Patient/Family Rage - page 5

Hi, anyone out there experiencing, witnessing, or hearing about the mental, verbal, and even physical rage directed at nurses and nursing staff by patients and familes. We see more and more of it... Read More

  1. by   SweetieRN
    I find that most family members are stressed out about their loved ones being in the hospital. I was appalled when one night a patient called me and asked if she could get one of those "chairs that turned into a bed" for her grandmother, who was staying overnight with her. It took me 10 minutes to find one and gather up a pillow, blankets, etc. The patient was so exicited, because she said the nurse last night wouldn't bring one and her grandma had to sleep on the floor I find that shameful. It took a few extra moments out of my shift, but it made the patient and her grandma happy and it turned an otherwise negative situation into a positive one. I don' t mind requests like that, but the ones that irritate me are the ones who want me to "fetch" snacks, drinks, and ice for all their visitors! That's where I draw the line. I direct them to the cafeteria or the nearest vending machine!
  2. by   pickledpepperRN
    I think we need to be as kind and understanding as possible. I am very glad to go out of my way for patients and their loved ones.
    I also firmly believe that barring a life or death unanticipated situation the patient has every right to refuse treatment before it is rendered. If a patient asked me not to start an IV I would find another nurse.
    Only once have I been injured by a hypoxic patient who kicked my cheek while I was putting the 100% non rebreather on his face. With an increased O2 level that patient wouldn't hurt a nurse.

    I've also worked in the jail ward of a county facility. I was very glad for the security because those patients bragged about their gang activities. Members of rival gangs who could talk yelled threats at each other all night. Glad for the visitor screening.

    BUT violence against nurses, particularly mental health workers is second only to police. A real safety issue.

    OSHA - http://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3148.pdf
    http://www.osha.gov/

    "Of the estimated 1,000 murders and 1.5 million assaults in the workplace every year, about two-thirds occur in health care settings, said Anderson, who has written magazine articles on workplace violence." - http://www.nurseweek.com/news/featur...4/violence.asp

    Nurse killed in hospital - http://www.thisislondon.com/news/lon...ticles/5363473

    ..."Over 80 percent of all assaults on R.N.s go unreported. It's rampant," says Lanza, whose decade of research on the subject underlies the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's current voluntary safety guidelines. In general, hospital administrators reportedly have little interest in investigating assaults, which they know will mean high costs in insurance, workers' compensation and public relations, Lanza says. All too often, nurses refrain from reporting assaults for fear of being blamed or losing their livelihood." - http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2001/07/27/nurses/

    WORKPLACE VIOLENCE IN HEALTH CARE - http://nursingworld.org/ojin/topic25/tpc25_6.htm

    Minnesota Nurses’ Study - http://oem.bmjjournals.com/cgi/conte...l/61/6/495#R10

    Hospital staff protest at poor security - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/430262.stm

    When will administrators listen? - http://www.nysna.org/news/press/pr2003/112403.htm

    A recent thread here on "allnurses.com" - http://allnurses.com/forums/f50/viol...ml#post1360506
  3. by   fergus51
    Quote from grannynurse FNP student
    I may not have done any active nursing, since 1988 but people, patients, have not changed that much but nurses sure have. To a lot of them, nursing is just a job, a pay check.
    Grannynurse
    That just isn't my experience or the experience of a lot of nurses I work with. I can't imagine anyone doing this job just for the paycheck. Many of my colleagues DO think patients have changed a lot since they started nursing as well, so I would think that a lot of things change in 20-30 years.
    Last edit by fergus51 on Dec 23, '05
  4. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from grannynurse fnp student
    i have not worked in 28 years. so what. i do not believe that human dynamics have changed that much since i last practiced. and i have been a patient, in four different hospitals, in four different states. and i have yet to encounter the customer service mode you have. with one exception, when i first moved here to florida. and it was in a for-profit hospital and i quit after 7 months. and i wonder where several posters are coming from and why they remain in practice, if their jobs are that dangerous and lacking any reward. if one feels that threatened and lacking that much support, perhaps they should find something else to earn a living at.

    grannynurse
    i think we've already established, by virtue of the fact that you haven't worked as a nurse in nearly two decades, that you haven't the perspective to encounter the "customer service mode." your credentials as a patient, frankly, don't count for much in that respect, especially when you're posting on a nursing board to nurses who are actively practicing their profession.

