Types of Relatives We Nurses Love

by cool_nurse 5,239 Views | 19 Comments

Based from experience,this is a true-to-life article about the types of relatives we might encounter inside the hospital, with brief description about them. They are basically a pain in our gut, but we have to deal with them with a smile.

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    Types of Relatives We Nurses Love

    The irony of the title describes something funny or annoying or whatever and true-to-life (not patient-centered though) encounters with relatives whom at their front we smile, but at their back we just want to put a label on their heads. In patients with such, we understand at our highest level of patience. But among the relatives, it just doesn't feel right. Though by being at their shoes, yes, it is very much reasonable to act with such. But hopefully, not beyond what we can't bear.

    The first label is for the “Toxic Relative”. There are these days when something isn't just right with our hospital duties wherein there are three NGT feedings, continuous blood transfusions, post-ICU trans-ins which we always dub as toxic. In line with this nerve-wracking duties are toxic relatives with endless requests wherein fact, they are already making us PDN's or private duty nurses. The other fact is that these relatives are just too lazy to perform their basic duties as a looker even by just feeding their loved ones. Some relatives would even question your capability of helping their relatives by judging your body frame since they are looking for bulkier personnel who are also busy.

    Next,the “Paranoid Relative” is someone who is overly reacting on their loved one's condition therefore us nurses requiring explaining this and that nuggets of facts routinely. Another example is that some relatives would also insist on such measures such as blood transfusions in their dengue-infested loved ones and we would always tell them that interventions are individualized. No two people with the same condition are alike. Physicians also experience the same upon their clinical rounds and the thing is, physicians are also annoyed by such.

    Another one is the “OFW or Imported Relative”. He or she is someone who boasts of healthcare facilities and interventions abroad and compares it here in the Philippines. These are also relatives who do not believe in the capabilities of nurses and doctors here. We often hear them saying, “In the (insert first world country here), patients aren't intervened by such”. And at the back of our minds, “Then let your relatives stay at St. Lukes or Asian Hospital if you want the vibes of international facilities.”

    Lastly,the “Frustrated Nurse/Doctor Relative” is someone who provides healthcare duties and responsibilities ahead without the consent of the nurse and the doctor. An example of this are parents with a child with soaring fever in which they are overdosing their child with antipyretics despite explaining to them the round-the-clock antipyretics given by the pediatricians. We can't just argue with them but just give them the best advice by not doing it again.

    For the peace and harmony of hospital duties, we nurses still do our best and wear our smile amid these situations. Though we don't let ourselves drift emotionally into such circumstances, we just welcome every relative with their questions, misconceptions and demands with the fullest of our capabilities. Besides, we are very much immune to them ten-fold.

    Have you encountered such? And so, which type?
    Last edit by Blanca R on May 25, '13
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  3. About cool_nurse

    Cool_Nurse is a male nurse who holds license in the Philippines and NY, USA. He is currently working as a staff nurse in a medical-surgical ward of a Private Tertiary Hospital in the Philippines. He was a former writer and a student-journalist.

    cool_nurse joined May '11. Posts: 83 Likes: 32; Learn more about cool_nurse by visiting their allnursesPage


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    19 Comments so far...

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    How about "M.I.A. relatives"?

    The ones that haven't visited or called mom/dad/grandma/Aunt Sally in months. But now that this relative is in the hospital, they are the picture of involvement, love, and concern (to the point of being a gigantic PITA)...
    LadyFree28 and SoldierNurse22 like this.
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    Quote from Tina, RN
    How about "M.I.A. relatives"?

    The ones that haven't visited or called mom/dad/grandma/Aunt Sally in months. But now that this relative is in the hospital, they are the picture of involvement, love, and concern (to the point of being a gigantic PITA)...
    Yes! Yes! Yes!
    Everything - confusion , incontinence is our fault. "She was fine the last time I stayed with her."
    And when was that? "I don't know...three years ago."
  6. 1
    As a peds nurse I see all kinds. I get a lot of paranoid parents, but I come to expect that-- it's their child, this is their worst nightmare whether it's a baby with RSV who needs suctioning and support, or a child who just came out of the ICU changed forever.

    I also have to distinguish between these two types of parents:
    Exhausted- yes they are normally very involved, caring parents but right now they are so emotionally and physicall exhausted they can't take care of themselves, much less help care for their child. I try to encourage them to talk a walk outside, eat in the cafeteria, sleep through the night and let me care for their child.

    Very Unhelpful prima-donna- This is the parent who has no problems texting and making out with boy/girlfriend on the couch while their child is crying to be bottle-fed, held, or in one case, bagged during a rapid response. To these parents, if the child is crying to be bottle fed I will turn the lights on, hand them a bottle and ask them to feed the baby or hold their baby. I actually had one mom get really upset at me when she asked me if I could stay in the room and watch her baby while she slept. I said no, I'm sorry, I have other patients. This was after I was kind enough to feed the baby (and watch at the same time) while she took a shower.
    1feistymama likes this.
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    the nut job who will only allow for treatment after they have consulted their naturopath astrologist etc...........................and refuses all interventions that would assist if they were delivered in the time they were required.
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    MIA meaning Missing in Action? haha. Next time I'll add this! Thanks tina! =)
  9. 1
    Quote from anon456
    As a peds nurse I see all kinds. I get a lot of paranoid parents, but I come to expect that-- it's their child, this is their worst nightmare whether it's a baby with RSV who needs suctioning and support, or a child who just came out of the ICU changed forever.

    I also have to distinguish between these two types of parents:
    Exhausted- yes they are normally very involved, caring parents but right now they are so emotionally and physicall exhausted they can't take care of themselves, much less help care for their child. I try to encourage them to talk a walk outside, eat in the cafeteria, sleep through the night and let me care for their child.

    Very Unhelpful prima-donna- This is the parent who has no problems texting and making out with boy/girlfriend on the couch while their child is crying to be bottle-fed, held, or in one case, bagged during a rapid response. To these parents, if the child is crying to be bottle fed I will turn the lights on, hand them a bottle and ask them to feed the baby or hold their baby. I actually had one mom get really upset at me when she asked me if I could stay in the room and watch her baby while she slept. I said no, I'm sorry, I have other patients. This was after I was kind enough to feed the baby (and watch at the same time) while she took a shower.
    Hello Anon! Very true! I encountered such parents/relatives to the point of us asking if she or he is reading for parenthood or just badly missing the teenage life???
    Nursepreneur likes this.
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    As an ER nurse of 10 years, I've seen lots of "in denial Family members", when they bring their family with a gangrenous foot, and say they thought it would go away! And also the "you should be on psych meds" family members. Enough said.
    1feistymama likes this.
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    Quote from Nursepreneur
    they bring their family with a gangrenous foot, and say they thought it would go away
    Sure...
    It'll go away...
    After their foot falls off.
    Nursepreneur, amoLucia, and nrsang97 like this.
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    I get the family members in the medical field MD/CRNA/RN/ etc, who just wont let you do your job. The CRNA who after multiple requests would not stop suctioning her mom constantly on the vent every single time she let out the slightest cough, constantly was suctioning her mouth at the tiniest bit of drool. The MD who is pushing buttons on the vent trying to read the vent settings.

    Relatives who are nurses on our sister unit going through her uncle's chart. I had to call her NM at that point.

    Why did I always get cursed with the MD/RN/CRNA relatives who didn't know how to be visitors?


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