nasty patients who whine too much

Nurses New Nurse


OK. I have a few more weeks left of orientation. I know that we do not get everything we need in school to succeed. Much of this takes practice. You dont magically come out 100% proficient at the other end.

Well, I had my first "day from hell" this week. THe patient is 20 years old and has mommy coddling him every step of the way. I mean over the top coddling. The kid had tubes coming out everywhere. When it was time to get him up and into a chair, he starts whining at me "you should have thought about that before you let me move". It seems that he thinks I am not a good nurse because I am not 100% efficient with each piece of equipement. Having a boat load of tubes takes practice when trying to move a person about the room. It sounds like he told his dad that I was not an RN because dad, the orthopedic surgeon by the way, asked who was the RN when both my preceptor and I walked into the room.

I passed the NCLEX and I graduated from a pretty darn good BSN program. I do my job the best I can and am still learning. Its just that there are times when patients test my patience. On day 2 of dealing with this kid, one of the other nurses said to me "it must be going better with him if you are smiling". My response to her was "no, this is a day I am working on my grace and patience". There are those times when you just have to grit your teeth and get through the day.:chair:


32 Posts



814 Posts

You will get better at this and will learn communication techniques that will get your patient to be more cooperative. Every nurse has had to learn these and I remember feeling pretty lousy when dealing with some patients, especially if their family members were difficult and did not encourage the patient to be cooperative in working toward their treatment goals.


34 Posts

i like to try this method when i am faced with unruly parents (I precepted in Peds and I work in the neonatal its usually the parents).....take a deep breath before entering the room....and slowly blow it all out....all your thoughts, angers, preconcieved notions....everything...remember we don't know anything about these people except their medical situation...even if you think the family/pt's background is shady...we can't judge......then put a great big smile on your face and go in there with as much energy and happiness as you can muster up (harder sometimes than others, i admit)...i say...kill them will kindness....usually they come around and realize you are just there to help them and that they are being a little too overbearing and demanding at helps them trust you and relax if they know you aren't judging them and going out of the way to provide them with the best care you can.....I know that it is hard.....overprotective, freaking out moms win the award, esp. when their child is thrashing about in the bed, screaming at the top of their lungs and tries to bite and kick you and they are just laughing about it....and sometimes you have to be firm and stick up for yourself...othertimes....keep smiling...they will get the will feel better...and will never help anything to be nasty back!

sorry about your sure that many are soon to follow...find a way to vent about it, otherwise the stress will get to ya! :D


652 Posts

I agree with tinyhands "Kill them with kindness"....not always easy remember my son was about 2 and was hopsitalized with pnue/asthma..this was BEFORE I was a nurse..was I freaked out ? yesssssss...scared and paranoid too...I mean this was MY BABY...I remember being so upset with some of the nurses,until one kindhearted soul actually sat down with me and explained things in a way that I understood what was going on..many of the others seemed so unconcerned/aggrivated with me..but, not being a nurse I was cluelessssss...I try to remember that sweet woman now when I have a trying parent, and how she handled herself/and ME..most times I think the pt/parents are just plain scared/unsure what's going on..and we as nurses are so busy/stressed out with 9 zillion things to do we forget that


316 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

Congratulations on surviving a tough day!

Remember this is what this board is for - to vent and to share! I have no advice to give, sounds like you are doing a good job.


738 Posts

((((HUGS))))) Nadia!

They say the first year is the hardest......I think thats right. Some days seem to go on for an eternity. You handled the patient well and as long as you are doing your best, the rest will eventually work itself out. Keep smiling!!!!!!!!!!



142 Posts

Don't sweat it. Some patients are just that way.

I do a few different things with tough patients:

Kill them with kindness (dont always work).

Baffle them with nursing/medical jargon and pathophysiology IE I put them on the eccelerated learning curve. (for the ones who think I am ONLY a stupid nurse).

For that guy I would have laughed and said "thanks for the tip" and in 10 years when he grew up he would have figured out what it really meant.


586 Posts

I think it must have been the full moon....Last night in OB was anight from hell, but exciting. I oriented to ortho-neuro last week and had the night from hell. My patient had knee surgery and had pain and nausea/vomiting issues and I suspected GI bleed. Well, I felt for this patient, but I had four other patients to attend to. Census was low, so we had no CNA, as well. I spent most of the night in the patient's room and did not touch my charting until change of shift on all of my patient's. When I left, my arms ached, I had a headache, I was thirsty, hungry, and exhausted. I must have given 20 pushes that night to that one patient. And I know that I will have many more of these nights in my career.


1 Article; 2,334 Posts

Originally posted by nadia562002

...THe patient is 20 years old and has mommy coddling him every step of the way. I mean over the top coddling. The kid had tubes coming out everywhere. When it was time to get him up and into a chair, he starts whining at me "you should have thought about that before you let me move". It seems that he thinks I am not a good nurse because I am not 100% efficient with each piece of equipement...

From the description of your patient he sounds like he may have been pretty ill.

Have you ever been a 20 year old and hospitalized with a bunch of tubes?

I am the mother of a 20 year old male. He is far from a wimp and has never been "coddled". If my 20 year old were hospitalized with a "boat load" of tubes and you showed any lack of experience with his care, transfer or equipment I would ask to have you replaced, immediately. That is MY child, I will NOT have his discomfort added to by borderline competence.

As for "killing them with kindness", I have been on the receiving end of that approach, I found it highly offensive and my satisfaction reflected it specificly with the staff members name.

Sorry to sound unsupportive. We all have "bad" shifts and "challenging" patients but to describe any patient as a "nasty patients who whine to much" is totally over the top.

Where is the empathy?

Long Term Care Columnist / Guide

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

108 Articles; 9,984 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

I was thinking pretty much the same thing.....I've had plenty of challenging patients in my time as a nurse, but characterizing them as "nasty" people who "whine too much" is inappropriate, in my estimation. Yes, some patients and families can be a real pain in the patoot, but if one puts the shoe on the other foot and tries to imagine oneself---or worse, one's child---in a similar situation, it's easier to see where they're coming from, and a nurse needs that ability in order to communicate effectively with them.

I think what causes a lot of friction between a nurse and patients/families is their perception that the nurse a) doesn't know what s/he's doing, and b) s/he doesn't really care. It may not be correct, but perception is everything, especially in emotionally charged situations like the one mentioned above, and it's devilishly difficult to alter that perception once established in the patient's/family's mind. Frankly, to me the use of the terms "nasty" and "whiny" conveys a lack of empathy, and suggests that some attitude adjustment on the part of this nurse may be necessary in order for her to care adequately for people who (for whatever reason) may need more of her time and attention than they "should".


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