Patients Treat Nurses Like Garbage!

  1. 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??
    •  
  2. 93 Comments

  3. by   jmgrn65
    That is one reason I have gotten out of bedside nursing. I am in informatics, and work extra on the floor 1-2 a month. patients and families are getting more difficult to deal with, they have unrealistic demands.
  4. by   PRESLA
    ]I found that you will find rude people in all areas of nursing. Most of the time I will tell them that I will be back when they start treating more like a nurse than a waitress or servant, that will make them think then I usually have a better experience c them and their families. Working c the public is hard and I feel that no one desires to be treated rude, pt or nurse.

    Lisa :smiley_ab
  5. by   MikeyJ
    Exactly why I refuse to work on an adult floor after I graduate -- I am not even done with school yet, and I am already jaded from the horrible experiences I have had with adult patients. I never thought I would be a pediatric nurse when I first started nursing school, but it looks like that is the only floor I enjoy because the patients are awesome and although the parents can be a little demanding at times, it is nothing like an adult floor.
  6. by   NurseCard
    Quote from sistermike
    Exactly why I refuse to work on an adult floor after I graduate -- I am not even done with school yet, and I am already jaded from the horrible experiences I have had with adult patients. I never thought I would be a pediatric nurse when I first started nursing school, but it looks like that is the only floor I enjoy because the patients are awesome and although the parents can be a little demanding at times, it is nothing like an adult floor.
    I was about to say =), don't think for a second that you aren't going to run into rude and demanding parents and grandparents. I have to say though, in my experience it hasn't been so much that parents are incredibly rude or demanding. It's been that parents tend to get, at times, WAY more anxious than is really necessary. I have a hard time dealing with that, but I think if I had MORE experience dealing with pediatric patients, dealing with anxious parents and putting them at ease would become easier.

    I remember one horrible incident in which I had a patient whose young mom had just been a basket case all night. She ended up about having a nervous breakdown because I had to give her kid a shot in the leg. Well, I went to give the shot, and the needle and syringe came apart and the solution squirted everywhere instead of going into the kid's leg. The mom about had a conniption. I don't remember what exactly was wrong with the child, and as a parent myself I understand being worried when your child is sick, sure. But my goodness.... the whole incident really had me upset as well; I was in tears at the nurses station. It was horrible. So needless to say, I have a hard time dealing with nervous parents. But also, like I said, maybe if I had more intense experience taking care of kids, that would get easier. As it is now, I work on a Med/Surge floor (again) on which we also take care of kids. We usually have at least two on the floor at the same time, in comparison to the other hospital I worked where we would be lucky to have one child at a given time during the warm months; and then during the cold months we MIGHT have two or three.
  7. by   PHM
    Don't think it's something that changed over the years. Just like in the general public, there are rude and obnoxious patients. Combine that with illness infliction, general problems stewing at home (marriage, debt, etc) and you indeed become the focal point for any "unloading."

    I've also had a few runs of groups of intolerable patients. Simply treat them the best I can and pray the next day or rotation will bring something better. I actually feel challenged by people like this and lay on the compassion, kindness and patience to see if it changes them. Sometimes it does absolutely nothing.

    I've learned to simply smile during times of patients' ranting and/or complaining and complete the task at hand. Return later to see if things have changed. If the day's just progressing horribly, I feel it's just one of those rotations that will get better with time and know in my heart that not everyone can do this type of nursing.

    And, I just suck it up.

    Best of luck

    Phil:spin:
  8. by   Blee O'Myacin
    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??
    When hospital admin gets PR out there so that patients expect hotel-style valet service, and all they get in reality is a tele nurse with a few too many patients and a CNA who has half a floor to toilet, wash and observe, there is very little of the pillow fluffing, behind kissing that the patient now expects. If I wanted to tend to that sort of detail, I'd have majored in hotel/restaurant management and saved myself the trouble! :trout:. That's not to say that I don't behave professionally, even if there are days that my jaw is clenched so tightly that I can't even cram a PB&J in there when I take my lunch break!!

    Blee
  9. by   core0
    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.
    this is the first problem. the patients pay almost nothing for thousands of dollars of care per day. then as another poster pointed out the marketeers try to portray the hospital as a posh "hotel". then people wonder why the patients treat nursing like "staff".

    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??
    some of these people as you have noted are exhibiting stress reaction to a new environment or an illness. some of them are just jerks. the best method i have found is to set limits on their behavior and tell them when things are inappropriate. if they are smart they realize you are a key for a comfortable stay and rapid recovery. unfortunately there is a sub set of very very stupid people that are also jerks. they tend to be almost weasel like in their craftiness. if you look at your dsm most of them strongly resemble anti-social personality disorder. not much you can do here.

    i saw an excellent example of limits yesterday from one of the nurses. we have a patient that "likes" her pain meds and phenergan. we have set strict limits on when she can get it which of course does not mean that cannot be on the call light continuously. when i was talking to the patient i noticed that her nurse had written in big letters the schedule of her pain and nausea meds on the white board. above that was "next pain med 930" "next nausea med 1000". while i was there she came in changed the times and gave the meds. it sits right at the end of the bed and is a good reminder when the patient can call.

    good luck

    david carpenter, pa-c
  10. by   celery
    Press Gainey doesn't help.
  11. by   Kanani_Ikike
    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'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
  12. by   ERRNTraveler
    Don't think for a minute that pediatrics will be any better. I worked in peds as a new grad, and sometimes the parents made it absolutely unbearable! Like the ones who will sit and have a fit when you have to do ANYTHING unpleasant to their child. I work in ER now, so I still have peds patients, and I just can't get over the parents who drag their kid out of the house at 4 am for something that is nowhere NEAR life-threatening, and then get mad at me if I try to take a rectal temperature, start an IV, draw blood, etc. If they don't want us doing any of this stuff, WHY DID THEY BRING THEM IN???
  13. by   Bugaloo
    I feel as if patients and their family members as a whole have become more demanding towards the nursing staff. You also have this trend in hospitals now to make the hospital more like a hotel. As in, they are the guests, we are maid service. Upper management will bend over backwards to pacify these types of patients. They will discipline the nurses for not rewarding these people for this type of behavior. It is absolutely ridiculous. Then they wonder why so many nurses are leaving bedside nursing.
  14. by   lindarn
    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
    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, respiratory therapist, dietician, etc, with the same 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
    Last edit by lindarn on Nov 22, '07 : Reason: spelling

close