My God, these family members!! - page 13

by SoundofMusic 51,366 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. 5
    To be honest, I don't blame a lot of family members. They're led to believe that there are a lot more staff around caring for their loved one than there really is due to management tricks that include;

    1. Dressing everyone from the unit secretary to the housekeeping and dietary staff in scrubs - all those bodies in scrubs walking around look like nursing staff don't they?

    2. On admission they are told that their every whim will be accommodated. It's plain unrealistic.

    3. Gagging staff on saying I am sorry you have waited fifteen minutes for your pain pill/soda but we had an emergency with another patient or acknowledging that the nurse even has any other patients.

    4. The ongoing portrayal of nurses, and that they are only there to "fetch and fluff" and therefore any telephone calls or charting is "doing nothing". TV shows that show doctors doing nurses work. Had a family member who came into the med room and made a remark "Oh that's neat. The doctors keep a little book each patient!" when looking at the chart rack.
    Zookeeper3, RN1982, talaxandra, and 2 others like this.
  2. 3
    I agree that family members get out of control at times, I work on a surgical unit and often I can't even get to the patients after they come up immediatly from PACU. I have learned to firmly send them all to the lounge, but the worst is discharge, when meds, ER admits, OR admits and all other patient emergenies take priorioty. I have had the families hover over me at the desk and even holler at me while I was in another patients room wanting to know how much longer they will have to wait
    Beverage, dhinson45, and lindarn like this.
  3. 5
    I feel your pain, and here is what I did about it: I had a patient arguing with a family member at the nurse's station. I tried to put it out of my head, but I had a new admit and was confirming orders. I picked my head up, looked at them and said, firmly but politely, "Would you please take your conversation to the day room? The work that I do at the nurse's station needs to be accurate for this patient. Med errors can kill people." I know it was gruff, and to the point.....but the family DID move elsewhere, and they.....yes, they did....APOLOGIZE later.
    I have found that telling people "why" I am doing a particular task leads to understanding and better cooperation. I am firm when possible. I even set time limits (when possible) when I initiate care...ex: "Mrs. Smith, I thought I would take care of you right now while I actually have 10 minutes just for you." You are letting them know you only have such and such amount of time, but you are also "attempting" to make them feel "special."
    This doesn't work all of the time, but most of the time.
    Like I said, I feel your pain....
    Emma
    JacknSweetpea, lpnflorida, Batman24, and 2 others like this.
  4. 2
    Quote from everthesame
    Ahhhhhhh!!! One of the perks of working in a correctional facility. I don't have to deal with demanding family members. All calls from family members are directed to the administrator.
    LMAO!!!
    JacknSweetpea and lindarn like this.
  5. 1
    Quote from Penguin67
    On the other hand, I didn't like that I was *expected* to pretty much do her ADLs with her 24/7, because I was in the room with her for 24/7. Since I was the one doing the transfers from bed/BSC, chair/BSC and bed/chair, I was beat. Also, the heart monitor alarm kept me awake more than I wanted (hers, as well as the many at the station that was right outside of her room), so I was somewheat sleep deprived, and frankly wanted to rest a bit sometimes. While I wouldn't have minded giving her a bed bath or changing her linens, I did not feel like I had to be super nurse/daughter and do everything. When they handed me the bed bath items, I just asked when they were planning to do the bedbath. I had to be direct. (I honestly don't think that they really knew how much I really was doing when I didn't call anyone to help.)

    I came to be with her from 400 miles away, and did not know my way from her house to the hospital, so I wasn't able to leave for about a week. Also, it was snowing and freezing outside, so just leaving for a walk wasn't an option. I was told that they only had one rollaway bed, and that someone else was using it. I was there for a week, and really wonder if this highly respected and huge hospital in Pittsburgh really could only find one rollaway bed. So, I got to sleep in a recliner that didn't recline much at all, because cardiac patients can't recline in the recovery phase. So, I was sleep deprived, not sleeping well with nosie, and sleeping in a very uncomfortable position as a result of the chair that I was given to sleep in.

