"Your job is to make me happy"

  1. I was taking care of a patient today who told me... "your job is to make me happy".
    I was taken aback, but responded "my job is to make you healthy... healthy and happy, but healthy first"
    I feel a bit guilty, and I feel that I shouldn't. I'm amazed that a patient would tell me that my job is to make them happy. Has anyone had an experience like this or offer any words of advice?
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  2. 122 Comments

  3. by   MPKH
    Depending on how I feel at the moment, I might not have responded, turned it into a joke or answered somewhat seriously.

    You can gently explained to the patient that that is not your job--as I routinely tell my patient that "I am paid to keep you alive and to make sure you are receiving the appropriate treatments and medications...anything on top of that I consider that a nice bonus,"
  4. by   elkpark
    IMO, it's not even "your job" to make them healthy; for some people that's an impossible, unattainable goal (and there's only so much we can do to undo the damage people have done to themselves). Our job is to provide nursing care, end of story. Happiness and health are up to the individuals.
  5. by   dishes
    I would deflect it back onto them with some sort of phrase such as; Happiness is an inside job. Don't assign anyone else that much power over your life.
  6. by   LetMeGrabSomeGloves
    I would have looked them right in the eye and responded "My job is to keep you alive and safe. I will do my best to also keep you happy, but that is a two-way street. Is there anything that you'd like to talk about right now that is making you unhappy?"

    I always try to keep in mind that people in the hospital are usually at their worst both physically and emotionally. Regardless, I do not allow them to abuse me.
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    My job is to oversee your care and safety. Your happiness is YOUR job.
  8. by   Pangea Reunited
    I would have said something stupid back. I'm not sure what, I just know I wouldn't have dignified the comment with a serious answer.
  9. by   TheCommuter
    Making another individual happy (or mad) is an impossibility. We are not responsible for the feelings of other people, including our patients.

    The nurse's job is to provide competent care that will meet the patient's health needs and result in acceptable outcomes. However, we do not have the magic switch to flip that provides instantaneous happiness to people, nor will we ever.
  10. by   AJJKRN
    As I have told a many a Pt before, my job is to keep you safe, everything else is secondary. Oh hell no, this is not Burger King!
  11. by   ErraticThinkerRN
    I've had a lot more patients saying something to that effect lately. My standard line is "I'm a nurse, not a concierge."
  12. by   val421
    Quote from Nurse216
    I was taking care of a patient today who told me... "your job is to make me happy".
    I was taken aback, but responded "my job is to make you healthy... healthy and happy, but healthy first"
    I feel a bit guilty, and I feel that I shouldn't. I'm amazed that a patient would tell me that my job is to make them happy. Has anyone had an experience like this or offer any words of advice?
    Keep these in your holster for next time (all said with a smile, of course):

    1) "No, that's what puppies and kittens are for. But puppies and kittens can't do CPR."

    2) "I'd hate to see what a depressed mess you'll be after you're discharged, then."

    3) "Actually, I specifically have a 'DON'T make Mr./Ms. [pt's name] happy' clause in my contract."

    4) "My name isn't fluoxetine. If you're really unhappy, maybe a psychiatrist should introduce the two of you." (Kinda harsh, I know)

    5) "And apparently your job is to be an entitled douche." (This one has ONLY been broken out when confronted with extreme a**hole behavior).

    I'm not mean, I swear. That was my alter-ego, Snarknado.

    Don't feel guilty for a second. This person is obviously misinformed of the role that nurses play in their healthcare - not necessarily their fault, considering the resort experience most facilities want to market to potential clients - but you have to correct that line of thinking right away or else patients will continue to make absurd demands that can actually impede upon their (and other patients') care.
  13. by   caliotter3
    At least you did not have to inform the patient that you are a nurse, not a prostitute. Yes, some will brazenly ask.
  14. by   Rexie
    I could totally see my old manager telling patients this. I'm so happy I no longer work for her.

    If somebody actually verbalized it to me, I might tell them that "Nobody is happy in the hospital" with the raised eyebrow look.

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