I am struggling with patient families lately. - page 6

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  nursej22 profile page
    1
    Kudos to all those caring family members who spend long hours at nana's bedside, helping with cares, asking pertinent questions and comforting your loved ones. It is not easy. I've been there with my family and will continue to be there when needed. However stressed I have been as a visitor(even when my mother died unexpectedly), I have never felt the need to assault the staff, steal other patients' food, or vandalize a waiting room.
    I feel like I have a lot of compassion for families. And sometimes I urge them to leave and take care of themselves. Yeah, it sucks that we have to wake people for vitals, meds, treatments. I do try to group tasks to provide uninterrupted rest. I don't how many times I have promised my patient a nap and before I can post a do not disturb sign a huge group of well-meaning folks barge in with take-out and settle in.
    My employer is very strict about food, supplies and linen usage not to mention how much time I can spend at the bedside. I have 4-5 patients no matter how sick they are. That means I have 12-15 minutes per patient per hour. For every action I perform at the bedside, I use at least that much time out of the room gathering, double-checking, documenting and communicating with others(MDs,therapists, pharm. dietary). So really I have 5-7 minutes to spend with your loved one and you each hour. This is the reality of healthcare. I don't like anymore than you do.
    I try my darnedest to be pleasant, professional and compassionate. But sometimes I'm feeling stressed, my feet hurt, my bladder is bursting and I'm hungry.
    I am human, just like you.
    Anna Flaxis likes this.
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  3. Visit  PalmHarborMom profile page
    2
    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.
    sixela21- For someone that is just starting nursing school, you are really opinionated. I am also a student in a BSN program at USF here in Florida. BUT I do not assume to know what it is like to deal with unruly families. I have seen them in the hospital and it can really be over the top. I have seen RN's called the "N" word, urinals thrown at them and people that are "in the medical field" (i.e., work the front desk at a Dr's office or a CNA) demand care for a loved one that is inappropriate and even harmful. This board is a place for nurses to vent, which is what they are doing. They are dedicated to the care of their patients and it is understandable that when a person gets in the way of that care that they become upset. So your comment of "
    To put it very bluntly--
    Suck it up and do what you were trained! Let's love those patients and their families! =)"....

    Is totally uncalled for! There is a big difference between upsetting a parent because little Johnny is doing poorly and having a family member get in the way of the care that a patient needs. From what I have seen on this board, the nurses here are VERY qualified and do what they are trained for. However, you have made your comments and it will be all too funny in the coming months to see you start a post about being kicked out of a patients room or having a spouse call you every name in the book, just for doing your job.

    Good luck in nursing school! Hopefully you tone down the high and mighty thing during clinicals or your preceptors will have a field day with you.
    monkeybug and applewhitern like this.
  4. Visit  Ruby Vee profile page
    4
    I'm amazed at how many nurses and nursing students posted nasty comments to the nurse who was venting about having to deal with inconsiderate and inappropriate family members. Many of those posts were accusatory and confrontational.

    I'm amazed at how many of you assume that any nurse who has difficulties with family members is somehow lacking empathy, lacking compassion or nursing skill or simply has never had a sick relative.

    I've had sick relatives in the hospital quite frequently in the last few years. I've been a patient myself. I've been under considerable stress and anxiety worrying about my own health and the health of my family members but have somehow never felt the need to reduce my anxiety by verbally or physically abusing the staff, interfering with the care of a patient -- whether it be my own care, the care of my family member or another patient, or by sucking up all the supplies, snacks and time of the staff. There are standards of behavior for civilized persons, and I work very hard, no matter how upset I am, to stay within the boundaries.