    this board is where we nurses come to share viewpoints, and sometimes to ventilate about patients and their families. this thread was started to discuss the inappropriate sense of entitlement and the deplorable behavior that some patients and their families exhibit, and how it seems to be on the increase in recent years. you admit that you haven't been working as a nurse in recent years. it seems that you have quite a bit of anger toward nurses and the nursing profession, and seem to lack empathy for nurses. it makes me wonder why you choose to come to a nursing board and post your venom about nurses. just trying to stir the pot?
  5. by   DusktilDawn
    Excellent links Spacenurse!!!!
    "In the state of Massachusetts, it's a felony to attack an E.R. doctor," workplace violence expert Marilyn Lanza points out, "but only a misdemeanor to assault a nurse."
    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2001/07/27/nurses/
    Now why would it only be a misdemeanor to assault nursing staff working within the same environment as a doctor? This is the attitude I'm talking about. Even those that pass state legislature in Massachusetts believe it is not a big deal to assault nurses, hence the lesser charge. This is the attitude that is the biggest hurdle: a nurse should be expected to be injured/abused on the job, or that it's part of the job. Until we as nurses and those who employ us see it differently, violence and abuse will continue.
  6. by   Nurse Ratched
    PLEASE everyone. This thread has shifted to focusing on attacking a single poster. I am asking this to cease. Any additional off-topic posts or responses to attacks will be deleted. If you don't feel that someone's opinion is valid, ignore it.
  7. by   NRSKarenRN
    Quote from sawbuck
    Does your institution have a plan for "us?" as well as "them?"
    Being in home care, we are a little different but we do address this issue by referral screening. We WILL NOT ACCEPT any referral for our agency that indicates patient was abusive, drug activity suspected or pt verbally abusive to nurse. We have a safety policy that staff follow. Any patient we find harassing/threatening staff, non compliant, drug activity, guns in the home, verbally abusive to staff, we flag name in our computer system and situation must change (like going to other family/group home etc) in order for us to accept patient back.

    One 27yo quad from our SNF with stage 4 sacral decub who was a handful voicing his rights and exposing himself) was informed by my discharge planning staff that if sexually inappropriate in the home we would pull out and we did. He landed up back in another hospital, a different SNF and when referral made again this week due to flag, we refused patient.

    No nursing personnel should have to put up with irate abusive families.
  8. by   grannynurse FNP student
    I just came home from the hospital, after having suffered a severe asthma attack yesterday morning. My daughter to me into the old St Joes, the same ER where an experienced nurse keep digging in my arm. The volunteer was very nice, getting me a wheelschair, getting the triage nurse to come out and take a look at me, and taking me back for treatment. The two RNs, who helped me, were professional and hit a vein on his first try. The doctor was excellent as well. Because I was in status I had to be admitted. The staff nurses, on the floor, treated me professionally and met my respiratory and diabetic needs. Because I was on IV Solu Medrol, my blood sugars were running 400 and 500 plus. I was taken off it this morning but as a good nurse knows it will impact my blood sugars for two to three days. At 5pm my blood sugar was 405 and the covering physician wanted me to stay another two hours. We had discussed it when he had seen me and he knew I would sign out AMA, which I did. I have gone home with high blood sugars before and my respiratory status has been all right. I am sure that some will question my singing out AMA but it was my decision. I am more concerned about my respiratory status and it is all right now. I will manage my blood sugars with the covering physician's help. My blood sugar is 350 and I have covered it. And called his service to let him know.

    For those of you who have taken me to task over my threat, that is your right. It is also my right to threat anyone who does not stop hurting me when I have requested her to stop twice. And I suspect you will take me to task for signing out AMA. That is my right as well and if anything adverse happens it will fall on my shoulders, where it belongs.

