Complaints vs Safety of the Nursing Staff - page 5

Hello All, Wondering..... Over the many years of patient care I have..... I am seeing more and more verbal and physical abuse of the nursing staff by patients and families in the ED....I am... Read More

  1. by   CrunchRN
    Until nurses stand together and say that they will not take it the administrators will continue this behavior. I would so love to see nurses take a stand and support each other with these types of issues.
  2. by   ratchetrn
    We were just talking about this tonight! Had an intoxicated female in needed tetnus and suturing, due to a fight at a bar and a broken beer bottle. She was yelling and screaming and carrying on...I told my peers I was thinking of getting a job at a tattoo parlor and did they think I'd get cussed as much there. The general consensus was that the ED was one of the only places that people are allowed to act like that. Anywhere else they would be arrested , talked to back the same way or asked to leave and not be allowed to return ever...I too am amazed and appalled that people behave in such a manor to healthcare providers and expect us to take it AND take care of them!! Unbelievable!!
  3. by   baydogrn
    Quote from cotjockey
    RNFROG3 - I honestly don't know if presenting articles to our managers would make a difference. RIght now, the management team is on a HUGE "the customer is always right" kick. I don't totally disagree with that statement, but it gets pretty frustrating when we have to put up with verbal and physical abuse just becasue the customer is always right. A couple years ago, when people got out of hand, we simply asked them to go to the waiting room or asked them to either calm down or we are supposed to try to fix the stiuation, even when there isn't really anything that can be done. "Give the customer what they want, when ever they want, no matter what they want!"
    Hey All,
    State and Federal law usually has provisions to sanction employers who don't intervene to address violence in the workplace and sexual harassment law sanctions employers who fail to stop vendors or customers from sexually harassing staff. Facilities have an obligation, whether they know it or not, to provide a safe working environment for their staff, and if they attempt to dissuade an employee from pressing charges against a violent family member or patient, it seems they are aiding and abetting a misdemeanor or felony and infringing on our civil rights, both state and federally, and could be liable for labor law violations, antidiscrimination violations, etc. etc. I think an especially strong case can be made for small women, older women, and older male nurses who might not be as strong as they once were ( I am a 50 yr old female w/ one disc surgery and MS) feeling "intimidated" and "at risk for injury" where family members make verbal threats and come toward the nurse in a hostile fashion. That constitutes assault or harassment in many states and the hospital needs to recognize its obligations to its employees. If they have nurses injured, out on comp, their rates go up like crazy. Surely it's cheaper to hire a rent a cop for $12/hr than to pay the comp rate. Sounds like you need a union to keep you all safe. Good luck, and check your local, state, and federal labor and discrimination laws, especially where you may have one racial group threatening or ethnically intimidating a group of nurses. :angryfire
  4. by   SweetieRN
    This new philosphy on family-centered care has turned me into a glorified waitress for families (and their friends) who demand snacks, drinks, pillows, blankets, etc. I have made it a practice to ask if anyone needs anything after introducing myself at the beginning of the shift in hopes to ward off numerous requests while I'm trying to get assessments done. I had one family member ask me for a cup of ice and some mayo for her sandwhich while I was attempting to put a foley in the patient and get her IV started :angryfire Ya sure I'll just drop what I'm doing right now.

    I directed her to the kitchen
  5. by   LandDRN
    We had a nurse accidentally trip over a iv line at the bedside ( it didn't pull it out but I'm sure it was uncomfortable) because the room was dark and she didn't see it while doing vitals. We previously had been instructed to keep it as dark as we possibly could and keep night time interuptions at a minimum since the pt had complained the day before of being woke up frequently at night for vitals ( in for an MI mind you) and wasn't able to "rest and recouperate". Another complaint was lodged and that evening he received a large fruit basket, visit from the DON, and $50 gift certificate to Red Lobster!!
  6. by   SweetieRN
    Quote from traumamomtx
    By the way they were mad because it took her, in their words "10 minutes" to bring medicine for vomiting. Actually it took 5 minutes because at the time she was giving phenergan to another vomiting patient. We know it took 5 minutes because the call system banked the time that she called to report nausea.
    :chuckle why don't they just install those "timers" that you see in some fast food restaurant drive-thrus?
  7. by   SweetieRN
    Quote from LandDRN
    Another complaint was lodged and that evening he received a large fruit basket, visit from the DON, and $50 gift certificate to Red Lobster!!
    OMG! I want to be a patient at your hospital!
  8. by   andhow5
    I agree I see the rise of abuse as well. I left an ED that was becoming very "inner city". They would not tolerate the abuse, and frequently the staff was required to take down the patient, family member, friend, etc - BEFORE the on duty officer could make it down the hallway to help!

    I have been at another ED this past year, and this hospital administration is SO customer service oriented that it makes me sick. I'm all for giving good care to the patient, and then caring for the "guests at bedside" once the patient is cared for. But I will NOT kiss up to them.

    If they get in my way or are a risk to the patient's care I will absolutely draw the line. And if I hear, "Well there are X number of visitors in that room!" I just smile and say, "Sorry - that's not my room. This is, and this patient is my concern."