    Most of the nurses who vent on this board are caring, knowledgeable and compassionate and do not need to be "educated" -- especially by folks who have never walked in their shoes -- about dealing with over the top familes. They just need to vent. I appreciate that. I've dealt with some difficult families myself. It seems that people are, in general, becoming ruder and more self-involved. Even, sad to say, some of the posters here.
    GrnTea, Rose_Queen, Anna Flaxis, and 1 other like this.
  5. Visit  Mulan profile page
    4
    Some family members are just royal pains in the ass, and that's the truth!
    morte, applewhitern, jrwest, and 1 other like this.
  6. Visit  dudette10 profile page
    2
    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).
    Patients do not always ask family to leave because they don't want to hurt their feelings, so we, as nurses have to advocate for them.I had aan alert and oriented cardiac cath pt so I was in the room a lot for four hours. No less than three, and sometimes six family members camped bedside, complete with two computers charging up. The pt also had a neuro disorder that required assistance with his urinal. Every time he needed to urinate, I had to ask all family to leave. Every time. Who the hell pees with family members around? Apparently they thought hospitalized Dad wouldn't mind? The last time that shift, the daughter refused to leave. I pushed the issue. I then looked at the patient, who had a pained expression, and he said, "It's ok." I covered him up as much as possible and helped him urinate. I pushed one more time, saying, "I think he's uncomfortable with this." The reply? "I'm not looking." Seriously?I adored that patient, and he gave me a hug when the shift was over. The family? Not so much.Nurses are not the enemy here.
    jrwest and Anna Flaxis like this.
  7. Visit  Anna Flaxis profile page
    2
    Well said, Ruby Vee. It's true that anyone who has been nursing for any length of time is well aware that families can be both your greatest allies and your greatest hindrances in providing the best possible nursing care, and does not need a lecture on that. It can so easily go either way, and when it goes bad, it is not always due to a lack of empathy or education on the nurse's part.

    Now granted, I do believe people when they say they have witnessed near misses or mistakes or even just plain old non empathetic behavior on the part of nurses toward their loved one. I, however, am guilty of none of those things. I can look at myself in the mirror and know with every cell of my being that I am not "that nurse", and it grows wearisome at times dealing with the fallout from that and having to "prove" myself.

    Fortunately for me, I am able to engender trust, but that doesn't mean I don't ever feel exhausted from the effort and need to vent. Perhaps we can give the OP the benefit of the doubt?
    PalmHarborMom and jennilynn like this.
  8. Visit  jennilynn profile page
    6
    Thank you ruby and palmharbormom and all the other posters who do not think I am a horrible nurse for being annoyed with visitors.
    I do believe that I stated enough times that I think that visitors are a beneficial part of recovery.
    I can tell you that I am a damn good nurse and would never give my patients (or their families) any less care than I would give my own family.
    I came here to vent, not be judged and told that maybe I need to find another line of work.

    As for sixela21, I hope that nursing school and your subsequent nursing career is all rainbows and butterflies. But, truthfully, I'll be waiting for the day that you post your own "venting" thread.
    icuRNmaggie, monkeybug, JBudd, and 3 others like this.
  9. Visit  Ruby Vee profile page
    4
    Years ago, I read a venting post from a nurse who was frustrated because she had a patient who was fixing to die, and 16 family members were standing around the bed with another 20 or so outside the room, all wailing loudly and screaming in Spanish. The family was so loud that other patients were having difficulty resting and their families were approaching the nursing staff trying to get them to "quiet those people down." The patient died, and the noise escalated while some family members began throwing themselves on the floor to kick and scream, flinging themselves into each other's arms and the arms of innocent passers by and tearing at their hair and garments. The OP was venting because all of the other patients on the unit were suffering through this family's protestations of grief.

    I could not believe how many posters wrote in, excoriating the OP for her lack of compassion for the grieving family and telling her that "it's their culture" and "you need to learn to be more tolerant of other cultures" or "you need to find some compassion or find a new job." When I did a little investigation, I found that most of those posters were brand new nurses, student nurses, or wannabes.

    Sadly, people with very little experience or NO experience, still feel that they know better than we do how to do our jobs; and the very people who are excoriating us for our perceived "lack of compassion" show very little compassion for us, their colleagues or future colleagues. It's very hard to teach someone who already thinks they know everything; we just have to wait until those posters accumulate a little experience of their own and start to "get it."

    Meanwhile, my take on visitors is pretty simple: visiting is a privelege, not a right. If you're not following the rules, if you're hindering the patient's care, getting in the way or making a pest of yourself you clearly do not deserve the priveledge of visiting. I wish more nurses felt that way.
    monkeybug, GrnTea, jrwest, and 1 other like this.
  10. Visit  DoeRN 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.
    Here is a situation for you since we are to please the family.

    You get report and you have a patient that isn't doing so well. Her sats are dropping and she wasn't like this last night when you had her. You have another patient in a lot of pain with a really anxious husband. Your in the patient's room who's 02 says are dropping. She stops breathing and there is no pulse.

