Do you stand up for yourself to patients? - page 2

by evolvingrn 19,027 Views | 58 Comments

I am just shocked with a conversation I had with a co-worker. I had a pt family member that was being rude and I asked the family member to stop talking to me that way (nicely). I was relaying the story and she said 'oh you... Read More


  1. 6
    I think NOT standing up for yourself is setting you up for some serious burnout.

    Who wants to go to a place where they aren't encouraged to advocate for themselves by the management, therefore validating the public opinion that nurses are the appropriate recipients of all forms of abuse?

    If I found myself in such an employment position, I'd leave. Period.
  2. 14
    Dear felow nurses:

    Please do not use your facility's position as a point of reference on how you should deal with abusive people in the workplace any more than you would care about whose side your boss would take if your partner physically abused you. It does not matter. Abuse is abuse, you will not be fired if you set your boundaries professionally and calmly. Let your documentation depict an objective description of the altercation, use quotes. It is the only ally you need. Supervisors and bosses are not there for you emotional support, let alone to be your friends: they represent the hospitals as a business, and "the client is always right".

    Signed,
    Been there, stopped that.
    Mermaidblues, ShaynaSmart, KristeyK, and 11 others like this.
  3. 3
    Quote from Calabria
    I have stood up to patients and their families, and I will continue to do so.

    I got a family member arrested once (on hospital grounds) for continued harassment of me and other employees. I understand that the hospital is a frightening place, but the expectation of acting appropriately still exists and it is an expectation for me that patients and their visitors do not cross that line.
    ^^^EXACTLY!!!!

    You are RIGHT to create boundaries and not tolerate any form of abusive behavior. Anyone who does tolerate that behavior UNDERSTAND that you MAY be opening up for a potentially dangerous pt into turning into a dangerous pt. The facility won't always be there for you if you get injured, nor for when you set boundaries...but I rather not get injured or something worse...

    And I "meet pts at they are" and draw the boundary line, and will continue to-exactly like the examples GrnTea described, and if necessary, what steps Calabria needed to do.
  4. 4
    I will never allow patient/patient's family to inflict any type of abuse on me, whether physical, verbal or whatever it is!If they have rights, I also have mine as a nurse! Nobody should allow themselves to be abused, nurses or not!
    CareQueen, nursel56, LTCNS, and 1 other like this.
  5. 1
    Quote from BARNgirl
    Dear felow nurses:

    Please do not use your facility's position as a point of reference on how you should deal with abusive people in the workplace any more than you would care about whose side your boss would take if your partner physically abused you. It does not matter. Abuse is abuse, you will not be fired if you set your boundaries professionally and calmly. Let your documentation depict an objective description of the altercation, use quotes. It is the only ally you need. Supervisors and bosses are not there for you emotional support, let alone to be your friends: they represent the hospitals as a business, and "the client is always right".

    Signed,
    Been there, stopped that.
    :applause:

    Thank You!!
    Mermaidblues likes this.
  6. 1
    Quote from BARNgirl
    Supervisors and bosses are not there for you emotional support, let alone to be your friends: they represent the hospitals as a business, and "the client is always right".
    ^^Sad, wrong and oh so TRUE!
    janhetherington likes this.
  7. 5
    Staying very calm, and refusing to escalate with them is the starting point. Stay absolutely professional. I get guys in who use "f' this and that every other word. I just say, "mind your manners now" and it stops them a good bit of the time.

    When it is directed at me personally, I start with "I am being respectful toward you, and I expect you to be the same". It may take a few times, but often works. Setting limits does not have to be a major confrontation, and is very much part of being a good nurse.

    I find myself using my "mama said so!" voice, especially with those under the influence, and it works. WHen it doesn't, and things are going downhill, safety first and leave.

    Our charges often start the shift pep talk with, if someone is getting mad and starting to yell, just leave and get them, they are there to take the heat.
    BARNgirl, opossum, nursel56, and 2 others like this.
  8. 3
    I totally agree with you that it is necessary to set boundaries to have a therapeutic relationship; it doesn't do the patient any good to allow them to be verbally abusive. It's not all on us either. I will go to someone above me if the patient will not observe the boundaries I set.
  9. 9
    Quote from GrnTea
    We do meet people where we are and they are how we find them. However, that does not mean that you get "I Am A Doormat, Kick Me" printed on your forehead when you take a nursing position. It is very appropriate to use your therapeutic communication techniques you learned in school. Setting boundaries is perfectly acceptable."
    This. Being sick or scared does not give you the right to be rude. I'm going to redirect you, because I will not tolerate it.

    There is a difference between ranting to the universe and taking your frustrations out on a convenient target. I will not be that target, and I don't find it acceptable to make myself available for verbal abuse just so someone gets it out of their system.

    I will say something, whether the person is being rude to me, to a coworker, and sometimes to another family member or a family member to my patient.

    What GrnTea said is true. Sometimes people need to be redirected in their anger -- often it'll open the door for them to actually talk about what is bothering them, or they will realize how poorly they have behaved and apologize. At the very least, it sets a boundary with people.

    I'm here to help, and my job doesn't include being a verbal punching bag.
  10. 10
    I try to intervene if my staff is being verbally abused. I march into the room with as much attitude as my 5'3" size allows and ask the screamer to come speak with me in a private place. I've called the police on occasion when a family member was over the top, I've used humor, and I've walked away from family members and patients if they were screaming at me. We are professionals and we do not have to allow ourselves to be treated in this manner.
    crazy oldnurse, BARNgirl, Altra, and 7 others like this.


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