Quote from Nurse Bitchface
Really, honestly nurses, they are not out to get you! Validation of their feelings is almost 90% of the time all they want, even if you really don't agree with what they are complaining about, they believe it so just say...."yes I can see why that upsets you...I understand why you are so angry....that must really make you mad..." If it's just "I'm sick/stressed - I'm not usually like this...." I let it slide. After so many years, I know genuine distress causes some strange reactions, and I don't care if they say please or thank you. Just be civil - no screaming, no swearing, no aggression. Old fashioned RESPECT. The sad truth is most people are pigs, and the BEST they will get out of me is stony silence.
Nothing gives anyone the right to yell, scream, insult, or throw things. Nothing. People can be as grumpy as they want but I draw the line at when their behaviour is negatively directed toward myself or coworkers.
I do hear what you are saying, to a point. But there is no excuse to be horrible to another person, not even illness or stress. I will call them on the behaviour, establish boundaries, and then see what can be done to work out what is bothering them. "I can see you are having a difficult time. I am here to help, but I can't do that when you ABC," followed by, "I will be back in a couple of minutes, and we can start over." Often that breaking of the cycle is enough to change the behaviour, and makes for a better time for both the patient/family and myself.
Somebody who says, "I am sick/stressed, etc, I'm not usually like this." has already acknowledged that they've done wrong and we can work on ways to redirect their emotions.
As to the no please or thank you, it's about tone and it's about that respect you speak of. A respectful person may not always say those words, but their way of being is polite and thankful.
People who constantly demand things, "Get me water, get me a blanket" and then don't offer a thank you? I will remind them that while I am happy to help get these things, I am not a servant and would appreciate some manners. I also see nothing wrong with setting that boundary, either.