Do you stand up for yourself to patients? - page 3

by evolvingrn

18,721 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. 2
    i set boundaries and defend myself.i work ed and i am no ones doormat .i have been a nurse for 26 yrs just because someone is ill is no excuse for rude and abusive behavior from pt or family.
    nrsang97 and opossum like this.
  2. 9
    My reputation precedes me...in most cases. I have no issue dealing with people, none at all. You do not come in my clinic and act like a horse's patoot.

    Most of my patients will settle a rumpus before I even arrive on the scene. But once I'm there, I may not weigh 130 dripping wet, and 5'5" is all the height I can pull together, but I have yet to meet the patient I can't handle. Never laid a hand on one. Rarely raise my voice. But I have chased one out the door a time or two. The local boys in blue met them on the sidewalk.

    People say our office is better than cable. On a bad day, I would say it's infinitely more entertaining.

    I don't tolerate abuse or even just a mouth, nor does my staff. We have too long of a waiting list to put up with turkeys who can't behave.
    canoehead, Altra, uRNmyway, and 6 others like this.
  3. 8
    I don't have a problem telling someone "you've never met me before and you don't need to talk to me that way." I've also walked out and told them that I'd come back when they could speak like an adult, I'm not here to be abused. At my place management may make it seem like they're siding with the patient or visitor, but they're really just kissing butt. They can go in the room and pretend like the patient/visitor is right all they want as long as they don't try to write me up.

    And God help the first AOX4 patient or visitor who physically threatens me. It hasn't happened yet. One day when I was charge there was a visitor who screamed at one of our nurses and stuck her hands in her face who's lucky she left the hospital fast before I got wind of it and called Metro.
    CareQueen, GrnTea, joanna73, and 5 others like this.
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    Abuse is not ok, and I am not having it! In my 16 yrs as a nurse, I can remember only 1 patient who really tried it. This was a 40-something racist to the bone quadraplegic. This man, who literally could not scratch his own butt if he needed to, would hurl the most offensive, disgusting, evil racial slurs imaginable when staff was not at his immediate beck and call or when things were not just as he wanted, when he wanted. On occasion he would even hawk the most vile lugees and try to spit in people's faces! Anyway, soon after introducing myself as his night nurse and attempting to gage his immediate needs, he started with the name calling. I informed him in my most professional (yet authoritative) way that I am here to care for him, however under no circumstance will I or my tech tolerate his abuse; verbal and most certainly not otherwise. I then left the room briefly to put the charge on notice that this man's issues went far deeper than me, and she may want to prepare for an assignment change. Upon my return, I picked up where I left off and provided his care. Needless to say, he did not have some miraculous change of heart or apologize, but we went the entire shift without further incident.
    opossum and anotherone like this.
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    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.
    Having someone above you step in and address an out of control situation is not using a boss for "emotional support". I have been yelled at by a patient before and been unable to calm her down. I decided the issue was better dealt with by management, and so I deferred to my boss. There is nothing wrong with that. Not all of us have your rockin' interpersonal skills.
    PunkBenRN likes this.
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    Quote from mariebailey
    Having someone above you step in and address an out of control situation is not using a boss for "emotional support". I have been yelled at by a patient before and been unable to calm her down. I decided the issue was better dealt with by management, and so I deferred to my boss. There is nothing wrong with that. Not all of us have your rockin' interpersonal skills.
    That's not what the poster meant. Obviously it is okay to have someone step in if need be. What the poster meant was don't let a "customer is always right" policy dictate whether or not you should take abuse from patients.
    redhead_NURSE98!, Altra, opossum, and 2 others like this.
  7. 1
    Quote from SaoirseRN
    That's not what the poster meant. Obviously it is okay to have someone step in if need be. What the poster meant was don't let a "customer is always right" policy dictate whether or not you should take abuse from patients.
    I just re-read it. My bad.
    GrnTea likes this.
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    Used to be, in the olden days, we were trusted to use the brains in our heads to assess each situation as uniquely different from every other situation and to know when to let it go or kick it upstairs to the next level on the food chain. That way, we never had arguments that represented only one of many possible reasons for someone's verbal outburst. Could be they are scared and need to dump on you so you are performing a vital service in that role, could be a side effect of their meds, could be . . .well shouldn't we trust most nurses to act appropriately? Nurses now get no back-up from their managers and are told they just need to shut up and take it? This is just sad.
    edrnbailey, sharpeimom, GrnTea, and 2 others like this.
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    If someone is rude because they are very ill, or scared, I may let it slide. Sometimes abrasiveness is a mask. However, if someone is rude and demanding just to be difficult, I have said, "I'm here to help, but I will not tolerate rudeness." Just yesterday, I said this to a patient, and they responded, "Sorry. I don't even realize I'm like that sometimes." Fine, no problem. We reached an understanding. I am not there to be abused.
    sharpeimom, GrnTea, nursel56, and 3 others like this.
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    I cannot believe some of these replies! Enough with the self-depricating nurse who not only allows this behavior, but expects it as part of the job! You need to stand up to people like this; you wouldn't let them talk to you like this outside the hospital, why is it ok when you come to work? Where do you draw the line (swearing, slurs, violence)?

    9.99999 out of 10 times, management will 100% back you up. Don't take this the wrong way - you won't be supported if you come back at them with the same childish attitude or fervor. Just be professional and establish firm boundaries. You should not be subject to insult and redicule, and if you don't set boundaries the behavior continues, and who knows how many people they talk down to this way. When it comes to personal insults and racial slurs: absolutely unacceptable. If someone raises there voice, this is also unacceptable (regardless of context). It is within your power to tell them that it is unacceptable. I'd say about half of the time, people don't realize they are doing it and would normally not speak this way - tempers/emotions flare and people get a little nuts. It happens. When you call them out on it, they will apologize. People are not inherently evil.

    If you are not coming across to the family, get security involved. Its what they do. Being in the room with the patient is a privilege, not a right. My concern is my patient, and if family is interfering with that, then they are gone. If you don't work in the hospital or don't have security (or the situation has escalated out of control), threaten to call the police. I don't quite understand why people feel they have diplomatic immunity when they come into the hospital, but they are subject to federal and state law like everyone else. If they are disturbing the peace, make it known to them. If the threat of calling the police does not de-escalate, then follow through and call the police. The police are on your side, and I have never had an officer be rude or condescending when calling from a nursing home or hospital.

    If this abuse/inappropriate behavior is coming from the patient, you are well within your right to set boundaries. Make it known that the behavior is inappropriate. If it continues (and pt is of right mind, or course), tell the patient that you will notify security/police if it does not stop. If it continues, notify security/police.

    Also, if you see someone else taking this kind of abuse, step in and say something. It is not always easy to stand up for yourself, and being the third party grants you power. You have a second person in agreeance with you, which gives you confidence. It is also not your direct situation, i.e., not a patient you have to see the next 12 hours. It can be really uncomfortable doing patient care with someone you were just arguing with. When management asks what happened, your story can be verified by two people (very important for many different reasons).

    I don't know why nurses feel they have to fall victim to this. It is not in your job description. Even someone who is confused has no right to treat you like that. If you have self-confidence issues or self-esteem issues, do some soul searching. Practice what you would say when someone is unreasonable. Write down how you would respond, it will help you gain confidence when the time comes. And most importantly, if your manager will not back you up in a situation like this, is this really somewhere you want to work? It will make a hell of a story in your next job interview
    CareQueen, GrnTea, nursel56, and 5 others like this.


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