How much abuse from patients do you take???

by Worthy Worthy Member

I'm a nursing student. I'm in my third year, with one more to go. I get good grades, love my classes, and work 2 jobs as a Personal Support Worker (CNA in the states - I'm in Canada) to pay for it all.

One job (mornings) is at a long term care facility. While far from perfect, the nursing staff treats me well, I love my residents, and the administration responds to any of my concerns so far (been there four months). It's back breaking, but I can do it till I'm done school.

The second job is at an "Retirement" facility. This is a for-profit chain. There is no registered staff after 5PM. Most employees are not even certified PSW's/CNA's. They will hire anyone. The residents are EXTREMELY wealthy, as the cost to reside there starts at about $4000 CDN per month. The supervisors will NOT back us up as workers - the "customer is always right". The employees who "hand out" the medication have received three days training. I know more about the medications they are administrating - and they have on several occasions asked me questions!

In the name of the almighty dollar, they have been taking in residents that have no business being there. Multiple medical issues, palliative, bedridden. I am expected to make beds perfectly, clean toilets on occasion, and am abused and degraded by some residents. Supervisors just tell us that we "there to help them" no matter what the issue. I feel like a maid. We are required, on our own time, to write "cards" to families to tell them how much the residents are "a joy to be with". On top of this, I am paid $3 an hour LESS than my morning job.

On top of this, and this is my deal breaker, I have two residents in my care who are abusive to me. I have one man who is physically limited, but hurls verbal abuse at us while doing his care. He has spat at me, threatened to kill me, called me a fat pig, a Ba#$stard, a B#*tch, told me go F him, etc. etc. We are told this is part of his condition and his dementia.

Another man in his nineties is demanding, derogatory, calls us incompetent and stupid. His family is no better. I have 16 residents on my list, spread out over 3 floors. His call bell went off yesterday. I was with another resident, on the toilet, and could not leave. No one else responded to his call. When I finally got there, his son was sitting on a chair, with his father comfortable in bed. "I was testing you. Why did it take you so long? Didn't you get his call?" I explained I was with another resident and came as fast as I could. He was furious, got in my face, and repeated "there is no care here. He could have fallen". Thing is, I agree, but what can I do? I'm only one person!

My husband is amazed at the level of insults hurled at me by residents and families here. He says it is the only industry which would allow it's workers to be treated this way.

Am I weak because I can't take this much longer? I'm looking for another part-time job to replace this one, because of what is going on.

Would you stay? Am I wrong? Do your supervisors turn the other cheek on behaviour such as this, and write it off as "part of the job"???



522 Posts

We have a frequent flier at one hospital I worked at that was so loud and obnoxious, on her call light every 10 minutes. She was completely ambulatory but would insist that nurses wipe her butt after every BM. One nurse explained that we were there to provide NURSING CARE and she was capable of cleaning herself. Next time this patient pooped she did it on the floor and then smeared it everywhere with her bare feet, including the hallway carpet. She also body slammed me against the wall, this in front of 3 students. When I saw her name during report I flat out declined to take her. Now only registry will take care of her, until they wise up and also decline!



132 Posts

only one advice: quit that job. it is not worse your time and health. you are at risk for being sued not even from your fault, you are at risk for health problems. eople, it looks like, need professional help. most of you, employee, are not able to do it. i am sure there are some other places to look for job, just not stay there to suffer any more.

good luck, :)



693 Posts

Can you pick up extra hours at your other job to make up for the ones you lose when you quit this one? That sort of abuse with no support from the powers that be can kill you!


Specializes in Medical. 1 Article; 3,037 Posts

I don't take abuse from patients at all - I'm fortunate that I'm senior enough I have the authority and support that I feel comfortable taking this position, and it helps that my hospital has a strong zero tolerance policy about it, but that wasn't always the case.

I have been assaulted, but only by confused patients, and I find that they almost always respond to a firm but clear "No!" to inappropriate behaviour.

On one occasion a grad came to me at night - her patient had shaken a portable IV pole (with IV pump attached) over his head at her. I went down to find him in the doorway of his room, IV pole on the floor, about to head into another room. I shut the door, very clear that he wasn't going to be disturbing other patients, then saw him ball one hand into a fist and start to raise it.

I don't know where it came from, but I said "Do it and you'll be ont he floor with your balls in a sling!" This, BTW, is not an expression I'd even heard before!

