I am struggling with patient families lately. - page 5

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... Read More

  1. Visit  sixela21 profile page
    0
    Wow--do people here need sensitivity training much?? Continuing education--how to deal with patient families 1101? Does your facility have set visiting hours? Are these families somehow skirting around the institutions policies by staying? If someone is ill enough to be admitted to the hospital, I do not see why family members do not have a right to be concerned. I can understand your frustration, but it is something that comes along with the job, and you have to handle it with professionalism. If you are doing your job properly, why does it matter if someone is watching so long as they are not actually interfering with your performance? From your post, it does not sound like you are commenting about the families being rude or somehow preventing you from doing your job. I find that nurses these days are quite grumpy and somewhat controlling--the bottom line is about the welfare of the patient.

    When accompanying my grandmother to the hospital (who actually had a cancerous tumor removed not long ago and has major gallbladder and bladder issues) the nurses were very rude and made disrespectful and patronizing remarks when my mother asked about the procedures and the family wanted her to simply explain what they were doing and what was wrong with my grandmother.
    Families sometimes need that comfort as well. If the patient does not request that the family leave the room for a certain procedure, why should their very presence bother you so much unless it is directly against some sort of hospital policy? (Unless, like I said previously, they are making smart remarks or directly interfering with your care). Many other things to focus on in this career, and this seems bottom of the line as far as complaints go.. Sorry I couldn't jump on the "woe is me, patients have families who visit them in the hospital--who knew!!" bandwagon!
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  3. Visit  iluvivt profile page
    1
    I have found for the most part when you acknowledge family members and treat them kindly they will cooperate. I even appropriately use them to the patient's advantage. Many are also a wealth of information about the patients medical history. Yes! at times they do get in the way of providing medical care and dealing with that is jut part of the profession. That is why the profession always includes in it's educational process all of the social sciences. Accept it as part of the job and learn skills to deal with it and you will enjoy the profession more.

    It is not always pleasant and at times can be very upsetting when you have to deal with family and visitors from hell . I have seen and dealt with quite a bit in my 32 years as a nurse. Instead of being outraged I go into a problem solving mode and try to use any resources that I have. For example, one thing that I have noticed that if you have another healthcare professional with you when you approach a difficult family member or visitor the situation usually get resolved faster and with less angst. Use all those therapeutic communication skills you learned with them too..they do work well if the family is of sound mind.

    Remember that this may be just another day of work for you and you may not be in the mood for any drama but for the families it is often traumatic,stressful and frightening. Always take care of yourself so you can nurture your empathy because it it such a huge part of being a great nurse and it is the way you would want someone to care for you and your family if you were in their shoes. One time when I went into surgery I remeber being really frightened and a nurse took my hand and comforted me and that little act helped me so much that I still remember it and this was a long time ago!
    sixela21 likes this.
  4. Visit  sixela21 profile page
    0
    Quote from iluvivt
    I have found for the most part when you acknowledge family members and treat them kindly they will cooperate. I even appropriately use them to the patient's advantage. Many are also a wealth of information about the patients medical history. Yes! at times they do get in the way of providing medical care and dealing with that is jut part of the profession. That is why the profession always includes in it's educational process all of the social sciences. Accept it as part of the job and learn skills to deal with it and you will enjoy the profession more.

    It is not always pleasant and at times can be very upsetting when you have to deal with family and visitors from hell . I have seen and dealt with quite a bit in my 32 years as a nurse. Instead of being outraged I go into a problem solving mode and try to use any resources that I have. For example, one thing that I have noticed that if you have another healthcare professional with you when you approach a difficult family member or visitor the situation usually get resolved faster and with less angst. Use all those therapeutic communication skills you learned with them too..they do work well if the family is of sound mind.

