Families from Hell

  1. I know that when people are in the hospital everyone is stressed out including the families; but man I can't stand when the families do all the talking for the patient, jump down my throat like a poor waitress that just brought them an undercooked steak, and question me like I was on trial for everything that has happened during the hospital stay for the past 2 weeks when it is my first day I've even laying eyes on the patient. This happened yesterday and I did what I always do: talk directly to the patient, answer the family with very short but firm answers and then redirect the conversation/questions back to the patient, let the charge/supervisor know the family is out of control (although I found out that all staff/physicians avoid the room at all costs). At the end of the shift the patient thanked me told me I was very attentive and even the family. Hate to say it but it didn't make me feel any better. I would have done everything I did do with out being bullied.
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  2. 148 Comments

  3. by   Drysolong
    Quote from traumamomtx30
    I know that when people are in the hospital everyone is stressed out including the families; but man I can't stand when the families do all the talking for the patient, jump down my throat like a poor waitress that just brought them an undercooked steak, and question me like I was on trial for everything that has happened during the hospital stay for the past 2 weeks when it is my first day I've even laying eyes on the patient. This happened yesterday and I did what I always do: talk directly to the patient, answer the family with very short but firm answers and then redirect the conversation/questions back to the patient, let the charge/supervisor know the family is out of control (although I found out that all staff/physicians avoid the room at all costs). At the end of the shift the patient thanked me told me I was very attentive and even the family. Hate to say it but it didn't make me feel any better. I would have done everything I did do with out being bullied.
    In LTC, this was one of the reasons I preferred the night shift - few or no visitors. I'm finding during my first few weeks of working Med-Surg in the hospital setting that visitors are always there. I come from a customer service background, so I'm pretty "experienced" in handling these type of situations, however they are trying.

    I'm really beginning to find out firsthand that being a nurse means being an "every job imaginable", lawyer, social worker, teacher, etc.,
  4. by   TheCommuter
    Nurses are the one of the only staff employees who feel the wrath of abusive family members on a regular basis. Physical therapists, social workers, dieticians, lab workers, occupational therapists, chaplains, registrars, cafeteria workers, and others do not receive the level of verbal abuse and accusations that we regularly endure.

    My mother was hospitalized for end-stage liver failure over 5 years ago, but my father and I never abused the staff of made unreasonable demands of them. There's no excuse for this deplorable, antisocial behavior on the part of the family members.

    In addition, the same family members who treat nurses like slaves are the ones who become silent when the attending physician enters the room, treating him/her with the utmost respect and reverence even though the doc only spends 2 minutes in the room per day.
  5. by   Ms Kylee
    This frosts my bum big time! I don't understand why families think their loved one is the only patient on the floor.
  6. by   MAISY, RN-ER
    Stress is no reason to be abusive....yesterday, I relieved a nurse who was about to crack from family pressure so she could have a break. The minute I got there, they started. Why, why, why, why...? Fill in the blanks, then proceded to cry, lay on top of the barely breathing man, and just be in everyone's face. About 10 minutes went by, and I'd had it! I explained they were upsetting the other patients, they needed to stay in their chairs and not look over by shoulder (violating hippa), they needed to take it down a notch and stay off of this barely breathing man, they needed to stop asking why he wouldn't live to over 100(like his grandparents), and then I called the Rabbi. I explained the situation and sent him into speak to them and comfort them. Later, they came out and thanked me and were much calmer. Their nurse came back, was told what happened...then, she hugged me. This is an extreme case of needy family and not having the time due to multi-patient acuity.
    Others, I enforce the visitation rule, call the patient rep, call security, stop them dead in their tracks if they talk for the patient, make them leave the room when I examine the patient, and a million more. I like people, and try my best to be informative and pleasant. However, I haven't always been a nurse, I was in business for years and know how to handle "bad" customers...and I do.
    By the way, my PG are usually great, have never had a negative. Even with our frequent flyers, they know how much I'll put up with....they never get to that level a second time.

