Quote from walkmygardenpath
...But no matter how I try, it seems these angry people that a personal interst in harrassing me, or singling me out. As far as I know, I am not doing anything to antagonise these people more. ...
I really do relate to what you say, I've been there. While it was happening I honestly, sincerely, truthfully had no idea what the problem was but I knew it had to be me because these same people didn't seem to have a problem with anyone else.
I think you have to learn to read people. Over time I have really worked on that skill to a large degree and it has paid off. In the beginning people were complaining about me, today they think I am the greatest thing since sliced bread. It is all because I learned to read people and I can walk in the room and 99.9% of the time I know how far I can push. I know who I can kid around with and I know who I have to be extra ultra professional with. The way I start off when I have someone who is nasty, pissy, and angry is I imagine myself in their bed dealing with their medical issues. Then I try to consider how I would feel and what little tiny things would make me feel better. One 50'ish person was a retired doc and dying of CA. It was the kind of hit and run CA, by the time it was dx'ed it had run it's course and even if found early it wouldn't have helped anyway. The guy was going to die.
In *his* case he needed to be angry and tell someone. His family was begging for miracles, nobody knew what to say so everyone avoided the obvious. This man would die, period. And it would happen soon. He was angry, not at me but at the fact that nobody would talk to him about it. When I asked him how he was he snapped, "Dying!" Instead of talking about the weather and other silly stuff I sat on the end of the bed and said, "I know, and I am so very sorry." Turns out all this guy needed was acknowledgement, that's all! His family wouldn't discuss it, nobody would talk to the man about dying. The man couldn't even reposition his own legs because he was simply weak. I put myself in his position and realized I would want my legs moved because after time it is just darned uncomfortable.
While he realized I didn't have the time to go in there and move his legs for him q 15 minutes I made it a point that each time I passed his room I'd scrunch up his legs. It literally took 30 seconds longer to walk down that hallway. He's a doc, he knows how little time nurses have and that one little thing I did made him fall in love with me. I heard him and I sincerely tried to do little things to make him feel better. He went from a ranting and raving madman to calling his buddy the CEO of the hospital down to tell him in person how much I tried to make things better for him and how good I was to him. He went from 6' 8" 300lbs of angry to an absolute sweetheart to care for.
Another person is nasty and obnoxious and when he started in on me I let him finish and then I started laughing while I had my hand on his arm. While making sure he knew via body language and tone of voice I just said, "Feel better now?" That would not work on most people but you have to read people and see what works for them.
People in the hospital are asked to undress, they are asked to do things that hurt, they are asked to let us hurt them, they don't like the sounds, the smells, the routines, they like nothing about being where they are. To top it off, they don't likely feel well. Put yourself in each individual patient's place and see what you think. It isn't nice but sometimes it can be a real eye opener. If you go out of your way to do some little thing for them, sneak them a bowl of ice cream and make it a secret between the two of you, anything that makes them feel special and unique and it makes a big difference. Make them feel special, like you enjoy taking care of them for some small reason and they will melt in your hands. If you made a bunch of cookies for your coworkers, make a little issue of sneaking one into your nasty patient.
If you think it is okay to do, come clean with your patient. Tell them you must be doing something wrong but you don't know what it is. Be sincere, ask the one who doesn't want you caring for them just what the problem is. People will usually calm down and tell you. Perhaps it is you, so let them tell you, listen carefully, weigh out what they say to what happened and if they might be right, tell them so. I think most people can handle anything as long as you come clean with them and let them know you sincerely want to do better. If you make a mistake, admit it. Then apologize for it. If you forgot their pain pill.. don't make excuses, tell them you messed up and you are so very sorry and you won't do it again. People can handle honesty.
But #1 is learn to read your patients.