Is it okay to tell a patient to not disrespect you - page 4

I had a patient who was questioning me and even though I attempted to answer her questions, she wasn't happy with my answers. She told me that I am a terrible nurse and to get out of her room. I said... Read More

  1. by   vivere
    Good answer above by Isabel. Sometimes this works, when it doesn't, I will usually just change the assignment. A fresh face will often make the patient feel as though they have some control, and often temperament has been dictated by an illness or situation in which the patient feels out of control.
    Last edit by vivere on Jun 3, '13 : Reason: reference to post #36
  2. by   OCNRN63
    I wouldn't use the expression "Don't disrespect me." I might say, depending on the situation, "Please be respectful to me as I have been to you." "Don't disrespect me" sounds like a threat.
  3. by   carolinapooh
    I think you have to be careful to address the behavior and not the person, and this is true everywhere in every relationship and with every encounter. And I certainly don't believe in taking verbal abuse from anyone, for any reason. Why should RNs put up with a hostile work environment in the name of stupid patient satisfaction scores when the same environment isn't tolerated in the rest of the professional world? Nonsense. I kowtow to absolutely no one. I am not a kiss-hiney kind of person and I don't expect to have mine kissed either. I see absolutely nothing wrong with expecting adults to behave like adults. Apparently I'm wrong in that approach a lot of times.

    And yep, sometimes I'm the punching bag for the patient, especially in my line of work. I am the only thing they can direct their anger at. I know the difference between desperate outbursts and a flat-out jerk, who would be a jerk with or without a CA dx. I give lots and lots of benefit of the doubt. But I don't take abuse and neither should anyone else. It feeds the doormat perception. I'm a professional, just like any other professional, and I deserve to be treated as such.

    HOWEVER - "don't disrespect me" has a much different timbre than "I'm sorry I can't answer your question, I'll go find someone who can" - and then remove yourself from the situation. (I am from a part of the world where this is not viewed as 'ghetto', though I've lived in parts of the world where it is. People can't account for everything and shouldn't be expected to; this has created a huge problem of over-PC'ing everything.) Control the situation and don't allow it to escalate because the only person it's going to hurt is the RN. The patient can tell management whatever he/she wants, and when it comes down to 'he said/she said' experience tells me that even when the RN/CNA/LPN/whomever the staff member is is telling the truth, nine times out of ten staff will lose to some degree.

    It's not worth it to me. You can be a jerk without me letting you railroad me.

    "I guess I'm not able to really help you or give you the answer you're looking for or need, so I can go find someone else who might be able to." And I pass the buck to the manager - that's her job.
  4. by   november17
    Getting "fired" to me sometimes is a blessing. Its only happened a few times in my career but its usually over silly things.

    One time I got fired for sharply reprimanding an a+ox3 patient for purposefully pouring his water out which my aide slipped and fell in. The patient poured it out on the floor because it wasn't cold enough and the aide was too slow in putting ice in it when he asked (he was on the call light 5 times in one minute asking for it over and over, and she went and got it promptly). When she came in to add ice, she slipped and fell on the floor. He said it was our fault (it was a full pitcher, its not like he didnt have water, most of the ice had just melted). I went off on him and told him where he could stick his ice. Not my proudest moment in nursing. He fired me because he didn't like the way I talked to him. I didn't care, he was a jerk, and I told him as much. The aide had to take 4 wks off cuz her shoulder got messed up.
  5. by   SarahJ0811
    I have no problem telling a patient that they are being rude or out of line when it is called for. I'll let a patient vent and listen to them. But if they verbally attack me, I will not stand for it and I will nip it in the bud. I'm naturally a quiet and shy person, so it was hard for me to learn how to stand up myself. But patients, doctors, or other nurses will eat you alive if you don't stand up for yourself. And telling someone to not be disrespectful is not unprofessional when it is called for.
  6. by   bradons
    If a pt won't respect me they get very limited respect back.

    I have told pts that respect goes both ways and if you won't respect me the next hospital is 1.5 hours away and get walking.

    We have no security and have a lot of verbal abuse happening at the moment with a few cases of physical occurring as well.
  7. by   MedChica
    Maybe the wording was off but I can't knock your spirit! LOL
    The mentally ill are one thing. I can understand fear responses but I don't do well with a-holes. I have next to no patience for perfectly a/o person speaking to others 'any old kind of way' simply because they think they can. I probably won't last in hospital nursing (LOL). I don't have a 'customer service' type personality. I'm not built for that.
  8. by   anothergrumpyoldRN
    If my patients or families behave improperly I tell them and outline EXACTLY what I expect.
    I probably get a different response than some of my petite female peers.
    I treat my patients and families with respect REGARDLESS of the way they treat me...I am the professional.

    If the patient of family continues to mistreat me I ask for reassignment.
    Because this is the only game in town and nurses are limited, that often means that management gets involved with the family, and maybe the doc if they want the patient to continue care.

    Seriously, some of these old miners here in AK are cranky and it is no wonder they have no family and few friends, they are tough old guys though.