Jump to content

Patient - RN Sexual Harrassment

Posted

The other week we had a 50 something classic closet case MI on the floor. "I just had some chest pain" turned into numerous coronary blockages that he could never imagine the origin of. (Hmm maybe that you have smoked forever, have been wheelchair bound for years and love donuts more than your wife?)

Well on day one I didn't have the patient, but I had to go in and silence his heparin drip.

"Hey there." He said.

nod

"I just do that to make the sexy nurses come in the room"

raised eyebrow "K, have a good night"

I walked out thankful this obvious perv wasn't mine and vowed not to put foot in the room again. Creeper radar was screaming.

Anyway, I come back a night later and lo and behold he is on my team.

Dammit.

I look around and try to decide if it is worth it to drop him, or just put on my best "don't cross me" face and grin and bear it. I decide, considering I was charge...well I am always charge these days, that I am going to just accept the devil I sort of know. For the most part he is a walkie-talkie...well walkie-wheelie and isn't a whole lot of grief nursing wise.

So I walk in for shift change rounds and the first thing he does is sweep me from head to toe. Now mind you, I am a curvy girl, but I am not VS model or Playboy Bunny. I am a 30 something, German heritage, run of the mill woman. Well anyway, I instantly put on my most stoic face and commence the night. For the most part it goes ok. He asked me at one point if I had a sense of humor, to which I replied "depends on the day".

Ok so my next night, and last night of the week rolls around and I head in expecting the same sort of "hmm maybe she isn't one to cross" mentality from this guy. Yeah...right.

I guess my "did you behave today" was just the right comment to set this guy in "night nurse fever".

His comments ranged from mild "I like to see you sneaking around my room at night" to his morning deal sealer "I just want you to know you gave me a great fantasy for the week".

It took me a minute that morning to clear the white flash of rage that crossed my eyes as I walked out of the room. I refused to go back in there, and when he came out fifteen minutes later to pester me about unhooking him from his heparin drip so he could leave the floor, I must have let the inner feminist shine a bit because after that he became quite crabby I am told. I very flatly informed him that he wasn't even supposed to leave the floor, let alone be unhooked from the one thing that was keeping him from having a massive MI, and turned and walked away.

I talked to my manager about the situation, but of course nothing was done, and I didn't have the energy or care to confront this man on something he was so obviously ignorant of, respect.

So he sits now in the ICU s/p OHS and I am tempted to print an article on sexual harassment of RN's by patients and hand it to...his wife. Since apparently he is a golden boy when she is there.

I think what frustrates me the most is he so obviously didn't see me as a person. I am just glad that 98% of my other patients do value the care I bring to the bedside.

When I think back on the situation now I should have taken my tech with me each time I went in the room, but something about the situation made me think at some point he would stop, and just be polite.

Ghost

MedSurgeMess

Specializes in Med/Surg, ICU, educator.

jerks like this are everywhere......and admin will never do anything. Why? They're a payin' customer. When we can get beyond the almighty $$$$, then maybe things will change. Usually, I tell a doc if the patient is making these crude comments, and yes, I chart them. If the patient is well enough to be in this mode, then perhaps they need to move to the next level of care.....

stellina615

Specializes in Med-Surg/Oncology, Psych. Has 1 years experience.

I had a similar situation today. My first day on a new floor and I'm doing an assessment on a pt. His wife was there and the two of them were just finishing up reciting the Lord's Prayer with the chaplain. No joke - less than 5 minutes after wife and chaplain left the room, he's complaining that the aide didn't fetch some cute nurses to play strip poker with him as he had requested. He wasn't confused or hypoxic, and didn't have a UTI. He was just a gross jerk. I was so shocked and disgusted that I couldn't think of anything to say besides "well, I wouldn't know anything about that" and booked it out of the room. I really wanted to make it clear that I wasn't going to tolerate comments like that, except I totally DID tolerate it because I didn't know what else to do!!! I had a few things afterwards that I would have liked to say, but I also had to take care of this guy for another 5 hours. Does anyone have any tried-and-true techniques for pervs like this, when you want to set them straight but don't have the option of switching patient assignments?

systoly

Specializes in LTC, Memory loss, PDN. Has 23 years experience.

"All the nurses here are strictly professionals, but your chaplain said to let him know if you needed anything - shall we call him?"

MedSurgeMess

Specializes in Med/Surg, ICU, educator.

I had a similar situation today. My first day on a new floor and I'm doing an assessment on a pt. His wife was there and the two of them were just finishing up reciting the Lord's Prayer with the chaplain. No joke - less than 5 minutes after wife and chaplain left the room, he's complaining that the aide didn't fetch some cute nurses to play strip poker with him as he had requested. He wasn't confused or hypoxic, and didn't have a UTI. He was just a gross jerk. I was so shocked and disgusted that I couldn't think of anything to say besides "well, I wouldn't know anything about that" and booked it out of the room. I really wanted to make it clear that I wasn't going to tolerate comments like that, except I totally DID tolerate it because I didn't know what else to do!!! I had a few things afterwards that I would have liked to say, but I also had to take care of this guy for another 5 hours. Does anyone have any tried-and-true techniques for pervs like this, when you want to set them straight but don't have the option of switching patient assignments?

