Please Don't Judge Patients

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    Its not easy to be a nurse, nor is it easy to be human at that. We make mistakes. We have feelings. We have opinions. And we also have judgements because thats human nature.

    Please Don't  Judge Patients

    Its not easy to be a nurse, nor is it easy to be human at that. We make mistakes. We have feelings. We have opinions. And we also have judgements because thats human nature. But we are nurses. We should strive for excellence in health and it is our job and duty to do. So although after 10 hours on shift we may be tired, irritated, frustrated, and quite possibly stewing over the judgements we have made about this patient or that patient. I believe as nurses we can rise to the challenge of trying not to judge our patients. It is not easy and of course we may catch ourselves doing it, but in the moments we do catch ourselves lets try to just take a step back, breathe, and remember we are all imperfect humans. Plus...it never hurts to try.

    Last night was a rough one. As I attempted to lay a patient down for the 15th time I slowly found myself in a state of total irritation. Thinking in my head why does she keep doing this? I swear this only happens to me! Ok, now she is doing it on purpose! And lastly I found myself thinking wth is wrong with you?!? But as slowly as the irritation came on it quickly subsided when i heard her say..."Im sorry i cant sleep, my brain wont."

    This stopped me from what i was doing as I was reminded of why i was there. I was there bc she needed help, because she needed to be safe and well. I was there to do a job, not to judge her and wonder almost aloud what was "wrong" with her. I took a moment, we sat down, we watched TV, we talked about why her brain wont work. She smiled and laughed for no reason...so did I. After an hour, guess who was ready for bed? After doing the bedtime routine for the umpteenth time I found myself alone and in silence.

    But I also found myself with a new way of thinking and the simple way of thinking can change so much for so many. Because as nurses our job is to provide care to people during what is likely some of the most difficult and trying times of their lives. We also tend to major catalyst in the way someone is cared for. We are all human and during rough times we may not always be at our finest moments or remember how much our small actions and thoughts affect the way we treat others and reflect how we feel towards them. We must remember this about our patients always but we must also remember this when it comes to our fellow nurses and all humans alike.

    When you see the man yelling at all the staff down the hall and you think to yourself geez what a grumpy old man. Or when your brain injured client ask you the same question 13 times in 5 minutes, you think omg why do keep asking the same question?!? Or when you never seem to see the parents of that 4 year old peds patient and think to yourself, I would never leave my kid alone in the hospital. Well during these moments remember to stop, take a breath and not judge. Maybe that old man knows he is dying and is having a difficult time coping. Maybe that brain injured client didn't ask to be hit by a drunk driver and spend the rest of her life permanently confused. And maybe that parent you never see is struggling to work full time and provide for the other 3 children still at home.

    In times of sadness, illness, life changes, and everything in between let's all stop to remember our patients are only human, just as we all our. Our job is not to judge those whom we don't know, but to heal our patients and provide them with care and comfort during times of distress or need. Sometimes a simple smile or words of encouragement go far beyond what you know. And sometimes when we open our eyes just a little wider we learn to accept the fault of being human and we also allow ourselves to see our patients as they truly are...not as just another patient but as a person.
    Last edit by traumaRUs on Feb 14
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    91 Comments

  3. by   ThePrincessBride
    I judge (not my baby patients, but their parents and the patients on my adult med-surg floor).

    Why?

    Because I'm human.

    Nurses aren't robots. We have feelings and values. The key is to keep our judgments and attitudes to ourselves and to treat our patients with respect.
  4. by   NurseLife88
    Quote from ThePrincessBride
    I judge (not my baby patients, but their parents and the patients on my adult med-surg floor).

    Why?

    Because I'm human.

    Nurses aren't robots. We have feelings and values. The key is to keep our judgments and attitudes to ourselves and to treat our patients with respect.
    Of course we all judge because as we both said, we are human simply put. And yea it is more than important to keep those judgements to ourselves and not let them affect the care we give. But it is also important for us to try and take a step back in that moment of judging and see this person for more then we usually do. Part of respect for me includes being tolerant and non judgemental of others, of course this does not always happen but sometimes simply reminding myself that we are human curtails many of those judgements I may have had.
  5. by   malenurse69
    Thanks for sharing your epiphany, I'll continue to judge, a lot.
  6. by   GeminiNurse29
    I try not to.

    But in my work setting, forensic psych, I judge. Hard not to when you read the chart and find out what crime they committed and yet they get full access to better medical care (including rehab, dental, optical, and labs) than the rest of us could ever hope for. Of course, it's all on the taxpayer dollar too. Many are mentally ill, others? Well, it's debatable.

    I also judge when I see the COPD patient with cardiac issues and an oxygen tank insisting on smoking or eating that box of donuts yet making another trip to the hospital. Yet they complain how "illegals" and poor people keep using their taxes for food stamps.
  7. by   Sour Lemon
    Are you actually working as a nurse? I see that you just recently passed boards and this does not sound like a nurse experience ...especially the part about sitting down to watch TV with the patient.
  8. by   TheCommuter
    Thanks for this timely reminder.

    I will admit that being non-judgmental is difficult for me, especially when I had the noncompliant diabetic patient who flew into a rage after we ran out of ice cream snack cups during one night shift several years ago.

