The Childish "I Wuv You" Act

  1. 5 Once in a while, I'll have patients who will tell me that they love me and try to hug me, or tell me that they love me with big Bambi eyes if they think that it will get them out of perceived trouble or gain my favor.

    I only want someone to hug me if I have known them long enough to know that they mean no harm, that I don't mind touching me, and that I have given some form of okay to hug me. In the ER, I rarely encounter people who fit these criteria. Furthermore, I am a healthcare professional, not their buddy. My first instinct is to step back and put a hand forward to keep the person at arm's distance, which I do not think is an inappropriate reaction. What I'm wondering is how to verbally set limits and explain why it is inappropriate without seeming punitive. I also want to keep it short. In the past when I didn't anticipate it, I'd simply say, "No thank you."

    When I get the Bambi-eyed, "I wuv you," (yes, sometimes in baby talk), I either said, "Thank you," and moved on with whatever was occurring before the attempted distraction, or simply moved on with the conversation and actions. How should I handle the declaration of love?

    Yes, I know that some people have mental retardation, are emotionally stunted, or have developmental disabilities that mean that their mindsets are that of children. I don't fault them, but I also want to explain to them why I have the right to be touched only when I want to. Pediatric or psych nurse advice would be great for this.
    Last edit by LittleTwinStars on Jan 22, '14
  2. Visit  LittleTwinStars profile page

    About LittleTwinStars, BSN

    LittleTwinStars has 'Almost 7' year(s) of experience. From 'New Mexico, USA'; 30 Years Old; Joined Jan '14; Posts: 15; Likes: 57.

    64 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  SILVACH24 profile page
    0
    Quote from LittleTwinStars
    Once in a while, I'll have patients who will tell me that they love me and try to hug me, or tell me that they love me with big Bambi eyes if they think that it will get them out of perceived trouble or gain my favor.

    I only want someone to hug me if I have known them long enough to know that they mean no harm, that I don't mind touching me, and that I have given some form of okay to hug me. In the ER, I rarely encounter people who fit these criteria. Furthermore, I am a healthcare professional, not their buddy. My first instinct is to step back and put a hand forward to keep the person at arm's distance, which I do not think that it is inappropriate reaction. What I'm wondering is how to verbally set limits and explain why it is inappropriate without seeming punitive. I also want to keep it short. In the past when I didn't anticipate it, I'd simply say, "No thank you."

    When I get the Bambi-eyed, "I wuv you," (yes, sometimes in baby talk), I either said, "Thank you," and moved on with whatever was occurring before the attempted distraction, or simply moved on with the conversation and actions. How should I handle the declaration of love?

    Yes, I know that some people have mental retardation, are emotionally stunted, or have developmental disabilities that mean that their mindsets are that of children. I don't fault them, but I also want to explain to them why I have the right to be touched only when I want to. Pediatric or psych nurse advice would be great for this.
    People like you shouldnt be a nurse or any health care provider for that matter. Care givers should be loving and nurturing as well as good at what they do. You can have the tool and know how to use it but your a cold rod. My opinion. Im entitled to it. Old people children or "retarded people" like you call them, are all one in the same as a you and I. If your one to not want to be touched then find another job. This is not for you. Again my opinion. But you should reconsider. Maybe get a desk job. Or be a nurse advisor over the phone for a health insurance. But I wouldnt want any of my family members being personally cared for by any healthcare provider that has that mentality. I took offense to what you said and how you went about saying it. Like they have cooties or something. I have hugged a homeless man that was filthy. And you know what that was probably the first human contact he had in years. its how we express yourself. Its an act of appreciation. You should feel happy that you are that appreciated. I dont mean to offend you. I apologize. But I really had to speak out.
    Last edit by Esme12 on Jan 23, '14 : Reason: TOS/NO TEXT SPEAK
  4. Visit  LittleTwinStars profile page
    29
    Actually, I am a very tactile person. On the floor, I love hugging little old ladies and letting them play with my hair. I too have hugged homeless people barring biohazards, as I don't want to be a vector and endanger my other patients. However, in the ER, the person you just met 3 minutes ago might be psych or on drugs and thus unpredictable. Also, someone with borderline personality disorder might be very affectionate one minute but later come back and try to claim battery or such.

    Also about caregivers "should" be nurturing and loving. That kind of stuff is higher on the Maslow hierarchy. If I'm injured, I hope that the nurse will rush for a crash card before giving me a hug.

    It is not our job to love these people like our own kin. Professional boundaries. I offer comfort, but I'm not going to fulfill what they should find in their own personal lives.
    anon456, emtb2rn, fetch, and 26 others like this.
  5. Visit  dirtyhippiegirl profile page
    6
    Perfect reply. Not even a nursing student yet.
    Last edit by TheCommuter on Jan 23, '14 : Reason: Terms of service
  6. Visit  LittleTwinStars profile page
    16
    I remember a boy in 4th grade who was always trying to kiss me. Teachers shrugged and told me that boys will be boys. I didn't like the gross attention, and wished that he would stop. I felt invaded and also that I had to allow it lest I be a meanie. While he wasn't a rapist, he was disrespecting boundaries and getting away with it. Imagine that in a 30 year old man who is either MR or has some developmental issues who hasn't learned that its's inappropriate. Would you let him hug up on you, encouraging behavior that will land him in jail or a psych ward?

