Complaints vs Safety of the Nursing Staff

  1. Hello All,


    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 also seeing more and more of management siding on the side of the patient and NOT on the side of the nursing staff.

    Just curious if it was me....or is this becoming a trend?


  2. Visit Indiana ED RN profile page

    About Indiana ED RN

    Joined: Jan '03; Posts: 14; Likes: 3
    ED RN


  3. by   slinkeecat
    oh I think it is a shame that abusiveness is becoming a epidemic among patients/families and that management does not back the staff..... my hosp is rampant with crap like that lately and it sucks. I told my supervisor that if she thought so little of the staff then she oughta fire the lot of us and get off her fat butt and show us all how it is done!!!!!
  4. by   flashpoint
    It seems to be the norm everywhere. We aren't even allowed to keep visitors out of the exam rooms any more. Let the whole damn family in and have twenty people answering questions and yelling at the nurses because the patient is only getting 50 of demerol when they think they should get 100. We have people screaming and swearing and yelling at the nurses all the time...before the new manager we would simply ask them to step out and when they didn't we called security. Now we are supposed to smile and answer all of the questions and say, "You're right, I am a fat, lazy *****." LOL.
    I think its a trend that will become permanent..... I have seen it get worse on the ER, and on the floors. I have seen more arms swinging not from the patients but from family members towards the nurses and Drs. Which just makes the situation for the patient even worse. The last hospital I worked at one of the PACU RN's was knocked to the floor and was injured when she delivered the patient back to the room after surgery and recovery because the Son didnt see the Dr for report of the surgery. It had nothing to do with the PACU RN , security held the son until the police arrived and the Nurse has been out of work since then due to injury.
  6. by   pointhope
    Isn't it true!!!! And in our ER I find that it is usually the family causing all the problems and at the expense of the patient and his/her care. The family is complaining about how long everything takes, because they have things to do in the morning!!! They have other things to do than wait around. It seems as though the patient is the last thing on their mind.
  7. by   thatldo
    I'm ignorant in this area. This was shocking to read! So if a patient or family member causes you to lose work due to an inflicted injury, is the nurse still receiving pay?
    Are there no legal ramifications for a nurse to protect him/herself?
    Is this listed under your insurance contract?

    Sorry for all the questions, just a student here and have never seen this issue discussed before.
  8. by   flashpoint
    Our nurse managers seem to think that the problems really don't exist. We just did a major remodel job on the hospital and part of the plan was to isolate the ER from the rest of the hospital and to have a more secure and private set up for our patients. Well, people have stopped using the main entrance and going through the ER doors. We've asked to have them marked as ER only (except after hours) and we were told "NO WAY!" We have people running through the ER at all times. Also, we had a bunch of people complain about the door to the waitinf room being closed, so they took it off! Now during a major trauma or a code or just a patient with a big family, we have a bunch of lookey-loos running all around! We've also been told to get rid of our policy that says only ONE person in the room with a patient at a time (we made exceptions for small children and dying patients)...sometimes our rooms are so crowded we can hardly get to the patient. And it usually is the family / friends who are causing a lot fo the problems...everyone of us has been yelled at, threatened, pushed, etc... When we go to management, they always seem to ask, "What could you have done to prevent it?" Skipped the labs and x-ray and just took the patient straight to OR for the appy, perhaps? I know that our biggest complain from patients and their familes is the waiting time...we do our best to get people in and out as soon as possible, but labs and xrays take time. And when there is only one doctor, what do people expect? Sure if we were sitting around playing Scrabble, I could see why people would be upset, but when we are running our butts off, there is no excuse. Our society seems to have such a drive-thru mentality...we expect everything to be as fast as McDonalds. I know it's not very customer friendly, but I wish when people call to complain about the wait that managers would be willing to say to them, "I'm sorry you waited so long, but we were very busy. You had both lab and xray and both of those departments were very busy as well. We see people as soon as we can, but we do have to take the sickest patients first and then we go on first come-first served basis. It often takes a long time to get lab, xray, meds from pharmacy, etc..." It will never, ever happen, but it would be nice. We even had a lady walk into a trauma room while were coding a two year old that drowned and scream about not getting service fast enough...the little girl's family was already devastated adn then this lady starts screaming because too much time was being devoted to her. Lucky for us, she pushed a cop out of the way in order to get close enough to talk to a nurse...she was promptly handcuffed and taken out of the room...don't know what happened after that, but it was nice to see...

