Wether you know or don't know, I'm a nursing student working as a CNA for the summer. I absolutely love my chosen field and I even like working as a NA. My problem is my mouth. I have and have always had a bad tendency to mouth off to people who are being rude to me. I am not a hothead and I don't do it to just anyone, matter of fact, I'm pretty laid back and easy going. It takes a lot to get me hopping. The problem is, when I am yelled at or fussed at (can you tell where I'm from ? ) and I know I didn't do anything wrong, I am very quick to let the person doing the yelling know that I didn't do anything wrong.
For instance.... a couple of nights ago ( I work 3-11) I was picking up supper trays on the floor. I had handed out trays on one side of the hall but because I was swamped, a nurse helped me by handing out trays on the other side. Anyway, I was picking trays up on the side the nurse had taken, I went in a paitient's room and asked if he was through with his tray. He was on the phone and said that we hadn't even brought him a supper tray. Well, I was sitting there looking at a supper tray that hadn't even been touched! I told him that this was a supper tray. He proceeded to yell at me and tell me that when we hand out trays, we need to wake people up and let them know! Okay, I understood that he was upset but I couldn't help but adding, and these were my exact words "Sir, I'm not the one that brought this tray in here." He did apologize, blamed his temper on "that medicine hanging there" ( NS of all things). I offered to heat his food up and he was fine.
My problem is that I'm scared that my mouth will get me in trouble. Anybody have any suggestions?
The assertiveness training class is an excellent idea! I have a tendency to flare, too. But, I "tune into" my emotions. If I feel that "flare" start, I immediately say, "I'll be right back." I turn on my heels and do not show my feelings EVER to the patient. I leave the room until I have cooled off or send someone else in to handle the problem. I then congratulate myself for being "in control" of *ME* when the person who hollered at me wasn't in control of themselves at all. Usually, just that thought allows me to go back and deal with the situation better. Another trick I use when I feel the "flare of anger" is to objectify the situation. In other words, I try to see everything as an OBSERVER, not a participant. That allows me to really see what is happening with the patient: the furrowed brow, the angry hand mannerisms, the loud voice, and that allows me to do an ASSESSMENT and an INTERVENTION. Maybe the patient is in pain, needs a referral to social services because he isn't coping with his illness, etc. Another way is to just repeat what the person said, like, "You're upset because your food is cold." Then shut up and wait for a response. OR, another good answer would be, "what can I do to correct this for you?" The point is that when you see people's bad behavior as a SYMPTOM (anger, fear, feelings of helplessness, poor coping, etc.), you can deal with it appropriately. Tell yourself that you will CHOOSE, instead of just knee-jerk react, how to calm the situation down in the best way. Those are my tricks for keeping my mouth under control. You'll find your own ways, too.
Last edit by Youda on Aug 8, '02