I am struggling with patient families lately. - page 14
by jennilynn | 17,584 Views | 146 Comments
I am fed up with patient families treating the hospital like a family reunion site. I am tired of the family members that insist on staying the night, why? In some cases I get it. But when your boyfriend has the flu or your nana... Read More
- 1Jan 5, '13 by Susie2310Quote from SionainnRNFeel free to think anything you wish. Have a good day.Which is why I said "as other nurses have pointed out...". And my three years as a nurse has been in a hospital at the bedside, and 8 years before that was as a medical receptionist in offices. Seeing as you aren't currently at the bedside and haven't been for...how long...I don't think you really understand what it's like in this day and age at the bedside.
- 0Jan 5, '13 by LadyFree28Quote from CapeCodMermaidAgree. Time for my vent.I've been a working nurse for 30 years and have seen a huge change in how we're treated. Families used to be respectful for the most part and not want to bother the nurse. Now some families seem to think we are there to serve them. I completely understand their being stressed about their sick loved one, but screaming at me will not make that family member better. I recently had a family member scream at me in the hallway so loudly tahat the DPH surveyor who was in the building at the time stopped dead in his tracks.Because I've been doing this for 30 years and because I'm in charge of the building and because I knew she wouldn't just stop, I took her in an office, put my hand up, and told her I was not going to speak to her until she could be civil. I told her it was my job to make sure her dad got what he needed and I knew what it was like to have a sick parent. She calmed down, we chatted and all was well.Stressed or not, family members do not have the right to scream and yell at the nurses. And to the poster who said if we didn't like that kind of treatment we are in the wrong profession, I vehemently disagree. We are there to take care of your family member. Not to be verbal punching bags.
In the 11 years of healthcare I've experience:
One person threatened to kill me over the phone because I did not disclose information, ie complied with HIPPA regulations.
One man threatened to punch me in my face, whereby I turned away from him and continued to get ready to receive report. I told him we were at shift change, but that wasn't good enough for him, although the out going nurse had settled his mom...she had a dietary question...The priority was the incoming nurse getting history, etc, BEFORE even answering the question. He apologized later and bought the unit dinner.
Witness a family attempt to assault a co-worker...the family who was visiting call OTHER family members to come up an attempt to intimidate the nurse while the nursing supervisor stood by and contemplated calling security. I got up and helped diffused the family situation, and he family left-though I had to get a talking to by another nurse supervisor because the supervisor who FROZE felt "disappointed" (aka her feelings were hurt...sup had history of being an incompetent nurse-I didn't care less, because I didn't know she had that superiority complex...I had been there for six months at the time). The pt preferred me to have their mom, no complaints after my intervention.
Recently, working in a medical daycare, had a mom say "I will **** all you ******* up"; Had a married couple (now divorced) attempt to have us document when one didn't send supplies in (although that didn't changed, when they were married the ALWAYS had the problem and then say that we weren't taking care of their son adequately, although he wasn't getting adequate hygiene in the first place)...a mom yell at me for putting in a donated shirt, never mind I was making sure that his thermoregulation is maintained. Stuck between working for a small business that has a board that had a special needs child but NEVER felt highly about nurses AT ALL, along with people who have NO CLUE the challenges we battle through...and an administrator that has given up in advocating for the nurse that DO give excellent nursing care and have excellent nursing judgement...yeah, it happens in the small business non-profit arena.
Either way, I've drawn a line in the sand and given each of these recent scenarios, down to WHAT I do as a NURSE, not a baby sitter-my PRIORITY is NURSING!!! Also you not only have rights but RESPONSIBILITIES, and it is THIER responsibility to treat me how they want to be treated-as a HUMAN.
In the past, as well ad the future I have and always will be flexible to switch my assignment with another nurse...so pts can witness the rest of the pt's families thank me profusely and give me high marks, or see upper management come down and want to meet me, or visit me even though they may be golfing buddies...well he wants me to learn golf, too-guess I'll see them on the Fairway... (sarcasm)
I am moving back into the acute care arena. What was interesting is when I had a job interview, we had a great discussion about dealing with difficult families, and the challenges that I have seen-yes, they are inflammatory, but haven't been bothered by it, because I have advocated to the point there was no violence, or the problem was rectified...they were willing to hire me...supported the way I handled every challenge either way, I'll keep enforcing boundaries with a mix of salt and sugar on top for the sake my patients and for my own safetyLast edit by Esme12 on Jan 9, '13 : Reason: TOS/profanity/use of letters and symbols
- 0Jan 5, '13 by SionainnRNYeah there's nothing like a family member stopping you to ask if their loved one can have something to drink, while you're responding to a code! (Gotta love the ER) I will say a lot of times it was amazing when families were there, they would help us clean up the pt, gave comfort and made my job easier, but on the flip side I had a pt extubate their loved one cause they were convinced they were choking, despite being told over and over again that coughing was normal and the pt was breathing fine. Yeah that pt didn't make it.
