What to say when male patients are being inappropriate?

  1. Maybe Y'all can help me with this one...I work with a lot of trauma patients; lots of MVAs which means many 20 and 30-something men. I'm 27 but look a lot younger and have experienced lots of perverted/inappropriate comments from some of these men.
    A while ago I had to put a foley in a young guy with both arms in casts who couldn't void, the first time I went in the room he had an erection :imbar so I said 'I'll just come back in a few minutes to put the catheter in.' When I went back he was still pitching a tent and just had this sly grin on his face like he was enjoying himself immensly. Finally I asked a male nurse to go put the darn thing in!
    What would be a good response when a patient is being inappropriate? I try to use humor, but sometimes still get flustered!
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   2rntish
    Just laugh and walk out.
  4. by   Katnip
    Just tell them very firmly that you are required to give them high-quality healthcare, but you are not required to put up with harrassment. I've had to do it a couple of times.

    Be very firm, don't let even a little bit of hesitance creep into your manner, they'll take it as being coy.
  5. by   javagirl
    HI,
    I'm a newbie so bear with me, but the OP makes it sound like he was pitching a tent on purpose. It could've just happend and with both arms in casts how can he get rid of it?..... Anyway, OP handled the situation well.
  6. by   LaShell
    I took care of a man going through etoh withdrawals, restrained in bed, and had just "poopered" in the bed. When I started cleaning him up, he said "gee, you smell good..." I felt like saying "you don't!!". At least he had good self-esteem!

    I guess I always start with ignoring the inappropriate comment, then progress to something about my husband liking me to be loyal, and then the old "I'm your nurse and that's inappropriate!" not that any of those are all that effective....!
  7. by   nurseygrrl
    I've used "If you want a hooker, you'll have to pay me more" a few times.
  8. by   Gldngrl
    Start with explaining that the behaviour is inappropriate and won't be tolerated...if the person continues, despite being given notice, contact the charge nurse, supervisor, whomever and file an incident report. I've had physicians go in and reprimand a patient myself. You can check your hospital policies to see if patients constitute 3rd parties for purposes of filing a sexual harrassment complaint (hostile work environment). If the patient is alert and oriented and knowingly intends these remarks, your claim should be strong. Just document everything.
  9. by   mattsmom81
    <Big Sigh> Society and the media still present nurses as sexual objects, so we always seem to run into this preconception.Even at my age I STILL field comments from family to male patients "Gee look Daddy you've got a good looking nurse tonite...be good". I groan inside and try to be lighthearted in my responses, and try to remember these guys are feeling out of control and are trying to cope with these feelings. Since being married and understanding the male personae better, I understand pitching a tent sometimes IS accidental...and male patients can be more embarassed than I am when it happens. Try to judge by intent, I guess is the best way to deal with this stuff.

    If the guy is obviously being sexually suggestive I deflate them fast by comments like "It isn't anything I haven't seen a thousand or so times, you're definitely nothing special so get over yourself.' We can accomplish a lot with some humor but I agree....some guys will get the impresion we're coy if we use humor (usually young guys...I find the older guys respond better to this)

    Hang in there young things...this issue DOES get easier to handle with experience.
    Last edit by mattsmom81 on Feb 25, '04
  10. by   Sadie04
    [QUOTE=shellylaverne]I took care of a man going through etoh withdrawals, restrained in bed, and had just "poopered" in the bed. When I started cleaning him up, he said "gee, you smell good..." I felt like saying "you don't!!". At least he had good self-esteem!

    :chuckle Too funny! Once I had a guy going through DT's, it was a night shift and everytime I came into the room he'd pull back his blankets and pat the bed next to him saying 'come on honey, lay down with me' :chuckle
  11. by   barefootlady
    Evaluate situation, be professional, be discreet if situation calls for it, if behavior is blatant then confront it in a calm, professional, concise manner. If behavior persists, inform CN, HN, Supervisor and insist on assignment change/or have another staff member accompany you for tx. Try to have a male, any male accompany you and it will probably deflate the problem.
    Males do not always have control of certain bodily functions, so evaluation is the key.
  12. by   gwenith
    When I was just starting in nursing I had a couple of young patients throw back the sheets and say "what do you think of that?" I asked my mum (a nurse herself) what my response would be. Her advice? "Tell them "I've seen better on an Arnott's biscuit tin" and walk off":roll

    Now days sadly I do not get that many passes made
  13. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I NEVER laugh, i do not need to give them the impression that it's funny.
  14. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    And the good ol' "That's not in my job description, but i'll be HAPPY to pass this info on to my Nurse Manager, and maybe she can clarify for you what is". That works every time.

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