Patient Reported Me To Nurse Manager

  1. I work on a medical psych unit, and a patient reported me to the nurse manager, I feel horrible about it. He said I was incompetent and started pointing at me in front of everyone, which caused me to feel incredibly embarrassed. I went to take his vital signs and the bp cuff was too small for his arms. I told him I'd be back in a few minutes to retake it, and he asked me to "make it quick" so he could relax. I went to take one more patients vitals, then got a bigger cuff (about 4 min) and when I came back, he told me he had enough and for me to leave. I respected his space and left, but then 15 minutes later I went to take his blood sugar and he told me off and reported me to the charge nurse. The charge nurse just walked by me and made a face like she was annoyed with him (not in the patients view) but I still feel stupid. In report, everyone was told the story and how the patient hated me. I'm really new, and very frustrated, anyone have any advice? I used to love psych nursing, but after today, I feel like everyone was talking about me, and I feel insure and self conscious.
  2. Visit giantumbrella profile page

    About giantumbrella

    Joined: Aug '12; Posts: 14; Likes: 3


  3. by   Wise Woman RN
    He is a psych patient. You are not incompetent. Don't allow anyone the power to direct how you feel about yourself. There are just going to be patients that you just can't please, no matter what you do. Just hold your head up, know that you are a good nurse, and keep on..
    And if at all possible, don't go in his room without a witness, and document every interaction, since you know that he will report you for frivolous things.

    All the best to you.
  4. by   Whispera
    This sort of thing can happen in any nursing specialty. You're never going to please all your patients. I don't think anyone you work with intended you to feel bad about what happened. I think they were just sharing what happened, so all would know they had to take care of the patient rather than putting you into the situation of him being a twit toward you. Try to remember that psych patients often have absolutely no power in their lives. Add hospitalization in a likely-to-be-locked unit, and you have even less power. Such patients lash out at those they can think of as targets. You were handy. It's not personal, most likely.

    Don't let this color your thoughts about yourself or your love for your specialty. You know how good you are. Don't let someone else put their disorder onto you...
  5. by   artsmom
    Don't worry to much about this. I used to work nights and many patients got worked up when we had to check their vitals. some would scream and kick us out. Now you know for this patient that you need to do everything at once. I wouldn't sweat it. It doesn't sound like the charge nurse cared.
  6. by   GeneralJinjur
    Quote from giantumbrella
    In report, everyone was told the story and how the patient hated me. I'm really new, and very frustrated, anyone have any advice? I used to love psych nursing, but after today, I feel like everyone was talking about me, and I feel insure and self conscious.
    Everyone wasn't talking about you, though I can see how it felt that way. Everyone who cares for this pt needs to know how irritable he can be and your situation was a perfect illustration of that.

    As you gain continued exposure to this pt population, you will find a certain crowd that just doesn't like you (some don't like anyone). For me, it's the manic, paranoid people who dislike me intensely. Please don't let this get you down any more than you would be bothered by a rude person in line at the grocery store.
  7. by   marydc
    I just want to reassure you that things like this frequently happen. As a charge nurse on an inpatient psychiatric unit I've listened to many patient complaints. Some are legitimate concerns; but many are related to their altered view of things, anger, fear, frustration, or simply manipulation. All need to be listened to and addressed, but doesn't necessarily mean the nurse did anything wrong or is incompetent. Use it as a learning opportunity but please don't take it personally.
  8. by   IdrilRN
    Please please don't take things patients say about you personal. You will burn out very quickly. I've had patients rip the cuff off and storm off while calling me every name in the book and accusing me of breaking their arm because the cuff was too tight.
    Best of luck to you in your psych career.
  9. by   giantumbrella
    Thank you all very much for such uplifting words. I'm a very novice nurse and sometimes second guess my abilities, and somehow I let this upset me. Just reading encouraging words really helps, thank you all very much! Im going to go into my next shift with my head held high and a smile on my face just like I've done everyday in the past! But, I won't lie, I hope that patient is discharged by then, but if not I'll still care about/for him even if he thinks I'm terrible
  10. by   Davey Do
    It's easy to understand your feelings about this, giantumbrella. It's difficult when we are negatively Singled Out in Public.

