Irate pts?

  1. Is there a diplomatic way to correct irate pts that are yelling at us for being late? I had a pt sign in for the appt and we were running a little behind. Front desk asked if I could go ahead and grab that one because pt's mom had been irate about the wait time. I called pt back, and mom started yelling about how it's unacceptable that we're "always this late." Pt mom went on to scream that they'd been waiting over an hour already and if we can't be on time then she'd bill the doctor for the excessive wait. She then started yelling about how the nurse from the last visit didn't know what they were doing because pt got a bruise from the intradermal, and it's not supposed to bruise. When I finally got the pt into a room, I looked. Pt sign in time was five minutes late for the appt to begin with, and pt had been waiting 28 minutes when I called them back. Is there a way to politely point that out to the mom? Also, mom wound up asking the same nurse that "messed up" the previous test to do the new test we were doing that day!
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    About T-Bird78

    Joined: Oct '12; Posts: 811; Likes: 1,208


  3. by   LindseyRN86
    I always say "I'm sorry you feel that way" and move on. It puts it on their shoulders then.
  4. by   T-Bird78
    I did apologize for the delay and inconvenience--three times. She kept on and on about waiting over an hour (it was really 28 minutes) and at the last apology she said that she wanted to see what I'd say. Every time I'd apologize she would say how unprofessional it is and that she never would have come in if she'd known that. :/
  5. by   LindseyRN86
    When that happens apologize once and move on if she continues change the subject to what she's there for. Hold your ground. You are not a doormat you already apologized once. That's all.
  6. by   TriciaJ
    "According to your check-in time, you've been waiting 28 minutes. I'm sure it seems like hours." "We give everyone our full attention and sometimes visits run longer than expected." "If you're not happy with the care you receive here, I'd be happy to schedule a meeting to discuss your concerns with our clinic manager." "Please don't raise your voice. Many patients are anxious already."

    Do not cater to bullies. This one is just challenging herself to see how many apologies she can get from you. These people just raise the ante unless you're firm from the start. Make sure you get to your supervisor before she does (the first story you hear is always the one you believe) and ask her for help dealing with disruptive and inappropriate behavours. Good luck.
  7. by   T-Bird78
    The clinic manager did speak to her and got the same earful that I did.

    I just can't win this week. I had a pt's parent, who works in healthcare but not as a nurse or anything similar (CNA, MA, PCT, etc) and definitely not in my speciality, tell me to my face that my technique sucked. I gave her a look and continued to address my adult pt and ignore the mom. Can I go to her place of employment and insult her skills in front of other pts and staff? And, I was doing the test the proper way, they way I was trained, so she can just deal with it.
  8. by   LTCNS
    I had an irate patient who called me screaming at me about something I had nothing to do with. I calmly explained to her that I would look into her concerns and get back to her. She then told me she would be contacting administration and putting in a complaint about the clinic. I calmly told her to go right ahead, and I would tell administration she has a history of missing appts. and verbally abusing staff, which has all been documented. I received a call from her the next day apologizing for her behavior.
  9. by   T-Bird78
    Update--irate pt about waiting "over an hour" called our main office and filed a formal complaint against us today. They'd had a question about the website, so the front desk transferred them to the area that handles it. Pt called back and demanded the complaint phone number over our continued "lousy service."
  10. by   TriciaJ
    These are the kind of people who can't buy ice cream at the Dairy Queen without getting into a fight. It must suck to be them.
  11. by   klone
    Some people are just mean.
    At our clinic, if a patient has a history of being verbally abusive, we can put them on a "behavioral contract." If they break it, they can be fired from the clinic.
  12. by   TriciaJ
    When we stop putting up with crap we'll stop having crap to put up with. Press-Ganey be damned.
  13. by   T-Bird78
    Manager mentioned that if pt's not satisfied with our service then we have several other locations that may be convenient; pt's mom said she'd rather stay with our office.
  14. by   abbnurse
    Quote from klone
    Some people are just mean.
    At our clinic, if a patient has a history of being verbally abusive, we can put them on a "behavioral contract." If they break it, they can be fired from the clinic.
    Could you tell me a little more about the behavioral contract? Is it an actual written contract which is agreed to and signed by both parties? That sounds very interesting!