    As far as legal ramifications? I suppose there are but I know for a fact that our management discourages us from calling law enforcement when people act out. They always give us the "put yourself in their shoes" lecture or remind us how frustrating it can be to come to the ER. I had a drunk pee all over me once and the PA that saw it called the cops to have the drunk removed from the hospital, but it doesn't happen often. Don't know what would happen if any of us ever went out on our own to press assault charges or anything. Worker's comp should cover you for injuries and such, but certainly not at your regular wage...
  9. by   ERNurse752
    Can I get an AMEN, cotjockey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Seeing this more and more...and it sucks.

    Guess we'll just have to take matters into our own hands...all of our patients know their rights...guess we gotta know ours too.

  10. by   RNFROG3
    I guess after reading cotjockys post I'm extremely grateful for ouor buzz in doors and camera to see who's there(tho admittedly we very rarely use them. We are notorious for just hitting the buzzer and letting any one in but at least there is a door.
    Indiana ER is right we are suffering more abuse both verbally and physically. I'm not sure whether its ER as a whole but I never remember calling for security backup as much on the med_Surg floor. Cotjockey --what about getting the studies and articles written on violence in the ED and giving them to the management with a proposal of how you'd like it done?
  11. by   flashpoint
    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!"
  12. by   ikimiwi
    Our new nurse manager is so concerned with patient satisfaction, that when a pt c/o ANYTHING, he will investigate, and if found guilty, we wiill be required to call them and apologize to them...Also we a re getting some type of folder , that will have complaints in . we are to check it befor working and must fix it before we will be allowed to work and pt wil be handed a form on arrival, every one who interacts with the pts will sign it with their badge number and the pt wil rate us!!!!! allso ther is no talking about hospital anything in if she reads this and traces it to me....I will be replaced because she has a back up plan and doesnt need any of us.......last statment is a quote, repeated to us frequently. If I wasnt serious , this would be lfunny...........evn though i loved my job , my first request to apologize to someone wil be my last day. Anyone out there want my job, because I am out of here!!
  13. by   ERNurse752
    I would walk out the door if they ever told me to apologize to some pt with a stupid complaint...

    A hospital in my area has a system where if a pt complains about you, you have to give them a gift certificate to "make up for it."
    Not out of your pocket, it comes from the hospital, but degrading is that? (to both "the accused," and the pt if they actually have a valid complaint.)

    We had a pt in the ED last night...came in drunk, after hurting her ankle. Threw a fit waiting for the MD (and the wait was pretty short last night)...then she threatened to sign out AMA (she was there alone with her child...), then she refused her xray, but was then mad and yelling because we couldn't do anything for her without the xray, then she got the xray, then she was mad and yelling about something else, etc.

    We didn't do anything wrong, but she could twist anything around she wanted to, and the way things have been going lately, we would have all been called on the carpet.

    I always document the you-know-what out of it when things like that make sure that if anyone ever looks back, they can clearly see that the pt was belligerant and verbally abusive.
    And if they have to leave in cuffs, so be it...

    Does anyone know, is it a felony in all states to assault a healthcare worker, or does it vary by state?

    If it keeps up, we'll all have to start wearing kevlar under our scrubs...
  14. by   NancyRN
    I'm wondering if this is a trend started by the TV program "ER". Disruptive and abusive families are entertaining. Maybe people have gotten the idea that it's OK to treat medical staff the way they see it depicted on television.

    I wish that show would do a segment showing the nurse going home crying and giving up nursing because she can't handle the abuse anymore.
    Last edit by NancyRN on Jan 9, '03