Ever have a patient complain about you?

  1. I recently had a patient that asked to speak to the manager about me. She also requested a different nurse to take care of her. Don't want to post the details because of privacy issues. I wish I could. Nothing serious at all, which really bothers me. I always try my hardest to do the best for all my patients, I really feel awful about the situation.

    How are patient complaints about staff handled at your facility? I hate worrying about whether or not I'll lose my job over it. My facility always thinks the patient is right.
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    About love lilacs

    Joined: Apr '13; Posts: 8; Likes: 15

    80 Comments

  3. by   RNforLongTime
    Oh yes, I've had patients complain to management about me. One didn't like my tone. One complained to my boss that I kicked her husbands bed with my plastic Quarks shoe when I was just taking the brake off the bed to move it so I could get the recliner chair out of his room as I needed it for a post-op pt that the surgeon wanted out of bed ASAP. If I HAD kicked the bed with my foot, I'd have broken my foot because of the plastic shoe I was wearing and demonstrated it for my boss.

    The patient's wife didn't like my 'tone' because she was told by myself AND the nursing supervisor that she wasn't permitted to stay at her husbands bedside in our ICU. The room size doesn't allow it. The patient didn't really want her to stay. He wasn't really critical at that point and we offered to set her up in the waiting room right outside the unit with blankets and pillows. That wasn't sufficient. So the next day she reported me to management. My coworker had to deal with them from then on. Fine by me! This was a very difficult family and let me just say that my coworker has had FAR MORE patient complaints about her attitude and tone than I'VE ever had!

    Don't take it personally. Some people will complain about any little thing...Jesus Christ himself could be their nurse and they'd STILL find something to complain about. They are sick and not in control of a situation and most likely scared. Just try to smile. Ask them if there's anything they need before leaving their room and be sure their call bell is always in reach.
  4. by   blondy2061h
    If I had a quarter for every patient that's complained about me I'd have...maybe $2? Not often, but it's definitely happened, usually over stupid things. Oh well. Vastly more patients like me, so if I clash with a few, so be it.
  5. by   TheCommuter
    While it does not happen often (perhaps once or twice a year at the most), I have had patients and/or family members complain about me or aspects of my care.

    I simply evaluate the complaint for some validity. If I truly did go wrong somewhere, I perform some honest introspection and attempt to never repeat the same mistake. If the complaint is baloney (read: patient is lying or complains about every staff member who walks into the room), I take it with a grain of salt and move on.
  6. by   smartnurse1982
    I have someone complain about me becuase i couldnt speak Spanish.
    Also had a complaint that i didnt smile( i had 52 pts in the Ltc).
    There was a pt who complained when i wore my hair out in an afro.

    All complaints about me have been frivolous for the most part.
  7. by   turnforthenurse
    I recently had a patient complain about me. I don't really want to get into specifics but it all boils down to the patient being ****** off for waiting for 4 hours...which, I agree, is a long time to wait. But their labs were normal and I kept telling them that a provider will be with them as soon as they could. I couldn't give them an exact time because it's so hard to judge that in the ER; I explained it depends on what is coming in and left it at that. Anyway, the patient dismissed me and requested to have another nurse. I was extremely irritated for awhile because I have NEVER had that happen to me. I told the charge nurse who said to not even worry about it, and she assumed care but the patient left without being seen very shortly afterwards. And again I don't want to get into specifics but the patient had a really nasty attitude towards our charge nurse, too.

    I just take it what it is and move on.
  8. by   CodeteamB
    Quote from turnforthenurseRN
    I recently had a patient complain about me. I don't really want to get into specifics but it all boils down to the patient being ****** off for waiting for 4 hours...which, I agree, is a long time to wait. But their labs were normal and I kept telling them that a provider will be with them as soon as they could. I couldn't give them an exact time because it's so hard to judge that in the ER; I explained it depends on what is coming in and left it at that. Anyway, the patient dismissed me and requested to have another nurse. I was extremely irritated for awhile because I have NEVER had that happen to me. I told the charge nurse who said to not even worry about it, and she assumed care but the patient left without being seen very shortly afterwards. And again I don't want to get into specifics but the patient had a really nasty attitude towards our charge nurse, too.

