A patient complained about me... - page 2

Okay, so I come in tonight and find out that a patient that I admitted on Thursday does not want me taking care of him. Okay, fine and dandy. I feel like he was just unhappy in general with his... Read More

  1. by   nursemaa
    Quote from lizz
    One of the things that drives me crazy is when you wait on a patient hand and foot, all day long, giving them much more attention than other patients because they are so demanding ...

    And then they still complain.

    Grrrrrr. It literally drives me nuts.

    I agree! Sometimes no matter what you do or how attentive you are, they still find something to complain about. I've also noticed that often it's not the patient who is complaining, it's the family and/or friends. They sit in the room and seem to just be waiting for something to complain about! grr...
  2. by   ZZTopRN
    Same thing happened to me the other day. I am in a refresher program at a local hospital in an ambulatory care setting. It was my first day starting IV's. I started out getting every one of them on the first try. Then comes along a man with his complaining wife. I was concentrating more on the patient (customer) and where I was going to start the IV. The wife was sitting at the bedside complaining about students, new learners, etc., her experience with inexperienced people in the blood banks, and on and on. Of course, I was not able to get it on the first try so I handed it over to my instructor who got it. While the wife was sitting there saying, "see, I told you," and crap like that. The husband never said much of anything.

    I didn't take the wife's comments too terribly bad, but somehow it came to the attention of the charge nurse. The next thing I know I was getting a lecture from her in "customer service." How I should be giving good customer care, accomodating, getting the juice and graham crackers, bowing to every whim, chatting up the "customer" and asking if I did all I could do for him, and then apologizing.

    I thought "what am I, maid service?" Am I so vulnerable to every nutty person who complains for the fun of it? This is where the corporations send out the surveys asking about the "customer service." What kind of working relationship can a hard working nurse expect in an environment like this?

    I have been in this same "chain of hospitals" with their "customer service" and instead of them waiting on my every whim, I went in for an outpatient procedure and I assume a nurse, they don't wear identification, came up to me and said she was going to start my IV. That was it. I asked for another blanket because I was cold. She said "are you cold?" She did get the blanket though. They are so busy with their assembly line procedures and the almighty dollar. I just hope no one knows me from this site. It just infuriates me.

    What do you think?
  3. by   AlexCCRN
    Skip the email. Don't act defensive either. If the manager has a problem, let her come to you unless you feel the need to report an adverse outcome or request reassignment. I see so many nurses running for cover when a patient complains. So long as you remain professional and therapeutic, what's to worry about?
  4. by   rouqie
    I have to say that it's either one or the other. It's sad that that's what it boils down to but that's it. Either we suck up to the patients or we ingnore them and treat the disease only. I work in a place that pays attention to every whim and I have been a patient where they treat my every whim. I have been to see many friends in the hospital where they just treat the problem and the only response my friend says is that god you were there to explain everything. But now when I ever go to the hospital I want no special treatment, just cure me and send me home, don't offer me crackers and juice. The problem is that people like me who like it straight forward and people that like to be pamper both go to the same places. I just depends on who complains the loudest? The only problem is the pampered people tend to make more complaints
  5. by   rouqie
    With the situation with your patient complaining about you. I would say that depends on what your used to reporting to your nursing supervisor. I work in an ECF where people tend to like to complain frequently. My supervisor dosn't want me to tell he about every little complaint a family member makes. She always tells me to go home and right down everything that happened in great detail. then if anything comes up you wont be unsure of any details. But the first way to protect yourself is always good charting. by the way the idea about charting with quotes is very good. I do it all the time and it gets rid of judgemental comments on behalf of the nurse. just charting the raw facts is sometimes the best
  6. by   rn/writer
    I'd send a "heads up" email to give the manager fair warning and also to let her know YOU are aware there might be a complaint. But, I wouldn't go into great detail. I'd only tell her I'd be willing to provide whatever information she needed and let it go at that.

    Writing out the entire scenario might be cathartic and you should do this privately, both to vent and to help your recollection later. But spelling out all the details in that heads up email might be overkill until you know what the complaint actually says. It could very well look defensive and sound as if you are tattling on the patient in the name of a pre-emptive strike.

    Writing about the events for your own purposes will allow you to take a step back and evaluate your tone. You wouldn't be human if you didn't have strong feelings about a situation like this. But that doesn't mean you convey that to your manager. Venting on paper to yourself is a good way to discharge that intensity so you can sound calm and factual when the time comes to discuss what took place, either in a further email or in person.