    By the way, he had eaten 8 cups of ice cream. He was livid because he could not eat a ninth ice cream. And yes, the bozo complained to upper management. And yes, management entertained his complaint for a while.
  9. by   NurseLife88
    I work in a residential care facility doing third shift. I have been here ten years, recently changed my job title officially to RN but as point....none of my duties have changed, why? Because I have been providing nursing care since I began this job, i am not a new grad or new nurse. I am newly licensed as an RN but not LPN and because the nature of my job requires ALL cares be provide by me this includes personal cares, med passing, dressing changes, and anything in between including the mountains of documentation and paperwork. (Jus as fyi this particular job hires non nursing staff as well whom all do the same thing as i do minus yearly reviews) But I do have the occasional down time being third shift and working the setting I do, and yes I sometimes use that time to engage my patients even if that may be with a tv show. So although this may not sound like a nurse experience to you, all "nurse experiences" are different. I am more than willing to use any and all experiences in my life to help me change my point of view. No reason to be negative towards anybody and everybody when there are better ways to spend time.Just saying.
  10. by   OrganizedChaos
    Quote from NurseLife88
    I work in a residential care facility doing third shift. I have been here ten years, recently changed my job title officially to RN but as point....none of my duties have changed, why? Because I have been providing nursing care since I began this job, i am not a new grad or new nurse. I am newly licensed as an RN but not LPN and because the nature of my job requires ALL cares be provide by me this includes personal cares, med passing, dressing changes, and anything in between including the mountains of documentation and paperwork. (Jus as fyi this particular job hires non nursing staff as well whom all do the same thing as i do minus yearly reviews) But I do have the occasional down time being third shift and working the setting I do, and yes I sometimes use that time to engage my patients even if that may be with a tv show. So although this may not sound like a nurse experience to you, all "nurse experiences" are different. I am more than willing to use any and all experiences in my life to help me change my point of view. No reason to be negative towards anybody and everybody when there are better ways to spend time.Just saying.
    I'm so confused by this. So you had the same responsibility & job duties as before you were a nurse? Why did you mention "RN not LVN"? Does it matter? They are both nurses.

    Wait until you get more experience as a nurse to make this judgement call. It seems you have a pretty easy job if you can sit & watch tv with a resident. The only time I did was in PDN. Anywhere else I barely had time to eat.
  11. by   NurseCard
    Let's please try to remember that there ARE a multitude of different
    types of settings. The OP possibly does work in a facility where it
    is possible to sit down for a few minutes or perhaps longer with her
    patient.

    I know that I do, and I consider myself very very lucky, after some
    of the fiery pits of hell that I have worked in previously.
  12. by   OrganizedChaos
    Quote from NurseCard
    Let's please try to remember that there ARE a multitude of different
    types of settings. The OP possibly does work in a facility where it
    is possible to sit down for a few minutes or perhaps longer with her
    patient.

    I know that I do, and I consider myself very very lucky, after some
    of the fiery pits of hell that I have worked in previously.
    Lol. I bet it's nice to have a change of pace after being through hell.

    I think the main issue with the OP is she hasn't been a nurse for long & she has periods of rest whereas most of us don't. Not all of us can sit down, talk with a patient & find out what is really going on. It's the sad but true reality of nursing we live in. I'm sure most of us would love to be able to talk to/calm down a patient when they are upset. But the ever growing documentation isn't gonna do itself. Haha!

    To be a new member, new nurse & make this kind of thread rubs people the wrong way.

    Should we judge? No. But it's life & even though we are nurses, we are still human. Especially as multiple posters pointed out that it's hard not to judge the diabetic who doesn't want to obey doctor's orders to eat healthy & lose weight or the COPD patient who continues to smoke. Because they end up in the hospital for complications over & over & over. Complications that could be avoided.

    I tend to have less sympathy for someone when they are the definition of insanity & bring things on themselves.
    Last edit by OrganizedChaos on Feb 10
  13. by   NurseLife88
    I mentioned LPN because I was that before an RN, yes they are both nurses so it speaks to my nursing history. Yes my job duties are the same, minus yearly health reviews of my patients. Work in a RCF facility and you would know it is anything but easy, most days I am lucky to leave unscathed bc of the violent nature of many of my patients. I have been chased with hammers, hit, kicked, spit on, and so much more. So no I wouldn't say it is easy to do this job. Also this particular patient in my story has a specific plan in place for times when they can't sleep included in this plan is the use of media and talking to help enlist a calming effect. I have plenty of experience both in life and nursing to be able to voice an opinion on not judging others. You don't need to be a nurse to learn to be more tolerant and accepting but this is a field where it definitely comes in handy. I simply stated my opinion after having a rough night, not because other people have to listen but because it never hurts to share. Unless of course you share on allnurses...then expect to be eaten alive for a small comment or have your experience and credentials questioned by people whom know nearly nothing about you.
  14. by   OrganizedChaos
    Quote from NurseLife88
    I mentioned LPN because I was that before an RN, yes they are both nurses so it speaks to my nursing history. Yes my job duties are the same, minus yearly health reviews of my patients. Work in a RCF facility and you would know it is anything but easy, most days I am lucky to leave unscathed bc of the violent nature of many of my patients. I have been chased with hammers, hit, kicked, spit on, and so much more. So no I wouldn't say it is easy to do this job. Also this particular patient in my story has a specific plan in place for times when they can't sleep included in this plan is the use of media and talking to help enlist a calming effect. I have plenty of experience both in life and nursing to be able to voice an opinion on not judging others. You don't need to be a nurse to learn to be more tolerant and accepting but this is a field where it definitely comes in handy. I simply stated my opinion after having a rough night, not because other people have to listen but because it never hurts to share. Unless of course you share on allnurses...then expect to be eaten alive for a small comment or have your experience and credentials questioned by people whom know nearly nothing about you.
    You have your opinion, we have ours. No one is perfect & even though we are nurses, we are not angels. To expect nurses to stop judging patients is just plain crazy. I have worked corrections & LTC, I know how dangerous & hectic working conditions can be. You can't expect people to have the same opinion as you.

    I was simply confused by you previous post as it wasn't clear to me. I never questioned your creditials, just wanted a better understanding.

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