My God, these family members!! - page 18

by SoundofMusic 50,708 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. 1
    Quote from lindarn
    WHY?? What other option/suggestion, do you have to unify us, and will bring us the clout. and control that nursing desparetly needs?

    The statement, "don't unionize" is a fallacious thinking that has been the downfall of the nursing profession. Every other profession that has unionized, has more control over their profession, better wages and working conditions, and far more respect than nursing ever will, as long as perpetuate the feeling that unionizing is bad. JMHO and my NY $0.02.

    Linarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington

    I am sorry, I just do not see this. I am young and proud. Granted I have yet a lot to learn.I am also not unionized. But no one has shown me that unions are the sole salvation of nursing. I think that nursing is an evolving profession. As we live and learn we expand. I just fail to see unions as our salvation. I think that nursing professionals have and continue to expand our boundaries and our respect.

    Peace, Love
    carolmaccas66 likes this.
  2. 5
    Quote from randeen
    when at work, i hardly get to eat,pee, or drink. after a couple of days, i am definately dehydrated. parched lips,dry skin, and not much urine to have to hold in. it is truely subhuman treatment,and we are not allowed to keep anything to drink at the nurse's station. just in the kitchen or breakroom. but our manager is such a neat-freak, that she throws stuff out, it's unbelievable
    i still dont get this mentality. i am a human and i need some water do quench my thirst. i am a large guy and i sweat alot. i keep my h2o bottle there (lid and all) with my name clearly printed on it. no manager will tell me when and where i can have my basic human needs. its not to far distant, that we will not be allowed to use the a/c or heater - i bet my bottom dollar it will happen
    OCNRN63, canoehead, carolmaccas66, and 2 others like this.
  3. 2
    LOL -- I see how I started this thread last year, and how it's grown, and I still have more to add.

    Came off a unit I floated to yesterday, and was trying to discharge a man w/ his jaw wired shut. Surprisingly, he was doing pretty well, but the IDIOT family members were just obnoxious. Three of them, hovering, literally leaning over the bed, over my shoulder, staring at the discharge papers, demanding I change his wounds before he left, give him his meds, and what have you, running me ragged and sending me off for one task after another, tying me up for 20 minutes in the room. One of them was a medical resident herself, demanding to speak to whatever resident we could page upstairs to discharge him. So ridiculous.

    Well, 2 hrs later they call back because they lost the RX the doc gave them at discharge. Well, no wonder as they were all such a bunch of nervous nellies when they left, all talking at once, firing questions at everyone.

    If families would just calm down, things would go so much smoother! But they always want OUT, and want to leave in a rush!
    carolmaccas66 and sevensonnets like this.
  4. 2
    Get tough.
    Start telling patient's relatives that they can help themselves to drinks - don't you have a patient kitchen where they can get their own drinks? If they can't be bothered, or don't want to go down to the dining room/canteen to buy drinks/muchies whatever, tell them that you have NURSING DUTIES to perform and can't run around after them as well. Explain that your patients won't get quality care if you are distracted all the time. I have told people this and they (grudgingly) accept it, though you have to choose your words with care.
    Also write in the nursing notes that you were constantly distracted by so-and-so's relatives, that way, it is documented.
    Get all the nurses together and complain to management as well. I agree that we get interrupted too much; we are all too accesible. And many of the queries/complaints doctors and management should be dealing with. But because you are THERE at the time, you are it, and you are somehow expected to wave a magic wand and solve everyone;s problems. Because patient's relatives are in a hospital, they think for some strange reason that they should get special care as well; little Timmy needs his sore leg looked at; Dad has chest pain, can nurse just listen to his heart?; Mum's swollen leg needs a 'second opinion'. I have told all these people for legal reasons, they must attend an emergency department to be properly assessed and don't get sucked in by it anymore.
    I do not have any idea how we are supposed to get our duties done. Then if you do say to the NM you were constantly chased after by other people, that is not seen as an excuse.
    Also in some units/hospitals I have worked in, the senior nurses are very strict with visiting hours - people aren't allowed to stay after hours no matter what. That is OUR time, not theirs. Can you get management to get stricter with this perhaps?
    It makes my blood boil when managers don't do their job by backing us frazzled nurses up, and don't listen to our complaints.
    SoundofMusic and CNL2B like this.
  5. 2
    getting family member a drink - get out! As a brand new nurse I had a family member ask me for coffee, this was before I knew I could refer them to the cafeteria. I made the cup of coffee with six or seven packets on instant coffee - she never asked for that again.

