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Dealing with a dirty old man

Nurses   (13,023 Views | 54 Replies)

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AnnieOaklyRN is a BSN, RN, EMT-P and specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.

1 Follower; 2,577 Posts; 34,765 Profile Views

I know how you feel, it is so gross, but I find a lot of men want women that are far younger than them!

I moved out of my condo last year and there was an older man, probably in his 60s, that actually said to me as I was packing the moving truck that if I ever wanted to have dinner out with him and go back to his place (he added that he lived alone for a reason), he would really like that. I vomited in my mouth a little, and then in the bushes, and then in my bathroom and did not eat the rest of the day! So gross, some men just have no social skills and think any women they meet that is single must be desperate enough to sleep with them! This was the same guy who lived in a unit with windows right next to the front door, he would sit in his underwear in his rocker chair almost every night and once he was even watching porno with the blinds wide open :no: I think someone said something because I saw the police there and he never did it again! So discusting!!!

I tried to erase this memory from my head, but as you can see it didn't work. I had other friends/neighbors in the condo building that I would like to visit, but it would be so very awkward now I will never go back there!

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764 Posts; 9,272 Profile Views

Practice your "you're not amusing me" cold dead eyed expression. They usually stop quickly when they realize you don't find it funny or cute. If anything is said about "not taking a joke" remind the person that jokes are supposed to actually be funny.

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RNOTODAY has 18 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in NICU, ER, OR.

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I suggest you lighten up. It was an elderly man, who said a comment older than he probably was.

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6 Posts; 243 Profile Views

You gave excellent advice. When I was groped by an elder man, the nursing home DON told my I had a license to be abused. Needless to say, I sought employment elsewhere. You need to work at a place which has your back. I knew I couldn't count on that particular DON.

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evastone has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in CEN.

109 Posts; 4,962 Profile Views

A male patient was once touching himself in an inappropriate area with this sick look in his eyes whenever I would enter the room. I told him that he was going to wind up with all sorts of nasty infections all over his body if he continued his nasty habit. He refrained from touching himself in my presence for the rest of the night.

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kbrn2002 has 25 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis.

3,072 Posts; 29,730 Profile Views

Everybody is entitled to their own comfort level on the "ew, yuck" meter, but you may want to raise the bar on what bothers you a bit if a comment like that disturbed you so much. Depending on what type of setting you work in you are likely to encounter much worse. Heck, I'm no supermodel by any means and I get propositioned regularly by dirty old men. Some are kind of cute, some are pretty crude and occasionally they get grabby. My personal comfort level with this behavior after years of working with geriatric men, many of whom have dementia and really don't have control over their behavior is pretty high. It just doesn't bother me. Given the choice I'd rather have an old man try to cop a feel than try to punch me in the face.

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2 Articles; 133 Posts; 4,927 Profile Views

Everybody is entitled to their own comfort level on the "ew, yuck" meter, but you may want to raise the bar on what bothers you a bit if a comment like that disturbed you so much. Depending on what type of setting you work in you are likely to encounter much worse. Heck, I'm no supermodel by any means and I get propositioned regularly by dirty old men. Some are kind of cute, some are pretty crude and occasionally they get grabby. My personal comfort level with this behavior after years of working with geriatric men, many of whom have dementia and really don't have control over their behavior is pretty high. It just doesn't bother me. Given the choice I'd rather have an old man try to cop a feel than try to punch me in the face.

Thank you! I think he was my wake up call that I would have to "raise the bar" on what I find yuck in this way to be a nurse, (before I was only thinking of blood, phlegm and code browns) and I wondered how far up it would have to go. You provide a good perspective.

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75 Posts; 2,830 Profile Views

Given the choice I'd rather have an old man try to cop a feel than try to punch me in the face.

It makes me wonder about the state of nursing when if given the choice, we choose getting groped over getting punched in the face...

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marienm, RN, CCRN has 6 years experience and specializes in Burn, ICU.

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Thank you! I think he was my wake up call that I would have to "raise the bar" on what I find yuck in this way to be a nurse, (before I was only thinking of blood, phlegm and code browns) and I wondered how far up it would have to go. You provide a good perspective.

If I can suggest...'raise the bar,' but retain some cautious wariness at the same time. In part for your own physical and mental safety, but also just as a "pH test" of your relationship with the patient. I'm going to try to explain with some examples...

I've had patients (mostly male, as I'm female) make comments that I've brushed off without another thought-- "Oh, you pretty girls take such good care of me," "All you ladies are so nice," etc... I charitably assume that the patients are genuinely being polite, although calling me a "pretty girl" is a bit of a stretch! (Most of my co-workers are younger and prettier!)

I've had patients who were medically unable to judge what was appropriate and what wasn't (dementia, encephalopathy). They've said things like "you could get right in this bed with me and keep me warm!" I've tried to re-direct without confronting them, and definitely stay out of arms reach when possible. If they get really persistent I tell them that their language isn't appropriate. I don't take it personally, but at the same time I don't want to hear it all night long...

