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Disrespect & Profanity

Nurses   (22,606 Views | 356 Replies)

Davey Do has 41 years experience and specializes in Psych, CD, HH, Admin, LTC, OR, ER, Med Surge.

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I've got a couple of burrs under my saddle blanket and am requesting feedback from the allnurses community regarding professional behaviors:

I believe:

Someone should be referred to with their title of Ms, Mrs, Mr, Dr, etc. and their surname until permission is granted otherwise. 

Profanity in professional situations is rarely acceptable and if so used, should be in consensual agreement, e.g. "May I speak frankly?"

It gets my goat how some believe they have the freedom to address another or use language that is not becoming to a professional relationship.

My wife, medical nurse Belinda, told me that at Anomaly Memorial Hospital the staff are encouraged to refer to the patients by their first names because it comes across as being more friendly.

In reading some articles on the internet, profanity is condoned and supported in some professional situations because it "releases tension".

"Bullhockey!" say I.

In my experiences, respect is received, even with Salt-of-the-Earth Psychotics, by giving them respect. And that respect, reinforced, has prevented escalating patients from experiencing total meltdowns: The statement, "I expect you to give me the same respect I give you" has caused many an angry patient to take pause.

I think of the multitude of smiles I've received, asking a patient, "May I call you...?" Or: "What would you like to be called?"

Profanity is rarely necessary in a professional situation. The use of profanity can be a sign of loss of control, or apathy. I hear profanity from an acquaintance as their way of saying, "I can say whatever I want with no regard to you".

I truly enjoy using euphemisms to say the vilest thing in the sweetest, most respectful way. Forms of the word "imprudent" has become one of my favs as of late: "You can't fix imprudence" sounds so much more respectful than the mainstream saying. Or: "How imprudent of administration to do that!"

Euphemisms help to take the focus of how something is said and puts the focus on what is said.

What do you think?

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Emergent has 25 years experience.

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I agree, but I am old and outdated. I do think cussing is ok to use in the emergency room setting.

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Jedrnurse has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in school nurse.

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I don't even ask "what do you prefer to be called?". It's always Mr./Ms./Mrs./Dr. etc. until they invite me otherwise. My experience is that people will do just that if they want to, while still appreciating the basic show of respect.

(I do admit that I may default to Mr./Ms./Miss instead of Dr. if the person has a doctorate in Medieval Poetry or some such, but that's my personal linguistic prejudice.)

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Agree in general. Even in settings known for being a little more wild things are generally better if you just don't go there.

On 2/20/2020 at 6:37 AM, Emergent said:

I do think cussing is ok to use in the emergency room setting.

I will respectfully disagree, Emergent. It isn't the cussing, per se, but the fact that it's often part of a generally rodeo attitude/atmosphere. Patients can and do readily observe this and they know what to make of it = Free-for-all. That's not good, especially given the number of complaints we have about patient behaviors.

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Pepper The Cat has 33 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Gerontology.

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My beef is the nurses who call pts "Mamma or Papa". Drives me crazy.

I told one nurse that if I was addressed that way that would be the last time that nurse would be near me. So disrespectful.

I always start with Mr/Mrs and then later in the day ask if I may use their first name.

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Rose_Queen has 15 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in OR, education.

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One of the first questions patients are asked in admitting (not emergent situations obviously) is their preferred name. This then is displayed both in the patient info header in the EMR and printed on ID bands below their full legal name. Makes things so much nicer when I can look up a patient before I pick them up in preop and know that they prefer to go by their middle name. Also much more helpful when calling their name when trying to have them respond to show they are ready to have the ET tube removed before we head to recovery. 

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On 2/20/2020 at 8:27 AM, Pepper The Cat said:

My beef is the nurses who call pts "Mamma or Papa".

Just curious, is that a cultural thing?

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing.

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I will ask the patient's preferred form of address. In my current work setting we are all Mr. X and Ms. Y and I am Nurse Ruby Jane.

I do my best not to call someone "hon" or "sweetie" but with a large population of patients under age 10 that sometimes happens. With kids I think it's different.  I would never call a grownup "hon."

Swearing: lots of times it's a challenge thrown at me by my population to see if I'm shockable. I am rarely shockable.

I try my best not to be sweary in front of patients. But when my sugar coat gets perilously thin...I may slip. 

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GrumpyRN has 38 years experience as a NP and specializes in Emergency Department.

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4 hours ago, Jedrnurse said:

(I do admit that I may default to Mr./Ms./Miss instead of Dr. if the person has a doctorate in Medieval Poetry or some such, but that's my personal linguistic prejudice.)

In the UK because of the way qualifications work someone with a "doctorate in Medieval Poetry or some such" is actually a real doctor. The medical guys are doctors because that is their job title. I worked with a senior medical doctor who had 3 children, 2 were medical doctors and 1 had a doctorate in something else (can't remember what and it it is irrelevant to the story). That child took great delight in pointing out at family gatherings that THEY were the only real doctor in the family.

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GrumpyRN has 38 years experience as a NP and specializes in Emergency Department.

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On 2/20/2020 at 11:30 AM, ruby_jane said:

Swearing: lots of times it's a challenge thrown at me by my population to see if I'm shockable. I am rarely shockable.

I try my best not to be sweary in front of patients. But when my sugar coat gets perilously thin...I may slip. 

I'm from Scotland, here the F-word (F-bomb?) is used really just to let you know that the next word in the sentence is a Noun or a Verb.

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8 minutes ago, GrumpyRN said:

I'm from Scotland, here the F-word (F-bomb?) is used really just to let you know that the next word in the sentence is a Noun or a Verb.

Then it must be in my DNA. 😂

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9 minutes ago, GrumpyRN said:

I'm from Scotland, here the F-word (F-bomb?) is used really just to let you know that the next word in the sentence is a Noun or a Verb.

That's it! I'm moving to Scotland!!

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