Considering nursing school



I am currently a PCT and am considering becoming a nurse. If I did this I would go through Ameritech. As a PCT the one thing I cannot stand is patient families, I don't know how to handle and calm them down when they don't think their family member is being taken care of or are just too worried. As a PCT I normally have to say "I'll send the nurse in" as they are asking questions mainly for the nurse. If I were to be the nurse I wouldn't know what to do in order to calm them down and prove that we are doing everything to care for them. Nurses what do you do in theses situations when dealing with family members? Or anything situation that you struggle most with and how you handle it. Thank you! I really need some input.


1 Post


First off, I think you should def do nursing! If you ever want a rewarding career that really makes a difference in peoples lives, then nursing is for you! :)

Second, I have worked in the ER and have dealt with many many anxious, rude, and angry families. The BEST way to handle is actually pretty simple. LISTEN is the first step. Most of the time the families are afraid for their family member and just feel like the whole hospital staff is just too busy to just hear their worries. First listen, and then if you don't know how to help.. then ask how can I help you? What can I do for you? Are there any specific questions you need answered? If you cannot answer them then kindly let them know that you will send someone in who will be able answer. once you are a nurse you might be able to answer the questions and simple reassure them that at this hospital they are getting the BEST care and that you will do anything in your power to help.

Seeing your family member suffer is a very scary time. Most of the time they really just need someone there for them.

Does this help?? let me know if you need anything else!! Or more questions or need me to elborate :)

allnurses Guide

Hygiene Queen

2,232 Posts

The one thing you can do is learn The Poker Face.

Keep your facial expression neutral, sorta squint like you're really really concentrating on what they are saying, slightly nod your head in acknowledgement and let them vent away.

You have to let them vent and get their ya-ya's out before they will even be calm enough to hear anything you are saying.

Don't be defensive, stand up straight, keep your voice low and calm.

Stay firm but appear polite.

I treat nasty visitors, patients and my ex-husband like this... it usually works.

People don't typically escalate if you don't feed into them and are off-put by a calm show of interest to correct the problem.

I had one visitor that was so over-the-top that I finally had to direct him to the charge nurse. He was equally ridiculous to her, as well. Finally, after his histrionic butt left (with our unit manager's phone number in hand), the charge nurse and I busted out in the most therapeutic bout of laughter I had had in a while.

verene, MSN

1,790 Posts

Specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing.

Not a nurse yet, but I'll advise from role of CNA and volunteer with exposure to difficult patient and family situations: Listen, stay calm, ask what they need from you. A surprisingly large number of times, all the family really needs is someone to stop, take the time to listen, and make them feel like they aren't being ignored.

If they have specific requests or questions that are out of your scope assist them in finding the correct individual to ask. (E.g. "this is a great question to discuss with the provider - she'll be here in about 20 minutes" or "I don't know, but I will check with your nurse and find out.") If something is going to take a while (e.g. you told them you'd get supplies but something else came up) just poke your head in for a moment and let them know you haven't forgotten about their request and will address it just as soon as you can, in the hustle and bustle the family can be afraid of getting lost or being forgotten. At other times just taking a couple of minutes to educate the family on what is going on and what they can expect can go a long way.

Occasionally you just have to let the person have their tantrum or cry it out or whatever they need to do to let the stress of the situation out. Assuming it is safe / non-disruptive for them to do so, let them do their thing. Remain calm, non-judgmental, and hold a compassionate space in the room with them - once they are calm enough to seek out support and accept it, you are there and able to step into that helping role.