My God, these family members!! - page 12

by SoundofMusic

50,459 Views | 235 Comments

They are just killing me. Why is it that so many of them feel so entitled to sit in their aging parents rooms and just boss us nurses to HELL and back, while they sit there, fully able to do much of what we're doing for their... Read More


  1. 6
    Thing is Scrubby, there is no one governing body in the US. Each of the 50 states has its own Board of Nursing, which sets its own scope of practice. So if a nurse moves from state to state, she has to get a new license from the next state (some have reciprocity, so I can work in about 6 other states, but not all of them). Some states allow Nurse Practitioners to prescribe meds, others only under the supervision of an MD, some not at all. Not all states license midwives. Not all states legally protect the title of nurse.

    So hospitals can do pretty much what they please, nurses have to act within the scope of their local BON. Customer service is a result of corporate hospitals, which are taking over our community hospitals at alarming rates. And upper management loves those surveys about hospital care, written by people who have no clue as to what really happened during their stay.
    sevensonnets, JacknSweetpea, TDCHIM, and 3 others like this.
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    I also work in a facility where the "powers that be" have instituted a program for the staff to use trigger language to prompt the patients when they are polled after their stay to say that they had a good experience in the hospital. STUPID!!! It has taken me over 10 years to figure out that if I am polite but firm with our families, I usually don't have a lot of problems. A nursing instructor once told me "Pick the hill you want to die on." There are days that I pick the family situation (supporting the nurses I work with that day). The nurses that I work with start from the very beginning of the admission to inform the parents of the babies that we will only give information to MOM and DAD. No exceptions. (Thank you HIPPA!) Then we remain polite when family members start to insist on info. "I'm sorry, I can not give any information to any one but the parents." If the family member is a medical person (MD, RN, CNA, etc.) I remind them that HIPPA does not allow for me to give them information even though they will "understand". "I'm sorry but federal law prohibits me from giving you any information." A subtle reminder that they are not going to get anything out of me.

    Find your boundaries, set them, and keep them. Be polite but firm. Keep your word to a patient. Come back to check on them when you say you will be back. Apologize if you are delayed. It saves a lot of grief for me and should work on the adult units as well as the NICU.:spin:
    JacknSweetpea and dhinson45 like this.
  3. 1
    Private Duty Nurse? Yea - they insist we run back and forth and ask The Hospital Nurse, complain constantly for them because it is the Hospital's duty and we need to make sure they do their job! Aaaaaaaah :lol_hitti
    lindarn likes this.
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    Well, I think this issue needs to be addressed on a federal level.

    Since this "good customer service" crap is getting out of hand in many states and cities, it's important that universal codes and protocols be formed for the protection and benefit of patients and medical professionals alike.

    I believe the American Medical Association (Call them rather than write first!) can be a catalyst for setting in motion legal guidelines related to this issue on a federal level. You also have other resources available. You can contact your reps. You can even contact President Obama directly.

    Also, you should address your concerns at the corporate level as well. Don't be afraid to contact the c.e.o.s of your "hospital corporations". For the most part, they welcome any feedback; and you can remain anonymous.

    Explain to them your concerns and grievances. Let them know how these extra demands contribute to burn out and turn over rate -- as well as having the potential of jeopardizing a patients' health .

    Remind them (in a nice way) that you are a major part of their investment and without you their empire -- and health care in general -- would crumble to the ground. Let them know that the success of everyone involved -- including the patients' -- is contingent at least in part to a properly staffed facility.

    Let them know you can't do everything by yourself. Also encourage them to solicit more volunteers or hire medical "hosts" and "hostesses" who are trained for "good customer service tasks" in medical settings such as fluffing pillows and other frivolous, menial tasks that you shouldn't have to do around the clock because you literally have more important things to do.