I've had patients who are of sound mind but vulgar mouths and poor upbringing. If I know this ahead of time, I come in prepared to be very direct with them "I'm going to check your vitals, and I'll change the dressing on your wound around 10 o'clock after I give you pain medicine. I'll check in with you in about an hour, but your call light is here if you need something before I come back" instead of asking a lot of open-ended questions "do you need anything?" "is there anything I can do for you?" I do not joke around with them. If *they* said, "you could get in this bed and keep me warm" I would say "no." I try to provide them safe care without attempting to establish any kind of "rapport." Does it work? Not always, but sometimes. Fortunately, these have been few and far-between.

The last example is where your "pH test" comes into play. The first 3 examples seem pretty clear-cut and I feel like I can deal with these patients without much consternation. But sometimes things get a little fuzzy. I had a male patient around my age. He had a painful injury and a lot of anxiety about moving. I worked with him for several nights, encouraging him but also letting him take it slow, etc. We never really discussed anything personal. I never saw his family (though I knew he had a wife). Then I was off for a couple nights, then came back and had him again. One of the first things he said was "oh, I'm so glad you're here! Don't get me wrong, I love my wife, but I just feel so good when you're taking care of me! The other nurses do a good job, but you're the best!" He didn't say this in a creepy way, but dude...I am not your wife. Presumably, nothing in our relationship is anything like your relationship with your wife. It might have just been bad phrasing on his part, but it let me know that he was possibly making *way* more of my care than he should. Do I think I was too casual with him? No. But did I make a point to spend less time in his room and encourage more independence (which was appropriate at that point anyway)? Yes.

Also, a patient using the "splitting" technique (you're so much better than all the other staff/no one does this as well as you do) instantly raises my awareness. Could it just be flattery? Maybe, but it's also a classically manipulative move. "You're my favorite! My last nurse was terrible!" until I do something they don't like and then it's "you're the worst!" Doesn't necessarily relate to "creepiness," but it just helps me keep some perspective on what patients say and do.

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2 Articles; 133 Posts; 4,927 Profile Views

If I can suggest...'raise the bar,' but retain some cautious wariness at the same time. In part for your own physical and mental safety, but also just as a "pH test" of your relationship with the patient. I'm going to try to explain with some examples...

I've had patients (mostly male, as I'm female) make comments that I've brushed off without another thought-- "Oh, you pretty girls take such good care of me," "All you ladies are so nice," etc... I charitably assume that the patients are genuinely being polite, although calling me a "pretty girl" is a bit of a stretch! (Most of my co-workers are younger and prettier!)

I've had patients who were medically unable to judge what was appropriate and what wasn't (dementia, encephalopathy). They've said things like "you could get right in this bed with me and keep me warm!" I've tried to re-direct without confronting them, and definitely stay out of arms reach when possible. If they get really persistent I tell them that their language isn't appropriate. I don't take it personally, but at the same time I don't want to hear it all night long...

I've had patients who are of sound mind but vulgar mouths and poor upbringing. If I know this ahead of time, I come in prepared to be very direct with them "I'm going to check your vitals, and I'll change the dressing on your wound around 10 o'clock after I give you pain medicine. I'll check in with you in about an hour, but your call light is here if you need something before I come back" instead of asking a lot of open-ended questions "do you need anything?" "is there anything I can do for you?" I do not joke around with them. If *they* said, "you could get in this bed and keep me warm" I would say "no." I try to provide them safe care without attempting to establish any kind of "rapport." Does it work? Not always, but sometimes. Fortunately, these have been few and far-between.

The last example is where your "pH test" comes into play. The first 3 examples seem pretty clear-cut and I feel like I can deal with these patients without much consternation. But sometimes things get a little fuzzy. I had a male patient around my age. He had a painful injury and a lot of anxiety about moving. I worked with him for several nights, encouraging him but also letting him take it slow, etc. We never really discussed anything personal. I never saw his family (though I knew he had a wife). Then I was off for a couple nights, then came back and had him again. One of the first things he said was "oh, I'm so glad you're here! Don't get me wrong, I love my wife, but I just feel so good when you're taking care of me! The other nurses do a good job, but you're the best!" He didn't say this in a creepy way, but dude...I am not your wife. Presumably, nothing in our relationship is anything like your relationship with your wife. It might have just been bad phrasing on his part, but it let me know that he was possibly making *way* more of my care than he should. Do I think I was too casual with him? No. But did I make a point to spend less time in his room and encourage more independence (which was appropriate at that point anyway)? Yes.

Also, a patient using the "splitting" technique (you're so much better than all the other staff/no one does this as well as you do) instantly raises my awareness. Could it just be flattery? Maybe, but it's also a classically manipulative move. "You're my favorite! My last nurse was terrible!" until I do something they don't like and then it's "you're the worst!" Doesn't necessarily relate to "creepiness," but it just helps me keep some perspective on what patients say and do.

Definitely some things to think about! Thank you! I appreciate the examples that seem very realistic too.

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Nurse SMS has 9 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

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Splitting is Soooooooo common, with male and female patients alike.

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

11 Followers; 66 Articles; 13,949 Posts; 172,661 Profile Views

Practice your "you're not amusing me" cold dead eyed expression. They usually stop quickly when they realize you don't find it funny or cute. If anything is said about "not taking a joke" remind the person that jokes are supposed to actually be funny.
I love it!

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