"well, the cute nurse said she wanted a good looking guy with money to play strip poker with!"

Don't know whether his wife would find the article useful, but I certainly would go that route since your mgmt won't do anything to help matters.

Lacie, BSN, RN

Specializes in jack of all trades.

I have been known to let a patient know directly yet constructively that "I am not comfortable with this conversation or your behaviour." It's not out of line for you to let a pt know he is being inappropriate. Usually it works once they know up front you are uncomfortable with the comments. If he gets p'd off about it then he gets p'd off. I have had my rear slapped and my breast grabbed so believe me I have no issue letting them know how I feel about it. When I complained to adm I was told "Oh he's harmless", I learned very quickly the only one going to be proactive and protect me was ME.

Midwest4me

Specializes in A myriad of specialties.

i had a similar situation today. my first day on a new floor and i'm doing an assessment on a pt. his wife was there and the two of them were just finishing up reciting the lord's prayer with the chaplain. no joke - less than 5 minutes after wife and chaplain left the room, he's complaining that the aide didn't fetch some cute nurses to play strip poker with him as he had requested. he wasn't confused or hypoxic, and didn't have a uti. he was just a gross jerk. i was so shocked and disgusted that i couldn't think of anything to say besides "well, i wouldn't know anything about that" and booked it out of the room. i really wanted to make it clear that i wasn't going to tolerate comments like that, except i totally did tolerate it because i didn't know what else to do!!! i had a few things afterwards that i would have liked to say, but i also had to take care of this guy for another 5 hours. does anyone have any tried-and-true techniques for pervs like this, when you want to set them straight but don't have the option of switching patient assignments?

no nurse should have to put up with that horse crap!!!!

here's a suggestion: if the patient is married, say: "how about we get your wife in here so you can repeat those inappropriate things to me in front of her?"

another suggestion: "i don't appreciate your sexually harrassing language and behavior. would you like to be sued for such behavior?"

" i wonder what your wife would think of that"

systoly

Specializes in LTC, Memory loss, PDN. Has 23 years experience.

"Oh he's harmless" :angryfire :banghead: This kind of adm ignorance puts the patient at risk, because these type of patients are avoided like the plague by some nurses (who can blame them). I say forget adm, call the police and file assault charges.

I am disturbed that some of the comments here--maybe they weren't meant seriously, I hope not, but I think some nurses would take them as serious advice--would come off as being flirtatious. (Some of them are flat-out inappropriate, too.) Keep in mind that these patients are looking for any kind of response and will read what they can into whatever you say. Do not give it back to him. Those comments about his wife could be twisted into flirtation by a twisted mind.

The only appropriate response is "It is inappropriate for you to speak to the staff that way." Then leave the room if possible. Repeat as necessary. Obviously report to management as well, but I know some admins are not helpful in situations like this. Simply keep repeating that line and encourage the other nurses to do the same. When it isn't fun anymore, when he doesn't get any kind of reaction out of you (including an angry or embarrassed one), he'll be more likely to stop. No nurse should have to put up with this, of course, but in situations where admin won't step in, we do what we can.

I don't want to be critical, but I think "Did you behave today?" probably came off as flirtatious even though you didn't mean it that way.

sunnycalifRN

Has 6 years experience.

With those kind of jerks, give them one warning that their behavior is inappropriate and will not be tolerated. Only go into his room with another staff, to act as a witness; if he does it again, just walk out, immediately document the incident and have the witness sign also. Then, take it to your charge or nsg sup and let them talk to him; ask to have a male RN take over his care; if that's not available, someone else should take over his care.

"Such comments are inappropriate and would not be tolerated by me. I'm going to leave and return back when you're in a better state of mind. Otherwise which, is there someone else you would like for me to speak to about your request"...with a really stern face and a smile towards the end.Afterall, we both do have a sense of humor.(NOT)

PostOpPrincess, BSN, RN

Specializes in M/S, MICU, CVICU, SICU, ER, Trauma, NICU. Has 19 years experience.

I am an older person (40s), but I was always harassed when I was younger. I thought it would stop (and honestly I just don't think I am that "hot" anymore), but obviously I must still be a magnet for the sickos out there.

Today was a good example. One of the friends of a patient (he did embarrass the patient by his behavior) wished that "I was his nurse and would've just loved a massage to see what it would be like to have my hands on him." I didn't think it was too funny and just glared at him.

