The reason I became a nurse 20 years ago was because I was a patient first and really had some BAD nursing care. Since then, I have been a patient many times in some truly bad situations. I've had pretty much everything from basic procedures to massive surgeries. I have also gone AWOL out of hospital because of shotty nursing staff and my mom had to make me come back in. They made me cry when they treated me like **** and made me feel worse mentally than I was physically. I would say I was bullied by some of the staff. The main thing I have to say is.... COMMUNICATE with your patients and listen to them.
The staff that made me walk out of the hospital had an attitude of "I know everything, dont tell me how to do my job". While I wasnt telling them how to do their job, they downplayed my pain levels and even went so far to say "You cannot be in that MUCH pain" and then ignored me when I told them that my only good blood draw vein is in my right AC. I told them this because I was a very hard stick and just to get a single line on me, they had to try 8 times before they finally got someone from life flight in to get it done. I saw them rolling their eyes when I would tell them things or ask questions. I saw them "huff" when I would ask them to explain what what going on with my case (we were waiting for the doctor but I didnt know that and they refused to say). It really is basic courtesy and common sense to communicate with your patients. I suspect alot of the issues with patients would go away if nurses would communicate more. I've worked the floor and had some really difficult patients, many of which other co-workers gave me because I didnt mind dealing with the "problem" patients. I have been there and it can be a very difficult and scary time in a person's life when they are in the hospital. Oh, dont get me wrong, there are THOSE patients whom you cannot please no matter what, but 90% of mine? they just wanted to know they were in good and competent hands. If a doctor has not put in an order for the pain medication the patient is wanting? be honest about that. I always keep a patient in the loop regarding everything.
In each of my hospital stays, pre nurse and post nurse, I was never a difficult patient (I guess that may be subjective because I am the one judging this, but I never ran the bell unnecessarily, I asked for multiple things while the nurse was in the room to avoid being a pest, and would wait on the nurse, even if she didnt come back like she promised to see if I needed anything, instead of calling the nursing station). I could usually hear the nurses at the nursing station laughing and carrying on, being inappropriate on their cell phones, and talking about their weekend plans rather than doing what they said they would do. so that is my other complaint.. if you say you are going to do something, then do it and remember, patients CAN hear you. you get a patient that is sensitive to things such as this and the animosity is going to start right from the beginning.
Also, it is not hard to poke your head in the door of a patients room and let them know that you are just checking on them. Trust me, it will make the patient feel good and have less stress because it makes a statement that you care about them and are thinking of them. I literally went through an entire shift when I was a patient for one of my surgeries and only saw the nurse ONE time... this is not exaggerated. ONE TIME. I didnt use the call bell and literally wanted to see how long it would take them to come into the room. Well... She actually came into the room only because I had an IV antibiotic to be hung and it was at the end of her shift. No assessment, no "I'm so and so and I will be your nurse today" this was the time she changed the white board as well and put her name on it. I actually asked her.. "why bother? your off shift within a half hour" and she ignored me.
So while we are NOT cruise directors or maids or waitress's, please make your patients feel like they can trust you. Just being compassionate goes a long way.