Published Nov 26, 1999
I have been a nurse for almost 20 years, and I do not understand how it is that we have not yet been able to teach nurses how to communicate with patients. How to leave your own personal attitudes and prejudices at home, where they belong. I see things everyday that I can't believe. How is it that people think they can judge patients and speak to them in the ways that they do? I was fortunate to have a psych major as a nursing school director many years ago, and was taught therepeutic communication, but I wonder if this ability to "care" about people, no matter where they come from or who they are is something that can be taught. I have heard nurses discussing patients in nursing stations, blasting their families, their physical appearance, their reason for being there, and it goes on. I have watched nurses yell at patients and use foul language. I just don't get it. I was taught not to judge, but care. I was taught that all people deserve to be treated with dignity.
WHY DOES THIS GO ON?
I have seen those kinds of behaviors in other nurses as well. I don't agree with them either. I don't contribute to the conversation and go on treating my patients the way I would want to be treated. Have you considered talking to them about it or using your pysch education for a helpful inservice? I was taught therapeutic communcation as well, and find it is helpful. But, I have also learned to accept that fact some people I will never reach and must go on doing the best I can. You probably need to look at the people that are judging the patients and look at what is going on in their lives. Are their lives a mess that it is easier to pass judgement on others than fix their problems??? I would look at people's backgrounds and their current problems, and it will probably explain why they are doing it. Then a solution can be found. Good luck!!!
Wow!! I'm glad I work with a great group of nurses. We would never back talk anyone. I'm sorry for your experience. But I'm happy to say it's not happening everywhere ) (or at least the unit I'm working)
I think that for the most part the staff that I work with, do respect and not judge their patients. That is not say that they may not agree or have an opinion about a situation or lifestyle. When they do "ventilate" or discuss their feelings it is usually in secure area where the information remains confidential.
Guest ruby mcbride
I was most disappointed to hear about your nursing staff's poor attitude. I am happy to say, that we do not have that experience in our hospital. Our Risk Management team put together a "scripting inservice" for the nursing staff to reinforce how to be more customer service focused. As a result of this inservice, our patient satisfaction has improved significantly. Staff seem to be happier toward each other as well. There is no place for poor attitude in patient care. By the way, why doesn't your management team nip this problem? Also, do the "good" nurses confront the "bad" nurses when this happens? Good luck.
I too sometimes see this, although fortunately, for the most part, it is in the report room. I do think that objective analysis is necessary, perhaps you have a drug seeker, or a manipulative psyche patient to report off on. But I think the major problem lies with a lack of professionalism in some of our coworkers. It isn't just limited to nursing though. How many times have you heard a doc just rag on nursing staff? Completely unprofessional. For me, I just try to treat everyone, patients and staff alike, the way I would want to be treated....with courtesy and respect.
I have also witnessed such behavior from nurses on different units... either RN's speaking to their patients in a very unprofessional manner or passing judgement on their looks, smell, social status, clothing, family, ethnic backgrounds, ect... these attitudes upset me greatly. I have quietly discussed these attitudes with some of the nurses that I have heard saying these things.
Most of them were quite surprised when I reflected their behavior on to them... some said they didn't realise at the time that what they were saying was so unprofessional and made them reflect on their attitudes. Some plainly responded that they were "having a bad day"... "they were only human"... and so "they were allowed to "vent" their emotions in such a fashion"... interesting, is it not. Nurses are human and it is possible to have a "bad day" when providing care but having such attitudes is not a contructive or professional way to manage such feelings. Maybe we should get together and figure out a better way to help nurses manage their work related emotions.
well, well, well - interesting that there are other nurses out there experiencing the same things i am. as a male psych. nurse who is not into the "strongarm" - do it now or else tactics, or the verbally assaultative and abusive tactics of some of my co-workers, and as a student nurse bridging to a full nursing qualification with a bachelor of health science - i have been appalled at some of the attitudes of some of the rn's i've been working with and for. i have been trying to find out if there is much research or literature but am not having much luck (any ideas?)
i was lucky enough to have counselling training working for a volunteer agency, and between this is my psychiatric nurse training i learned a lot about how to treat and speak to people the way i would like to be treated or spoken to(or my Mum, Dad, sister and so on).
but isn't it so hard to confront people when they are being unkind or aggressive to patients? "they" say we're not here to make friends, but it's hard when you know you are going to make an enemy or two :-)
i don't have any answers or magic solutions, but i guess the only way to behave is to go on modelling what i consider to be suitable and acceptable behaviour and manners towards the people and patients i work for!!!
i feel we should not forget that (in my opinion) there is rather a decline in standards generally, things like th f-word being in much more common use than it used to be, so there is quite a change there already!
anyway, don't wanna rabbit, but keep on modelling the ways we all should behave towards our clients, and hopefully some of the better stuff will rub off ;-)
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