    Remind them also, that if you can't perform your job efficiently, it's the patients who will suffer most of all. Thus, an environment conducive to patient health, recovery, care, and good customer service cannot be achieved to its full potential -- a key factor which may compromise the integrity and stealth of the health care and medical professions.
    JacknSweetpea, dhinson45, Emma123, and 4 others like this.
  5. 2
    Did I say professions? I meant industries. Sorry about that folks!
    dhinson45 and lindarn like this.
  6. 9
    I feel your pain! I left a hospital job that paid well and had the perfect hours for me, because I couldn't deal with being a nursemaid to family members. I am not one to hold my tongue about anything, and so whenever a patient's family started pushing my buttons, I let them have it. After I left that job, its been 3yrs, I began to wonder if this was really the kind of work I wanted to do. But I have been doing this too long and changing careers this late in the game would probably not be such a good idea. I have learned alot since then. I still put my two cents in, but... in a nice way. I am not originally from the south, but have lived here long enough to figure out the subtlties of the "southern way" of handling things. I'm not dissing southerners in any way, so please don't get offended. I have watched how my southern counterparts handle family members who get out of line with their rediculous requests and demands for high quality maid service, and I've found their approach most effective. So, I have adopted this fantastic technique, and highly recommend trying it for yourselves. The minute the first rediculous demand is made, I put on a most genuine smile (think of a happy place), look at the family member making the stupid request or demand, like retrieving coffee or sodas and yes, sandwhiches, (they think its Jo's Carry Out), and say in the kindest, gentlest (sp?) most sincere voice, I'd be glad to get that for you, let me just find out how much the cost will be from the cafeteria and I'll come or send someone for the money. I could get those things from the floor pantry, but they will be charged to patient. Oh, but that would have to be authorized by whichever one of you is responsible for the bill? In every instance, this has resulted in either one of them asking for directions to the cafeteria or volunteering to go get whatever they need. And they haven't bothered me again. It works for most everything else as well. If its not specifically used for the patient, and not offered to the patient as part of their hospital stay, there's a charge. And in those cases, I alter my response to be appropriate to the situation. I'm so sorry, but each room has an allotted number of seats for guests and we do not have extras. And, it is a fire safety issue so I would love to accomodate you, but I can't. If a family member takes it upon themself to enter another patient's room to remove furniture (in my most syrupiest voice I can muster): I am very disappointed that you would do that, first of all, that patient may have visitors and where are they going to sit? And, I am certain you would not appreciate some stranger entering your momma's (patient) room invading her privacy. It IS true, you catch more flies with honey, than with vinegar!
    TnRN43, sevensonnets, JacknSweetpea, and 6 others like this.
  7. 3
    What a response!!

    I think you've hit a nerve with nurses EVERYWHERE! I don't think there is a more universal problem than dealing with family members like these. "Waitressing all day" pretty well sums it up.

    Maybe they can't get Mom up, but maybe they could hand her a glass of juice or water sometime. Maybe they could pull the covers up, or turn the air conditioner down. Lots of things they could do if they didn't feel like they had a free waitress. AND... they leave no tip

    This is why I left hospital nursing. Like many of you, I'm too old to change careers, but I am not too old to change jobs. I left hospital nursing when I began crying all the way to work, and became nauseated in the parking lot just thinking about having to go over and clock in, and the 8 hours ahead of me.

    I'm happily working in a residential psychiatric treatment facility now. Emphasis on HAPPILY!
    sevensonnets, dhinson45, and lindarn like this.
  8. 1
    I think we have all had these type of pts cause I know I have over 32 years in the field. What has worked for me is when you get pts/families like this and they are SO demanding, take turns going in to the room and answeringf lights. You would still be the primary nurse but by doing this you would get the help and support of your team members. Also, if your floor had a social worker, enlist her help. Better yet, the hospital that I am a travel nurse at right now, has what they call rounds. At a set time each morning Monday - Friday we go into a room and talk briefly about any problems or discharge plans on the pts who are under our care. This would be a perfect time to mention this, that way the family( if and when they are approached) might not be so defensive cause its a team approach by management. Good Luck.
    lindarn likes this.
  9. 2
    in regard to families....we are in the unique position to change the climate in which we work. But giving the families what they need,in unison with the Hippa laws, and provide the patients with the best care possible. Maybe pull back on the things that your facility demands..like documentation. That also has gone overboard,as the requirements have been increased, and nothing removed. Something's gotta give....let it not be your sanity. Burnout is a tough road to recover . also there is no offical insurance title to burnout, so all you get is $170./week fromdisability. not much to live on. Beware. and be careful. This is for all the girls and boys who fight on the front lines of hospital patient care. GOOD LUCK.
    Last edit by RandeeN on Apr 27, '09 : Reason: Refer to threads on BURNOUT
    dhinson45 and lindarn like this.
  10. 8
    Quote from elthia
    we are not allowed to say the nurse is "at lunch". per management. the scripted line we are to say is..."your nurse is currently unavailable at this moment, what may i assist you with." apparently the family's and pt's aren't allowed to know that the nurses can take breaks.

    i can't believe what i just read! are you guys going along with such insulting, inhuman directives?

    i would throw a fit!:angryfire

    why wouldn't it be known that nurses take a lunch break? are we robots? do we not qualify for the most basic human needs?!

    this is just wrong in so many ways!
    i very rarely take my breaks and it isn't normal- but to actually advertise to patients a culture of slavery for the nursing staff is intentionally belittling and encouraging abuse!
    that really made me sick!
    Last edit by Hekate on Apr 27, '09 : Reason: typo


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