Ever had a patient or family members fire you? - page 2

by KeepItRealRN 6,464 Views | 31 Comments

Just curious to read a few stories from nurses who have been fired from the bedside. Patients and family members use very different criteria than we do to determine who is and who is not a good nurse. In the interest of full... Read More


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    This happens on a regular basis in home health because the family is informed that they have control over who comes into their home and they take advantage of this in order to get workers that they feel comfortable with. There should be no disadvantage to the employee other than going without work, but unfortunately, some client families feel they must tell lies to the agency to justify their decision. At some point, the agency will hold dismissals against the nurse or HHA and will be less willing to place that employee.
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    I had a horrible patient one night. Grouchy, demanding, manipulative, sexist, the list goes on and on. But I wouldn't let him play me. I lay down the rules and was courteous, but matter-of-fact and firm.

    Anyway, walking in to work the next day I just decided I couldn't deal with having him as a patient again. So I called my floor and asked if I could please not have him back. The charge nurse's response? "He beat you to it!" He had already requested not to have *me* back! I thought it was really funny and wasn't offended at all. Some people just don't get along with other people. As a patient, I fired a nurse once before too. I couldn't breathe as soon as she walked into the room. She reeked of cigarette smoke and when I told her I had asthma and asked for a different nurse she came back doused in perfume and reeking of cigarette smoke. So I asked to speak with the charge RN and got a new nurse.

    Speaking of firing, another time -when I briefly worked inpatient pedi- I was finishing up my shift and popped my head in to see my very favorite patient one last time. He was 7 and super smart and super small and super sweet and super sensitive. His mom asked me who would be his nurse that morning. When I told them, he started to cry. I thought "Oh God, what did she do to him?" and took Mom into the hall asking her what the problem was. Turned out he had that nurse the day before and she was terribly gruff, didn't really respect Mom's wishes, and hardly paid any attention to the patient's emotional needs. They requested to never have her again. Again, cleared up by speaking with the charge nurse.

    I don't really sweat it. A nurse/patient relationship is similar to any other relationship in a lot of ways. Sometimes you just don't get along with certain people.
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    I get fired at least 2x by an ornery lady. Sometimes 4x a shift depending on whether or not she has taken all her meds.
    Last edit by Poi Dog on Aug 30, '11
    opossum, TnRN43, michelle126, and 7 others like this.
  4. 1
    I had a patient once, 17 years old, in with abdominal pain that ended up having a SBR with an illeostomy created. It was an emergent, middle of the night sort of thing. So the family was extremely worried, I'm sure, which translated into extreme need to control something -- i.e...ME!

    I had a ton to do when the patient arrived, as for middle of the night sort of situations, the patient doesn't really spend a lot of time in PACU. So, I had to start a new IV, deal with an epidural that wasn't controlling pain well, set up a PCA, IVF's, all of my admission documentation, deal with my 6 other patients as well, etc. I had only been a nurse for a few months at that time, so all in all it was a lot going on for me at that point.

    The family had hundreds of questions - from beginning to end, why this happened, how it happened, illeostomy questions, on and on. I remember asking them to give me a few minutes to reprogram the epidural (something we didn't get a whole lot), then I could continue answering questions. That put them into a frenzy, I was asked not to be their nurse shortly thereafter. By the time they left the hospital, they had a list of 6 nurses that were black listed....

    It happens...for whatever reason...some great nurses aren't always that great at basic "people skills"..especially those I've met most recently in my time in the ICU. Great nurses that I want around when stuff starts to go bad...but patients sometimes aren't the most fond of them!
    opossum likes this.
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    Quote from imintrouble
    Yes I've been fired by a pt/family. I count that one of the luckiest days of my life Every other nurse who cared for the pt envied me my good luck.

    I resemble that remark........yup I've been fired and I was dam glad of it!!!

    (the family was mad I asked them not to brush her hair anymore with the brush from home because we couldn't use anymore quell on her .....AND....I told them they couldn't come back until treated....Go figure )
    opossum and Altra like this.
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    Interesting ... the only place I've heard the term used in this way is here at allnurses. Must be a regional thing.

    "Fired" to me means ... my employment has been terminated, not that a patient/family member has requested that I not be their nurse.

    This has happened to me twice ... once in the ICU and once in the ER. We did switch patient assignments to accomodate the ICU family member, but they behaved in such a manner that they were escorted out of the ICU by security on a daily basis during the ICU admission. The ER family ... had us switch assignments, but then continued to find such fault with well, everything and everyone, that the house supervisor and security also escorted them to the waiting room, where they remained until their family member went to the OR.
    opossum likes this.
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    I got fired by a Dad after inadvertantly getting caught in all of the games a divorced couple can play when their beloved child is dying. I could have kissed him I was so grateful to get out of that room! Bothered me some that I was a little blind to what happened between parents until it was too late, but in the end I know what I did for my patient made her happy and comfortable in her last days of life, and I have no regrets.
  8. 16
    I had a difficult patient "fire" me before... her doctor asked me how I did it so he could do it, too.
    opossum, TnRN43, tcvnurse, and 13 others like this.
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    I've had a number of occasions where a patient doesn't want a particular staff member.

    I'd then go on to discuss it with the patient & listen to their concerns. Sometimes the issue really has nothing to do with the individual, but with something else altogether. No sense changing the staff around if the same core problem is going to rear its ugly head again in a day or two.

    I will gladly change assignments if it will make the patient and/or clinician happy, but I don't do it automatically.
    SnowShoeRN likes this.
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    I've been "fired" twice. Once the family was entirely unreasonable so it doesn't bother me at all.

    The second time I was fired after I'd gone into my patient's room the first time. Family or pt told the UD that they'd had me a previous admission and didn't want me again. No idea why. That kind of bothers me since I try to do my best for the patients and wonder what I did to bother this one.

    It also bothers me since I'm concerned it'll come up to bite me at a performance review and there's no way I can discuss it intelligently since I don't know what happened.


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