    I have learned to work with and around families over the years. If they stay they play. The can feed the patient (if needed), help turn and they stay during bath time they are darn sure going to help. I found many really do like being put to good use and the ones who turn their nose up can sit in the waiting room until I allow them to return.

    The anxious and sue happy ones are more of an issue. I stay calm, use humor and never let them intimidate me. Any name and number I will provide and I only page the physician when it is a legitimate concern and set boundaries. When it is my patient I am in charge of the care, not the family and that needs to be understood or they can request a different nurse - good luck there!

    Over the years in different facilities I tend to be assigned the "difficult" families, because I keep my cool and set appropriate boundaries. I can turn some around and others we just have to tolerate unless they become an obstacle and then security is always an option.

    Also, visiting hours are important just because of crazy a$$ family. I do not believe in open visitation because sooner or later you, the patient and the providers need a break from crazy. If you do not have a way to control the environment it will control you.
    carolmaccas66 and Altra like this.
  6. 1
    God bless you dear practicing nurses. Retired early, at age 59--finally fed up w/ lack of administrative support. Miss the hands on care & miss the money, but not the time pressures--there was usually not enough help. I fervently hope the younger generation of nurses are asking "Why?" instead of "How high?" when administration says "Jump."

    I'd hope to be an involved, non-demanding family member when the time comes.
    Stress and also an ill loved one can be crazy-making. When I was young Mother, I remember asking the pediatrician the "stupidist" question. After it popped out of my mouth I thought--did that question come out of MY mouth? I was so worried about our child that the dumb question just came out.
    On another occasion, again when I was young, I know the nurses would appreciate my feeding our infant who was an observation pt. after aspirating formula, but I was SO scared to death about feeding the baby, that I did not go in to visit at feeding time. Irrational, perhaps, but I could not go in. (No, I was not asked to go in at feeding time, though I KNEW I should).

    Guess I'm trying to say, some reasons for exasperating or seemingly dumb patient or family behaviors are not overtly apparent or are unable to be voiced. That said, there is no excuse for rudeness or expecting nurses to be servants.
    carolmaccas66 likes this.
  7. 7
    my mother was probably one of the most outrageous, overbearing and entitled family members ever when dad was in the hospital. i cringed at some of her behavior. barging right into the nurse's break room to make herself some coffee ("well, they offered me coffee" -- two days ago.) insisting upon staying all night and then wanting pillows, blankets, etc. for herself. my sister, who is in nursing administration, backed up all of mom's outrageous demands. until i sat the two of them down and said "we are all here because dad had a heart attack. it's about dad. the rest of us can get out of the way and let these nurses do their job."

