"Difficult" Patients - page 3

I love getting report when the RN tells me about how unmanageable a particular patient is because then I make sure that they're not going to ruin my day and it feels like an accomplishment when I've won those patients over. VERY... Read More

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    Sometimes it takes a pysch consult or some labs. I remember ducking a woman who was trying to lasso me with her catheter bag. Very low sodium as it turned out.
    CharleeFoxtrot, metal_m0nk, M/B-RN, and 3 others like this.

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  2. 1
    Quote from ABitterPill
    CodeTeamB: Do you have a "sane" nurse manager?! Cause, if we try the "scary nurse pants" thing on our floor and a patient or family member expresses the least little thing about it, we're reprimanded...leaving me to wonder, just how much abuse is a nurse expected to take---from pts, family members and my nurse manager?! I'm about at my ultimate limit sadly.
    And this is the sad thing. The one time a family complained about me, and they were being thoroughly nasty and disrespectful to me, they couldn't come up with a single rude thing I said or did or anything that came up as not doing my job. They said it was my body language and facial expression.

    When I'm getting yelled at by rude folks, I may well cross my arms and not smile at them. They were mad because the patient had a fever and he was already being treated with IV antibiotics and antipyretics............and I was merely telling them that after a couple of hours those drugs may not be working yet........... Of course the patient survived well enough to be back a couple of years later and a year later after that, ad infinitum.......despite my arm crossing and the fact I wouldn't smile..................and in any other setting other than health care when someone yells the way that family did they get shown the door and the threat of calling the cops.
    Fiona59 likes this.
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    I totally agree with all of you- I've always cherished my "difficult" patients because, if they were all easy, I would never learn anything new!

    I've somehow gotten a rep for handing the difficult ones and I don't mind one bit when they get "dumped" on me. After report, the game is on as far as I'm concerned and if I get them to smile or even laugh just once before end of shift, I've won!! Just like most of you have observed, a little extra time, a respectful approach, and allowing them some autonomy given their limited situations works wonders. It's such a shame, really, when I see nurse colleagues taking a patient's frustration personally. It just sets up an contrary relationship and makes the shift much looooonger. Let's face it- being sick sucks, so anything I can do to make it a little less distasteful for patients and their loved ones rarely goes unnoticed. Especially by the "difficult" ones.


    ~W.
    catlvr likes this.
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    When I was a student, I had a patient who was very demanding, resented and complained about every single thing I did, and ended up requesting to NOT have me the next shift. My instructor talked to me and asked about what might have happened to prompt the patient's request. I told her the events of the evening, and she felt I had done all I could to accommodate the patient and deliver care. THEN she told me that the same patient had lodged complaints about a series of nurses that all looked like me! The patient ended up assigned to one of my classmates and loved him to pieces. Things that make you go hmmm...
    ABitterPill likes this.
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    treat them like any patient; assess them and givem their meds and shut the door; call it a night
  6. 0
    When we had people would not behave in the jail, we took their shirt away, pants away, shoes away, and left them only with t-shirt and socks, in confinement. One night, had a very bad fever that would not go away, went to the ER, this couple was yelling at the Nurse. I had a bad headache and did not want to hear it. I told them, if they did not speak at a reasonable level, they were going to jail for disorderly conduct.
  7. 0
    It depends, some are difficult and super crabby but you can tell that they are mad at the world, so I just leave them alone. I assure them that I will check on them at least 2 more times during the night, but if they are sleeping I will not wake them and if they need anything to not hesitate to call.

    If they are difficult and needy, then that's another story. I try to give them everything they may need, but if their wants are excessive I try to set limits. I don't want them to have the idea that I will do whatever they want, however I don't want to be rude either. I also try to figure out if there are any problems or underlying reasons for them being super nervous and abusing their call light.

    If all else fails, I give them Benadryl and tell them I have no problem watching their babies so they can sleep and then I stay clear of that room lol
  8. 0
    Quote from eatmysoxRN
    More often I find family members who are impossible.

    I find the main problem isn't something nursing does but a problem with times. Especially when the doctor will round.
    That really is the crux of it. Pt/family/whomever feels they have no control. I never really know how to handle these. I don't usually have control of the things about which they are upset.
  9. 0
    *knock on wood* I haven't had a difficult pt yet! I'm sure the day will come. I'm up for it. I think my overall approach with all pts is thorough, attentive, make my intentions clear, and I generally don't put up with bs. Ok, my husband says I'm a hard@$$ lol! But I throw in some nursing TLC, and I never forget common courtesy. Here in the south we say ma'am, sir, please, and thank you--it goes a long way!
  10. 0
    I find that many patients are difficult because there is a misunderstanding between the nurse/cna and the patient. I have had to tell patients (those who are alert and oriented), that they should tell me how to help them because I can't read minds. Goal setting and being on the same page from the start of the shift is a good way to develop trust. Hourly rounding helps and just spending a little more time in the room more than usual helps too.
    Family members tend to annoy me the most because my main focus is on the patient and they are taking that focus away with their antics. I just recognize their concern and just tell them how it is and what can and cannot be done. Right now, I'm a tech but I see even the best nurses get complaints. Sometimes, you just can't win and I always look at whether the customer service at hand is even worth trying to remedy because some people just can't be pleased and will not change their mind.


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