Verbally Abusive Patients!

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    As a RN who happens to be male, I sometimes get very discouraged with the public's image of male nurses. I work in a crazy busy ER with alot of, well lets be honest, scum and addicts come in for free shelter, food, drugs, etc. I seem to get the pts. who are rude and constantly degrade me. I had one such charmer last night. Every other sentence out of his mouth was, "Why are you a nurse? I want a female nurse. I dont want no *** touching me!". Another one of his diddies was, "You're too stupid to be a doctor, I dont want your hands on me." I know I should realize what is going on and just let it slide off, but sometimes I get so angry :angryfire. It made me wanna give him a less-than-gentle catheter. How do you guys deal with offensive patients like this?
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  4. 9 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    Take a page from the Emperor's Apothecaries: "Death or healing, I care not which you seek!"


    haha, but Im pretty sure Pt cant pick their HCP based on gender. Otherwise, there would be no female doctors. As for the verbal abuse, are you sure you cant kick them out for abusing hospital employees? My college's student health center has a disclaimer that says patients may be denied care for being abusive to the staff.
    Last edit by AragornSkywalker on Jan 31, '09
  6. 1
    Are these dementia patients? If this is coming from patients who don't suffer from any mental problems than that is completely unacceptable. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I can relate, I am Black and in the past I had to deal with elderly patients making racial slurs. It really hurt me once. I wanted to quit
    HotDrew likes this.
  7. 6
    If I get verbal abuse (and they've got low grade injury) respond with "I'll be back in half an hour when you've calmed down" -
    Often you get further abuse to this to which I reply -
    "Ok better make that an hour - you wanna go for two hours?"

    It kinda helps them focus on why they are there - to get help. If their behaviour is going to stand in the way of them getting help - then they have to decide to stop the behaviour.

    As for the "you're too stupid to be a doctor"
    "I was - but I killed too many patients. Are you ready to be seen now?"
    JZ_RN, justjRN, lpnflorida, and 3 others like this.
  8. 1
    From where I'm sitting it looks like you're doing a heck of a lot better than they are. Maybe a gentle reminder might help humble them a bit.
    Valerie Salva likes this.
  9. 1
    Sorry you have to hear that - this guy sounds like a complete moron.

    I like mr ian's idea- tell them you will come back. Even several times if needed. Let's them know YOU are in control.

    I always like the saying ( maybe this is not word for word)- "be nice to your nurse- they choose the size of the needle"
    JZ_RN likes this.
  10. 0
    Same way I do when they call me honey, baby, B****, Wh***, whatever. I will not tolerate that and neither will anyone else who works here. So pull it together!!:angryfire
  11. 1
    "Too stupid to be a doctor"? You gotta love it coming from some low-life who probably can't hold down a minimum-wage job. These losers aren't worth engaging in any way beyond an "excuse me?" I'm sorry to hear you have to go through this. Take comfort in the fact that all this junk is out of your life once a patient gets d/cd OR you go home.
    JZ_RN likes this.
  12. 0
    I've had patients come into the OR being verbally aggressive about being made to wait, having to god forbid walk to 20 metres to the OR. If it's just ranting then I just ignore it, if it's intimidating then I tell them that they either behave in a rational manner or their surgery will be cancelled.

    On the wards if I got any verbal abuse I'd do pretty much the same as Mr Ian suggested. If someone wants to behave like a spoilt child then they deserve to be treated like one.
  13. 0
    I like Mr Ian's suggestions.

    There are many homophobics out there, and if this is the case instead of just your run of the mill rude patient. I would then simply if possible ask one of the female nurse if they mind switching patients with you. If this is not the case and they just want a female to then sexually harrass . I would walk away, not come back until they calmed down.

    On a really bad day, I have been known to say. Look I did not drag you off the street against your will to be here. You are the one who came here looking for help. Now you decide you either need help or you don't. Turn your light on when you decide.


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