Nurse & patient family conflict

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    I've been a nurse for 18yrs now & have only had a few family's that I couldn't seem to get along with. Most of the time I just think it's just a personality conflict & go on with my day. I never let it affect the care of my patient. On a couple occations it has hurt my feeling's. For example: an elderly man on the vent, septic, high temp's. Keeping a fan on him & the window cracked(to let in the cold winter air), plus tylenol was working well to keep him below 101. His wife had MAJOR issue's with this, as she didn't want him to get cold. I tried too explain to her why the cold air was good in his case vs a cooling blanket(that can be extreamly uncomfortable). The conflict continued throughout the day. The next day she reported me to my supervisor, saying I hadn't taken care of him at all. My supervisor told me I hadn't done anything wrong, but that I shouldn't be his nurse anymore. After thinking the day over & over, I realized I had had a head ache that entire day & maybe I had been short with her. In cases such as this is it ever a good ideal to appoligize, or would that make it look like I had actually done something wrong?? Can anyone help me with this?
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    I would go ahead and apologize and let the lady know that you think your headache was behind it. But the problem was probably that her behavior was causing your headache to begin with. This situation sounds like you would not be setting yourself up for adverse actions by apologizing. Usually, by stepping back and giving in a little, many adverse situations can be made better.

    In home health, when the conflict gets to the point where it affects my ability to care for my client, then I will discuss it with my agency and ask to be removed from the case. It is in the client's best interests. I will not work in an environment where my every move is questioned or I am made to feel like a child or denigrated to the point of making my own self ill. My client comes first. The family comes second. Family members have a tendency to go over the line and we have to remember that we are guests in their home. That does not mean that we are obligated to take abuse (including sexual harassment and assault and battery) or jeopardize our license in other ways.
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    Quote from maddcat
    I've been a nurse for 18yrs now & have only had a few family's that I couldn't seem to get along with. Most of the time I just think it's just a personality conflict & go on with my day. I never let it affect the care of my patient. On a couple occations it has hurt my feeling's. For example: an elderly man on the vent, septic, high temp's. Keeping a fan on him & the window cracked(to let in the cold winter air), plus tylenol was working well to keep him below 101. His wife had MAJOR issue's with this, as she didn't want him to get cold. I tried too explain to her why the cold air was good in his case vs a cooling blanket(that can be extreamly uncomfortable). The conflict continued throughout the day. The next day she reported me to my supervisor, saying I hadn't taken care of him at all. My supervisor told me I hadn't done anything wrong, but that I shouldn't be his nurse anymore. After thinking the day over & over, I realized I had had a head ache that entire day & maybe I had been short with her. In cases such as this is it ever a good ideal to appoligize, or would that make it look like I had actually done something wrong?? Can anyone help me with this?
    I don't think that any amount of apologizing is going to make it right with this woman. It just wasn't about you. It was about this woman giving up the control of the care of her husband over to another person. You may have had a headache, you may have been "short" with her, but even on the best of days, working your tail off for a super sick patient in the unit makes you focus on what needs to be done. You were providing education and rationale for what you were doing for this man, and his wife was just not hearing it. I don't think that an apology is necessary. In fact, it would make you seem as if you had done something wrong. There's no reason why you can't be cordial when you see her in the hallway and go about giving good care to the next patient.

    You can't please all of the people all of the time, but you are a darn good ICU nurse. Don't let one family and their difficulty coping undermine your belief in your abilities. Your supervisor saw no problem with the care and the education you gave to this family and for *your* comfort, you are no longer caring for him. It's OK for that to happen sometimes.

    Hang in there!!

    Blee
    maddcat, Nurse_Wretched, bethin, and 2 others like this.
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    i wouldn't apologize to the wife. it's water under the bridge. it may just restir the pot if you say you had a headache ,, you did a good job and as long as you know it , your boss knows it, the lady's opinion dosen't matter.
    SilentfadesRPA, kitty888, maddcat, and 3 others like this.


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