    Maisy
  7. by   Diahni
    Quote from Kylee45
    This frosts my bum big time! I don't understand why families think their loved one is the only patient on the floor.
    I think hospital administrators must take a lot of the blame - every horror story I've heard, and one of my own, were greeted by the attitude of "it's part of your job to put up with this." COW POOPY! There is no job in the world where the powers that be tell their employees that they must endure physical and psychological abuse. NO, it is not all right to treat nurses, or any other staff like this. There has to be some big administrative changes for this to happen. Patients and their families must be reminded upon admission and during a hospital stay that they should not leave their manners outside the door when they come in a hospital. This also applies to people to don't have any to begin with.
    Come to think of it, I do think that waiters and waitresses can get a lot of mistreatment from customers. In this case, it depends on the restaurant whether or not the employee is supported or told to suck it up.
    Diahni
  8. by   Blackcat99
    I sure miss working the night shift. I am so tired of families and their verbal abuse. My problem is that the nurses in my area of the world are too smart. All of the night shift positions are already filled. The only openings are for days and evenings. Anyway, I can always hope that a night nurse will move elsewhere and then I can try again for nights.
  9. by   AprilRNhere
    lol..and people look at me so oddly when I say I LIKE working nights.

    I prefer the business of days...but prefer little/no family around.
  10. by   swee2000
    Quote from Kylee45
    This frosts my bum big time! I don't understand why families think their loved one is the only patient on the floor.

    Exactly!!!!
  11. by   classicdame
    working nights is not a sure cure. Our visiting hours ended at 9 p.m. - a rule that was generally ignored by many. People would come in at midnight with snacks, etc. and WAKE THE PATIENT to be sure they patient knew they had done their duty by showing up.
  12. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from classicdame
    working nights is not a sure cure. Our visiting hours ended at 9 p.m. - a rule that was generally ignored by many. People would come in at midnight with snacks, etc. and WAKE THE PATIENT to be sure they patient knew they had done their duty by showing up.
    I occasionally work overtime night shifts at my workplace (10pm to 6am), and some family members have the audacity to stay in the room all night to ensure that the patient is being cared for. They'll even keep a tablet or legal pad, and jot down when the nurse or aide enters the room.

    Other family members boldly ignore the established visiting hours, and will straggle into the facility at 1am. Night shift is a good thing when your workplace actually gives nurses the authority to enforce the visiting hours. However, the managers at my facility tend to coddle to visitors and allow them to get away with anything.
  13. by   Blackcat99
    Quote from TheCommuter
    I occasionally work overtime night shifts at my workplace (10pm to 6am), and some family members have the audacity to stay in the room all night to ensure that the patient is being cared for. They'll even keep a tablet or legal pad, and jot down when the nurse or aide enters the room.

    Other family members boldly ignore the established visiting hours, and will straggle into the facility at 1am. Night shift is a good thing when your workplace actually gives nurses the authority to enforce the visiting hours. However, the managers at my facility tend to coddle to visitors and allow them to get away with anything.
    Oh no.:trout: No escape from these families. That's terrible. I usually lucked out when I worked LTC at night. Thanks for the warning. I will definately not look for a night shift position in a hospital.
  14. by   GrnHonu99
    Quote from Blackcat99
    I sure miss working the night shift. I am so tired of families and their verbal abuse. My problem is that the nurses in my area of the world are too smart. All of the night shift positions are already filled. The only openings are for days and evenings. Anyway, I can always hope that a night nurse will move elsewhere and then I can try again for nights.
    sadly, even us night shifters get our fair share of family drama. Dont get me wrong, sometimes its a blessing when you have a confused pt. but more often than not its a hassle. I will tolerate annoying family memebers only if they are beneficial to the pt. I am NOT a waitress, i do not take orders to accom. family. I try to practice family centered care but the minute it gets out of hand they have to go.

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