dear patients, please quit saying that to me

  1. A little about me: I'm in my mid 20's, 5'1 tall, and petite with a baby-face look. Thanks to genetics, I look short and younger than I am. I don't like it when patients calls me "cute" and tiny, and if I'm still in high school.
    I used to say "thank you" and ignore them and "I'm a lot older than you think". A lot of times my patients judge me as soon as I walk into the room and say "are you old enough to care for me?" and I tell them that I went through school, have 2 bachelor's degree and am a licensed RN....etc.

    Don't get me wrong, I love talking to my patients and caring for them but sometimes it gets annoying when both female/male patients say "your hands are so tiny" and wants to compare hands. Then throughout the day they start saying stuff like oh you're the shortest nurse here, that's cute.... let me see your tiny hands again. At that point, I just ignore them and change the subject regarding their care.

    Ugh. Dear patients, quit saying that I'm cute and tiny and just let me do my work.

    sorry, just a vent.
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    About mcpnurse

    Joined: Sep '09; Posts: 81; Likes: 17

    54 Comments

  3. by   BackfromRetirement
    Geeze, if my patients said any of those things i would be thrilled! Feel flattered while it lasts! There are a thousand things more annoying. And, dont be so thin-skinned. Just reply that good things come in small packages and smile!
  4. by   CT Pixie
    I hear you loud and clear. I'm in my early 40's, stand just shy of 5ft, 100#'s soaking wet with a baby face to boot!!

    Sorry to tell you, it will never change, it will never stop. You will forever be the 'cute" one, the "itty bitty" one, the "are you even old enough to stay up past 8pm one"

    After years of the same statements, I've come to realize, usually the comments are not meant to hurt our feelings, to be condescending, they are simply people making observations and voicing them. I don't get as aggravated as I did in my early years. Now, I simply smile and say "you are so right. The NBA wasn't banging on my door"

    It could be because I AM older and find it more of a compliment that I appear much younger than i really am. I believe I could have a haggard old face but because i will always be short and "itty bitty" people view me as much younger.

    Being short of stature and having a "baby face" tends to have its benefits. I can usually calm an upset person who's swinging at everyone else (I work LTC). None of the residents view me as a 'grown up' and although in their dementia mind, its ok for them to swing at others, I've yet to come across one who is so far demented that they would swing, kick, slap at 'a child'
  5. by   mcpnurse
    Quote from CT Pixie
    Being short of stature and having a "baby face" tends to have its benefits. I can usually calm an upset person who's swinging at everyone else (I work LTC). None of the residents view me as a 'grown up' and although in their dementia mind, its ok for them to swing at others, I've yet to come across one who is so far demented that they would swing, kick, slap at 'a child'
    I guess it does have its benefits... your last sentence cracked me up

    And yes, there are a lot more things to be annoying about but it just bothers me when some patients tell me that they don't want me as their nurse because I'm "too young". Then I have to give the same speech all over again.
  6. by   CT Pixie
    Well you could always say "hey I don't want YOU as a patient because you're too OLD, but it seems we are both stuck with the other, we might as well make a go of it" haahhaaha

    As if THAT would fly...
  7. by   whichone'spink
    I remember when I was going through the security line at the San Francisco Airport about 3 years ago. I showed the security agent my boarding pass and drivers license, and she said "You look like a little girl". Needless to say I was a little embarrassed, but I took it as a compliment. I still get this kind of reaction. I supposed it's better than the opposite reaction.
  8. by   PiedPiperRN
    On the other side, I am almost 6 feet tall, and if one more person asks me if I play basetball I think that I am going to lose it...
  9. by   fungez
    People (including me) say stupid things all the time. I get flushed easily and I hear, from people old enough to have learned a little tact, "why is your face so red?" Yeah, it's a little rude and a lot annoying and I have to bite my tongue from giving a snotty comeback like "darn, you're old, how does it feel to know you're going to die soon?"
  10. by   happy2learn
    It's better than saying "you look tired" which is a nice way of saying "you look like crap!"

    We all just need to learn to accept compliments. I think cute is a compliment. I know everyone has a hard time accepting compliments but I think just saying "thank you" and moving on is sufficient. I wouldn't even respond to the "are you old enough to take care of me" I would just give them the silent treatment.
  11. by   pielęgniarka
    I'm 32, I look quite a bit younger than I am, and get comments about it from patients "You can't be old enough to be my nurse!". For some reason it never really bothered me, but no one has ever said they didn't want me for a nurse because of it. I just say Thanks, it's hereditary (my dad looks really young too) that I hope I will still be getting that compliment in 40 years
  12. by   SHURN
    Yeah that is one of my bigger annoyances. I'm not super short,but blessed to look about 5-10 yrs younger than I am (which is still a young 28). I occasionaly have pts or their families ask "wow how old are you? You look so young!" or "how long have you worked in ICU? You look so young." It does bother me sometimes, depending on the person who asks! You know, the type that is never happy - I know they are worried about my experience. I used to get kind of mad. Now it doesn't bother me as much. I usually just smile, say thanks, I'm older than I look! I try to remind myself that families just want good care.

    But there are some that won't let it go and no matter the "thanks" and change of subject, they won't quit! So depending on who it is and the tone, I either just answer, or I might joke "a lady never tells her age!"

    By the way, my mom is 56, 4'10". She still gets the "cute" comments! It will never end!
  13. by   Zookeeper3
    A very polite with a stern stare... "excuse me could you repeat that?" warns off all but the most serious offenders.

    "Your comment makes me uncomfortable, can we please return to the focus of YOUR care?"... said in the nicest, calm demeanor.

    "I am a very well skilled registered nurse... if you have concerns about my capabilities of caring for you I can call my supervisor to discuss my credentials with you.....?"

    "I thank you for your comments, but do not mistake my youthful look for lack of experience..."

    And for those, god love 'em that keep it up... "I don't find your comments in jest, and I'm concerned about your lack of trust in our nurse/patient relationship... do we need to make an adjustment in nurse assignments to better suit your needs?"

    TAKE NO GARBAGE.. but immediately call them on it to force them to be uncomfortable to act as they should ... in an appropriate manner. I will never tolerate that crap. I am NOT the subject of their amusement. I am the nurse
  14. by   SnowStar4
    I'm not tiny, 5'7, but everyone always mistakes me for a teeenager. I've actually had them ask me where I plan to go to school (college)! Really....you think I haven't even graduated HS and I am taking care of you.....sure.

    People always tell me to enjoy it but it can be hard when everyone on the planet thinks you are a kid. It is hard to be taken seriously, not just in the hospital but in life.

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