How do you deal with rude patients?

  1. 0
    I am a new nurse, just graduated in May. I am beginning to question whether or not I made the right career choice. The main reason is I cannot stand being yelled at sworn at and basically treated like crap by patients and family members of patients. I also work at the county hospital, so we have to take everyone, so that's part of the problem. However, in all of my clinicals I was never treated so poorly by patients as I am now that I'm a 'real' nurse.

    Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with these kind of situations so that you stand up for yourself yet don't come off beligerant or rude back to the patient?

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  2. 53 Comments...

  3. 1
    I usually just smother them with kindness, always say please, thank you, can I help you with anything..etc. You don't need to get stressed over it.

    Just keep telling yourself, I will be gone in a few hours and nothing can change that..the patients will be there for a while longer.

    Don't let the job get to you, that is very important. Leave work at work...


    bob
    K nurse-one-day likes this.
  4. 3
    a look is worth a thousand words...when someone says something rude to me l make eye contact and hold it for a few seconds...till they feel obligated to say something else...usually they just want to push your buttons...this technique works like a charm....most of the time.........LR
    CafeRN, nurse441, and Rockhopper like this.
  5. 1
    Originally posted by l.rae
    a look is worth a thousand words...when someone says something rude to me l make eye contact and hold it for a few seconds...till they feel obligated to say something else...usually they just want to push your buttons...this technique works like a charm....most of the time.........LR

    That does work. I've done it,too. And I also let them know that I'm not swearing at them, I will not tolerate being sworn at. If they're yelling I tell them that my hearing was tested to 96% accuracy and there's no need to yell. Or else say "I'm right in front of you. I hear you fine." Just tell them. Most times it's stress and acting out. Set your limits or they'll walk on you.
    K nurse-one-day likes this.
  6. 0
    L.rae.....Mollymo....I always do the same thing as the two of you do. 'THE LOOK' goes a long way.

    Nurses should expect respect from their patients, clients, and their family members. No need to allow abuse into your life just because someone is not feeling well. Many nurses aren't "feeling well" either.......look how many of us are on "antidepressants"?????? :chuckle :kiss
  7. 0
    The only time I usually get sworn at is from a patient in DT's or coming off a drug OD. I usually go with the smother them with kindness routine. I do my job (very well I might add), know I am going home in a few hours and don't let my self esteem get involved based on the opinion of a particular patient that has too many problems to count. From time to time we have taken care of patients that had to be rotated among the staff. Nobody got stuck with the difficult patient more than one shift at a time. I know that it is annoying, I work at a county hospital too.
  8. 0
    I love the "look" approach. At our hospital, we have a written policy in the patient handbook when they are admitted Patient Rights and Employee Rights. That includes that we are to treat each other with respect and courtesy. Our administration supports us dealing with rude families. We also have a "Patient Representative" that deals with conflict - both ways. We also allow the nurses to request not to take care of the patient...or at least do not assign them with that patient day after day. Thanks.
  9. 1
    Take a deep breath, count to 10 and pray your shift flies by :chuckle !

    Or ask them if there is something that happened that upset them.
    Sometimes if an employee did something, the patient is in pain, etc., they may "lighten up" if they vent and/or the situation can or is (or will be) rectified. This has happened to me before-sometimes they become your pals or they don't:angryfire

    Hang in there!!!
    K nurse-one-day likes this.
  10. 0
    Remember this motto:
  11. 0
    I worked for a hospital that never ever ever backed up their nurses in these cases. It was incredibly difficult, because you feel like you are hostage to these tyrants.
    I learned one thing, tho. If you can ask them what would make things better, what you can do for them right now, they usually back down. Letting them know you HEAR them helps too. When patients go into hospital, control is taken from them, and from family. People who feel like they have no control tend to try and TAKE control in some form. You just gotta make them feem empowered in some way.
    Also, a word of warning....it is the quiet ones that will cut your throat. If they are verbalizing, there is a better chance of resolving the problem.


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