    I learned My Lesson while working on a Chemical Dependency Treatment Unit. During the last group of the day, which had its goal as ending the day on a Positive Note, one Patient verbally tore me apart without so much as raising his voice. I was taken aback and said something like, "Thanks for sharing" and moved on to the next Patient. I could see and feel the tension in the Group.

    I felt emotionally castrated and powerless. I discussed the situation with a couple of the Therapists, one being the Director of the Unit, and learned a couple of techniques from them.

    First, show no emotion and remember these Individuals often do not know how to express themselves appropriately. We need to always remember who we are and who they are; who Requires the Treatment and who is Providing the Service.

    Next, confront Inappropriate Behavior with Appropriate Behavior. In my Circumstance, I was advised to say something like: "Your comments are Inappropriate to this Group, as this is the Good Night Group. If you have a problem with me, we need to discuss this at a more appropriate time". I was further advised, that if I felt comfortable doing this, I could encourage dealing with the problem as a Group process, steering the process toward a Positive Outcome. At this point in my Growth and Development, I wasn't ready for anything like this. This Technique took quite a bit of Time and Practise to become Adequately Adapt at doing it.

    Confronting Inappropriate Behavior with Appropriate Behavior sometimes calls for us to be Good Actors. For example, in Your Situation, I may have said something like, "You're upset and you have right to be! I Apologize Profusely for Testing your Patience! Please- how can I possibly make this up to you?"

    Sometimes humor works, also. We have to be careful when we use humor, however. Many Patients have Thin Skins and will interpret Humor as Making Fun of Them. It's best not to use the Patient as the Focal Point of the Humor; It's better to use Ourselves as the Focal Point of Humor.

    In a lot of situations, I have a routine that I call on for Specific Occasions. For example, if I've made a Blunder, or the Patient has a Criticism of me, I do my best Jimmy Stewart imitation and say, "Well well well, gosh-darn-it! A pox upon me for a Clumsy Lout!" This takes the focus not only off the Patient, it provides a Quick Distraction and allows me to React according to the Patient's Reaction. If the Patient recieves my Reaction well, I go into my MC Voice and say "Thank you-Thank you for Playing! And now, Bob- tell us us what This Patient has won!" He has won a FREE BLOOD PRESSURE MONITORING SESSION!" And so on.

    If the Patient remains upset after the first Humor Attempt, I become less animated, speak in low tones and say something like, "Look, I'm sorry you're upset. I want to do what I can to please you. Can we talk about it?" I think this makes the Patient feel as though he/she are In Charge and pocess Some Power.

    Power is a Big Motivator, as many Patients- the Majority of them in fact- feel as though they are The Victim. Allowing them to percieve power will often Quell their Feelings of Inferiority.

    Oh, I could go on and on! But, basically, giantumbrella, find the Technique which works best FOR YOU in Defusing or De-escalating a situation.

    Good Luck and the Best to you!

    Last edit by Davey Do on Oct 24, '12
  11. by   Elladora
    Quote from IdrilRN
    Please please don't take things patients say about you personal. You will burn out very quickly.

    Best of luck to you in your psych career.
  12. by   NPAlby
    This might sound harsh but get used to it. I worked inpt psych for years and now am a Psych NP and I have gotten called pretty much everything. Its part of the job that patients are not going to like you. Dont take it personally remember they are there for a reason. Also remember you are there for another reason and being their friend is not one of them.
  13. by   Medeina
    Don't let it get to you! My second day as a CNA a resident complained that I was too slow and then requested somebody else to take care of her. When I told the person in charge she told me the resident is always like that and to tell her that I'm new and had to learn. If the person in charge made a face like she was annoyed with the patient she probably already has difficulties with that patient and doesn't blame you. Don't take it personally.
  14. by   Ntheboat2
    oh, goodness. like the others said...get used to it! i know it can still suck when a patient doesn't like you....even if they think they are the king of england and that they're about to give birth to a baby that doesn't exist...we still expect them to like us because we are great and that's what any LOGICAL person would do!! keyword being logical.

    i've had a few patients who thought i was someone that they knew from their past...a daughter or a sister. sometimes, they may not like you simply because it's impossible to like everyone! other times they may not like you because they are delusional and mistake you for someone they had a negative experience with. it IS a psych unit! you might even find that the patient who caused you so much stress this one day won't even remember who you are tomorrow..for future reference.