    One day there was a group of 20 kids coming in and loitering in the hallway to see someone, and they were asked repeatedly to visit 2 at a time. The last person to ask them to alternate visits was me, and this 15-year-old male said, "F you, you hateful b*tch! We have every right to be here! And we won't leave!"

    I just smiled and said, "And I have every right to remove all of you and refuse ANY visitors. So now you have the pleasure of informing your parents why they can not come back to see their loved one at this time..."

    I get a lot of bad-girl notes in my mailbox. I've been told repeatedly that this hospital just doesn't "do" things like that.

    I'm never rude, but I will not take it. I've made a lot of waves, and feel like I'm the leader of a revolution, of sorts.

    I've also had my fill of the belligerent drunks. I try all the "therapeutic" nursing care, but draw the line when they "try" to intimidate me or become abusive.

    There have been several times where a person will draw their fist up at me, screaming at me (the usual threats - "You'll do what I say, b*tch, I'm gonna kill you, I'm gonna kick your @$$, I'm leaving, etc...). I very quickly take them down and they end up in 4-point restraints (as security finally comes lumbering in to "help").

    Of course it goes without saying that I chart like a fiend, and follow ALL policies regarding restraints - but still I get the notes...

    One night there actually WAS someone from administration in our ED - we were busier than ever and very chronically (and dangerously) short-staffed. An incident happened where I had drawn the line and someone ended up in restraints.

    This "bigwig" had the nerve to say I should be a little more compassionate and try to put myself in the patient's place. I thought for a moment and said, "Well, you know what? I did. I put myself in this person's place - I knew I had to seek treatment and decided to come to THIS ED. I saw how busy it was and how few staff members where here. But the difference is - I would not threaten to kill my nurse."

    The admin just rolled their eyes and said I should remove the restraints. I offered to do so as long as she could stay in the room with this patient and guarantee the patient's safety from self harm or harming others..

    As you can imagine there was a lot of back-pedaling going on. With the reprimands of, "You really should let them just vent and get it out of their system." Without even addressing the fact this particular patient was attempting to assault me with the intent to "kill" me, or the fact they stated they were "suicidal".


    I told her (again - calmly and with a BIG ole' smile) that I would do my job as I saw fit, within all policies and procedures guidelines - with the primary intent of my safety and that of the patient in mind. Also happened to mention that if she didn't like it, she could fire me right then and there, and I would give her report and she could take my assignment (she was also a "nurse").

    I also stated that I knew she (and the hospital) - needed me a lot worse than I needed them, and if ANYTHING happened to me in regards to personal safety while I was employed there and was not "backed up" that they would find the largest media blitz in the tri-state history, and nice fat lawsuit.

    She stood there with her mouth hanging open for a minute with her eyes all goggled out, then she turn tail and literally ran the other way. And since then I haven't heard a peep. In fact, I get much more support in my demands for safety. If I call for security, they come RUNNING when I call.

    All of the other nurses (except my wonderful male night-shift charge nurse) are shocked and whine about not being able to get help like that when they need it. In fact - they even yell for me when they have trouble... My charge nurse just grins and he is SO there for me. He feels much the same way - and he will not let ANY of HIS nurses get hurt.

    Ah... Sorry to hijack - but as you can see, this is a topic that gets me on my soapbox...
  9. by   preNURSsdt
    This all sounds crazy. I am going to school right now to go into a field where I am going to be harrassed then blamed for it? I love the ER but right now in my class I am the only one with ED in as my goal partially because everyone else thinks it is crazy in there. How can Admin act like this? I have a feeling it is only going to get worse and I'm not even in Nursing school yet. Am I getting a BSN to be abused....?
  10. by   nursetim
    So, if a family member wants fentanyl we just have to give it to them?What if they refuse to be seen? Are they still a customer and ipso facto always right? I think not. I worked in the ER and rarely had any trouble, but I'm 6'1" 250lbs and look like I BBQ human heads for lunch(too heavy a meal for dinner). I'm really just a big ***** cat, but they didn't know that. The customer is not always right, and never will be. Nurses stand up for yourselves now. BTW they are patients not clients or customers and family members are not even that.
  11. by   SweetieRN
    Quote from nursetim
    but I'm 6'1" 250lbs and look like I BBQ human heads for lunch (too heavy a meal for dinner).
    :roll AWESOME!!!
  12. by   JBudd
    Quote from preNURSsdt
    Am I getting a BSN to be abused....?
    Why no, you can be abused as a tech, a secretary, an aide, an LPN, an ADN RN, a BSN, a faculty member, the housekeeper, the registration clerk, the social worker, the evening supervisor, the dietary delivery kid, the paramedic, the security guard, the police officer, ....
  13. by   grammyr
    We had an incident at a local teaching hospital in my area. Pregnant ER nurse attacked and beaten unconscious by psych patient. Local paper had a field day with it and only talked about the "poor, sick" kid because he is the son of a local politician. Went on and on about the once bright future of the attacker. Not much said about the nurse and her unborn baby.