Dealing with a patient who verbally threatens you - page 4

Im not a nurse (yet), but I work as a phlebotomist, and I only have about 3 weeks TOTAL experience working in a hospital. Im 24/m and I look 16 ( in the face and in the body 6'0'’ 150 lbs) and it... Read More

  1. by   bradleau
    I am a RN and only once, in my doctors office told the lady ATTEMPTING to take my blood to STOP. When she refused and said "I know what I am doing" , I walked out. Got my doctor to send in someone else. This one did do it right. The other one did not have a clue, nor did she listen to me. I told her I was a nurse, and offered to assist her in her attempt at getting my blood. No it is not difficult unless you are trying to get blood from my tendon instead of vein.
  2. by   Trauma_Team_1
    That you for all the replies the advice has been great ( I have updated that main part of the question btw)
  3. by   Warpster
    If you feel unsafe, the best thing to do is leave the area. An injured health care worker is going to help no one. After you assure your own safety, get help in approaching the patient to do your job.

    If a patient is out of control to the point that other patients are threatened, get them out of the area, as well. That's your job, too.

    Assault is a fact in hospital situations. Hospital security people are paid to insure safety for health care workers who have to deal with patients who are violent. Experiece will teach you how to defuse many potentially violent situations. There will always be some you will have to physically leave and get help to deal with.

    You'd be surprised how sweet some of these bruisers get when you return wth two burly cops to stand by while you draw that blood.
  4. by   kadokin
    Quote from truern
    I agree with Ruby on this. Where is the above statement did he threaten anything physical? It was only after your reply to his statement that he verbally abused you.

    Heck, another nurse and I were taking care of an elderly patient the other day that SPIT on her, then turned to me and said, "You're next!!". After telling him "I don't think so.", we simply put a mask on him and continued with our care.
    U R so FUNNY!!! "I don't think so". Also love the tag line @ the bottom of your post. Funny people make my day.
  5. by   sprout
    I was a phleb before I was a nurse and I got spit on, threatened, hit, called names etc. and the patients that were "experts" (you get one try, or you can only poke me in this vein with a butterfly (and they have garden hoses!) You may look young, but many people do. Just be confident in your skill and show that confidence! As a nurse you will be dealing with patients just like this. Be direct, confident and do not allow them to bully you - you did handle it well. I've had security accompany me with psych and combative patients - sometimes they've even held an arm so I wouldn't miss. Their presence or even the nurse's presence made all the difference. Don't let those people ruin your day. As frustrating as it is because we're all in this to help people, some people are just a*****. Let the doctor know why this patients labs aren't done. I've had doctors back me up and tell the patients that it is not acceptable to abuse the staff and they are welcome to go somewhere else.
  6. by   Trauma_Team_1
    Should phleb's carry MP ins?
  7. by   IMustBeCrazy
    Always be aware of that little voice inside you. If you get "that feeling" then GET OUT. NEVER EVER compromise your own safety.
  8. by   i_am_acat
    I agree with Ruby as well. It's inevitable to meet patients like that in the future: anxious, stressed etc... Im a first year student nurse and I havn't done duties before, but head on, my school teaches us how to deal with those kinds of patients.
  9. by   DarlinNurseRed
    I have no desire to be injured while helping someone. I think it is always best to punt if there is no other way. The other workers would rather attempt a stick for you than have to pull this big guy off you in a fight. If it was my patient, I would have said, "you did the best thing" and I would have taken care of it.
  10. by   susieqlvn
    What the a**hole patient wanted to do was intimidate you. I don't blame you for being nervous and withdrawing from the situation, but from an old granny nurse, if you are ever intimidated like that again, you could casually reply that he is free to sue anyone he wants, that you are covered under the hospital umbrella, and that no matter what, your paycheck will be the same whether you draw his blood or not. You could also mention that he scared everyone else and so they called you to do the blood draw because you are the resident expert, anyone else who comes behind you is not so skilled and will likely miss his vein even worse.
  11. by   Kim O'Therapy
    Quote from NurseErica
    I don't really think it matters how this patient was feeling emotionally - he was verbally abusive and trying to intimidate a staff member. If we just let that slide and say "now how does that make you feeeeel" I think we perpetuate the behavior and tell him that it is okay to treat staff in that manner.
    I think the OP handled himself well. When I have patients that respond like that, I say "I'm sorry you feel that way. I will not force this on you, but I will also not return to your room until you are speaking more respectfully. I do need to tell you though that this is a stat CBC and these are the reasons you need it." I think it is important to assert yourself - with the birth of patients as customers (gag) and the wonderful survey scores, everyone is afraid to put the customer in his place - but at the same time he needs to be told the consequenes of his actions. If my patient is going to be an ass, he will be an informed ass.
    :yeahthat: :yeahthat: :yeahthat:
  12. by   htrn
    I agree and disagree with the OP. I certainly understand the need to protect yourself from an abusive or threatening patient, but I also see that this patient was scared and acting out. I had a 19 yo pt having pre-term contractions. MD ordered SQ injection, IV fluids and IVP meds. She told me forget it, she was walking out. I spent about 30 minutes explaining the hard realities of pre-term delivery and told her that if she refused tx she put her baby at serious risks (i.e. "you've seen the commercials with pictures of those little teeny babies with IVs in their heads and tubes sticking out everywhere?"). Her SO convinced her to accept tx after I left the room.

    She then told me she gave the last person that started her IV a black eye and he forgave her. I told her that was actually assault, got another nurse to hold her arm down and stuck it in.

    Funny thing, when she was due she got mouthy enuf with MD to get INDUCED - volunteered for an IV Then ended up, you guessed it, C-section!!
  13. by   Kev702
    Hey T_T_1...

    I haven't read your other replies because your post reminded me of my first days in ER. I've been doing ER for a long time and my experience started out similarly.

    Within my first 6 mos of working ER as a new grad I was wisked out of an exam room by security (guns drawn) after the pt I was alone behind closed doors with was ID'd as the same guy that had pulled an armed robbery for drugs at a rural ER not too far away from the one I worked in.

    Since then I have worked in some of the worst inner city ERs that there are. But, it all comes down to the same thing to me: there aren't many who will work in these places, so just keeping your cool, staying watchfull and being courteous to people can not only bring you some of the most rewarding experiences you can possibly imagine, but some stories that will blow most people away...

    Good nurses are needed in these ERs. People that end up in these ERs appreciate (more than most!) being taken care of by some one that doesn't look down their nose at them and more often than not, just cool, common sense will diffuse many dangerous scenarios.