Why do some nurse judge?

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    Was in the ICU a while back and and a patient was sedated but still could hear you. The nurse says, "oh my God he stinks!" she talked about his condition and how he's no good because he a alcoholic and his whole family don't take good care of themselves. I try not to judge because we all have problem and we are working through it. What do everyone think?
    Joe V likes this.
  2. 8 Comments so far...

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    I always avoid engaging in such behavior. As professionals we are taught not to judge and be aware of our biases so that we can provide competent care. Next time any Nurse starts such a conversation just start conversing with the patient, for example i ask whether they are comfortable, any family visiting them today? Anything to ignore that behavior....;-)...works for me...lol sometimes i even start talking to myself out loud like..."oh i wonder whether the lab results are back yet"....walk out of the room and such....they eventually stop and if not pull them to the side and tell them straight up!
    sharonp30 likes this.
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    Quote from relondnah SNKC
    Was in the ICU a while back and and a patient was sedated but still could hear you. The nurse says, "oh my God he stinks!" she talked about his condition and how he's no good because he a alcoholic and his whole family don't take good care of themselves. I try not to judge because we all have problem and we are working through it. What do everyone think?
    you must be a new nurse (nothing wrong with that, I was a new nurse once) if you are just realizing this. When you really look at the whole situation, anybody can say that anywhere. People, not just nurses, in general have a tendency to judge others. That's just reality.

    When a pt stinks, I don't have a problem saying it in front of a colleague as long as the pt is totally sedated and no family is around. I say it so the other nurse gets it and helps me clean him up. that's just being honest.

    Commenting about alcoholism, that's a different story. But like I said, it's no different when people in society says something bad about another person (in my opinion anyway).

    WHat I usually do, and is my suggestion, just don't comment on it. Clean the pt up instead and make sure he does't wake up until next week. LOL. just kidding. until his DTs are over. pt in DTs are a handful. I would easily take a patient with 10 drips on a vent with a balloon pump and CCRT over a pt in DT.
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    If the nurse made a seemingly nasty remark just for the pleasure of doing so or to make fun of the patient, that is professionally unethical.

    If the nurse made a seemingly nasty remark as in "Oh my God, this patient stinks!" out of shock, out of concern and hopefully ends up doing something about the patient's smell, then that shouldn't be taken as offensive.

    A person's remark may be taken differently by another.
    No 2 minds think alike.
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    I was taught if you don't have anything nice to say don't say nothing at all. Im a new nurse and I stand strong about my beliefs in not communicating this in front of the patient. The patient could be embarrassed about being smelly and I think it's unprofessional to act in such a manner.
    Hygiene Queen and CPhT2RNstudent like this.
  7. 1
    Quote from relondnah SNKC
    I was taught if you don't have anything nice to say don't say nothing at all. Im a new nurse and I stand strong about my beliefs in not communicating this in front of the patient. The patient could be embarrassed about being smelly and I think it's unprofessional to act in such a manner.
    I agree with you. I have been a nurse for 3 years, and I still feel the way you do. I had a situation where a nice nurse was not thinking while we were cleaning a BM on one of my pt's. He was talking about how some people he knew in high school became so "fat and disgusting". I got his attention and pointed at my patient (the patient was turned and I was facing her back cleaning so she did not see my motion) who was vented, but still alert. She was obese. He got the hint and quit. I talked to the patient afterwards and I could tell she was upset. I appoligized to her and I talked to the nurse who made the comments. He was genuinely sorry and went and appologized to her. If you would not say it to a stranger on the street why would you say it to a patient trusting you in their total care. They may already have self image issues. Why add to it? As a nurse I try to build my patients up, not tear them down.
    sharonp30 likes this.
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    The thing is, even when a patient is apparently not alert or awake, we just don't know what they actually hear. If you are taking care of someone who can't care for themselves, they have to put all of their trust in you. If you are making fun of them, or talking about them, they can't and shouldn't trust you.
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    I would not talk that way in front of a patient even if they were sedated. My mother had a traumatic brain injury when I was young and was in a coma for months. She said she did hear some stuff that went on and told us some of the things my aunt and grandmother said to her and read to her. I think if you want to be a nurse and treated like a professional, you should act like one. I am not a new nurse, I have had a BSN for 16 years.
    Hygiene Queen likes this.
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    I agree with the poster. I've been a nurse for 14 years and I work in the SICU as an Air Force nurse and I would never say that about a patient. Not just because they are our wounded troops but in general as a professional nurse (RN) we are professionals and need to uphold those standards for all of our patients. Hearing is the last sense to go when patients go through various phases of sedation and the first to come back when sedation gets light. You would be amazed what some patients recall and often will voice their concerns once they are extubated. When I have patients that have soiled themselves, I just go in and clean them up without inappropriate chatter.


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