My God, these family members!! - page 8

by SoundofMusic | 51,738 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. 26
    Quote from penguin67
    as a nurse, i have been on the "other side" when i spent one week in the hospital with my mom following heart surgery. 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.
    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.
    .
    i hope your mother is doing well now.

    but not knowing the way from your mother's house to the hospital is not the hospital's problem. nor is the weather. you didn't have to spend the night in your mother's hospital room, and i'm sure the nurses would have been much more visible to your mom if they didn't know you were there. your sleep deprivation and exhaustion happened because you chose to stay in your mother's room 24/7 instead of making the more sensible choice to go elsewhere to sleep so that you would be rested and refreshed enough to make good decisions when you were there.

    before you call me heartless and tell me that i just don't understand, let me tell you that i've been hospitalized recently as have my parents. i do understand.
  2. 3
    Quote from rnperdiem
    i hear you.
    i work weekend days when all the close and distant relatives can come visit.
    thankfully nurses do have some control over visitors in icu and there is no food(except for some cans of tube feed) to fetch and carry.
    the families described, i know well. families who are that needy when their loved ones are in icu are a terror for floor nurses.
    whatever gave you the idea that icu nurses have any control over visitors or that there is no food? and families who are that needy when their loved one is in the icu often go home when the loved one transfers out to the floor!
  3. 0
    remember to ask the patient what his pain scale is...you may want to confirm that with the pain in the tushie family member what is their pain scale. Can you feel their pain?sometimes we can. love your job.
    Last edit by RandeeN on Apr 22, '09 : Reason: pain in the buttocks
  4. 1
    Quote from RandeeN
    this is a synario that will reappear forever. Families are there for their family member. they do not know or care what you do, for how many, how tired or stressed you are. or pretty much anything you would expect them to know. all they care about is themselves and what they want.They were not educated in hospital process,or how to interact with personnal. it is probably printed clearly in the admission packet,but you know very well, that no one ever really reads or studies that document...God knows they have the time,cause they are there. Perhaps you could direct them to the nurse manager when you have exhausted your first or second line of defense or explanations. Give them a verbal contract on what you will do and when for them..most often, with families like this, nothing will be good enough. Try to include the doctor...When he makes his rounds, go in with him and direct their concerns to him. This may or may not take someof the burden off of you. Take your breaks. try not to multitask a million things at once. Burnout is a progressive and debilitating process, and not to sound like i know it all, but I'm in the process of recovery from it. Encourance your facility to do a burnout seminar. Use what ever resourses you have to relieve yourself of these pressures. Don't give up. Your nursing career will have many challenges in it. Families is just one. Everbody is an individual and needs to be treated as such. Patients/families are a package deal. Don't expect them to know or understand,even thoiugh you have gone over it. Don't expect anything from anybody but yourself and then you won't get disappointed. This is the gospell....God bless you, and pray for the still,will,and the Holy Spirit to be with you in every room you go into. Keep up the good work,and get help when you get frustrated...you need to. :heartbeat
    Last edit by RandeeN on Apr 22, '09 : Reason: GOD referencefor those whom are belivers
    dhinson45 likes this.
  5. 1
    Penguin67:
    Thank You so much for your post --- It was an eye opener to say the least. I've been there myself on some occasions -But not nearly to the extent that you were (the staff knows you're a RN, so, they start letting you --help out a little - and before you know it - they're actually depending on you - And
    expecting you to perform much of the Bedside Nursing Care) Not only is this unfair to a family member -- But -- it's potentially an unsafe practice that sets the stage for a potential Disaster just waiting to happen. Your post pointed that out - inaccurate I/O Charting - Fluid Retention -Wheezing - all leading up to CHF and exaserbation of your mom's condition, which could have been prevented if all the shifts had been doing their own assessments and charting. Again, Thanks for the view from the other side.
    That being said, I agree with most of you, who do not support nurses being used by family members, who expect the nurses to provide refreshments for visiting relatives. No Way !!!
    dhinson45 likes this.
  6. 3
    RNperdiem MUST live in a fantasy world where one can 'limit' and control the visiting hours. In my Medical ICU, the nurse manager just increased the amount of hours to allow the family in. As a teaching hospital, we have all levels of MD's at bedside at any given time. Tell that family member who insists on coming in regardless that they cannot due to the activity and procedures done at bedside. The age old adage, "THOSE THAT CANT MANAGE, THOSE THAT CAN ARE AT THE BEDSIDE". To go into management, I believe one must have the who-cares mentallity - i'm not on the floor, or be like Marie Antoinette to the bedside nurses.. 'let them eat cake'. And we all know what happened to poor Marie.
    Doesnt this all tie in to the prior discusiion, are they patients or customers??

    P.S. I DO like what I do, when given the opportunity to perform the duties I am supposed to do.
  7. 0
    Quote from squeakykitty
    I have to ask---what did that family member say to that?
    to be honest, it shut her up. she just stomped off back to the room. there really wasnt much she could say because i had said it with so much sweetness that it was dripping off me (i'm not a southern belle for nothin, lol). as she stomped off i assured her i would tell the nurse to see her asap on her return.

    then i had to go in the bathroom and snicker cuz it felt so good to stand up to one of those hateful family members!
  8. 2
    Quote from errosmith
    We have a spot in the chart for psych/soc aspects of the patient with dropdown boxes such as "demanding", "combative", "hostile", "withdrawn".