    Grannynurse
  9. by   grannynurse FNP student
    Quote from ruby vee
    i think we've already established, by virtue of the fact that you haven't worked as a nurse in nearly two decades, that you haven't the perspective to encounter the "customer service mode." your credentials as a patient, frankly, don't count for much in that respect, especially when you're posting on a nursing board to nurses who are actively practicing their profession.

    this board is where we nurses come to share viewpoints, and sometimes to ventilate about patients and their families. this thread was started to discuss the inappropriate sense of entitlement and the deplorable behavior that some patients and their families exhibit, and how it seems to be on the increase in recent years. you admit that you haven't been working as a nurse in recent years. it seems that you have quite a bit of anger toward nurses and the nursing profession, and seem to lack empathy for nurses. it makes me wonder why you choose to come to a nursing board and post your venom about nurses. just trying to stir the pot?

    no, i am not trying to stir the pot. but i have never believed that a nurse was always right and a patient was always wrong. i have had to deal with patients and families that were abusive. and the ones i could deal with i handed over to another peer who could. you claim taht the attitudes have changed. i really don't think they have. there have always been abusive, threatening patients and families. it seems the attitudes towards dealing with them has changed. and i do not lack empathy for nurse. i do lack empathy for nurses who feel they must always be in control. and that the patient and family is always wrong.

    grannynurse
  10. by   fergus51
    Quote from grannynurse FNP student
    I just came home from the hospital, after having suffered a severe asthma attack yesterday morning. My daughter to me into the old St Joes, the same ER where an experienced nurse keep digging in my arm. The volunteer was very nice, getting me a wheelschair, getting the triage nurse to come out and take a look at me, and taking me back for treatment. The two RNs, who helped me, were professional and hit a vein on his first try. The doctor was excellent as well. Because I was in status I had to be admitted. The staff nurses, on the floor, treated me professionally and met my respiratory and diabetic needs. Because I was on IV Solu Medrol, my blood sugars were running 400 and 500 plus. I was taken off it this morning but as a good nurse knows it will impact my blood sugars for two to three days. At 5pm my blood sugar was 405 and the covering physician wanted me to stay another two hours. We had discussed it when he had seen me and he knew I would sign out AMA, which I did. I have gone home with high blood sugars before and my respiratory status has been all right. I am sure that some will question my singing out AMA but it was my decision. I am more concerned about my respiratory status and it is all right now. I will manage my blood sugars with the covering physician's help. My blood sugar is 350 and I have covered it. And called his service to let him know.
    Sorry to hear that you were sick over the holidays especially, but I'm glad you had a better experience with the staff. Hope you have a nice Christmas at home
  11. by   SFCardiacRN
    Grannynurse, Happy holidays and I hope you do well. AMA is always risky but you are in a position to make that decision rationally. I glad you were treated better this time. Good luck!
  12. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Sorry, but no one has the 'right' to threaten, be it pt. or nurse.
  13. by   casi
    As and aide I've been threatened, smacked, and occassionally groped. Most of these incidents I did not report, because I work on a dementia unit. Chances are with these residents, I"ll go into their rooms two hours after agitation lead to violence and they are just so happy to see me. I have no problem with this kind of occassional behavior from someone who isn't oriented.

    If you are alert and oriented and you try any of those things, it's UNACCEPTABLE. I really like the idea of making pts. and visitors sign a code of conduct. If they can't behave themselves, they can go someplace else. Sounds cruel, but health care workers deserve to be in a SAFE environment.

    Visitors acting out due to stress and visitors getting violent are two completely different things. I've had a family member raise their voice a little to me, they were mainly just ventting. I knew there was no danger of it escalating.

    Some people have brought up persons right to refuse care being denied. Look at the nursing shortage. Let's say I can't get a resident out of bed in the morning, because they refuse. "No, just let me sleep." I report off to the day shift that they need to get an extra person up, they are already extreamly busy. They report to our manager that we aren't doing our job and we get yelled at. So administration is pushing us to push our residents to do what we want them to. Nurse A can't get an IV started and the pt has no pacience to help the nurse learn, so Nurse A gets Nurse B to start the IV, what are the chances that Nurse B is going to get upset, because she is already behind on her pt. load.

    Team work is stressed, but team work is hard to accomplish when everyone is overworked, and barely able to keep up with their load, and when administration is pushing their employees to get things done, even when a pt. may refuse.

    The violence really needs to get looked at from an administrative standpoint. There need to be no tolerance policies for abuse. They need to have safe staffing levels, so nurse aren't being pushed to get work done without reguards to their patients. Patients may complain that their nurse or aide doesn't seem to care, but their nurse or aide could have the biggest heart in the world, but they don't have time to stop to show it.

close