    I just take it what it is and move on.
    The patient dismissed you? And was catered to by being given another nurse? That is insane. More customer service foolishness.
  9. by   CodeteamB
    I was recently involved in an incident where another staff member was put on leave and investigated. The patient threatened to sue him, me and the hospital. I had to be interviewed by legal. Luckily there were many witnesses to what occurred, my coworker is back to work and the patient has no more money than when he started out.

    When I worked on the floor I was often assigned difficult patients, because I used to be able to fake it really well, but I find the older I get the less able I am to suffer fools gladly, I can still fake it, but it puts me in a bad mood, and I'm more likely just to call out the behavior and brave the storm.
  10. by   wooh
    I love when they request another nurse. Someone else gets the distinct privilege of dealing with their crazy butt instead of me. Life becomes good again.
  11. by   KelRN215
    Quote from wooh
    I love when they request another nurse. Someone else gets the distinct privilege of dealing with their crazy butt instead of me. Life becomes good again.
    One of my co-workers always said "the patients who fire you are the ones you don't want to be taking care of anyway."

    I once had a child's parents say that they didn't want me back because I took too long to bring them water for his G-tube when I was busy dealing with a child who was critically acidotic. I was relieved when the charge nurse told me I didn't have to deal with them for a second day.

    I also once had a demented old lady complain that my husband was insulting her and that I (and other staff) were stealing her mail/not giving her letters that her family sent to her. At the time I was in nursing school, 22, unmarried, working as an aide at my local hospital. If I wasn't already convinced that I wasn't meant to work with adults before this summer, I sure was after.

    The one that takes the cake is the family that complained about me because I told them that their other child (who was not a patient of the hospital) couldn't have his own bedspace and couldn't spend the night per hospital policy.
  12. by   monkeybug
    Oh yes, I've had patients complain about me and ask to have another nurse. Not often, but it's happened. I just counted myself lucky that I no longer had to deal with them. One complained because I got her IV in one stick, but her veins rolled and so I had to dig a bit. Her complaint literally said, "Nurse should have stopped my veins from rolling." My response to my manager was, "Tell me how to do it, and I will." Stupid manager admitted that I couldn't but said I should have smiled more.

    I have to confess that complaints bothered me more when we got a manager who insisted on entertaining all complaints, no matter how wild, unsubstantiated, or ridiculous. I didn't mind when old manager would call me in, roll her eyes, and say, "Consider yourself talked to, go and sin no more, yada yada." (literally her spiel for stupid complaints). New stupid manager would want to have a long discussion on why you didn't use Jedi mind tricks to control rolling veins, how you could be nicer to idiots, how we should value each and every customer (the very term is gag-worthy).

    Did you act appropriately as a nurse? Did you treat your patient with respect? Can you sleep at night with clear conscience after caring for this patient? If you answered yes to these questions, then I really wouldn't sweat it.
  13. by   enchantmentdis
    The husband of one patient reported me to management because she thought I was going to steal from her because I complimented her choice of furnishings. Another reported that I paid more attention to the family dog than the patient. They would not put the dog outside and the animal kept jumping on me. I have a micro-manager who, of course, wrote me up for each complaint. And I am supposed to be grateful for being a nurse.
  14. by   jennilynn
    I had a complaint a few months ago because I had a pt that refused to use the commode or ambulate to the bathroom,claiming she was too weak. She also wouldn't reposition herself in bed, feed herself, etc. but when it came to sneaking the extra Percocet she had stashed in her purse, in the closet, she was fine to be independent. She was to be discharged the following day and I asked her how she would manage at home if she couldn't even turn in the bed. I also informed her that I was going to consult social work and see what the options were for rehab.
    By the time her daughter got involved (momma called her post haste) and my manager got a hold of me the story had changed that I went in the room and yelled at the pt to get her a$$ out of the bed or she would be put in a nursing home.
    Any defending of myself made it sound like I was making excuses. My manager even said when he saw my name on a pt complaint he thought it had to be a mistake, but he wanted to get my side before he called to apologize. Obviously, he knew that was not the scenario and him apologizing for my behavior would have been as good as an admission of guilt to this pt's daughter.
    So I didn't even try to defend it and let it roll off my back. That complaint didn't even come up in my yearly eval.

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