    Remember that this may be just another day of work for you and you may not be in the mood for any drama but for the families it is often traumatic,stressful and frightening. Always take care of yourself so you can nurture your empathy because it it such a huge part of being a great nurse and it is the way you would want someone to care for you and your family if you were in their shoes. One time when I went into surgery I remeber being really frightened and a nurse took my hand and comforted me and that little act helped me so much that I still remember it and this was a long time ago!
    Very nicely put. I myself remember initially complaining about all of the Psychology, Sociology, Liberal arts, etc. classes needed for entrance into the nursing program. A friend of mine who is pre-med was quite puzzled by the amount of Social Sciences we need for our profession in comparison to Doctors. It is apart of direct patient care and makes us better nurses! I have never heard such rubbish about patient families "disturbing" my job, "asking too many questions about procedures" and "getting in the way of my med rounds"...what are we in this for if we cannot exhibit the patience and love for people we boasted about upon entering this field? In any field, you will have your challenges, but I personally have always tried my best to simply practice professionalism and never show my bad side--customer service is a universally useful job skill. Patients will respond to kindness and respect.

    As a teacher, I have had concerned and upset parents, but instead of patronizing them or making them feel like they are "getting in the way" of me teaching their child, I have always tried to work with them and encourage them to come into the classroom and observe--they are an essential part of the child's life, and cooperation is essential, and at the end of the day, what is best for the student. Nurses should be skilled at encouraging patients and their families to be apart of the healing process--encouraging them to engage in the care, without interfering with the nurse's duties of course. My mother had a nurse tell her (in regards to her grandmother)--"You don't need to worry about that anyway...that's why I'm the nurse." Not in a joking manner. You cannot dismiss patient family involvement and their right to be informed about the care. To put it very bluntly--Suck it up and do what you were trained! Let's love those patients and their families! =)
  5. Visit  sixela21 profile page
    0
    Quote from GilConRN
    If you expect me to be on top of everything then I expect the same of you.
    Why should the family have to meet any expectations of yours??? YOU are the nurse. YOU work for the hospital. Yes, as a nurse, YOU are "expected" to be "on top of" matters regarding the patient. The expectations rightfully belong to them and the patient. Their loved ones' care is in YOUR hands.
  6. Visit  WildflowerRN profile page
    2
    I work in a facility with 'open visitation.' Dealing with family members 24/7 gets exhausting. They sometimes create problems and issues when the patients don't actually have any! And the spending the night in the unit? Not the best idea in the world...
    applewhitern and UMAshtangi like this.
  7. Visit  courtneyfredrick profile page
    0
    Dealing with families is part of being a nurse. Not everyone is going to be to your likeing. This is a time of great stress for family members. The last thing they need to deal with is a confrontational nurse with an attitude problem. If you don't like your job, then please find a different one. My mother recently spent time in an ICU unit. Some of the nurses were top notch, while others I wouldn't have looking after my dog. God forbid family members would be worried about their loved ones and not fully trust a healthcare worker they don't know and who has a bad attitude.
    Last edit by courtneyfredrick on Dec 30, '12 : Reason: spelling error
  8. Visit  courtneyfredrick profile page
    0
    And if you can't deal with family members who are not at their best and worried sick about their loved ones, perhaps it's time to find a new profession.
  9. Visit  GilConRN profile page
    0
    Oh me too! I have been caught a few times by coworkers making my "disgusted" face when I see a pacifer hit the floor and then the baby crawls over picks it and pops it back in their mouth. yuck!
  10. Visit  GilConRN profile page
    0
    Quote from sixela21
    Why should the family have to meet any expectations of yours??? YOU are the nurse. YOU work for the hospital. Yes, as a nurse, YOU are "expected" to be "on top of" matters regarding the patient. The expectations rightfully belong to them and the patient. Their loved ones' care is in YOUR hands.
    You misread or misunderstood what I am saying. And I completely understand MY role as a nurse pertaining to family memebers. I was speaking of the demanding family members with no boundaries. If a family member comes to me waving their POA paperwork and asks me to sit down and review meds and labs results and other imporant information with them and I DO. I go thru the chart, I explain things in non medical terms and give them whatever information and peace of mind they are looking for. I even offer to write things down for them so they relay CORRECT information to other family members. I expect this as a big part of nursing. BUT I do not expect them to come back to me THE NEXT DAY and ask for the EXACT SAME INFORMATION again because they "forgot". I can not tell you how many times I am pulled away from other pts because of this. SO YES I EXPECT THEM once they are educated and given the information they ask for TO STAY ON TOP IT.
  11. Visit  ProfRN4 profile page
    1
    Quote from DoeRN

    You were written up because you caught a patient in a "compromising position" or having sex in the hospital. They complained because you interrupted them having sex and you got in trouble? Did the patient warn you that she was going to be having sex and not disturb her?

