Being called a racial slur by a patient I sat? - page 2

I made another thread about this patient, they were suicidal so obviously not in the right state of mind but I'm still bothered by hearing that word. In the 20 years I lived within America I never... Read More

  1. by   calivianya
    Everybody gets sick, even total jerks so bad that you'd throw a party if they were hit by a car.

    You still have to work with those people.

    I feel like more people are mean/stressed out/straight up evil than people who are nice, period. It's always a surprise when I have a totally wonderful patient/family, and it's not a frequent surprise. I work in a very high stress area, so ymmv on whether people are mostly nice or mostly mean. I get the mostly mean ones... which, through lots of bright smiles (work on making your fake smiles look real, I have some pretty legit looking fake smiles at this point that will fool anyone), a soft voice and touch, and detailed explanations of what's going on, can eventually become nice. Turning the mean ones nice is a LOT of work, and some of them never go that way and are nightmares every time you walk in the room.

    You're going to see people at their absolute worst. If you can't tolerate dealing with mean people... you're definitely in the wrong profession.
  2. by   HurdYou
    Sigh! So, the get over it conversation is as played out as the word itself. The reason people continue to do this is because they are allowed to. Excuses are made for them each and every day, even in this thread.
    I have not had that experience but I'm most definitely sure it will happen at some point because, well, people are just stupid, childish, lacking in creativity and vocabulary, and frankly self-hating, and insecure.
    I imagine myself, whenever the day comes that I am faced with that same situation, telling the patient that they need to be a bit more creative in their insults and to not be mad at me because I'm looking down on them instead of the opposite. I imagine myself internally satisfied that as they're calling me dumb names, I'm helping to take their pain away, or advocating for them.
    Some people will never get over the fact that people of all races are here to stay and just can't get over themselves. It's not my fault they feel a type of way about that and its not yours either.
    I would advise that you find some little satisfaction in the situation and try to conduct your nursing career providing the best care that you can for everybody, regardless of how much respect, or lack there of, they have for you. Prepare a professional response in case it happens again. But try not to let it continue to get to you because you will never be able to control what other people think of you.
  3. by   offlabel
    Would you be offended if a patient on chemotherapy barfed on you? Grossed out, sure, appalled and shocked, for sure. But offended? Had a patient with an old frontal lobe injury that was talking to me very sweetly before she attempted a round house punch on me with no warning at all.

    The patient isn't a jerk. He's sick. And you're there to take care of him. That's how you get over it.
  4. by   cocoa_puff
    Yep, I've been called a skinny b****, and there have been racist comments and other insults. Sometimes by patients with psych conditions or dementia, but more often by just rude, nasty people. Rude people are everywhere, and when they end up in the hospital...they are even worse. One patient even blamed me for the Vietnam War and went on this long angry rant. I'm Cambodian by the way

    ETA: I just realized you posted earlier about your sitting incident where the company or the nurse or somebody didn't tell you the patient was suicidal and you sat in the hallway reading magazines. In both your posts, you sound very unhappy as a sitter. You could stick it out, get used to your role, keep sitting, or you could find something else to do that doesn't make you miserable. It's okay if it's not for you...
    Last edit by cocoa_puff on Mar 20
  5. by   caliotter3
    A little difficult to believe someone has gone this far in life yet managed to remain so naive. Perhaps we are getting our collective legs pulled, just a little bit.
  6. by   oldpsychnurse
    When I graduated nursing school and went into psych, I had a patient call me something nasty (can't even remember what it was now). My very wise preceptor (RIP Linda Slaughter, RN) told me that psych patients have an uncanny ability to home in on what you're most insecure about. Whether it be your weight, your race, your hair, whatever, they can sense it, and that's what they're going to rag you about. Over my 30+ years as a psych nurse, I've found that's the most true statement I've ever heard. Some personality disorders are just hateful, but true psychotic patients have a tendency to say whatever comes to mind. I've been called pretty much everything in the book. Sometimes it's funny ("patient killing nurse" "***** in purple") and sometimes it's really insulting, but you just let it roll off and move on. Somehow I don't think this job is for you if you were that upset about a racial remark. If you can't deal with that, you are really going to have problems when they get really personal.
  7. by   ZombieRain
    White LPN and a black CNA are walking a white, female patient 80+ years old to her room. Patient asks who is going to help her into bed. LPN tells her the CNA will. Patient says 'Oh, the monkey? That's good, she's strong enough to do it.' I give a glance, raise an eyebrow. CNA tells me the patient isn't saying she's strong because she's a monkey, but rather that she is a monkey and ALSO it's good she will help because she is strong. Gotta focus on the positives.

    Seems strange to me in 20 years OP has never heard that particular racial slur spoken aloud, but maybe my familiarity with it says as much about my upbringing as a lack of familiarity does theirs.
  8. by   newmail445
    Get over it by changing your attitude. NO ONE is expected to hear racist and sexist things in this profession. No one comes to work to get beat up like that. You've every right to set limits with this patient by telling him/her that behavior isn't ok, and no - you don't have to be calm when saying this. Don't be an unprofessional lunatic either.

    Also, talk it out with your coworkers. They'll be very sympathetic and understanding to you generally.
  9. by   Wolf at the Door
    I Probably would have whispered some sweet things in that patient's ear but, I would have shrugged it off. Reminded the patient to never talk to me in this manner.
  10. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Sickness brings out the worst in people, making nasty people even nastier. It is NOT NOT NOT "ok" to be called the n-word by anyone and you can surely tell him that. It probably won't have the effect desired, however. This guy was a big, foul-mouthed jerk before he got sick; he's a bigger, more foul-mouthed jerk now. It may help to make it about him and not you. I am so sorry this happened; you do not deserve such treatment.
  11. by   Simonesays
    I sort of categorize this with patients being violent. In certain circumstances, it isn't the patient's fault. And it's one thing to recognize and understand this. But it's another to be able to "brush it off." It's ok that you were shaken up because it was not ok what was said to you.

    You have stated that you are new in your position. You will develop a thick skin working in health care. This probably (99.9%) won't be the last horrible/hurtful name that you are called. That is, unfortunately, the reality of this field. You are going to be dealing with people in some of the worst, most stressful moments of their lives. These patients might say and do things that would shock even their closest family members or friends. Does it mean their behaviour is ok? No. Does it mean they are inherently bad people? No.

    My grandpa was a complete racist ***hole to the nurses when he was sick and confused. When he asked one where she planned on sticking an IM needle (with Haldol), she replied "in your eye." She was actually his favourite nurse after that. And it made my parents laugh during a stressful time.

    You will find the coping mechanism that works for you. Hopefully, you are able to move past this incident and discover the rewarding aspects of your work. Talk to your coworkers. They understand what you are going through. And- to put it in context- for me the thing that makes all of it worthwhile is being able to make a difference for people in their most terrible moments.