The dumbest thing I ever said to a patient.

  1. 3 So have you been with a patient and for some reason your mind quits working and some stupid opinion or thought (not appropriate) comes slipping out of your mouth?

    Well that's what I did today and I've been thinking (and beating myself) about it all day. What I'm about to share is not my best day of nursing, but it is funny as hell. I have no idea why I said what I said, but here comes the story....

    I was in the ER working and I had a 18 year old female with abdominal pain. Her mother and grandmother were at the bedside and for the first hour and a half we all got along and were doing swimmingly. Then it happend. The grandmother and mother brought up, in a shaming manner, that the 18 year old had tried a few cigarettes lately. In an effort to help I said, out loud, that the only recreational drug I'd never seen kill anyone was marijuana. (My next thoughts were OMG! ***** Why did I say that?!)

    Well I know why I said it... in the 8 years that I've worked in medicine I truely have NEVER seen any one die from side effects or complications of smoking pot. I've never seen anyone come in for a marijuana overdose. When I worked on my lung/cardiac floor I NEVER met one patient that had heart problems or lung cancer related to marijuana (heroine, cocaine, and tobacco, yes....pot? no). I'm not stating this to justifiy that what I said to my patient was ANYWHERE CLOSE to okay. Just to let you know what I was thinking about when I said it.

    Well needless to say my good working relationship with the family tanked fast even after apologizing plus informing my manager on my own as to what I did. Attempts to try to explain myself were not heard and apologies were not accepted even after stating that I was in the wrong.

    I cried about it for a while, but then I couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity of the whole transaction.

    Anyone else's mouth and brain not coordinating well?
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  3. Visit  KalipsoRed21 profile page

    About KalipsoRed21

    Joined Jan '12; Posts: 34; Likes: 43.

    30 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  TheCommuter profile page
    1
    Quote from KalipsoRed21
    Anyone else's mouth and brain not coordinating well?
    Admittedly, I am not the most tactful person when it comes to the spoken word. I sometimes blurt things out without thinking and suffer the consequences when people become angry afterward. In a nutshell, I do not know how to censor my words very well.

    I sometimes wish I had the gift for gab that prominent politicians and lawyers seem to have. Smooth talking and managing to get the right words out for all types of situations are skills that they all seem to maneuver with such relative ease.
    pseudomonas likes this.
  5. Visit  RN Sam profile page
    4
    Told a patient with paranoid schizophrenia that Seroquel may cause suicidal thoughts. He was admitted to psych unit the next week. I didn't see it the chart but my name should have been mentioned in the reason for admission. This was as a student but since then I choose my words carefully and ALWAYS consider the diagnosis of the patient.
  6. Visit  TeenyTinyBabyRN profile page
    9
    In the NICU, when a baby bradys, the first thing we ussually do is "stimulate" them to try to bring their heart rate back up. We ussually pat their butt or rub their feet. Well, I had taken one of my patients out of the isolette to feed. Mean while, my other pateint decides to brady. I ask my podmate if they could, "go smack him for me," to help him out of his brady. I then realize one of the parents was in the pod and heard my poor choice of words.
  7. Visit  Not_A_Hat_Person profile page
    1
    Do stupid things said to family members count? One of my Nursing Home Hell patients was a crochety old man. For some reason, we got along very well. He was admitted to the hospital, and the family decided not to hold his room. While they were moving his stuff out, I said to one of his sons "I hope to see him back here soon." The son looked at me, then said "No offense, but I don't."
    blubaby likes this.
  8. Visit  Jackfackmasta profile page
    1
    I work as an ED tech and am a level 4 student. I chaperone our docs in the pelvic rooms and one day after I helped with one girl's pelvic I was sitting at the nurses station during shift change charting and a friend of the above pt walked out looking for the nurse. When she saw me she said I know you. We talked about your school and how I also want to be a nurse. I looked at her and thought

