Scared of patients now? Need help.

  1. 0
    Hello. I'm a BSN nursing student currently in my senior year of nursing school. On the weekends and during the summer, I work at the local hospital as a tech. Well, one day during the summer I was sitting in observation with a confused patient. The patient was extremely unsteady on his feet but still wanted to walk around, but wouldn't accept my help. He also couldn't speak English. While trying to get into a chair, he swayed one way dangerously and I tried to help him. He thanked me by punching me several times hard in the stomach and across the face. Somehow, my yells for help made no one come, and I managed to get him in the chair before everyone did come minutes afterward.

    Now, I'm afraid of patients entirely. Even the alert, oriented and completely kind ones. It even terrifies me more that I'm going to become a nurse and handle more patients like him, because my hospital loves to ignore unstable patients and requests from nurses for more help. It scares me that now I'm scared of a profession I used to absolutely love. It angers me more though that I nor my fellow students are being made aware of the high prevalence of violence against nurses, and the stigma that follows with those who try to report the incidents.

    Basically, I want advice. No, need it is more likely. Is there any hope anymore of me becoming a nurse? How have your hospital tried to fight this problem?

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  2. 4 Comments...

  3. 0
    Quote from stickit34
    Hello. I'm a BSN nursing student currently in my senior year of nursing school. On the weekends and during the summer, I work at the local hospital as a tech. Well, one day during the summer I was sitting in observation with a confused patient. The patient was extremely unsteady on his feet but still wanted to walk around, but wouldn't accept my help. He also couldn't speak English. While trying to get into a chair, he swayed one way dangerously and I tried to help him. He thanked me by punching me several times hard in the stomach and across the face. Somehow, my yells for help made no one come, and I managed to get him in the chair before everyone did come minutes afterward.

    Now, I'm afraid of patients entirely. Even the alert, oriented and completely kind ones. It even terrifies me more that I'm going to become a nurse and handle more patients like him, because my hospital loves to ignore unstable patients and requests from nurses for more help. It scares me that now I'm scared of a profession I used to absolutely love. It angers me more though that I nor my fellow students are being made aware of the high prevalence of violence against nurses, and the stigma that follows with those who try to report the incidents.

    Basically, I want advice. No, need it is more likely. Is there any hope anymore of me becoming a nurse? How have your hospital tried to fight this problem?
    usually there are a lot of things in place for hospitals to do their best to prevent incidents. We have to all take de-escalation classes every year-and they go over some personal protection things like never letting the pt between you and the door out of the room, always stay out of their leg and arm reach, etc. I have seen so much over my years that I basically never trust any of them and always am on guard, although the pts would never know it. You get kicked, spit on, pinched, etc etc enough and you learn. They also have 'code grey's' where everyone in the hosp with security it seems come to help.

    I would let your hosp know, tell them you want some debriefing or counseling and some education on what to do next time. If people can't hear you calling for help, hit the code button. Had to do that once when I was a new grad and couldn't get out of the room. Now most of my pt's are so sick they can't hardly move, so I guess I feel a little safer in this environment-but I still do ER on the side so always have my safety hat on, lol.

    good luck. don't let it deter you from nursing if this is what you want to do. Know your policy and procedures. If your hosp won't back you, then go to a different hosp.
  4. 0
    Hello!

    Just tell yourself that NOT all patients will be like that. There will be many that will greatly appreciate your help. If the hospital is not doing anything to help you, do go to a different hospital, like what the comment above stated. There IS hope for you, if you like kids, maybe you can get into pediatrics or work in the labor suites. Good luck!
  5. 1
    I'm so sorry you went through this. This might sound like over kill, but you might want to talk to a therapist about your attack. I say that because I had a problem with trauma / being hurt at work and it really affected me adversely-- emptionally. Ive learned to keep myself physically safe at work, but mental hurt required a different kind of self preservation.



    In the certain settings I feel much safer in many ways, than I did in others.



    In my preferred work environment, where I feel safe, we have security teams, code grey alarms, poseys, soft restraints, respect from other staff who help as needed, I stay out of arms reach, am kind but assertive. These things help. I also try to get a full history or look for evidence of prior violence, so I can be prepared.



    I have colleagues who stay between door and patient, rather than placing the patient between themself and the door.
    Last edit by vintagemother on Oct 16, '12
    LexRaven likes this.
  6. 0
    Quote from vintagemother
    I'm so sorry you went through this. This might sound like over kill, but you might want to talk to a therapist about your attack. I say that because I had a problem with trauma / being hurt at work and it really affected me adversely-- emptionally. Ive learned to keep myself physically safe at work, but mental hurt required a different kind of self preservation.



    In the certain settings I feel much safer in many ways, than I did in others.



    In my preferred work environment, where I feel safe, we have security teams, code grey alarms, poseys, soft restraints, respect from other staff who help as needed, I stay out of arms reach, am kind but assertive. These things help. I also try to get a full history or look for evidence of prior violence, so I can be prepared.



    I have colleagues who stay between door and patient, rather than placing the patient between themself and the door.
    I agree completey. You may have PTSD. Therapy will help work your mental trama out.

    God Bless and good luck.

    P.S. Talk to HR.


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