What are some respectful things someone could say or ways to diffuse flirtatious behavior while still remaining respectful to the family member or patient, avoiding things getting awkward, and accepting the compliment if those things are all possible? what has worked for you or nurses you know WHETHER MALE OR FEMALE? Stories are welcome!
I usually mention I'm married. Tends to diffuse things
"Thank you, but what I really need to talk about is what brought you in this evening? (or) how you are doing after xyz med/tx?"
Smile and focus the attention back onto the patient, with professional (not personal) comments. The I'm married works as well, not everyone wears a wedding ring to work in the hospital.
"I am flattered but our relationship MUST remain professional nurse: patient."
repeat as often as necessary.
I just redirect the conversation back to the pertinent issue. I have never used "I'm married" or "I have a boyfriend". That would imply that if I was single there would be a chance. No point giving that impression.
I never say "thank you" or anything else to suggest that I'm flattered. Many people will take that as encouragement, regardless of whatever else you do or say. I just ignore the flattery/flirting (unless it's really direct/inappropriate, in which case I say something) and keep going with whatever I'm trying to do. People usually get the message (even if it takes a while). Plus, if they're doing it to try to provoke you or exert power over you (which some people are), responding, even negatively, gives them what they want and, again, encourages them.
We are all far too well socialized to thank people for compliments, even if they are unwelcome or inappropriate in the situation -- you are under no obligation to respond to unwelcome compliments, or act like you're pleased.
Last edit by elkpark on Oct 1
Back in nursing school, before the dawn of time, we were instructed to say "Mr. Jones, you're making me uncomfortable!" It was modeled for us with a plaintive little whine in the voice.
I think it was the precursor of brainless scripting.
Deflect deflect deflect and if that does not work, call a spade a spade, firmly state that line has been crossed and you are not comfortable with the line of questioning or physical contact or what have you. Involve your charge and get the assignment changed if it really crosses the line.
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