He went back to bed, meek as a lamb, and didn't give us any trouble for the rest of the night :)

If we get that kind of attitude from relatives we tell them that we'll call security to have them excorted from the hospital if they don't settle down. Of course it helps that this is a public institution, but people seem to have no idea what's appropriate.

I echo the other posters - if you can afford to leave, run (don't walk) and find something else. Good luck!



358 Posts

I am also an Ontarian and I concur with the opinion that you should "run", Worthy. It isn't worth it. Can your morning job offer you any more hours? If not, think about a non-healthcare job for evenings. One of my classmates put herself through school working the evening shift as the desk clerk in a hotel. It was her job to STAY at the desk and once all of her paperwork was done, she had nothing to do but study and do homework for nursing school and get paid for doing it! Even if it's less money than working in that private facility, it's worth it NOT to end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit. Even a PSW can be sued and it sounds like that facility could care less if that happens - they are setting you up to fail (residents spread out over THREE floors! - that's insane!).



345 Posts

You are required to write cards on your off time?

Give me a fat break, these people running that show are, I can't think of a word that applies that would get through the moderators.

Get out of there, the owners obviously do NOT care about the people doing the work.


Antikigirl, ASN, RN

Specializes in Education, Acute, Med/Surg, Tele, etc. Has 13 years experience. 2,595 Posts

Oh no...I would get the heck out of there! I agree with most, that some resident could make up something about you and trust me, they will believe residents over you every time!!! Get out of there, and continue to question this behavior towards you in any job (and in RN school too!!! It can happen there just as easily)!

I work in a facility very similar to yours, till you get to the writing cards stuff! Talk about falcification, if you write a letter with your name on it when a resident is NOT a joy to be around! What a lie to the family!!!!! And, well, most of us are not into lying to family in regards to patients (infact, I can have my license is called falcification of documentation...even if you just sign it!!! That becomes your statement and supose to be a true how does that facility get away with that?!?!?). WOW that can so backfire...say you have a patient whom has had a change of mental condition, you try to get them help, but all the family will do is question you because just last week everyone wrote to them saying their loved one is great, and a joy to be around?!?!?! That isn't going to help the situation or patient is it....Uhhhhhgggggg...sounds very admin run there huh?

I typically judge how much I will take from a resident by the phrase "choose your battles well!" and have to take in consideration how LONG it is going to take for me to document it all...because documentation will be your saving grace if a confused or vengeful patient calls your bluff or calls family/admin! The one thing I will NOT stand is any threat or actual physical abuse...that is when I actually go law on them and will call police and press charges! Just because they are 'demented' doesn't mean I forgo my right as a human being and citizen! Verbal abuse is somewhat a case by case basis, and I really don't put up with it...but it won't have me calling the cops, I just document like crazy using quotes, and copy it for admin (and I have my caregivers do the same...again a bit of the old CYA).

Remember, your rights as a citizen should never be comprimized at all, and I know it isn't different in Canada or the US...abuse is criminal! You would stand up for a patient if it was to happen to need to learn how to also stand up for yourself (and trust comes with time and knowing yourself and your nurses get it all the time, and I don't know when that was made to seem okay!?!?! ).

Good luck to you!!!!!!! YOu have a good head on your shoulders for realizing this was would be suprised with just how many people put up with it..and that hurts those of us that know it is wrong!


meownsmile, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho. 2,532 Posts

I agree, id be gone and quick. I'd would take some time however to write those requested notes to families regarding their "loved ones". You betcha. I'd probly outline how much i made while taking care of and abuse from their relative and ask them to ask themselves who they think is getting those large sums they are paying the facility to keep their "loved one".

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 30 years experience. 31,878 Posts

Good luck in finding another job.

I wish administration would get a backbone sometimes and demand patients treat staff with respect.


Antikigirl, ASN, RN

Specializes in Education, Acute, Med/Surg, Tele, etc. Has 13 years experience. 2,595 Posts

I agree, id be gone and quick. I'd would take some time however to write those requested notes to families regarding their "loved ones". You betcha. I'd probly outline how much i made while taking care of and abuse from their relative and ask them to ask themselves who they think is getting those large sums they are paying the facility to keep their "loved one".

LOL, I am so with meow!!!!!!! And would show them the bill for said "joyful services" to back up my own clinical oppinions!!!!!! OH man, I would be fired faster than my boss could think of the words 'you are so fired!'...LOL!:rotfl:

Marie_LPN, RN, LPN, RN

Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER. 12,126 Posts

How much crap do i take? Very little.

Abuse? NEVER.

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