1. Hoping to get some advice from the forum.
    What do you do when a patient makes absurd and slanderous complaints about you and another coworker to your boss? I feel like we have been assumed guilty before even hearing our side! The patient is always assumed to be right when we all know that often more then not they have no idea.
    Just looking for some support. Thanks.
  2. Visit Frustrated RN profile page

    About Frustrated RN

    Joined: Mar '01; Posts: 2


  3. by   bigjay
    To take a business point of view, you're heard "the customer's always right".... sometimes that can be the way in health care.

    That being said, it shouldn't be the case. Hopefully you have a nurse manager who is supportive of their staff. Things to help your situation would be:

    1) If you identify you have a potential for issues or coflict with a particular patient/family let your charge nurse or whoever does your assignments know so you won't be assigned to them.

    2) Document everything.

    3) Check if your co-workers have had similar issues or slanders about them from the same pt and have them meet with your manager as well.

    4) Document everything.

    5) Try to identify where things went wrong with that patient/family. This can help to show insight when presenting your "case" so to speak and to avoid future problems.

    6) Did I mention documenting everything?

    Hopefully you have the support of your colleagues both formally and informally. This helps a lot with difficult patients. But most importantly document everything to cover your butt!

  4. by   tangrene
    Hon, you don't worry about it. Remember your psych nursing, chances are you got a manipulative patient, and you will have company soon in those complaints. Remember, they like to stir things up and make complaints about day shift to evening shift, and evening shift to nights. Their way of getting more attention than the other patients. IF it is a patient getting narcotics, well you already know what the patient is shooting for. Good luck!!
  5. by   cmggriff
    Unfortunately I think any of us who have been at the bedside for a few years have suffered this mistreatment from patients or their families. Documentation is essential.
    Witnesses are good, too. Support from your fellows is life sustaining. I have had managers who used pt. c/o as a weapon against
    nurses. That can be demoralizing. Keep the faith. Even if it seems others assume you guilty, there are those of us who support you.
  6. by   MollyJ
    I agree with all that has been written on this thread so far. If you have ever heard or read anything about defusing conflict, you will know that one concept is to agree with the part of the conflict that you can agree on. So you may hear nurse managers agree that the situation is frustrating; that they (the client or family) are angry. If you hear this part of the defusing occurring, it is easy to wonder if you will be supported. (Been there, done that.) Hopefully, the nurse manager will have the spine to agree with some part of that patient's c/o--after all you and the whole unit do have to get along with this patient in the post-conflict time--but will _not_ cut your legs off by undertaking some action that "vindicates" the patient.

    In the end, we must believe in ourselves, support each other (as another poster said) and learn from the conflict so that we can HOPEFULLY defuse similar situations earlier. However, I firmly believe that some clients just want to fight and they can sweep us up in their paths. Good luck.
  7. by   Frustrated RN
    Thanks for all the posts! There is plenty of documentation thankfully I am big on that and even more co-workers who are backing us up. Just sad that we have been made to feel like we have to prove the patient wrong, and is upsetting as I do care about my patients greatly and when things like this happen it really bothers and upsets me.
    Thanks again.
  8. by   NurseyK
    What kind of pabulum-puking managerial bullsh#t is this? Document...yeah, right. Ya know what? The first poster is right; nursing is WRONG no matter what.

    I have spent time responding intelligently to absurd on pt complaints. The vast majority of my (legal) incident reports are thrown away...ahem....I mean..."on someone's desk somewhere." (Good thing I have my own copies, huh?) For the last complaint of "I waited 8 hrs in the ER and no one did anything for me!" I wrote a 10 page discourse complete with numerous pages of *well* documented, corresponding times from various independant sources/departments/computer log of when I did X, Y, and Z (the pt. spent a grand total of less than 3-4 hrs in ER). This complaint has been packed away into my personnel file (complete with my response) as well as the hospital's response telling the pt how they were *so* right and I was *so* wrong and being "repremanded" for it. HUH?!?!