- 9Jan 8, '13 by monkeybugQuote from courtneyfredrickWhat in the ever living heck gives you the right to declare burnout and the need for career changes for so many experienced nurses? I'm sorry, but you are as wrong as wrong can be. There are many families that thrive on making life difficult for nurses. They are wastes of oxygen, they have nothing better to do, and it entertains them. When a nurse walks in a patient room for the very first time, and the family whips out a cell phone and starts recording, muttering to each other about lawsuits, then they are absolutely trying to make life difficult for a nurse. When they lay, two and three at a time, all over the floor and flat out refuse to get up, causing an obstacle course for the nurse every time she needs to approach the bed, they are absolutely making life difficult for the nurse. When a labor nurse attempts to get a blue, limp baby to a warmer to start bagging and compressions, and the family physically blocks her in order to get a "first picture with granny!" then they are intentionally hindering care. None of these situations are hypotheticals, they all happened to me. I DO NOT CARE if it is the first exposure someone has had to hospitilzation and illness, people should still know how to act in public. I'm talking about basic human courtesy! Just because one is a nurse does not mean one has to, in the interest of professionalism, lay down and become a door mat.It truly scares me to read the comments from some of these nurses. Bedside manner is dreadfully lacking these days by nurses and doctors. It's a critical component to the role of a healthcare provider. You deal with these situations everyday. The patients and familes do not. You're dealing with people at their most vulnerable moments. If you can't handle these situations with some sort of class and decorum, please leave the profession. I hear a lot of emotionally burnt-out nurses on this board. Get out of the profession. You chose this career and you choose to stay in it. Nobody forced you to become a nurse or to continue being one. Families can be a pain in the ass, but I truly don't think they're intentionally trying to make your life more difficult. I think they're scared and confused. And this might manifest itself as being obnoxious sometimes. I've seen the inner workings of healthcare and those that provide it- Some are the best people on earth. Some are truly evil incarnate.
Just recently in Birmingham, AL, a man shot 3 people because he was ticked off at a nurse. I'm sure you, in your infinite wisdom, would probably blame the nurse for being burned out and uncaring(poor, poor homicidal maniac, he didn't understand healthcare, was scared, and the nurses were sooo mean to him!), while the rest of the sane people in the world realize that this is the exact kind of family nurses get frustrated with all the time. The family that is threatening you one day because you won't bring them a snack is the the family that's actually acting on the threat when they see they can get away with all sorts of appalling behavior.
- 1Jan 15, '13 by KSU-SNAt the hospital where I work, our management doesnt have our back at all and its very frustrating. A couple of weeks ago we had a female patient who had cancer, was in her 50's, but was still alert and oriented. Her husband, who none of us had ever seen before, came to the nurse's station demanding to know the results of her labs. Our charge nurse asked him if he had the HIPAA password. He IMMEDIATELY tore his hat off and slammed it down on the nurse's station and said "I am her husband!! I dont need a d*mn password!" Our charge nurse gets up and says "Lets go down to the room and we will discuss it with your wife also." He comes around the nurse's station ranting and raving IN THE NURSE'S FACE that shes going to have a problem if she doesnt tell him what he wants to know NOW. She said "I'm sorry but due to confidentiality laws I can't give you that information unless it is ok'd by your wife." He was like "ok you're really gonna have a problem now!" By then someone had called our nursing supervisor (why they didnt just call security I will never know..) Our supervisor came out and just told the charge nurse to tell him whatever he wants to know. So she did. Its like REALLY?!? And he was allowed to stay.
- 0Feb 9, '13 by lumbarpainits all called an elitist attitude.....being we are in a society that caters to our every need, (and its getting worse) people just want what they want and they want it NOW. No one wants to wait anymore, people think they are being brushed off and the nurse gets the crappy end of the stick. I have encountered many many upset families when I just got onto the floor. And being I was part time, I depended on my shift report to give me all the necessary info on patients and whatnot before I started to work. However it was wishful thinking and never happened. I kept my own notes and made sure I followed up with anything from 2 days ago that may or may not have been done. I tried to make things simpler on my shift. But once I left for 2 days, I had to start all over again, everyone had their own way of working. I managed for years with my own little notebook and followed up in my own way. It worked.
Its the communication problems in nursing and amongst ancillary personnel, tremendous workload, understaffing, some managers who just leave everything to the floor nurse to do and a host of things. The whole machine needs oil and when you come in, you are the one holding the oil can at that moment. You are considered a miracle worker and can make things just happen right then and there(or so this is what some people believe) its a mindset that people are in now, its highly annoying, humanely impossible and dangerous in some cases. I always stepped back when someone attacked me verbally, I first say to myself in my head......this may have nothing to do with me, just relax and listen to them, then work from there.....If there is no way you can calm people down, then I would excuse myself and tell them I will go get the Nurse Manager, Assisted director or Director to see if they can offer any solutions. If that doesnt help, the administrator usually winds up being involved. But I have never gotten to where I needed the Administrator to talk with the family unless they personally requested and insisted upon it. If you keep your cool, if you listen to the problem at hand, you can do only your best to solve it at that particular moment. But of course there are the little trivial things that families/patients demand that we may put on the back burner....because WE THINK its not that important right now. But there are really some ridiculous requests out there that cannot be done.