    I can't wait to leave this field. As a matter of fact I'm going to apply for school over the weekend. I wanted to start in March/April for an online program. I need to do it ASAP. Sorry you were written up over some BS.
    This may sound like a dumb question, but do hospitals have policies about this these days? I'm a bit out of the loop, being only faculty. The reason I ask, is because (just like in the academic/nursing school setting), if it is not a specific policy, people will say they didn't know they couldn't do it.

    Being a Peds nurse has helped me a great deal in dealing with families. They are there 95% of the time. You just get so used to it. My students freak out when parents are around. If you make them part of the solution, not part of the problem, you get results. Not always fool proof, of course, and it doesn't always easily translate to adult nursing (esp med/surg, where the ratios are higher, and you don't have the time to schmooze).

    And with Peds, you KNOW the family members know the patient, unlike some adult situations, where mama is in a nursing home, and they have no clue what her routine is like. The best "family members" are the caregivers (HHA, private aide, the "girl" who takes care of me), that really know the patient. We had one in clinical recently (with a patient I assigned to a student), who got stuff done! The students were impressed. These situations are few and far between, but are great to see.
    GilConRN likes this.
  12. Visit  GilConRN profile page
    4
    Quote from sixela21
    Why should the family have to meet any expectations of yours??? YOU are the nurse. YOU work for the hospital. Yes, as a nurse, YOU are "expected" to be "on top of" matters regarding the patient. The expectations rightfully belong to them and the patient. Their loved ones' care is in YOUR hands.
    I also have to add that yes family members will have expectations on them and yes they will be expected to meet them. If you are a student or new to nursing then they are situations you have not encountered yet as a staff nurse. And If I misread your profile I apologize. But in my nursing career I have had family members do unspeakable things and I am constantly amazed by what they seem to feel is ok to say and do. I will give you an example of MY EXPECTATIONS of appropriate boundaries that I have for family members....

    I was sitting in a room with a pt that was in the end stages of life, he was actively dying and he was alone. He had no family to be there with him. I took 10 minutes of my time to sit with him, provide mouth care, reposition him for comfort and hold his hand and let him know he was not alone. I then had a family member knock on the open door of the his room and step in and pull the privacy curtain back to speak to me and ask "how much longer are you going to be just sitting here, I have a 2:00 haircut appt and I need to talk to you about my moms dinner menu before I leave".

    The expectation DID NOT rightfully belong to her....
    nursej22, Anna Flaxis, jrwest, and 1 other like this.
  13. Visit  KJDa81 profile page
    1
    I am currently still a nursing student (done in July whoot!!), & I work as a secretary in an ICU. I don't have patient care, but I do a lot in terms of communicating with their family. I have heard many times from the nurses "I would love my job if it weren't for the families."
    That truly sucks, because I think sometimes we forget that this might be our everyday routine, etc, these people are out of their comfort zone, they're scared, & they don't know what's going on (of course, I am referring to extreme cases....which we get a lot). It is our jobs to make sure the patients are comfortable, & I have gone above & beyond for family members, but there are definitely LIMITS, & I wish that more people would understand that a nurses' job description does not include "Your Personal *****" in it.
    nursej22 likes this.
  14. Visit  Rhi007 profile page
    0
    I'm well known throughout the ED, Rads and neuro departments after over 30 presentations in 14mths my mum has only ever kicked up once about the care I was given as a patient and being a RN she went straight to the CN and said she wanted me to have a different nurse immediately.

    Due to post puncture headaches and a dural tear I couldn't stand, sit or be vertical so I never had a shower, basin wash or bed change unless mum or dad came to visit, never mind I had severe shakes after going to the toilet due to pain.....


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