    Has anyone heard of Pavlov's dogs? How about enabling? This crap will stop when we all make a stand (from management down). These people are in OUR house, OUR playground, and need to play by OUR rules. I certainly don't go into, say, my accountant's office and tell him he's a "piece of sh#t" and "worthless" and every other word/phrase we are all subject to on a daily basis. And what would he do if I did? Kick me out and tell me to get a new accountant, that's what! It's like the waiting room patient who throws himself on the floor screaming he's having "chest pains" just because he wants to be seen sooner (and not wait his turn). What happens next after this high-drama, my friends? You guessed it...everyone in the waiting room starts throwing themselves on the floor screaming some kind of bullsh#t complaint just so they can be seen sooner than anyone else. (A good experienced Triage Nurse cuts thru all this kind of crap. When people realize that the soap-opera mentality does not work, they go back to sitting (if they are truely sick) or go home (if they just came to the ER for the show of the nite.) As a side note, always remember - be wary of those patients and families who are "too" quiet...they are truely the sickest and need to be paid close attention to.

    We are all professionals and should be treated as such. To accept childish, rude, and demeaning behavior from our patients should NOT be tolerated under ANY circumstances. Patients should be told this flat out when they "act up". Remember those bullies in grade/high school? When did they back off? When you picked up your skirt and grabbed your stood up for yourself.

    Try it. The complaints will stop. They have for me.
  9. by   goldilocksrn
    Just remember this: We can't always please everyone, and some people are never pleased. When I have upset patients, I try to resolve issues with as much dignity and respect as I can give them. I, in turn, demand the same respect. If they insult me in any way I graciously inform them that such behavior is unacceptable, and if they don't like the facility or my nursing care, they can write a letter to the CEO or check themselves out AMA (since their big complaint is that they take better care of themselves at home)I find that most people calm down after that, and those that don't do not see me unless absolutely necessary, and I tell them so. We are a hot commodity, us hospital nurses, and should be treated as such. I refused to be treated disrespectfully and if my managers don't like it, then it is time for them to roll up their sleeves for some of that patient care they say they know so much about.
  10. by   duckie
    The average resident where I work is 90+, but our administrator threw us all a curve when they allowed a young woman of 37 to move into the facility. We have had constant problems with her. Her family knew what they were doing when they moved her there because from the beginning they have warned us that if she doesn't like you or you make her mad, she would not think twice about telling lies. This has played havoc with our staff. Caring for her posed problems within itself because our staff is not used to dealing with certain issues, such a her monthly visitor, etc. I have had to try and always be one step ahead of her and I document things in the Nurse's Notes that normally I would not. I do not want to take a chance that any imformation would "get lost" and not be a part of her record. Recently she started nagging one of my CNA's to take her out to a movie or to the Mall on the CNA'a day off. Because of the care requirements and the known fact that this young woman is a liar, I documented everything on a "Report of Concern", but I also put it in her chart. She was telling the CNA that our administrator said she could do this and it was approved by her family. All lies. Needless to say our staff walks on eggshells with this girl. My husband frequently works my unit as a QMA and I won't let him or my male CNA's in her room. I cannot take the chance she would lie about them. On the surface she is a very sweet girl, and I ache for her, living in a facility with elderly people that she cannot relate to but I fear many problems with this young lady will surface and someone will loose their job, because at it has been stated, "the customer is always right." My only defense is to chart everything and pray I never forget anything of importance. Documentation cannot prevent what will happen but it can establish a pattern of behavior and this could save a job or license in the future. Document everything and also keep a personal daily log. I have a book I write unusual happenings in, such as, comments from residents, actions or conversations with staff regarding disipline, etc. As nurse's we are all very busy and will not always remember what happened six months ago clearly, so all I have to do is open my little book and refresh my memory. Hope this somehow helps.