    As a patient and a health care worker, such documentation covers everyones bottom. However, this documentation punishes the patient and labels them as a "problem patient". Patients can be difficult for many reasons and that often is not taken into account.
    The last time I was in the hospital (renal) I was very sick and not demanding...hence I was vunerable, Never in my life have I been treated and spoken to in such a hostile manner by nursing staff than this time. When I started to feel better, I spoke up to protect myself.
    I was in the hospital for 6 days and was moved three times, once at midnight! I was yelled at by the dialysis nurse because I was not ready to go to dialysis at 7am. I was still asleep at that time and had not brushed my teeth, gone to the bathroom, washed up etc. I had requested the night before to be informed of the time dialysis would be taking me and no one had an answer. My dignity and comfort were never taken into account. I had the lab draw blood without using gloves, techs and nurses not washing hands before patient contact or rubbing their noses with gloves on and then starting an IV, laying in a sweaty bed for two days (high fever) and no one changing linens, being kept awake though out the night by laughing nurses in the halls, no towels available to wash with, being woken up at 4 am to be weighed, even though a weight is taken prior to dialysis on the renal floor. Being woken up thoughout the night to take a bp and then 15 minutes later being woken up to take a temp and pulse ox. Waking up with leads off (tele floor) and no one bothered to check on this. None of this was critical and I was not in ICU, BUT it all adds up and wears you down so you do become hostile and withdrawn. and you hope that you are strong enough to fight back and live.
    I have had to go the the hospital (ER) three times in the past few months and I will say that I dread it. I feel that nursing staff can't wait to tell me how much they are being put out by my being there. I hate that with the economy or staff stress they are taking it out on the patient. We have no choice
    Having been a 'bedside' nurse for 35 years, I have found I've become very sensitive to the 'culture' of nursing you have described. First, let me say it's inexcusable. Most of us would not allow people around us who persistantly engaged in this behavior or form of communication. Yet, over and over, I see examples of Nurses who not only are hostile toward patients, but also to their coworkers. Once the 'culture' of the work environment tolerates it, it becomes 'uncool' for any thinking, aware nurse to object or fight it....believe me, that nurse will pay in ways that are becoming known as harrassment, bullying, or lateral violence (see JCHO standards). It makes me so angry, and embarrassed for those nurses that act like that. If that behavior was directed to any protected minority, the threat of litigation would put a stop to it real quick, and manners and professionalism would rule the day and the ward...alas...still happening in many places I work (travel nurse)...so you say...we have no choice...but we do, one pt., one nurse, one hour and one day at a time....one of these days, hostile treatment of pts. or coworkers will cease, with increased awareness and education that such behavior is an act of passive violence or an actual HATE crime. I am sorry for your experience and I hope my sympathetic words give you insight on how to help change this ugly situation. Namaste...
    Hekate and dhinson45 like this.
  9. 8
    the situation with families seems to have gotten so much worse in the past 2-3 years in my experience. i found myself despising these people and i didnt even know them. i found that i was on the defensive before even listening to their concern. i was miserable.

    i was considering quitting. i have posted here before about frustrating family members. i was thinking of going into phone triage to get away from visitors.

    i finally did some long hard thinking about myself and why i was reacting the way i was. what was going on in me that i had begun to despise people i didnt even know. taking my own inventory at the end of the day i would become so disgusted with myself for despising these people.

    i prayed about it for a long while. then i rededicated myself to my career. i told myself that no matter how bad someone was yelling at me i was going to attempt to empathize with them and try to help. i had to do a lot of inner work on myself because i didnt like what i had become.

    it has worked for me. i'm much more patient at work lately. i spend more time getting to know my patients and their family members and it has helped, for me anyway. i've noticed that when they "know" me and are comfortable with me they trust me when they aren't there and they feel like they can ask me anything but it works the other way too and i feel that i can respectfully tell them im busy but will get to them soon. things like that.

    i had to do something because i was ready to walk away from a career i love and know that i am doing what God wants me to do with my life.

    i still get pist and aggravated of course but at least now i'm recognizing my own behavior and am able to ask myself "whats going on right now that im letting them affect my emotions?".

    its really helped me and im much happier at work now and even decided not to quit.

    i just wanted to share that.
    HollyHobby, Zookeeper3, truern, and 5 others like this.
  10. 5
    Almost sounds like you work where I do, they tell us to document, document, etc, but when you finish your work, and try desperately to get your charting done, the families (and other staff) see you " just sitting there doing nothing", and keep interupting. I try to be as kind and patient as I can, and explain that I need to get my charting done, and they complain that we spend too much time doing paperwork. You go into overtime to get done, and the next shift thinks as long as you are still there, you should deal with whatever happens, and then you get written up for doing overtime. Also some people sit there and gossip, and talk loud, so that you can't even think.
    sparketteinok, ShifraPuah, psalm, and 2 others like this.


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