    Another thing that I did was call the nurse in the middle of the night for the wheezing that mom was doing. When no one responded, I had to get up and go to the desk to ask them to get respiratory there STAT as whe was audibly wheezing and having trouble breathing. Again, regular shift rounds could have caught this, as you could have cracked the door and heard her wheezes.


    I think that we need to involve the family as much as they want to be involved, at a level that is consistent with the request of the patient, as some patients do not want a family member giving them a bath or doing personal care.
    We actually don't allow family members to stay over night partly for this reason, partly for other patient's privacy (we have a pretty open unit). I can't believe they just handed you a bag bath and expected you to give her a bath.
    lindarn likes this.
  6. 5
    I've been on the other end, too, and worn myself out taking care of parents in the hospital, hardly getting any sleep, up and down constantly helping with toileting, bathing, changing linens, etc., etc. I felt guilty letting the nurses do any of it because, as a nurse, I know how hard they work. Once I was pretty much worn out, though, and began letting myself ask the nurses for help, they were very nice about it, and then usually offered more.

    I'm sure that there are places where this can happen unfairly; in my case I think the staff just thought that I really wanted to do everything. I can remember as a young nurse thinking how nice and helpful it was when someone did most of the care for their relative. And it is, if the relative wants to do it, but I learned to not assume that was the case.

    My tactic with overly demanding patients or families is a little different; I pour on the kindness so thick that it doesn't leave much room for complaint, and when I'm in the room I ask them "what else" until they can't think of anything else, and then I try to give them a rough estimate of when to expect me back, such as "OK, well, if that's it for now, I'm going to go do some other things, and I'll be back to check on you and see what you need in about 30 minutes." (I know, you're thinking 'gag me with a spoon' but sometimes it helps. Not every time). With the families asking for things for themselves, I try to beat them to the punch- for example when entering mom's room to take vitals, I might say to the family "there's coffee and juice down at the nourishment room if you'd like to go help yourself." At the same time, though, I set limits when they are unreasonable.

    With people throwing a fit or complaining rudely about mom's care, I try to let them vent, then when they get it all out, ask them "what would you like me to do now?" and not feed into all their various meanderings. I have told people who are really twisting off that it doesn't seem like a good time for a discussion, and that we can sit down and talk later when we can try to solve the problem.

    I really think that people are totally and completely clueless about how hard nurses work or what all they have to get done in a shift's time. All they know is what they see on soap operas-
    TickyRN, Zookeeper3, lpnflorida, and 2 others like this.
  7. 10
    You know, I really understand and expect family members and patients:
    to have NO idea what a nurse does,
    to think that they're the only ones that I take care of,
    to hear all the cackling and laughing going on at the nurses' desk and think I really am doing nothing (while I'm trying to write down that order before I forget it because of all the conversation around me),
    to feel like crap in the hospital and be less than sociable (to put it nicely),
    to be scared and worried and guilty that their loved one is in the hospital (it is scary),
    and even to take out their frustrations on me.

    But what I can't stand is the sense of entitlement some people have. And the rudeness and hatefulness. You can bet that a lot of these people, even if they found spit or a fly in their food at a restaurant, they wouldn't scream and cuss and threaten the way they have done at me and at many of you.

    I think they should make a reality show (names changed, identities witheld, etc.) where a camera guy follows a nurse around- ER, ICU, especially medsurg, and get a glimpse of what "General Hospital" is really like.

    It'd be better than Jerry Springer.
    sevensonnets, Lexi86, JacknSweetpea, and 7 others like this.
  8. 2
    I think a reality show about nurses would be a great idea, all the current shows are about doctors doing nursing tasks. Quick, someone call Hollywood with this original television concept.
    sparketteinok and dhinson45 like this.
  9. 0
    I've seen promos for a show with Jada Pinkett Smith, I think, called HawthoRNe. Looks promissing, but I don't recall when or where it will be on.

    I'm still not convinced the world is ready for reality, though.
  10. 2
    Quote from sparketteinok
    It'd be better than Jerry Springer.
    Ya got that right:roll!
    sparketteinok and dhinson45 like this.


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