to approach this or what to say. Any suggestions?
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   GingerSue
    I would say that what is needed is to learn how to deal with abuse, not to tolerate it

    it would be better that the abuse stop

    next question - how is this accomplished?
  4. by   AtlantaRN
    If you tolerate abuse, you are accepting the behavior....

    No, abuse is unacceptable, from patients, or coworkers...

    wrong is wrong.
  5. by   anynurseanywhere
    I agree!!! Our patient advocate believes that because we are paid healthcare professionals, abusive and threatening behavior should be tolerated because our patients are "the sick poor and do not know better." I am not sure if I should attempt to approach her or her supervisor, as she does not seem to believe that there is anything wrong with this behavior.
  6. by   RunningWithScissors
    abusive and threatening behavior should be tolerated because our patients are "the sick poor and do not know better."
    Haven't you seen "sister act 2", the movie where Whoopi Goldberg, as a nun, turns around the attitudes of disrespectful teens. I know it is just a movie, but you get my drift............not that anything like this can actually HAPPEN in real life!

    What does your supervisor mean, though, about people acting out because of what they go through or where they live???From what I've experienced, this is learned behavior from a culture of disrespect.

    Haven't you noticed how in movies and TV (yes, even on Disney channel) it is "cool" to be disrespectful?
  7. by   TheCommuter
    Abuse from patients and family members should never be tolerated.

    However, we must learn to deal with abuse in a tactfully professional manner.
  8. by   Ginger35
    Nobody should be expected to tolerate abuse. I don't care who it is nor the circumstances. This whole "poor uneducated, didn't know better" crap is for the birds. Pain is pain and we as health care providers feel "pain" as much as the patients do - we are human too. I don't care if it is verbal, physical, or mental - It will not be tolerated in my department!!!
  9. by   caroladybelle
    Quote from anynurseanywhere
    I agree!!! Our patient advocate believes that because we are paid healthcare professionals, abusive and threatening behavior should be tolerated because our patients are "the sick poor and do not know better." I am not sure if I should attempt to approach her or her supervisor, as she does not seem to believe that there is anything wrong with this behavior.
    We are paid healthcare professionals that need to promote healthful behavior. And it is not a healthy behavior to be rude and abusive to anyone nor is it healthy to accept such behavior.

    "The sick poor and do not know better" is a very condescending belief and quite biased. But even if it more true, we owe it to those that "do not know better"....to TEACH THEM BETTER. For if they do not learn it from us in a reasonably humane environment, someday someone say...from their home environment may beat the crud out of them/knife them/etc. to TEACH THEM BETTER. For that matter, they would probably less "sick/poor" if they did behave better.

    What is interesting is many of those that presumable "don't know better", suddenly DO KNOW BETTER, if confronted by authority figures that they know will beat the crud out of them/throw them in jail/not put up with their bulldust?
  10. by   caliotter3
    I did not get enough info from the original post to come to any conclusions. We were not included in the entire conversation, so we may be missing something important about what this person meant. People often say things that don't make sense, when one does not know the entire context of remarks. It could be something entirely different from our first impression.
  11. by   UKRNinUSA
    personally I wouldn't trust a religious official as far as I could throw them, but that's just me learning from a plethora of bad experiences with a succession of religious hypocrites.
    Does she tell that to your victims of domestic violence too?
  12. by   Rabid Badger
    I think what they meant was "don't take it personally".

    There are situations in which abuse is unavoidable. We have a lot of patients who are psych on med, delerious, high, or cranky. You can put in place things to prevent it, and intervene once it happens, but the occasional patient socking you in the face or calling you names happens. Whatever. It's not about me. I don't take it to heart. The person is either very sick or a nasty person, neither of which are my fault, and I have ZERO tolerance for abuse.
    Last edit by suzanne4 on Feb 18, '07 : Reason: violation of the TOS of this site
  13. by   Jellibum
    Quote from caliotter3
    I did not get enough info from the original post to come to any conclusions. We were not included in the entire conversation, so we may be missing something important about what this person meant. People often say things that don't make sense, when one does not know the entire context of remarks. It could be something entirely different from our first impression.
    I agree with you caliotter3, yet i too agree with the OP, that the statement "Learn to tolerate abuse" is a poorly worded and i personally find it somewhat offensive (as does the OP, by the seems of it!)- no matter what the context.
  14. by   canoehead
    Tolerating abuse is an insult to the abuser. It implies you can't or won't expect better from them, so you just put up with it. A respectful response is assertive and let's them know you expect the same respect you give. Sometimes if a patient knows you think they can do better than they have been, and you are on their side, they become much easier to talk to, and can add information that helps provide care.

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