    It's my body, and only those who have permission may touch it. Period.
    pseudomonas, poppycat, Blue Roses, and 13 others like this.
  7. Visit  tokebi profile page
    17
    Quote from SILVACH24
    People like u shouldnt be a nurse or any health care provider for that matter. Care givers should be loving and nurturing as well as good at what they do.
    Is this for real or satire?
  8. Visit  LittleTwinStars profile page
    3
    Anyway, forget the backseat driver. Any advice on how to set professional boundaries and explain to the patients?
  9. Visit  tokebi profile page
    9
    Unless it is the same person repeatedly attempting to hug you, I feel like verbally explaining your stance would be a waste of time and making a big deal out of a triviality. Couldn't you perhaps avoid awkward moment by laughing it off, say something like, "Awww thank you for the thought. Now, I need to go review doctor's orders," or whatever that redirects that conversation back to business?
    Last edit by tokebi on Jan 23, '14 : Reason: Forgot a question mark.
    NRSKarenRN, SHGR, nrsang97, and 6 others like this.
  10. Visit  Dranger profile page
    7
    Quote from SILVACH24
    People like u shouldnt be a nurse or any health care provider for that matter. Care givers should be loving and nurturing as well as good at what they do. U can have the tool and know how to use it but ur a cold rod. My opinion. Im entitled to it. Old people children or "retarded people" like u call them, are all one in the same as a u and I. If ur one to not want to be touched then find another job. This is not for u. Again my opinion. But u should reconsider. Maybe get a desk job. Or be a nurse advisor over the phone for a health insurance. But I wouldnt want any of my family members being personally cared for by any healthcare provider that has that mentality. I took offense to what u said and how u went about saying it. Like they have cooties or something. I have hugged a homeless man that was filthy. And u know what that was probably the first human contact he had in years. its how we express ourself. Its an act of appreciation. U should feel happy that u are that appreciated. I dont mean to offend u. I apologize. But I really had to speak out.
    Yeah go fly a kite, you have never been a healthcare professional one day in your life.

    Please say this post is satire.
    Last edit by TheCommuter on Jan 23, '14 : Reason: Terms of service
    anon456, Blue Roses, kabfighter, and 4 others like this.
  11. Visit  Mulan profile page
    8
    I hate it when people touch my hair, who knows where those hands have been!

    Actually, patients really should keep their hands to themselves.
  12. Visit  SILVACH24 profile page
    0
    Quote from LittleTwinStars
    Actually, I am a very tactile person. On the floor, I love hugging little old ladies and letting them play with my hair. I too have hugged homeless people barring biohazards, as I don't want to be a vector and endanger my other patients. However, in the ER, the person you just met 3 minutes ago might be psych or on drugs and thus unpredictable. Also, someone with borderline personality disorder might be very affectionate one minute but later come back and try to claim battery or such.

    Also about caregivers "should" be nurturing and loving. That kind of stuff is higher on the Maslow hierarchy. If I'm injured, I hope that the nurse will rush for a crash card before giving me a hug.

    It is not our job to love these people like our own kin. Professional boundaries. I offer comfort, but I'm not going to fulfill what they should find in their own personal lives.
    U are absolutely correct!
    That makes perfect since. Its always good to hear opinions because you can see it through someone else eyes.. and now that I have read your opinion. I agree with you and see your point of view. It is true you have to be careful. I worked home health aid for 3 years and dealt strictly with individuals at one time. So I habe never been put in your situation. Thats something to really think about.
    Last edit by Esme12 on Jan 23, '14 : Reason: TOS/NO TEXT SPEAK
  13. Visit  SILVACH24 profile page
    2
    Quote from Dranger

    Yeah go fly a kite, you have never been a healthcare professional one day in your life.

    Please say this post is satire.
    Youare the only one taking things serious you shouldbreally chill. You know nothing about me. And I actually have worked healthcare. Just because im pre nursing doesnt mean anything. I have a diploma in surgical technology also. So I know what sterility is all about. When dealing one on one with patients I think of all the things I would want for my family and myself. My grandma wasnt treated so nice and she is one reason of many why I show interest in geriatrics.
    And to answer on your statement. ... I already flew a kite 2 weeks ago with my youngest son.. it was great. I may do it again soon.
    Last edit by Esme12 on Jan 23, '14 : Reason: Terms of service
    gonementallytoday and LadyFree28 like this.
  14. Visit  nursel56 profile page
    8
    LittleTwinStars I think I understand a little of what you are saying and I'm personally a huge stickler for respecting body space and boundary issues. It's for this reason I'm against pressuring students to give bed baths to each other.

    I also know that the ED gets it all and probably those patients who do this vary in their motivation from a manipulative type to someone with developmental delay to the psych patient who lacks impulse control and a different approach to each is not unreasonable so hopefully others will chime in.

    Mostly I want to acknowledge this very real issue and your right to discuss it without feeling judged.
    Altra, LittleTwinStars, Fiona59, and 5 others like this.


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