Uncomfortable from Sexual Remarks from Patient

  1. 0
    I just basically want to vent. I work in a LTC facility as a wound care RN. There is one patient in his 60's with chronic wounds to his legs from PVD. He sits in his electric w/c in his room most of the day and that is where I do his wound care. He has made subtle remarks about my chest in the past but the other day he came out and asked if he could ask me a personal question. I said sure. He said, "now you won't get offended and turn me in or anything, will you?" Being rather easy going most of the time I said no. So he asked, "what size are you, up there?"
    I just laughed and said I didn't know. Then he went on to talk about how he liked it when I bent over in front of him to wrap his legs and my shirt hung down and he could see my breasts. Then he added, "it really turns me on."

    I wanted to barf, but I just laughed it off, thinking that would be the end of it. No. Every day since then he has made some reference to my "rack" or some other demeaning name and it has made me so self-consious I dread going in the room. I haven't told anyone else because it is so embarrassing. Now, I truly know how people feel when they are referred to like they are a piece of meat. It also affects the job I'm doing on him. Today he expressed disappointment that I wasn't going to show him "my stuff" and all I could think about was hurrying up and finishing and getting out of that room and as a result I missed covering one of the sores on his legs and I just couldn't bring myself to go back in there. I will thankfully have my partner with me tomorrow, but yuck. Dirty old man. I was thinking of saying to him there were enough cute little nurse aides here for him to feast his eyes on instead of a saggy old woman with 5 kids but I guess I would just be feeding his disgusting behavior if I did.
    My husband was no help. He just said, poor old man, it's probably the only thrill he gets in life (so this will probably be my husband when he gets to the nursing home )

    I'm sure this falls in the category of sexual harrassment, but I would be even more embarrassed bringing attention to myself over it.

    Just another thing nurses have to put up with in this world. I would be interested in hearing other accounts of inappropriate patient behavior toward nurses.
  2. 31 Comments so far...

  3. 24
    Why didn't you nip that in the bud with the first comment? I had an older man say he was going to grab my breast and I said if you do that is considered assault and I have no problems with pressing charges.

    I have large breast so I always wear a t-shirt under my scrub top so no one can get a look. I also had another patient ask why do I wear a t-shirt? I said because I want to. He said he always sees the other nurses breast and he would love to see mine because they are bigger. I quickly told him that is inappropriate and I will not tolerate that behavior from him and he will not talk to me or any other nurse at this hospital ever again in this manner. You can't let people get away with that.

    I know we are customer service oriented but you have to draw the line. You should tell him that is not appropriate and ask him to stop. And please don't suggest he look at someone else's breast. Why put someone else through what you are going through.

    And some advice. Wear a t-shirt under your scrubs so he won't get a peep show.

    Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com
  4. 14
    Sorry to be blunt, but that behavior is disgusting, and from your post it sounds like you haven't really made that clear to your patient. You need to put a stop to his behavior immediately, not just awkwardly laugh it off. It sounds like he doesn't get how inappropriate he is and how uncomfortable it makes you. Now, if he continues AFTER you draw the line, that is one thing, but you haven't really drawn that line yet...

    Agree that it would be wildly inappropriate to suggest he go after your colleagues.

    I would like to suggest that you bring a chaperone with you in the future. Also to protect you if things kind of go "sour" between you (since this relationship is not very therapeutic anyway) and he start making claims that you were coming on to him, etc.
    GrnTea, cienurse, twinkletoes53, and 11 others like this.
  5. 14
    Tell him his comments bother you and that he needs to stop them. That should take care of it. He DID ask if he could ask you something before he did the first time. It's up to you to stand up for yourself in this. He may have no clue that you're offended.
    GrnTea, cienurse, canoehead, and 11 others like this.
  6. 13
    P.S. 60's is WAY too young to be getting a "dirty old man" pass. You want that crap to go on for another 30 years?
    AngelicDarkness, barbyann, cienurse, and 10 others like this.
  7. 15
    Wait...you honestly thought of saying there were enough cute young nurse's aides for him to ogle? Even if you meant it in a joking manner, that would have been totally inappropriate; thank goodness you didn't say it.

    You need to shut this down right away. The next time you have to take care of him, if he makes another inappropriate remark tell him in no uncertain terms that you do not appreciate it and he needs to stop it immediately. I would let my supervisor know as well, because it's highly likely that he is being lewd toward your younger colleagues.

    Some of this has to do with power. Your patient is in a situation where he can't function independently. Being sexually provocative gives him a feeling of power, because most likely he can sense your discomfort. You have to take that power back by letting him know that sort of behavior will not be tolerated. He's not a demented 90 year old man; he is plenty young enough to straighten up. If he continues to make sexual remarks or his behavior escalates, you may need to suggest a psych. consult to his doc.

    And maybe you should check to make sure your scrub top isn't too revealing; if you bend over in front of a mirror and can see "the girls" then you need to wear a t-shirt under your top or get new scrub tops.
    silverbat, GrnTea, cienurse, and 12 others like this.
  8. 9
    Everyone above is right. Tell him very firmly that his comments are totally inappropriate, make you uncomfortable and will not be tolerated. This is an alert and oriented individual, only in his sixties, not a completely demented person you're talking about. Don't smile, laugh or give any other indication that his comments are in any way okay.

    Also agree with having someone in the room with you. Another nurse, a CNA, just someone to be present.
    Wave Creation, cienurse, MBARNBSN, and 6 others like this.
  9. 9
    His behavior was inappropriate and you should make that clear. But at the same time, limit the opportunity for such behavior by dressing properly. If you're going to be bending over for extended periods of time in front of a 60 year old man who's confined to a Nursing home, make sure you can bend over without creating a peep show.
    cienurse, Altra, imintrouble, and 6 others like this.
  10. 4
    I hate that others have made crude remarks about you not nipping it in the butt. As a nurse you expect to provide care and compassion and I'm sure you have dealt with difficult patients successfully. I too have recently encountered a situation in which the patient made inappropriate comments. I told other workers and the supervisor and refused to go into this man's room alone. It is not easy to just "nip it in the butt". I tried to laugh it off and the patient even laughed at me and told me I turned all red. I explained that his comment was unexpected and I was embarrassed. I went home in a very unsettled mood.
    etymed, anotherone, OCNRN63, and 1 other like this.
  11. 7
    If you feel uncomfortable talking to him directly, talk to your DON or administrator. When I worked in LTC I had a similar issue with a patient and I am very non-confrontational and felt really awkward bringing it up to the patient directly. I told my supervisor, and it turns out that the patient had made comments to several other nurses and CNAs as well, and was approached by the administrator who told him how unacceptable that behavior was. Definitely say something soon or the behavior may escalate even further.
    GrnTea, cienurse, imintrouble, and 4 others like this.


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