Incredibly rude and disrespectful patients and/or their family members

  1. 0
    How do you handle them?
    I am a fairly new nurse (1.5yrs) and brand new to the hospital setting. I previously worked in a clinic and spent very little time with my patients. I was with a doctor at all times so if a patient was mad, upset or angry they would always take it out on the Dr. Well, now I work full time days in a short term acute care rehab hospital. I love my job, my fellow nurses and the hospital I work at. I have one problem though, I am struggling with incredibly rude and disrespectful patients and/or their family members. No one says "please" or "thank you" and they order me around like I am scum of the earth. I get yelled at all day long by patients and families about stupid things that I cannot control! I get blamed for everything, ordered around and feel like I constantly have to walk on egg shells due to the fact I am afraid the pt or family with complain about me. The other day, a man rang the bell and when I came in to see what he needed, he screamed "turn my light off"! I simply told him I would turn his light off if he would say "please". When I turned around to look at him, he threw his urinal (filled with urine) at me and screamed again for me to turn off his light. As I walked to the break room to change my scrubs I asked myself how long I will be able to handle this. How do you handle patients and families who treat you like this? My supervisor told me when patients or their family members get out of control to "kill them with kindness". I really try not to let things that people say/do get to me however I have always been that person who takes everything to heart. When I bust my butt all day long to help these people and nothing is ever good enough, it gets pretty discouraging.
    Thanks
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  3. 32 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Can't really offer you any advice because I am feeling the same way. I just don't understand how people can be so horrible.
  5. 3
    That is battery. He physically threw something at you. Somedays are better than others that's for sure.
    canoehead, NurseDirtyBird, and noyesno like this.
  6. 8
    How would I deal with that patient? By calling security. That's battery and, under the right circumstances, something you can press charges for

    If your my patient I will bend over backwards for you, but once that line is crossed, that's it. I don't take abuse.
  7. 6
    Assuming it wasn't altered mental status, that urine tossing patient would have had their next conversation with the police at the hospital and would have received either a ticket or a summons, and management would have had my back too.

    Short of that, the charge RN, the police, and sometimes even the MD are happy to join me in a group reading of the riot act (third strike) to patients who aren't receptive to the first discussion I call "the benefits of mutual respect" and second which I call "the easy way and the hard way to make sure you receive excellent care."
    Fiona59, Altra, SoldierNurse22, and 3 others like this.
  8. 13
    I would have just turned the light off. I don't really care if people say please or thank you.
    ShelbyaStar, Mulan, RNInterupted, and 10 others like this.
  9. 4
    Quote from SummitRN
    Assuming it wasn't altered mental status, that urine tossing patient would have had their next conversation with the police at the hospital and would have received either a ticket or a summons, and management would have had my back too. Short of that, the charge RN, the police, and sometimes even the MD are happy to join me in a group reading of the riot act (third strike) to patients who aren't receptive to the first discussion I call "the benefits of mutual respect" and second which I call "the easy way and the hard way to make sure you receive excellent care."
    THIS....

    Like another poster said, I don't take abuse.

    I have called security on patients and families; pt satisfaction goes out the window with me; I don't care about that...
    RNInterupted, loriangel14, serenity1, and 1 other like this.
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    MauraRN, NutmeggeRN, NurseKatie08, and 6 others like this.
  11. 2
    I don't care about please and thank you. I'm more about tone and not riding the call bell.
    NutmeggeRN and RNInterupted like this.
  12. 2
    I would have called security if I had a urinal thrown at me, and gotten my charge/management involved. That being said, I work with a population of patients who are very similar to this man on a daily basis. Sometimes going in, getting what you need to do done, and getting out of there are all you can manage. I had one patient yell at me that I was disturbing him while trying to do his assessment and vital signs. I stated to him, "I need you to be clear with me. Are you refusing your vital signs and assessment?" and he said "yes," and, "Is there a better time?" and he said "NO." then I went on my merry way and documented. I treat them the same as my other patients, but I don't expect much from them. I would have shut the light off and left and not tried to argue. You can't change some people.
    RNInterupted and loriangel14 like this.


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