Quote from ItsThatJenGirl
As I was changing the patients brief, he/she spit in my face.
Quote from ItsThatJenGirl
the part that bothered me the most was the response from the nurse. When I told her what happened, she said "yeah, he/she does that". She didn't warn me beforehand, she didn't ask if I needed time to clean up, she didn't really seem to give a crap.
First of all, I'm very sorry this happened to you!
To me, not sharing
all information to your entire team regarding personal safety, is inexcusable
. It bothers me that the nurse didn't even apologize and say that she should have told you, but she forgot due to stress, or whatever the case may have been. Based on your description of the event, she didn't seem to think it was a big deal that she failed to pass along the information.
If something like this incident has happened to you dozens of times, and it might if you work with human beings long enough, you can become a bit hardened and jaded. That's something I know from experience. Despite that she ought to have been able to express some sympathy for how you felt and acknowledge that what happened to you wasn't okay.
Spitting someone in their face is of course an act of aggression. It's certainly unpleasant even in the cases when the person doesn't happen to have a communicable disease you have to worry about. But more importantly, the propensity to spit is a warning sign that there might be
more and worse aggression/violent behavior in the future.
When I have a patient whom I know has shown signs of aggression, I always keep a watchful eye on movement from the parts they can hurt me with. Forehead and teeth are excellent weapons, hands, elbows, knees and feet. A raised voice or slapping/hitting/punching themselves can also signal escalation/possible violent behavior towards someone else.
Also be aware of whatever sharp objects or blunt objects of sufficient weight they have within arm's length/reach. If you use a stethoscope at work, personally I never have it hanging around my neck when in close vicinity to a person who might be prone to violent behavior.
If she'd told you, you might have asked for help or she could have made the offer herself to help you, when doing personal care. Or you might have been able to position yourself in relation to your patient in a way that would have made it more difficult to aim at your face.
About the psychological impact of being spat in the face. It's pretty disgusting either way, but another thing I know from experience is that these type of attacks are easier to process if you are mentally prepared
for the aggressive behavior. That's just one more reason to always
share the relevant information regarding the patient, to those directly involved in their care.
Again, I'm sorry this happened to you. I think your coworker failed you.
Be safe and take care!