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Disrespect & Profanity

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Specializes in around 25 years psych, 10 years medical. Has 42 years experience.

do-you-agree-profanity-is-acceptable.jpg.1c3dcc0ca1cde2dd5373d5a19bc0d2b0.jpg

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?

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

I agree, but I am old and outdated.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

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 29 years experience.

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.)

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.

Pepper The Cat, BSN, RN

Specializes in Gerontology. Has 35 years experience.

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.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

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.

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?

ruby_jane, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing. Has 12 years experience.

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.

GrumpyRN, NP

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 39 years experience.

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.

GrumpyRN, NP

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 39 years experience.

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.

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. 😂

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!!

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

18 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.

So you’re saying I’m Scots at heart?

On 2/20/2020 at 3:24 AM, Davey Do said:

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?

Kudos Davy Do and this is also a major pet peeve of mine also. Not that I am prudish or don't use profane words sometimes myself, but never in a professional setting or in the company of someone that I don't well. I guess this reticence stems from my (our) age and upbringing, but to me, regardless of someone's class or status, this kind of talk comes just across as trashy, ignorant, and inarticulate-not cool or hip. I'm going to catch heat for this also, but the same goes for a person's appearance and presence.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 29 years experience.

48 minutes ago, GrumpyRN said:

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.

I freely admit to thinking the title more appropriate for medical doctors. If you want to do your PhD dissertation on the migratory patterns of Monarch Butterflies, well, good for you.

You'll still be Mr./Ms./Miss/Mrs. Monarch Butterfly Lover to me...

yaRNthrower, BSN, RN

Specializes in School nurse and geriatrics.. Has 24 years experience.

Davey Do. You are back!!!!

So, good to hear from you!!!!

In all fairness you may have been here the whole time but it has been a long time since I have seen you post.

I have missed the cartoons.

Edited by yaRNthrower
Needed to add an afterthought :)

On 2/20/2020 at 11:16 AM, Wuzzie said:

Just curious, is that a cultural thing?

Years ago my coworkers were scolded by a pt's family member for calling their loved one Papa, and the nurse explained that it's a cultural thing & they mean it in a loving way. The pt's family member replied, "but it's not our culture". They were very offended by it.

5 minutes ago, Golden_RN said:

They were very offended by it.

The level of offense may be a bit much but they were within their right to not appreciate it.