Nurse's Rights? Is It Only Pt's Rights?

  1. 0
    ::angryfire I am sorry to see that pts, families, and sometimes doctors abuse nurses and we have no support. I would like to know if we have the right to refuse to be assigned of to continue to care for a pt who is verbally abusive and constantly using vulgar language as well as screaming. I have come across pts who are disrespectful, rude, and sometimes fresh. I usually tell them "stat" that this behavior will not be tolerated. Now, there is a pt in my floor who I admitted a week ago. He was rude and hostile. I was sharp with him and I was lucky that he did not curse or scream on my time. He and his family have abused my coworker for the last 3 days. His family comes in to the RN's station shouting their demands, degrading and humiliating the nurse. He apparently has thrown things across the room to NAs and constantly using the F and the S word.
    I have always stood up for hostile and abusive doctors, pts and families. I have never come across one of this. I would like to start a campaign, committees to protect us nurses and simply get the right to be treated, as any other human being deserves, with respect.
    Can one be suspended or fired for refusing to continue caring for a pt like this in the middle of the shift? Thank you for any feedback you could give me.
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  3. 11 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I certainly sympathize with your plight.

    But if YOU are allowed to refuse him/her care, then OTHERS will refuse...and then who will care for the pt? The line will have to be drawn at some point, you know.

    I would team up on this guy, involving ALL my resources...his doc, the nurse manager, social services, fellow nurses, and the cna.

    Never go in his room alone, stand your ground respectfully with the family, and document, document, document...
  5. 0
    If you feel physically threatened, couldn't you call the police, or call security? That kind of behavior is totally uncalled for.
  6. 0
    Notify your Nurse Manager.
    You have the right to not be physically or verbally abused.
    There needs to be a "group meeting" with staff, management, and the patient's family setting limits on what will and will not be tolerated.
    If the patient doesn't like it, oh well, there are plenty of other hospitals that the patient can go to .
  7. 0
    I thank you all for replies and I appreciate your sympathy. Does anyone know if there is a bill or rights or any "law" that protects a nurse who feels offended and abuse by a pt and his (her) family, does not get any support from the top up there:angryfire. If this RN or NA refuses to continue taking care of this pt in the middle of the shift, can they get fired or suspended? Do we have any rights besides having no support?

    Thank you.
  8. 0
    We call security and they sit down and talk to the patient about their behavior if they curse and throw things and are in their right minds. Also the house supervisor will too. Yes, we still need to take care of these patients, but they could be taken care of by team nursing and not by going in by yourself.
  9. 0
    Quote from hipab4hands
    Notify your Nurse Manager.
    You have the right to not be physically or verbally abused.
    There needs to be a "group meeting" with staff, management, and the patient's family setting limits on what will and will not be tolerated.
    If the patient doesn't like it, oh well, there are plenty of other hospitals that the patient can go to .
    This is how I think it should be handled too. Include the physician with the above in a family care conference. Set limits.
    Good luck!
  10. 0
    The ANA has this as Nurses Bill of Rights:


    1. Nurses have the right to practice in a manner that fulfills their obligations to society and to those who receive nursing care.
    2. Nurses have the right to practice in environments that allow them to act in accordance with professional standards and legally authorized scopes of practice.
    3. Nurses have the right to a work environment that supports and facilitates ethical practice, in accordance with the Code of Ethics for Nurses and its interpretive statements.
    4. Nurses have the right to freely and openly advocate for themselves and their patients, without fear of retribution.
    5. Nurses have the right to fair compensation for their work, consistent with their knowledge, experience and professional responsibilities.
    6. Nurses have the right to a work environment that is safe for themselves and their patients. 7. Nurses have the right to negotiate the conditions of their employment, either as individuals or collectively, in all practice settings.

    Another web site (non ANA) added these as an adjunct:


    A few they forgot:
    8. Nurses have the right not to be abused in any form by physicians, pharmacists, administrators or nursing directors. Any abuse that occurs should be delt with in a professional and inpartial manner by the nurse's employer.
    9. Nurses have the right not to be exploited and abused by being floated to areas of practice that they are not familiar with.
    10. Nurses have the right to refuse any assignment that they feel is unsafe. Such as when a nurse is assigned a patient load he/she feels is unsafe. A nurse is assigned to work in an area of nursing in which he/she is not familiar. A nurse knows that equipment/supplies are inadequate or not available.