    my sister never did get it. she told me "customer service is important." yes it is, but patient care comes first. patient care!
    LPNnowRN, sevensonnets, Altra, and 4 others like this.
  8. 3
    Quote from carolmaccas66
    Get tough.
    Start telling patient's relatives that they can help themselves to drinks - don't you have a patient kitchen where they can get their own drinks? If they can't be bothered, or don't want to go down to the dining room/canteen to buy drinks/muchies whatever, tell them that you have NURSING DUTIES to perform and can't run around after them as well. Explain that your patients won't get quality care if you are distracted all the time. I have told people this and they (grudgingly) accept it, though you have to choose your words with care.
    Also write in the nursing notes that you were constantly distracted by so-and-so's relatives, that way, it is documented.
    Get all the nurses together and complain to management as well. I agree that we get interrupted too much; we are all too accesible. And many of the queries/complaints doctors and management should be dealing with. But because you are THERE at the time, you are it, and you are somehow expected to wave a magic wand and solve everyone;s problems. Because patient's relatives are in a hospital, they think for some strange reason that they should get special care as well; little Timmy needs his sore leg looked at; Dad has chest pain, can nurse just listen to his heart?; Mum's swollen leg needs a 'second opinion'. I have told all these people for legal reasons, they must attend an emergency department to be properly assessed and don't get sucked in by it anymore.
    I do not have any idea how we are supposed to get our duties done. Then if you do say to the NM you were constantly chased after by other people, that is not seen as an excuse.
    Also in some units/hospitals I have worked in, the senior nurses are very strict with visiting hours - people aren't allowed to stay after hours no matter what. That is OUR time, not theirs. Can you get management to get stricter with this perhaps?
    It makes my blood boil when managers don't do their job by backing us frazzled nurses up, and don't listen to our complaints.
    I think we are fortunate here in Australia .... I haven't worked in the US but I suspect we have more scope to set limits here. There seems to be a big emphasis on family/visitor service in the US. We expect our visitors to behave.
    I suspect I might be fired if I worked in the US... LOL
    We absolutely don't have to run around for families ie getting them drinks etc. Exception though for elderly and disabled visitors.
    I make the others go pick up their own chairs and get their own drinks.
    Any verbal abuse and they get escorted out by security. Plain rudeness and I have a chat to the charge nurse...she/he talks to them and they often end up leaving.
    If I am likely to become irritated because I can't move in the room due to excessive visitors (or several very large ones) ....I put them outside until I get the p't sorted.
    If they insist on eating in the rooms (we have shared 2,4 and 6 bed rooms) i have them kicked out. That is so inconsiderate when there are fasting p'ts, nauseated p'ts in the same room

    Yah for the aussie ED
    We just can't stretch to accomodate family with any notions of hotel/restaurant type demands ....otherwise p't care suffers
    carolmaccas66, porridge, and Altra like this.
  9. 1
    I'm sorry, but honestly if the most I can complain about at the end of my day is someone asked me for 20 cups of coffee last night, I'd consider it a good night. I like having family around even if they are a PITA, but seriously? They are there, in their hearts they are trying to do what is right. I work on a busy med/surg unit, yeah sometimes they have to wait, but if I tell them this they are understanding.
    I don't expect family members to get my patients up, feed them, bathe them, etc. That is my job. That is what I am paid for. They are there to be moral support not my help. The only time I have an issue is if their presence is distressing to my patient, at which point I have no problem telling them to shape up or leave. Maybe I've just been been brought up with thinking of the family as an extension of the patient but I have no problem getting drinks and making beds for the family when all my patients are taken care of.
    carolmaccas66 likes this.
  10. 4
    Quote from louisvrn
    i'm sorry, but honestly if the most i can complain about at the end of my day is someone asked me for 20 cups of coffee last night, i'd consider it a good night. i like having family around even if they are a pita, but seriously? they are there, in their hearts they are trying to do what is right. i work on a busy med/surg unit, yeah sometimes they have to wait, but if i tell them this they are understanding.
    i don't expect family members to get my patients up, feed them, bathe them, etc. that is my job. that is what i am paid for. they are there to be moral support not my help. the only time i have an issue is if their presence is distressing to my patient, at which point i have no problem telling them to shape up or leave. maybe i've just been been brought up with thinking of the family as an extension of the patient but i have no problem getting drinks and making beds for the family when all my patients are taken care of.
    the problem is that sometimes you don't even have time to get drinks for your patients, much less for the family. and often times they're neither polite nor understanding.
    sevensonnets, prinsessa, fuzzywuzzy, and 1 other like this.


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