Patients Treat Nurses Like Garbage! - page 3

I don't know what it is. Last week I had five patients one day, all were demanding and miserable. This week I had another group of miserable demanding patients. I happen to see nurses who speak... Read More

  1. by   Mulan
    Quote from wooh
    Back when I worked nights, I went into help one of our new grad nurses along with the charge nurse and a tech. Old man going wild swinging his cane at us. I told him TWICE that he would stop swinging the cane or I would take it away. He kept swinging, I took it away. Then wild old man starts to fall back. There was a chair behind him, but I was afraid he was going to hit hard, so I put my arm behind his back so that he'd slowly lower into the chair instead of hitting his butt hard, and maybe hitting his head on the back of the chair hard. In the midst of all the excitement, our tech got badly scratched. (And of course the family refused to allow HIV/hep testing so she could rest easy.)
    Next morning family tells doc that not only was I rude to him and wouldn't let him have his cane, but I hit him and made him fall down. THE DOC BELIEVED THE FAMILY. You can't even count on the docs to be on your side, since they don't get the crappy treatment so obviously we're making it up.
    and the docs are getting the big bucks from the family, the nurse can always be the scapegoat
  2. by   locolorenzo22
    Now...here's the thing...when you work as a CNA...you're just expected to take it like that will make it all ok, and patients will complain about you, but mangers ALWAYS take the patients side. When a nurse is involved, usually managers will talk with nurse and come to understanding that it was mainly patient behavior. What a double standard!
    However, I am a FIRM beliver in the fact that how you approach patients will determine how they react to you. I NEVER listen to the report that says "oh, he'll be after you all night. Family will want you to do this, this, this." If family approaches me, I'll do what I can, but I cannot do what I cannot do or feel comfortable doing. I'm sorry, your dad is wanting to get up, but I can't let him due to the fact he just had sx three hours ago...
    I was recently reminded how much caring helps when a patient told me before I left that morning "you've been the best one here...what's your name again? We're going to make sure to tell that lady in the morning."
    I tell EVERY patient who's awake or up to BR at 4AM "It's been a pleasure taking care of you and good luck. Have a nice stay." It goes a LONNGG way...usually they remember me and are a little easier if I'm back the same night.
  3. by   Mulan
    Quote from locolorenzo22
    Now...here's the thing...when you work as a CNA...you're just expected to take it like that will make it all ok, and patients will complain about you, but mangers ALWAYS take the patients side. When a nurse is involved, usually managers will talk with nurse and come to understanding that it was mainly patient behavior. What a double standard!
    Sorry that's been your experience. Most places where I have worked, the patient is always right, the nurse is wrong.
  4. by   StNeotser
    Quote from lindarn
    It never ceases to amaze me, that for all for all of the excuses we make for patients that exhibit this anti social behaviour, the only staff that is the butt of this obnoxious behavior is nursing.

    I have never observed a patient treat the physical therapist, respirstory therapist, dietician, etc, with the sam deplorable behavior the we experience on a daily basis.

    Folks, there is no excuse for this conduct, and we perpetuate it by tolerating it.

    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington
    Very well said. I believe that people behave this way because there are no consequences for their actions. If a member of the public hit a sales clerk or a waitress in a restaurant the police would be called and they would have an assault on a criminal record file.

    This behaviour is obviously being encouraged and even rewarded by management.

    Also, why is it nursing? A physical therapist at my facility was pushed out of the way by a doctor who wanted to use the sink she was using to wash her hands. His excuse? He thought she was a nurse.
  5. by   Shantas
    Ok oneday a spanish speaking family yelled at me and did not want me to be their nurse because I dont speak spanish!
    This male patient, he is 46 years old, he was there because of COPD. He was on oxygen, he was ambulatory, alert, oriented, also going to bathroom on his own using a oxygen tank. He asked me to wash his bottom and that he needed help with washing his peri area! So I told him as a nurse I encourage my patient to be independent as much as they can. I did not think he needed help so I gave him a bucket, soap,washcloth and I told him he could wash him self either in the bathroom or at his bed, the excercise will be good for his lungs and muscle and speed up his recovery!!! He did not like it...he yelled at me and told me I am lazy and not wanting to do my work!! How come I was helping the patient next to him (that patient had a hip surgery, elederly, having lots of pain!)
    So when people are rude to me I just tell them I am there to help them as a nurse and not there to take there abuse. I tell them if they have any problems they are more than welcome to speak to my supervisor.
    I also wish I could just change my profession at times, but I have bills to pay. I told my children to stay away from any medical profession. I dont want them to get abused like the way I do. I also witnessed the doctors getting yelled at. People are just rude
  6. by   Kinky Slinky RN
    I think this is one reason I could never work at a private facility where most patients have insurance and expect to be treated like royalty. I work where most patients are homeless and most are thankful for what treatment you can give them. There are the ones that think they can come to the hospital and have the nurse wait on them hand and foot. Unfortunately, they quickly realize that I will NOT be waiting on them OR the other 15 patients I have. I don't put up with that or their horrible treatment. They expect respect and so do I. Thankfully, this is the ONE thing management will always back us up on as well as the doctors.

