Verbal Attacks. What should I do?

  1. Hi everyone,

    I'm a home health nurse who is currently at her overnight shift wondering what to do. I work with a pediatric patient in their home and have been their nurse for 4 months since he was brought home from the hospital. At first everything was going well. My job is done professionally and prudently, but I was seen as a psychologist as well. Hearing her issues about her family and life started to take a toll on me. I still did my job. Lately, nurses have been quitting this case and the patient's mother is getting unbearable. She's yelling at nurses over the most trivial things. She calls us "stupid nurses" if we don't do something on her timing. The straw that broke the camel's back happened on this shift. After receiving report from the outgoing nurse she told me to be careful because "Mom is losing her mind lately". I was pulled aside by the parent who accused me of doing things I never did. She raised her voice and told me to "change my attitude ". I told her I didn't have one. I'm a tiny girl with a tinier voice who was shaking internally as she yelled this. To which her response was: "IF YOU DONT LIKE THIS CASE THEN YOU SHOULD LEAVE!" I asked her if she felt my job wasn't up to par. She repeated the same thing. Throughout the night so far she has come to me repeatedly (4x now) repeatedly yelling and while walking away yelled that she's tired of "these stupid nurses!" I've been sitting here wanting to cry because I want to quit this case now. In home health (at least my agency) we don't have a charge nurse readily available to de escalate such a situation. She's throwing chux pads and yelling that "THESE BELONG OVER HERE!" I value my license and after being accused and yelled at and after hearing her yell out of her room "AND I DONT CARE IF I DONT GET ANYMORE NURSES!"

    I had changed my number because of an unrelated issue. When she asked for it I told her policy states I cannot give my number to a parent of a patient. She flipped. She's had my old number and gotten upset when I called out and blamed me for her not having a nurse that night.
    I'm at my wits end. What's the best course of action here?
    Last edit by Butterfly9839 on Nov 22, '16
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   JustBeachyNurse
    1. Never ever give your personal contact info to parents. They are not your peers.
    2. Contact the office. Explain exactly what is going on and get reassigned immediately. This happens very often in private duty pediatrics.

    Parents make accusations to the non-clinical director and she has clinical interpret & investigation. Some times it's an actual concern. Sometimes it's a control or lack tgereof issue. Sometimes it's a matter of perspective.


    Leave now. Save your sanity and license. Before this case implodes and takes you in the blast zone.
    Last edit by JustBeachyNurse on Nov 25, '16
  4. by   Butterfly9839
    Thank you for your input. I shouldn't have given her my previous number. Every nurse got sucked into giving her their numbers in order to text them when she's out and has left her child in our care. I just gave his last meds and she snapped at me because a drop (DROP) of water fell on her bed where the patient (5 month old) is cosleeping. It's as if she expects unrealistic perfection and driving an hour for this case and getting $16/hr isn't worth my sanity. Ugh.
  5. by   caliotter3
    Write out a thorough communication note for your agency and give it to them when you tell them that you request to be removed from the case. Change your number and do not give it out again.

    To clarify: Provide your agency with the written communication note when you tell them that you will not be returning to the case. One more shift there could very well turn out to be one shift too many. You are now well aware that this case is toxic and you need to protect your future. Better to be unemployed for awhile than to be wondering how this unstable person is going to harm your career.
    Last edit by caliotter3 on Nov 22, '16
  6. by   Butterfly9839
    Quote from caliotter3
    Write out a thorough communication note for your agency and give it to them when you tell them that you request to be removed from the case. Change your number and do not give it out again.

    To clarify: Provide your agency with the written communication note when you tell them that you will not be returning to the case. One more shift there could very well turn out to be one shift too many. You are now well aware that this case is toxic and you need to protect your future. Better to be unemployed for awhile than to be wondering how this unstable person is going to harm your career.

    Youre absolutely right. I emailed my DON early this morning and let her know in a detailed message what was going on. I followed up with the scheduler who told me that she flipped out because now she has no nurse for 2 nights a week anymore. Glad I dodged that bullet.
  7. by   JustBeachyNurse
    Quote from Butterfly9839
    Youre absolutely right. I emailed my DON early this morning and let her know in a detailed message what was going on. I followed up with the scheduler who told me that she flipped out because now she has no nurse for 2 nights a week anymore. Glad I dodged that bullet.

    Repeat. Not my circus. Not my monkeys and move on.

    I don't think about the crazy cases I leave. I don't think about the cases I leave due to circumstance (hours change, my skills are"advanced" & needed elsewhere). You need to leave work at work for your own personal sanity
    Last edit by JustBeachyNurse on Nov 25, '16
  8. by   middleagednurse
    I have had a lot of experience with private duty nursing. QUIT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  9. by   beckysue920
    More power to you for getting out of that situation!

    My concern is the 5 month old who is in a co-sleeping situation. Hope the baby doesn't die from suffocation, which is a MAJOR happenstance and frequent occurrence where I live.
  10. by   Kooky Korky
    Time to move on. Mom has blown a gasket. I guess her lifestyle is cramped by having a sick child and someone in her space 24/7 or money is a problem, or her relationships have gone downhill due to a sick child, or God only knows what.

    Unless you can get her to comprehend that you will not allow her to call you stupid and that you will not tolerate any other unreasonalble and inappropriate behavior from her, it is dangerous for you to be alone with her.

    Get out before anything worse than name-calling happens.

    Think about the possibility that this now further overwhelmed parent might be abusive. Report the matter to Child Protective Services if you have the feeling there could be some abuse.

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