    Then it clicked. I said " Oh! I remeber you know. You were in the pelvic room." My face turned red as the pt started laughing and everyone else around tried to contain their laughter. I was embarrassed.
    TeenyTinyBabyRN likes this.
  9. Visit  blackbird singing profile page
    4
    I am a PCA and a pt called me into his room and told me he had to use the bathroom. He was a new pt, so the preceding PCA didn't know how he ambulated and I had not had a chance to ask the nurse about it yet. I asked him if he usually got up to go to the bathroom or if he just used the bedpan. After giving me a strange look, he just told me bedpan.
    Later, I found out he was a paraplegic. SO humiliating!! I went in later and apologized to him and had a little laugh about it, but it was still awkward...
  10. Visit  nrsmela profile page
    2
    We had this conversation at work once, my favorite was one nurse who said she always kicked herself in the butt for asking BKA where their other shoe was!! Luckily most amputees in this area seem to have a great sense of humor!
    pseudomonas and TeenyTinyBabyRN like this.
  11. Visit  boushie87 profile page
    2
    Quote from TeenyTinyBabyRN
    In the NICU, when a baby bradys, the first thing we ussually do is "stimulate" them to try to bring their heart rate back up. We ussually pat their butt or rub their feet. Well, I had taken one of my patients out of the isolette to feed. Mean while, my other pateint decides to brady. I ask my podmate if they could, "go smack him for me," to help him out of his brady. I then realize one of the parents was in the pod and heard my poor choice of words.

    hahaha This still has me giggling. Too cute. Hope the parents had a sense of humor or understood what you meant! haha
    pseudomonas and TeenyTinyBabyRN like this.
  12. Visit  noyesno profile page
    14
    I had a young patient who was admitted for a gun shot wound. We were talking about sleeping in and he said he likes to sleep in until 10:30 or 11:00 am.

    I told him that can be difficult at the hospital because we come in so often. I mentioned how physical therapy like to get people out of bed bright and early. Then I said, "physical therapy isn't working with you though; you dodged that bullet."

    Realizing what I had said, I immediately apologized. Thankfully, he thought it was hilarious.
    pseudomonas, mombabyRN96, Savvy20RN, and 11 others like this.
  13. Visit  NF_eyenurse profile page
    4
    Quote from TeenyTinyBabyRN
    In the NICU, when a baby bradys, the first thing we ussually do is "stimulate" them to try to bring their heart rate back up. We ussually pat their butt or rub their feet. Well, I had taken one of my patients out of the isolette to feed. Mean while, my other pateint decides to brady. I ask my podmate if they could, "go smack him for me," to help him out of his brady. I then realize one of the parents was in the pod and heard my poor choice of words.

    I can't think of any right now,since I have been an RN. Before I was a nurse i was a medical assistant for eye surgeons. Sometimes I worked a peds clinic. We always put dilating eye drops in the babies eyes before the eye exam. Once when I was in an exam room with a mom and baby, a coworker walked in and said "did you drop the baby yet" and i said "no, i will in a minute"...and the poor mom looked at me like i was nuts. We had a laugh after i explained what we meant. Needless to say we changed our phrasing to not freak out the poor moms.


    One more: During eye exams, I would hand the patient an eye mask/paddle to block one eye to read the eye chart. I would always say "please put this up to your eyes and place on the bridge of your nose" then they would read the eye chart. well, one day it was very busy and somehow I got out of my routine. I gave a patient a tissue (another common thing done because we put dilating eye drops in their eyes). After handing the patient the tissue I said...."please put this up to your eyes on the bridge of your nose...." I didn't realize what i had said/done until the person looked at me with a questioning look and the put the tissue on the bride of their nose. Boy did I feel stupid....and so did they.
  14. Visit  loriangel14 profile page
    5
    I was admitting a pt that was a double amputee at the groin and I asked him how tall he was. Luckily he had a sense of humor and just laughed.
  15. Visit  calinurse11 profile page
    4
    I have a problem being too nosey, yes....I admit it, I am a curious cat. I say dumb things all the time.

    So this is how it usually goes: Me: So what'd you go to jail for? Oh..... Awkward pause..

    I once had this dude, tatted up, big, bulky and totally gang memberish. He was in for GSW X4 or something, so this is how this one played out:

    Me: So, was it a drive by or something?

    Pt: Um, NO! You think I'm in a gang or something??

    Me: Oh, I'm sorry. So who shot you?? (probably none of my business)

    Pt: The cops....I wasnt even doing nothin...

    Me: Riiiiiiight (yet another moment of awkwardness)
    MassED, TeenyTinyBabyRN, hnh573, and 1 other like this.


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