I am so grossed out I can't even say more about it. I don't know why this happens as I am always professional, but people seem to take me the wrong way.

Being a friendly, professional person shouldn't be an invitation for the gross people of the world to "come on."

I am very much over the "it's the anesthesia." Yes, I agree. But when they are an outpatient and getting ready to walk out the door after recovery, I don't think it's

s the anesthesia anymore.

People need to behave and I honestly don't care if their survey scores suck.

And did you guys notice that psych facilities are famous for and are occupied by a lot of pervs...I remember during my nursing school days I was doing a psych rotation and our teacher always warned us not to wear anything sexy,provoking...and of course I witnessed a scene whereas a fairly young but quiet a beautiful nurse (in her early thirties) was harrased and approached by a sociopath,and I mean a real sociopath(perfect signs and symptoms of an anti-social personality)..On my last day of the psych rotation (last day) there was this dude-a patient who started to take an interest in me...how do I know? He keept starting and staring like a lunatic and then blurred out "How you doing today" Thank God I was out of there the same day....I dont know I think it would be dangerous to work psych..

I am disturbed that some of the comments here--maybe they weren't meant seriously, I hope not, but I think some nurses would take them as serious advice--would come off as being flirtatious. (Some of them are flat-out inappropriate, too.) Keep in mind that these patients are looking for any kind of response and will read what they can into whatever you say. Do not give it back to him. Those comments about his wife could be twisted into flirtation by a twisted mind.

The only appropriate response is "It is inappropriate for you to speak to the staff that way." Then leave the room if possible. Repeat as necessary. Obviously report to management as well, but I know some admins are not helpful in situations like this. Simply keep repeating that line and encourage the other nurses to do the same. When it isn't fun anymore, when he doesn't get any kind of reaction out of you (including an angry or embarrassed one), he'll be more likely to stop. No nurse should have to put up with this, of course, but in situations where admin won't step in, we do what we can.

I don't want to be critical, but I think "Did you behave today?" probably came off as flirtatious even though you didn't mean it that way.

you know, i'm sitting here reading through all the responses and also shaking my head.

i mean, whatever happened to direct, assertive and civil redirection???

or even limit-setting??

op, when pt asked if you had a sense of humor, that could have been a time to reply with, "i do have a sense of humor. i dont however, appreciate your sexual remarks."...however you choose to put it.

but all i've been reading is how your responses have been anything but direct, i.e., nipping it in the bud stat.

i'm sorry to sound harsh, but i am speaking the truth and any confident, self-respecting woman wouldn't tolerate this adolescent behavior.

however, you handled him wanting to leave the floor, beautifully.

just perfect.

in the absence of anger, this is how you should be asserting yourself from day one.

this is how every single woman should be asserting herself from day one...

and not just to pts...to everyone!!

no more of this passive-aggressive stuff.

say what you mean, and mean what you say.

i'm sure you'll work it out.

wishing you the very best.:)

leslie

Midwest4me

Specializes in A myriad of specialties.

and did you guys notice that psych facilities are famous for and are occupied by a lot of pervs..y....i dont know i think it would be dangerous to work psych..

you wrote above: "psych facilities ...are occupied by pervs"--i say yeah and that's just the staff!(no kidding.)

it is dangerous to work psych--at our mental hospital we've had staff beaten(to the point of having to send staff to the local hospital), verbally abused, and, worst of all, raped by patients!:devil::eek: somehow it's we staff who are always to blame for the actions of those patients. "leave the job", you might say...and go where? in this economy there aren't many jobs out there...very sad....

Edited by Midwest4me
misspelling

pggrn

Specializes in Triage RN, Cardiac, Ambulatory Care. Has 30 years experience.

It is indeed incredible how many men out there think they are being cute when the reality is that everyone listening to them is terribly embarrassed for them because they are making such huge jerks of themselves.

My experience is that I do not worry about my fellow RN's. Trust me, the group I work with can more than handle themselves and don't put up with crap for one second!

What does cause me concern however is that on occasion they want to start talking their s--t with one of my NA's and then I go balistic! I am in that room like a beam of light when that happens, and giving them the lecture on appropriate and inappropriate behavior, etc. They usually say something like, "Oh I was just kidding." and then I like to say, "Would you kid with your daughter like that?" which usually drives the point home.

Another line I have used is something to the effect, "Well if she decides to sue you, the check you end up writing out to her will make your hospital bill look like a pittance."

Everyone likes to be friendly and courteous, and everyone has their own sexual comfort level. However, I think the best course is a zero tolerance level for any of it. That is to say that even the RN that is comfortable with the sexual tone of a conversation and does not feel harrassed needs to still intervene and remind that patient that the behavior is inappropriate. That way everyone is on the same page and there are no misunderstandings by the patient as to what is and what is not acceptable behavior.

In summary, there needs to be zero tolerance and every staff member needs to be on the same page.