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How do you deal with angry/upset with patients?

Nurses   (1,505 Views 16 Comments)
by Karlie2114 Karlie2114 (New Member) New Member

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Buckeye.nurse has 13 years experience.

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There has already been some great advice given. I'd just like to add that, at least in my line of nursing--hematology, often times patients are grumpy, gruff, upset, or anxious because of underlying fear. They're scared out of their minds and have lost all sense of control. Sometimes what can help more than anything is to sit down and listen to them for 5-10 minutes. If there are misconceptions, I try to clarify them...or get someone who can. If they don't understand something, I educate them. But often, they just want someone to talk to. Stress management services can help a TON. Options available to our patients are aromatherapy, music therapy, art therapy, chaplain services, and mental health CNS.

Above all, I try to meet my patients where they are at. At the end of the day I am walking out of the hospital while they are still there dealing with a very serious blood cancer. It's not my place to judge their mood.

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2 Likes; 4,218 Visitors; 325 Posts

Are you talking about normal everyday anger, angry that they are in the hospital angry about condition etc, or are you talking about mental health?

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Here.I.Stand has 13 years experience and works as a RN.

45 Likes; 1 Follower; 41,518 Visitors; 4,761 Posts

I'm known as the difficult pt/family whisperer. Nearly always, what works is knowing that they are being heard.

But of course, my response is tailored to the situation. I have had pts who had made some VILE bigoted comments about my fellow staff, and I have zero patience for that kind of thing. I called their behaviors as unacceptable and defended my fellow staff. Or if they are being belligerent I call security (for family) or our behavioral emergency code (for pts.)

But the vast majority of the time, what has worked for me is just listen to them, and assure them that their concerns are my concerns. Of course they can't necessarily have their way -- but I listen and THEN educate in those cases, but at the same time assure them that I GET IT. These are incredibly difficult situations, and for example I hate that I have to do these frequent neuro assessments. They are necessary and here's why, but I do understand wanting to sleep more than 1-2 hours at a time, and this is what I'm doing to maximize the rest they are getting.

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AJJKRN has 6+ years experience and works as a Registered Nurse.

20,693 Visitors; 1,224 Posts

I'm known as the difficult pt/family whisperer. Nearly always, what works is knowing that they are being heard.

But of course, my response is tailored to the situation. I have had pts who had made some VILE bigoted comments about my fellow staff, and I have zero patience for that kind of thing. I called their behaviors as unacceptable and defended my fellow staff. Or if they are being belligerent I call security (for family) or our behavioral emergency code (for pts.)

But the vast majority of the time, what has worked for me is just listen to them, and assure them that their concerns are my concerns. Of course they can't necessarily have their way -- but I listen and THEN educate in those cases, but at the same time assure them that I GET IT. These are incredibly difficult situations, and for example I hate that I have to do these frequent neuro assessments. They are necessary and here's why, but I do understand wanting to sleep more than 1-2 hours at a time, and this is what I'm doing to maximize the rest they are getting.

This! The OP may want to clarify if needing tips on how to handle reasonable customer service recovery or what healthcare workers have been experiencing more and more, which is perfectly oriented patients and family members from all walks of life verbally and physically assaulting health care providers. My biggest tips, NEVER wear anything around your neck that doesn't easily break away and always try and position yourself where you can easily exit the room or area.

And for the record, just being an ******* that feels entitled and has no reasonable boundaries, does not equate to that person having a mental heath issue. It gives people with true mental health struggles a bad wrap!

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