    In the meantime the anxious husband is at the desk complaining about his wife's pain and the fact that the nurse hasn't been in the room. The charge nurse has a full assignment but agrees to look at the MAR to see when she can have pain meds. All of a sudden the code bell goes off. The charge nurse runs to get the crash cart. The anxious husband jumps in front of the crash cart and stops it. He is demanding that the charge nurse gives his wife pain medicine before she runs into the code room. What would you as a nurse do? Please the family because that is your job? Or do you tell him to move out of the way and save the dead patient who is a full code life?
    Last edit by DoeRN on Dec 30, '12
    monkeybug, applewhitern, Anna Flaxis, and 1 other like this.
  11. Visit  SaoirseRN profile page
    0
    The above is a extreme example, but I think it illustrates the point that OP was making. In that case, no, I'm sorry that the man's wife is having pain, and normally I would be right on that, but right now my other patient is the priority and I will not stop and appease this husband, nor should I expect another nurse to do so either.

    I will certainly speak with him after and explain, whether he is receptive or not, but in the moment he is in the wrong because he is not only keeping me from doing my job, but endangering the life of another patient. Pain is not ideal, but death is less so.

    (I am in other words supporting the above poster's comments)
  12. Visit  jrwest profile page
    2
    Quote from DoeRN
    Here is a situation for you since we are to please the family.

    You get report and you have a patient that isn't doing so well. Her sats are dropping and she wasn't like this last night when you had her. You have another patient in a lot of pain with a really anxious husband. Your in the patient's room who's 02 says are dropping. She stops breathing and there is no pulse.

    In the meantime the anxious husband is at the desk complaining about his wife's pain and the fact that the nurse hasn't been in the room. The charge nurse has a full assignment but agrees to look at the MAR to see when she can have pain meds. All of a sudden the code bell goes off. The charge nurse runs to get the crash cart. The anxious husband jumps in front of the crash cart and stops it. He is demanding that the charge nurse gives his wife pain medicine before she runs into the code room. What would you as a nurse do? Please the family because that is your job? Or do you tell him to move out of the way and save the dead patient who is a full code life?
    This is NOT an extreme example! not to mention it is becoming more and more common with the ME ME ME mentality of entitlement.

    Sure, after all is said and done, and they fill out their press ganey, who do you think is going to give the bad review- the dead pt, or the ****** who said no one was paying attention to his family member???Press Ganey does not take into account what you were doing at the time.
    That is what this is all about. If hospitals are going to continue to reward and coddle the most obnoxious- this stuff is only going to GET WORSE.
    What part of "the customer is always right" are some of you not hearing??

    Oh, and yes, of course I would attend to the code first. But I would also expect to hear in the next month that "our scores are dismal" and we are all going to get spanked for it.
    Last edit by Esme12 on Jan 3, '13 : Reason: TOS/progamoty/the use of letters and symbols
    monkeybug and applewhitern like this.
  13. Visit  SaoirseRN profile page
    3
    Quote from jrwest

    This is NOT an extreme example! not to mention it is becoming more and more common with the ME ME ME mentality of entitlement.

    Sure, after all is said and done, and they fill out their press ganey, who do you think is going to give the bad review- the dead pt, or the a$#@$ who said no one was paying attention to his family member???Press Ganey does not take into account what you were doing at the time.
    That is what this is all about. If hospitals are going to continue to reward and coddle the most obnoxious- this stuff is only going to GET WORSE.
    What part of "the customer is always right" are some of you not hearing??

    Oh, and yes, of course I would attend to the code first. But I would also expect to hear in the next month that "our scores are dismal" and we are all going to get spanked for it.
    It's posts like these that make me glad I work in Canada. We still get the ME ME ME ME crap, but we are not expected to take it just to make people happy. Come work up here, nurses!
    Esme12, Silverlight2010, and jrwest like this.
  14. Visit  jrwest profile page
    0
    Quote from Ruby Vee
    Meanwhile, my take on visitors is pretty simple: visiting is a privelege, not a right. If you're not following the rules, if you're hindering the patient's care, getting in the way or making a pest of yourself you clearly do not deserve the priveledge of visiting. I wish more nurses felt that way.
    I wish more corporations, I mean hospitals, felt that way


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