Do you ever talk about your 'bad' patients?

  1. We do get a lot of 'intresting' patients on the floor. We talk about them (PA, MD, nurses, management) constantly, nothing disrespectful. But it seems like if a patient is being difficult or demanding, rest assured that patient is well known to everyone. Is that considered violation of confidentiality?
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   MidnightTang
    I'm sure it's a violation, but everyone does it at some point. This is especially true when one patient is driving you nuts. I think sometimes you have to tell someone else to blow off a little steam, so you can maintain a therapeutic attitude when you're dealing with the difficult patient. By the time one of these difficult patients has been there a couple days, everyone already knows about them. I don't think it's such a problem as long as you're out of range of the general public. I can't imagine anything worse than a visitor hearing staff saying anything unpleasant about their relative or even another patient. This might give the impression that staff sits around and talks about patients behind their backs.
  4. by   NurseCard
    Yes, most definately you want to be careful when speaking about patients, whether the talk is positive or negative... you'd be surprised how well your voice can carry when you are sitting at that nurse's station!
  5. by   Justhere
    Oh yes we talk about our bad patients, and right to their faces . But I don't think they remember a thing, considering they are only minutes to hours to days old. We like to tell our 4 hourly feeders that like to be 2 hour feeders instead "your mother sure is in for a surprise when she gets you home." especially the ones that cry as soon as you put them down in the crib (when they were asleep in your arms)and won't stop until you pick them back up.
  6. by   Ruby Vee
    [font="comic sans ms"]how can you not talk about them? it's ok to vent about the old man that grabbed your boob to the cna who helps you turn him -- but not to the dietary assistant who delivers trays to his roommate. (the dietary assistant isn't likely to get her boob within grabbing range. the cna is!) it's ok to tell the nurse who relieves you and the surgeon about the wife who has been drinking out of the sterile water bottle left on the bedside and then saying she didn't. they need to know not to leave anything at the bedside the wife might drink, and not to use any "sterile" water they find at the bedside when changing his dressing. but it's not ok to tell the x-ray tech or the lady who bills for the tv. just use some common sense!
  7. by   NurseyBaby'05
    I have to agree with Ruby. Part of it is a vent, but the other part is a head's up. Like it or not, everyone does not have their best faces on in the hospital. An example, pt's husband was yelling at the staff and patient when she was incontinent after a dose of Lasix and just generally nasty with everyone. Did I tell the aide and some of the nurses who would wind up getting that family? You bet. People handle situations better when they're not blindsided.
  8. by   pagandeva2000
    I also agree. Sure, we talk about our patients! I don't do it within hearing range (at least hopefully), but, I admit that I do. Like others, it is venting, it is a head's up for another and it can be therapeutic to know that physicians, nurse managers, those that are higher up in the food chain are as negatively affected as I may be about a patient. You may even find that you speak about patients when off duty, but that becomes a whole different thing...you don't mention names or anything that may reveal their identity. I have a home case with a 4 year old trach patient that I do on weekends. She is very hyperactive, and when I get home, sometimes I am frustrated. I may call another friend who is a nurse, to share my frustrations or to get suggestions, but I do not say her or the family's name, location or even their race. My friend does the same with me...she works in oncology and mentions her patients, but again, no names, or any means to identify them.
  9. by   JeanettePNP
    Quote from Penny4URthoughts
    We like to tell our 4 hourly feeders that like to be 2 hour feeders instead "your mother sure is in for a surprise when she gets you home."
    First time I'm hearing that babies are born on 4-hour feeding schedules.
  10. by   EMTastic
    Whoever says they've never talked about their troublesome patient is lying to you. Not only is this not a bad thing, it is also very necessary. It is important bonding mechanism for coworkers. It helps us get through the stress of the day.
  11. by   RNperdiem
    Of course we talk about patients. Forums like this are full of stories about patients. As long as talk does not degenerate into a complaint-festival, and it is kept to a minimum, I am fine with it.
  12. by   banditrn
    Quote from Justhere
    Oh yes we talk about our bad patients, and right to their faces . But I don't think they remember a thing, considering they are only minutes to hours to days old. We like to tell our 4 hourly feeders that like to be 2 hour feeders instead "your mother sure is in for a surprise when she gets you home." especially the ones that cry as soon as you put them down in the crib (when they were asleep in your arms)and won't stop until you pick them back up.
  13. by   MzMouse
    I think it is the rare nurse who has never vented about a difficult patient. It is part of our survival sometimes.

    Some of it can be good for continuation of care, or, as several have said, a heads-up about a combative patient.

    I work part-time in a clinic as primary nurse for a general surgeon. On my day off my coworkers take calls from my patients. If I have been dealing with a difficult patient who has called many times the day before my day off chances are my coworkers will be talking to him when I am not there. I consider it a courtesy to my fellow nurses to let them know what I have been dealing with and what they can expect.
  14. by   TheCommuter
    I'm completely human and, yes, I must vent about the patients that make my life at work a living hell. If I don't let the steam blow out by talking about these interesting characters, I'll go insane.

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