    Send a brief email that simply says there might be a complaint and that you'll be happy to provide whatever information your manager requests. Then write your heart out privately and give yourself a chance to settle down in your spirit. After that, you'll be prepared if anything further does come of this. Doing all of the above will help you project confidence instead of irritation or fear. In contrast, the patient's complaint might contain enough information to reveal her as petty, manipulative, and unreasonable. Your manager might still need to investigate further, but the deck will be stacked in your favor.

    One last thing. Be prepared to state at least one thing you could have done differently to improve the situation. This shows you've given it proper attention and that you know you aren't perfect.

    If I were a manager, I couldn't help but be impressed by an employee who handled herself with such maturity and I'd be more inclined to believe her version of the incident in question.

    Let us know what happens.
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I agree with all who say being proactive is best. Don't feel badly or take it too hard-----sometimes we just don't "mix" with some people for whatever reason. Just be very "upfront" about the situation with your manager so he/she can be aware of what is going on and not be "blindsided" when/if a formal complaint is registered on paper or with admin. (((hugs)))......I wish you the best.
  8. by   Q.
    Definitely agree with the others: contact your manager and let her know right away as a head's up.
  9. by   ZZTopRN
    Totally agree with you about not being blindsided. The posts are good. Document exact words when appropriate, heads up and to the point to your manager. Today was fine. But if I had already been employed and not a refresher, it might have been different. Anyway, the re-entry is really exciting. The new things that they do are so life-saving (maybe not for the nurse) but I'm enjoying it and thanks for listening.
  10. by   rnmom3153
    Quote from Audreyfay
    I call this a "heads up" e-mail. My managers always prefer that they know about a situation before they are taken by surprise. I usually start it off with: "I just wanted you to know about a situation, in case you hear something about it . . ." They appreciate being informed ahead of time. I've had situations in which the MD went directly to the manager. If they know nothing about it, it puts them in a difficult situation. E-mail or call you manager.
    :yeahthat: :yeahthat: My thoughts exactly! They REALLY like to be on top of things from the get go and not be taken by surprise.
  11. by   rnmom3153
    Quote from rn/writer
    I'd send a "heads up" email to give the manager fair warning and also to let her know YOU are aware there might be a complaint. But, I wouldn't go into great detail. I'd only tell her I'd be willing to provide whatever information she needed and let it go at that.

    Writing out the entire scenario might be cathartic and you should do this privately, both to vent and to help your recollection later. But spelling out all the details in that heads up email might be overkill until you know what the complaint actually says. It could very well look defensive and sound as if you are tattling on the patient in the name of a pre-emptive strike.

    Writing about the events for your own purposes will allow you to take a step back and evaluate your tone. You wouldn't be human if you didn't have strong feelings about a situation like this. But that doesn't mean you convey that to your manager. Venting on paper to yourself is a good way to discharge that intensity so you can sound calm and factual when the time comes to discuss what took place, either in a further email or in person.

    Send a brief email that simply says there might be a complaint and that you'll be happy to provide whatever information your manager requests. Then write your heart out privately and give yourself a chance to settle down in your spirit. After that, you'll be prepared if anything further does come of this. Doing all of the above will help you project confidence instead of irritation or fear. In contrast, the patient's complaint might contain enough information to reveal her as petty, manipulative, and unreasonable. Your manager might still need to investigate further, but the deck will be stacked in your favor.

    One last thing. Be prepared to state at least one thing you could have done differently to improve the situation. This shows you've given it proper attention and that you know you aren't perfect.

    If I were a manager, I couldn't help but be impressed by an employee who handled herself with such maturity and I'd be more inclined to believe her version of the incident in question.

    Let us know what happens.
    Hi, me again! I hadn't read on and seen this post...I hate to quote in it's entirety, but I just think it is so well written and uh,comprehensive that it bears rereading! Excellent points and suggestions!

    I have had patient complaints also. I ALWAYS look at myself and evaluate my part in it with {I Hope} brutal self honesty. Wouldn't help otherwise. There was a time {just ONCE} that it was my fault
    :angel2: ... {kidding}

    I usually do find ways I could have handled things differenly and SOMETIMES the person may just not like me. Strange as that may be...not 100% of the people are going to like me and some are just plain hateful.

    But if I can learn something and grow, I do!

    I would say that every manager I have known prefers to have an overall idea of what's going on on the unit. Please keep us posted...Good Luck
  12. by   SarasotaRN2b
    Did you let the charge nurse know of the difficulties admitting him that day? If you kept her up to date, then she can be a good source to be a backup witness. She, too, probably can attest to the difficulty with the patient.

    Like the other responders, I would probably give her an email.

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