How do you handle innappropriate patients?

  1. Hi,
    I'm a nurse on a med-surg/oncology floor and have been taking care of this patient. He has lung cancer and is in and out of the hospital. We formed quite a bond the last couple of times he was in and I've talked with his wife alot since she's been at his bedside all the time.
    Well, the other night I had him and she wasn't there. He asked me some personal questions like how I keep my skin so nice, what sign I am, etc. but didn't think anything of it because he's an old guy and I'm married with four children. I think maybe the meds he's on for pain and sleep at the time made him a little goofy too. Well, I was saying bye at the end of my shift and he told me to give him a "kiss" and I went to give him a kiss on the cheek because he was supposed to go home in the am so I wouldn't see him and lots of times when our frequent pts go home we kiss or hug them. Well I went to give him a kiss and he moved so his lips touched mine!! I was quite shocked and like ran out of the room. He then proceeded to say "I love you" and after going home and thinking about it I just felt really yucky. Don't know if I can take care of this pt anymore. I'd just be too uncomfortable. How do you handle pts like this?
    Thanks
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   DaFreak71
    Hi Amy,

    I hope this won't come over as though I am chastizing you, but it is never appropriate to kiss a patient. I can understand small hug for a patient you've known for a long time, but kissing is entirely too intimate and it is very unprofessional. Other than kissing the same sex elderly lady who is more like mom on the cheek, I can't think of any situation where kissing would ever be professional in the work place. I am sorry this innocent gesture of affection turned icky on you; that really sucks. But it is for this very reason that it's probably not a good idea to continue the practice.

    I hope you feel less yucky soon.
  4. by   canoehead
    I think it would be tough to say no if someone wanted a kiss on the cheek.

    Your patient really turned the tables on you. Is it possible to chalk it up to meds, and then be sure to be extra boundary sensitive with him? If you have to acknowledge this sweet guy is a creep it would ruin your relationship, and probably give you the heebie jeebies for weeks.

    I'm sure it was the meds.
  5. by   TazziRN
    I've seen lots of people altered by meds, but not to the point of being inappropriate like that. I think I'd be asking not to be assigned to him anymore, and if asked why, be honest with the boss. If you must say anything to the pt, be up front: "The last time I took care of you I was very uncomfortable with your actions."
  6. by   Antikigirl
    No..you don't allow a kiss..but I do understand he is fighting for what he wants in life before it is over!

    He needs to come to realistic terms..he is soooooo not there yet.

    But HOW do you deal with this?

    It has been my experience to say "oh thank you so much...but I can't because I will no longer be your nurse after that..things will get wierd..and I want to be your nurse to help you..and that drive is stonger than anything! I will give mental hugs and pats on the hand..but in order to be my best for you...I have to be your nurse now."
  7. by   Cattitude
    Quote from tazzirn
    i've seen lots of people altered by meds, but not to the point of being inappropriate like that. i think i'd be asking not to be assigned to him anymore, and if asked why, be honest with the boss. if you must say anything to the pt, be up front: "the last time i took care of you i was very uncomfortable with your actions."
    i agree, i think he was just being a creepo. while i do tend to occasionally hug my pt's if the situation calls for it, i think kissing, even on the cheek, is a bit much. especially with the female nurse/male pt. thing, not a good idea to avoid this type of situation that occurred.




  8. by   ItsyBitsySpider
    I can understand some of you feel kissing (on the cheek) is inappropriate but where I'm from, way down yonder, kissing hello and goodbye is more common than shaking hands. I don't think twice about it. Obviously this guy was extremely inappropriate and I would also tend to believe it was probably a combination of his meds and his health situation. Don't let it creep you out for too long, it's nothing that you did wrong. If you think it will affect the care you give him in the future, then just pass it to someone else.
  9. by   AmyRN1227
    Thanks all for the great responses! Yes, I know he has cancer and I really think that he's also very depressed. Like you said, living for the moment. I had just given him a Vicodin and Ambien for sleep so he was probably a little woozy too.
    In the meantime, I will make a point to set up stronger boundaries. This is the first time something like this happened to me and although I thought he was just being very innocent, next time I will find a way around it, even with another pt.
    Thanks everyone!!!!!
  10. by   lilypad2424
    i think every situation is different. I also think that you could tell that he was attracted to you way before the "kiss." If it grossed you out, then learn from it, and remember that your intuition is there for a reason. I love it when situations blind side you ....it's an opportunity to reflect upon yourself and others.
  11. by   allantiques4me
    Amy.Im sure youre a caring wonderful nurse.But in my opinion you might have crossed the line of professionalism.I dont think you should be that much in his personal space.
  12. by   DDRN4me
    My guess is that you are a compassionate caring person who really has a bond with this family. I do agree that what he did was inappropriate; however i do think alot of it is med related. i would not refuse to care for him if he is admitted again, he will probably not even remember what happened. I would, however, address the issue and just tell him that "the meds really got to you and it made me uncomfortable" . He will be embarrasssed and probably very apologetic . I have had elderly men make comments and then realize what they said, and trust me they are more mortified than me!
  13. by   Kanani_Ikike
    Quote from AmyRN1227
    Hi,
    I'm a nurse on a med-surg/oncology floor and have been taking care of this patient. He has lung cancer and is in and out of the hospital. We formed quite a bond the last couple of times he was in and I've talked with his wife alot since she's been at his bedside all the time.
    Well, the other night I had him and she wasn't there. He asked me some personal questions like how I keep my skin so nice, what sign I am, etc. but didn't think anything of it because he's an old guy and I'm married with four children. I think maybe the meds he's on for pain and sleep at the time made him a little goofy too. Well, I was saying bye at the end of my shift and he told me to give him a "kiss" and I went to give him a kiss on the cheek because he was supposed to go home in the am so I wouldn't see him and lots of times when our frequent pts go home we kiss or hug them. Well I went to give him a kiss and he moved so his lips touched mine!! I was quite shocked and like ran out of the room. He then proceeded to say "I love you" and after going home and thinking about it I just felt really yucky. Don't know if I can take care of this pt anymore. I'd just be too uncomfortable. How do you handle pts like this?
    Thanks
    I'm not trying to sound condescending here, but I'm with the other poster who said it's never appropriate to kiss a patient. We must keep that professional boundary there, even if sometimes emotions run high.

    I know, because if you go along with some of those things, some patients will turn it around on you and act like you sexually harassed them or some extreme. Even if you know that it was them that intitiated such behavior. I just wouldn't put myself in those such situations. I wouldn't even go along with him asking me about my skin or what my sign was, etc. I don't think that it's any of his business and it's a pathway for him to think that he has a right to go to that level of kissing, hugging, etc. Just be careful from now on. You're heart's in the right place, but in this world, you have to keep your guard up.

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