Ever had a patient or family members fire you?

  1. Just curious to read a few stories from nurses who have been fired from the bedside. Patients and family members use very different criteria than we do to determine who is and who is not a good nurse. In the interest of full disclosure I have had this happen to me a handful of times in 25 years. The first time I was devistated. Not sure if it was the rejection or my competence being put into question. However since being in charge of an ICU for almost two decades I see this all in a new light.

    One time I had the wife of a family member tell me they didn't want their nurse taking care of him. I'm thinking to myself, this nurse is one of my best nurses and if I had a family member in the ICU I would actually request that she take care of him/her.

    One thing I learned from dealing with unhappy families is to let them do most of the talking and find out what I can do to make it better. She insisted that she wanted a different nurse. So I said OK fine. When I told the nurse in question that her family didn't want her taking care of the man anymore and that I was going to have to change the assignment, the nurse was devistated. I assured her that I hold her abilities in the highest of esteem and that if I or a family member of mine was in the hospital that I would consider it a priveledge to have her take care of me/him/her. I also told her that in my experience that when a patient or family member fires you it a lot of times has nothing to do with your skills as a nurse. Some people don't like others for a wide variety of reasons. I told her not to dwell on it and not to take it personally.

    The nurse I replaced her with was someone who was OK, but not what I would consider the sharpest tool in the shed. The patient and wife loved her and thought she was great. Go figure.
    Last edit by KeepItRealRN on Aug 29, '11 : Reason: typo
  2. Visit KeepItRealRN profile page

    About KeepItRealRN

    Joined: Apr '11; Posts: 388; Likes: 1,260
    RN CVICU; from US
    Specialty: 28 year(s) of experience in CVICU


  3. by   ChicagoICUNurse
    I've been fired and it was no skin off my nose. This family also fired two critical care intensivists and almost every other nurse on my unit. So we got ethics on board and the situation snow-balled from there.
  4. by   klone
    I've personally never had that happen, but it happens once in a while where I work. Generally the patients who fire one of the nurses are typically difficult patients. I have a reputation for being able to work well with the difficult patients, so I often get the patients who have fired other nurses. It's usually nothing the nurses have done, but just a weird conflict of personalities. Even knowing that, I know it would be hard for me to not take it personally, and I would likely stew over it the entire shift. I have a tendency to be people-pleasing, and have a need for everyone to like me.
  5. by   ~Mi Vida Loca~RN
    I haven't but I was orienting to another unit very recently because my unit was closed and I wanted to keep my hours. First patient my nurse had, I went with her and the patient and family fired her after 15 mins. and I got stuck right in the middle of it all trying to diffuse the situation when I went back in there to give her meds. Very awkward. The family told me "after this you are probably praying to go back to the kids and never deal with adults again".
  6. by   imintrouble
    Yes I've been fired by a pt/family. I count that one of the luckiest days of my life Every other nurse who cared for the pt envied me my good luck.
  7. by   Isabelle49
    Quote from imintrouble
    Yes I've been fired by a pt/family. I count that one of the luckiest days of my life Every other nurse who cared for the pt envied me my good luck.
    Same here.
  8. by   Penguin67
    Yes, it happened to me and about every nurse on the unit. It was a patient who was dying from cancer, and the parents literally found something wrong with every nurse that was assigned to them. The list of who was requrested not to take care of them got longer each day. I thought maybe I could be the one who made a difference, but I, too, was fired. Fortunately, they finally contacted hospice and went home. It was tough, as we all felt like we could have added something special to their care, but were told to stay away. I didn't take that personally at all, as I was glad to not have to deal with them since we couldn't make them happy at all.
  9. by   JeneraterRN
    We recently had a family member try to fire us all. The daughter of the patient had no idea how manipulative the patient was. She would refuse a bath, then tell the family that we didn't bother. Multiple things such as this occurred. I clues in the Granddaughter, and she said she was the only one who realized she did this. She spoke to her mother (the patient's daughter) and suddenly a light bulb came on, and a whole lit of things made sense to her. She apologized to everyone, and rescinded her complaints. Happy ending for all!
  10. by   Jenni811
    kinda along the same lines:

    Not my patient, but i overheard another patient talking on his cell phone while i was charting. This patient's nurse is older and he is like maybe 25 (male) who was in with rhabdomylosis from excessive working out and dieting (go figure...) i over heard him telling his buddies that he wants a different nurse because this one "wasn't hott enough" and was joking around about getting a bed bath by a hott night nurse because the hott young ones work at night.

    I told the charge nurse to pair him up with the oncoming night nurse who was male and 6'4 and pure muscle! I told the CNA to save his "bed bath" for the oncoming nurse to do (Your wish is our command). The oncoming male nurse thought it was hilarious!!
  11. by   opossum
    Quote from Jenni811
    I told the charge nurse to pair him up with the oncoming night nurse who was male and 6'4 and pure muscle! I told the CNA to save his "bed bath" for the oncoming nurse to do (Your wish is our command). The oncoming male nurse thought it was hilarious!!
    ...That is awesome!
  12. by   caliotter3
    This happens on a regular basis in home health because the family is informed that they have control over who comes into their home and they take advantage of this in order to get workers that they feel comfortable with. There should be no disadvantage to the employee other than going without work, but unfortunately, some client families feel they must tell lies to the agency to justify their decision. At some point, the agency will hold dismissals against the nurse or HHA and will be less willing to place that employee.
  13. by   SnowShoeRN
    I had a horrible patient one night. Grouchy, demanding, manipulative, sexist, the list goes on and on. But I wouldn't let him play me. I lay down the rules and was courteous, but matter-of-fact and firm.

    Anyway, walking in to work the next day I just decided I couldn't deal with having him as a patient again. So I called my floor and asked if I could please not have him back. The charge nurse's response? "He beat you to it!" He had already requested not to have *me* back! I thought it was really funny and wasn't offended at all. Some people just don't get along with other people. As a patient, I fired a nurse once before too. I couldn't breathe as soon as she walked into the room. She reeked of cigarette smoke and when I told her I had asthma and asked for a different nurse she came back doused in perfume and reeking of cigarette smoke. So I asked to speak with the charge RN and got a new nurse.

    Speaking of firing, another time -when I briefly worked inpatient pedi- I was finishing up my shift and popped my head in to see my very favorite patient one last time. He was 7 and super smart and super small and super sweet and super sensitive. His mom asked me who would be his nurse that morning. When I told them, he started to cry. I thought "Oh God, what did she do to him?" and took Mom into the hall asking her what the problem was. Turned out he had that nurse the day before and she was terribly gruff, didn't really respect Mom's wishes, and hardly paid any attention to the patient's emotional needs. They requested to never have her again. Again, cleared up by speaking with the charge nurse.

    I don't really sweat it. A nurse/patient relationship is similar to any other relationship in a lot of ways. Sometimes you just don't get along with certain people.
  14. by   Poi Dog
    I get fired at least 2x by an ornery lady. Sometimes 4x a shift depending on whether or not she has taken all her meds.
    Last edit by Poi Dog on Aug 30, '11