    We had one guy patient that I had taken care of several times prior to this one occurence. Well he was starting to get impatient that he hadn't been seen yet and decided to show off to all of the other patients and "walk out" of the ER. The patient later showed up and I explained to him that he had been taken out of the system since we had paged him overhead several times. The patient said he left because he didn't want a woman doctor taking care of him because, and I quote, "women shouldn't be anywhere but the bedroom." Although I could easily enter the pt back into the system with the click of a button, I told him that this ER is RAN by women and he will NOT be entered back into the system and if he feels he is sick enough then he needs to sign back in at triage. Charge RN and unit mgr backed me up...

    I quickly bring my patients back down to reality.... I don't have time to waste on their ridiculous demands.... Need to go to the bathroom but dont want to get out of bed? Get up and walk.. thats how you got to the ER in the first place OR how you get around at home....

    I had one patient tell me I needed to help him roll in bed because he was an "African King." I said "How do you roll in bed at home?" he said " my woman rolls me." I explained that if he wanted help to roll around in bed, in which he was perfectly capable of doing himself, then he needed to call his wife for help because I am not about to roll him every time he wants us to roll him just because hes too lazy to move his own 350 lbs.

    I had one family member ask me to change the sheets because ONE drop of the patients blood got on the sheet. I said No i will not change the sheet for one drop of his own blood but i will bring sheets for YOU to change..... She changed the sheets...

    Just absurd requests..

    Ridiculous........ =)
  7. by   Christie RN2006
    There are rude people everywhere, not just in the hospital, but unfortunately for us when people are sick and out of the environment they are used to it tends to bring out the worst in them. As nurses we tend to take the brunt of peoples frustrations. If they are mad at their doctor, in pain, or just a plain old grump, guess who they take it out on... us! Also, we live in a consumer based society where the customer is always right, even in the healthcare setting. People have been taught that if they are not happy with something then they need to complain about it and get their way. It makes our lives miserable because due to management and PG we have to constantly suck up to people and brown nose to try to improve our customer service scores.

    I remember one time I had a patient that was going down the tubes fast, they were on the verge of coding and their family member wasn't happy with me because I wasn't smiling?!? They asked me why I was so unhappy!! I told them that their family member was not doing very well and the reason I wasn't smiling was because I was concentrating very hard on doing everything I could to keep them alive at that moment.
  8. by   irishnurse67
    Quote from Kanani_Ikike
    I'm so sorry that you are having to deal with this type of behavior. Especially when you go out of your way to treat them with respect. Well, I come in to work with a clean slate. What gets written my slate for each patient depends on how they act towards me. If they respect me, I'll treat them like a queen/king. I may even go out of my way and do things that I wouldn't normally do for them (like going to get coffee, coke, all the waitress type things I don't plan on doing if I'm really busy with patient care.)

    But if they are rude to me, they can forget the extras. And where I usually rush to get the call light, I may take a few seconds longer than normal. I won't chit chat with the rude ones and won't ask if they need anything. The rude one will always have to call for what they need. And if they really act up, then I'll just let them know about it. I have had to bring one lady to tears.

    But, I didn't say anything out of the way to her. I just told her that she was out of line talking to me like a dog. I also told her that I had had enough and wasn't going to tolerate it any longer. I guess it was shocking to her and it hurt her feelings. Oh, well. I guess I don't have feelings since I'm just the nurse, do I? :angryfire
    Are you my long-lost twin?
  9. by   flightnurse2b
    Quote from Shantas
    Ok oneday a spanish speaking family yelled at me and did not want me to be their nurse because I dont speak spanish!
    had a frequent flyer in the ER i used to work at that was incredibly racist and was verbally abusive to the black nurses and techs.

    one night, he got assigned to a travel nurse from jamaica. unfamiliar with mr. sunshine, when she entered the room to greet him, he dropped the N-bomb like no body's business and screamed as loud as he could for help.

