Ungratetful patients.

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    I just need to vent and maybe hear how you all cope with ungreatful families or patients. I had one today that was just AWFUL. i can't even begin to explain the things he said to us nurses. I'd probably get kicked off the site for repeating them...they were horrible. Basically things like "You went to school for 5 years to wipe ass and you can't even do that right?" after i helped him to the bathroom. "The other nurse is better than you, she snuck me some extra oxycodone" (She didn't. She was telling me he got upset and threatened to report her because she refused to do that and told the doctors his request). The things got so unbelievably horrible it was verbal abuse. I took it to my HOM since my manager was out of town. He went in and had a conversation with him, which made things worse.
    One AWFUL thing he said to me (i have a partial missing pinky finger from a car accident when i was 17) "If you don't take this end tital monitor off now you will find your self with another missing finger."
    i told the charge i wanted out of that room and i was refusing to take care of him. Her reply??/ "Jenni, Do you think putting someone else in that room is going to solve the problem? he is just going to do it to someone else." HOWEVER when he called my CNA the "N word" she was allowed to not be in that room. But when i had the verbal abuse, i wasn't allowed to refuse care.

    then the charge nurse had the NERVE to ask me to work tomorrow since they are short. I looked at her and said "Vicky, After your so called 'help' today, you have got to be out of your ******* mind." Honestly...where do patient's think its ok to talk to their nurse or doctor like that? (yes, doctors too.) And where are MY RIGHTS as a human to not take that verbal abuse?
    i feel like if i request to get out of that room and have legit reasons not to take care of him, i should be granted that wish.
    Hell...i NEVER request not to take care of patients. I had a patient who was in prison for pedophilia, i had one that was in prison for murder as well. Did i refuse to take care of them??? NO!! because what they did is non of my business and i don't agree with it, but i will be their nurse.
    On a scale of one to *******, this guy was off the charts.
    How do you all deal with rude/ungrateful patients/families??
    Last edit by Esme12 on Jan 2, '13 : Reason: TOS/profanity/use of letters and symbols
  2. 8 Comments so far...

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    You know, it's an oldie but a goodie, I kill them with kindness. It's hard to do but I try to look at them as someone who fell off the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down. I slap a ridiculous smile on my face and reason with them like I would a 2 year old. Most of the time they can't come up with anything negative to say, and if they do, I smile some more and say "how nice" or "how sweet". That is code for eff you. Then you go and vent to your friends in the back.
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    Well, first off - your patient was not ungrateful, he was a jerk and a bully. And threatening you (the remark about the finger) is against the law. I think your hospital administration needs to be made aware that your patient threatened to physically harm you and that you would be within your rights to call the police.
    poppycat, Aurora77, and anotherone like this.
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    I deal with ungrateful and unappreciative clients and families by not particularly expecting them to be grateful or appreciative in the first place. I've worked in psych for decades, so I'm accustomed to working with clients who don't want to be there, don't think they need any treatment, and go out of their way to be as difficult and unpleasant as possible. You do your job the way you know it should be done, and you just learn not to take it personally -- it's their problem, not yours. If you let them get "under your skin," you're giving them power over you.

    I agree that the specific, clear threat should be dealt with appropriately, with police involvement if necessary. Other than that, I agree with your charge nurse that assigning this gentleman to someone else because you don't like the way he talks to you doesn't really change anything or solve the problem. You mention having "legit reasons not to take care of him" but I didn't see any in your post, other than your not liking his language/interaction. What I have always done is be professional, and, as another poster noted, "kill 'em with kindness."

    It's a difficult situation. Best wishes!
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    If he threatened to do bodily harm to me like the finger comment I would have called the police and told him exactly what I was doing.

    Seriously though you need to notify security and do an incident report about the threat.
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    Like you, I don't see why being called the 'N' word is a reason to not have to care for this person, but being threatened with bodily harm is not. I also agree with pretty much all other advice on here: Kill with kindness, inform the patient that speaking to you like that is a threat, and is illegal, and you would be entirely in your rights to call the police. If he has any brains, he will understand that he can't mess with you, and quit. Otherwise, well, he might be a lot more mad at being handcuffed to his bed under police watch until discharge
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    I agree with your charge nurse that assigning this gentleman to someone else because you don't like the way he talks to you doesn't really change anything or solve the problem.


    I disagree with this action. If your charge nurse cared at all about the well-being of her staff, and wanted them to stick around, she would at least alternate the nurse assigned to this patient. You shouldn't be assigned to him day after day. It's just not healthy to be exposed to that kind of abuse from the same person over and over. No, it won't solve the problem, or fix this guy's attitude BUT it will keep your sanity and keep you from quitting! Everyone deserves a break once in a while.
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    I would have changed the assignment but not until I notified security and spoke with the patient and set some limits. Often with a bully like that when you call their bluff they back down and start behaving. If kill them with kindness and appeasement does not work you must set limits. I disagree with you manger..often when you change the assignment a better fit is achieved and the patient will also know that nursing is doing something and is not going to take the abuse.

    Another option is to have two nurses going in to provide any care. I have found that patients will often behave better when it is 2 on 1. This is something I would have done immediately and often do this. A extra benefit of this is that nurse also becomes a witness as these patients tend to manipulate and start telling lies about you and tries to pit nurses against each other. You need to be unified team and support each other and the patient will know you are on to him. Never stop taking care of the patient though unless there is a reassignment so you cannot be accused of abandonment.
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    Quote from SionainnRN
    You know, it's an oldie but a goodie, I kill them with kindness. It's hard to do but I try to look at them as someone who fell off the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down. I slap a ridiculous smile on my face and reason with them like I would a 2 year old. Most of the time they can't come up with anything negative to say, and if they do, I smile some more and say "how nice" or "how sweet". That is code for eff you. Then you go and vent to your friends in the back.
    Haha!
    Last edit by JDZ344 on May 14, '14


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