    Web sources:
    http://www.nursingworld.org/tan/novdec02/rights.htm
    http://www.nursingpower.net/union/bill.html
    Last edit by Thunderwolf on Nov 7, '05
  11. 0
    Quote from Thunderwolf
    The ANA has this as Nurses Bill of Rights:


    1. Nurses have the right to practice in a manner that fulfills their obligations to society and to those who receive nursing care.
    2. Nurses have the right to practice in environments that allow them to act in accordance with professional standards and legally authorized scopes of practice.
    3. Nurses have the right to a work environment that supports and facilitates ethical practice, in accordance with the Code of Ethics for Nurses and its interpretive statements.
    4. Nurses have the right to freely and openly advocate for themselves and their patients, without fear of retribution.
    5. Nurses have the right to fair compensation for their work, consistent with their knowledge, experience and professional responsibilities.
    6. Nurses have the right to a work environment that is safe for themselves and their patients. 7. Nurses have the right to negotiate the conditions of their employment, either as individuals or collectively, in all practice settings.

    Another web site (non ANA) added these as an adjunct:


    A few they forgot:
    8. Nurses have the right not to be abused in any form by physicians, pharmacists, administrators or nursing directors. Any abuse that occurs should be delt with in a professional and inpartial manner by the nurse's employer.
    9. Nurses have the right not to be exploited and abused by being floated to areas of practice that they are not familiar with.
    10. Nurses have the right to refuse any assignment that they feel is unsafe. Such as when a nurse is assigned a patient load he/she feels is unsafe. A nurse is assigned to work in an area of nursing in which he/she is not familiar. A nurse knows that equipment/supplies are inadequate or not available.

    Web sources:
    http://www.nursingworld.org/tan/novdec02/rights.htm
    http://www.nursingpower.net/union/bill.html
    Thank you, thank you. I will bring this to work next time and will share with my coworkers especially the one who was abused for three days. The nurse suppervisor did nothing by the way. The admitting doctor noded on dismay and simply made comments about it but did not do anything about. I undestand that he and his family had similar behavior with the doctors any way. thank you all again.
  12. 0
    Quote from wrkoutgirl
    ::angryfire I am sorry to see that pts, families, and sometimes doctors abuse nurses and we have no support. I would like to know if we have the right to refuse to be assigned of to continue to care for a pt who is verbally abusive and constantly using vulgar language as well as screaming. I have come across pts who are disrespectful, rude, and sometimes fresh. I usually tell them "stat" that this behavior will not be tolerated. Now, there is a pt in my floor who I admitted a week ago. He was rude and hostile. I was sharp with him and I was lucky that he did not curse or scream on my time. He and his family have abused my coworker for the last 3 days. His family comes in to the RN's station shouting their demands, degrading and humiliating the nurse. He apparently has thrown things across the room to NAs and constantly using the F and the S word.
    I have always stood up for hostile and abusive doctors, pts and families. I have never come across one of this. I would like to start a campaign, committees to protect us nurses and simply get the right to be treated, as any other human being deserves, with respect.
    Can one be suspended or fired for refusing to continue caring for a pt like this in the middle of the shift? Thank you for any feedback you could give me.

    While I understand the ANA rights for nurses. but the reality of our jobs is quite different. Sure if you are unsafe, and threatened, you need to make sure that you are safe. We are public servants, whether we like it or not. Can you imagine if ED nurses refused to treat difficult patients? You really can't refuse an assignment for several reasons, it could, on some level, be construed as abandonment; it's not fair to your co-workers, who would then have to take the patient,and they would resent your behavior-if you refuse, then they have to take that assignment and finally it is an unfortunate part of our job. It is unrealistic to expect to never have a difficult patient, and we all have to take our turn. Sure, there are limits, such as hitting and so forth, but generally, foul-language and rudeness tend to be managed.

    But that being said, on our ACCU, our charge nurses tend to try and place the no-nonsense nurses with the best people skills and the thickest skins with patients like these; some nurse seem to have a knack dealing with people like these-we've had one recently, and while everyone takes a turn, there are several nurses who "handle" this foul-mouthed, leering, crude and grabby patient expertly; and they are willing to do it. At morning meetings these nurses are recognized and generally given a round of applause for their "sacrifice". Our charge nurses are also excellent at handling diificult families; we do have a policy if a family is loud and disruptive, they will be asked to leave, or go to the family room. Now, if we could just get hazard pay...
    Last edit by TypicalFish on Nov 8, '05


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