    i went in there and said "Mr. W, what is your emergency." he said "well, you see, i dont understand why you people keep sending these n---- nurses in here". at this point the nurse was already in tears.

    so i said "Mr. W, is it correct that you are here because you are having difficulty breathing and think you are having a heart attack?"... he said yes. and "is it correct that you do not have an advanced directive in your chart and would like to be resuscitated if your heart stopped?"... he looked at me like i was stupid, but again he said "no i sure dont and i want everything done for me"

    so i posed him the question... "would it be ok then, to have a colored nurse perform CPR on you, or would you rather us let you go since there aren't any white nurses on duty this evening?"

    he apologized to his nurse and never spoke the N-word in that ER again.
  10. by   nyapa
    Quote from PHM
    Don't think it's something that changed over the years. Just like in the general public, there are rude and obnoxious patients.
    I beg to differ. I find it really hard to go to mandatory violence education inservices, because of previous experience. Last time I walked out halfway in tears and had a good cry in the toilet. One of the hospital seniors came out and asked what was wrong. She basically said that I (as in myself) knew that nursing was changing and that nurses will learn to have to put up with it. And that is from a senior!. I have been nursing for close to 18 years (17yrs as an EN, nearly 1 yr as an RN) and I have definitely seen the changes....
  11. by   MA Nurse
    Quote from lisa41rn
    I don't know what it is. Last week I had five patients one day, all were demanding and miserable. This week I had another group of miserable demanding patients. I happen to see nurses who speak rudely to patients and my thought has always been that the patients pay a fortune for their care and deserve a caring, nice and knowledgeable nurse. I'm starting to think otherwise and see why so many nurses speak up to the patients. In the past, I've nearly always taken a difficult patient and could bring out the best in them. My recent patients are just so rude. I'm the first to have the common sense to realize their illnesses are often new and anxiety can bring out the worst in people. Regardless, it doesn't give them the right to treat those caring for them the most, like garbage. I'm fortunate that I don't need to work and really wonder if I want to go to work, a job I once loved, to be treated terribly. I know many nurses I work with, who are honest, admit they would love to leave and do something different, but often don't have any other options but to be a nurse. How do you all deal with your rude patients??
    I am so thankful I work with babies. Have you ever considered it? Seriously, they can't hurt you physically, maybe emotionally...but they have no choice in their care...they are the best patients, IMO. They don't argue, swear, treat you like garbage, etc.
    They are very compliant, too!
    Your story is the very reason i onlt worked with adults for 1 year out of nursing school. No nurse should be treated this way.
  12. by   Shantas
    Quote from Kimbalou
    I am so thankful I work with babies. Have you ever considered it? Seriously, they can't hurt you physically, maybe emotionally...but they have no choice in their care...they are the best patients, IMO. They don't argue, swear, treat you like garbage, etc.
    They are very compliant, too!
    Your story is the very reason i onlt worked with adults for 1 year out of nursing school. No nurse should be treated this way.
    How about the families, the parents of the babies?? Sometimes the families are worse than the patients themselves.
    I want to share another incident with you all!!
    This young lady was admitted to my floor for sickle cell crisis and she is a well known patient on our floor. She also has pain issues and seen by addiction team. One day I had her as my patient. She has been getting dilaudid and phenergan. She was also getting benadryl. So that day she took her dilaudid and phenergan IV then she is reqesting me to give her the benadryl IV. She had a double lumen picc line and one port was hep locked and the other one had IV fluid infusing. So as usual I was about to push the benadryl in the line where the fluid is infusing. She did not like it at all. She insisted I push the benadryl in the port that is hep locked. I asked her why and she said its because I needed to flush that port! I told her I do not and will not flush the port with benadryl!! Then she got mad at me and she told me I was an incompetent nurse and didn't know what I was doing, then she demaded another nurse to take care of her.....to make the long story short, the addiction doctor talked to her and later that day she left the hospital ama
  13. by   EmmaG
    I'm sick and tired of hearing the excuse that these people are acting this way because they're ill and stressed. And I wish like hell nursing instructors would stop drumming this crap into students' heads. All that does is perpetuate the stereotype of the nurse as a long-suffering martyr.

    I've been in this business long enough to recognize the difference between patients (and families) acting out from illness and stress and those who are simply a horse's ass.

    "Stress" ain't got nothin' to do with it. And I refuse to excuse that behaviour.

    /rant
    Last edit by EmmaG on Nov 16, '07 : Reason: sp

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