Resident Thinks I’m A Fake Nurse

Updated | Posted
by Streetnurse42 (New) New Nurse

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We got a new resident admitted to our LTC. He’s alert and oriented. He’s in his 60s.

Anyways I’m hard of hearing. It’s been incredibly difficult for me to understand everyone with masks on but my manager and the team have been amazing and supportive. 

So this morning I introduced myself to the resident and briefly explained that I’m hard of hearing, so I would appreciate if he could speak up loudly.

he couldn’t believe his eyes. He asked me if I was actually deaf. I showed him my hearing aids (I was wearing a bun at the time).  He said that I can’t be a nurse because people with disabilities shouldn’t be nurses. I was heartbroken but moved on. Later on it was my turn to give meds to him. Upon seeing me enter his room, he loudly yelled that he doesn’t want me and demanded a “real” nurse. 

My manager has my back. But this shook me up. In my few years of nursing (I graduated in 2019), I have never had a complaint and my clients always raved about my performance. This resident left me disappointed. 

kp2016

Has 20 years experience. 416 Posts

I’m sorry you are being treated in such a disgraceful manner and very glad to hear your manager has your back. I think you probably need to realize that this is not a valid “complaint” and is not a reflection on you as a nurse.

I would give this about as much weight as I would a comment that is sexist, racist or obviously mean spirited. It says plenty (negative) about the person who said it and nothing about to person it was directed at.

Not to defend this person but it is possible that he is extremely unhappy with becoming a resident in a LTC facility and is lashing out because he is hurting and angry. That doesn’t in anyway justify or excuse his  comments but it may be worth considering that it is a response to him loosing his independence. 

Continue to treat him with professionalism and hopefully as he settles in this behavior will stop. 

Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 15years medical. Has 43 years experience. 1 Article; 9,479 Posts

Those of us who work in this field with disabilities need not wear them like a thorny crown.

Patients, and the general population in fact, will believe they are the King and Queens of their own microcosms and what they say is law. It is our duty to not feel insulted- or any other emotion which affects our abilities- and to carry out those duties to the best of our abilities.

Do not allow this patient or your disability to define you as a professional, Streetnurse. Allowing another to define who we are or the caliber of professional integrity is giving power to those who don't know any better. Otherwise, they would be serving us.

We are all equals, or so I keep trying to institutionalize within my belief system. We each merely have different responsibilities. One needs to be the patient and the other needs to be the nurse, and both need to learn their roles in order for a therapeutic goal to be met.

Good luck and the best to you.

T-Bird78

Has 6 years experience. 980 Posts

Oh, you’ll hear that frequently LOL. I work in ambulatory care, so when people find out I’m a nurse and they ask what hospital, you can see their facial expression fall when I tell them which doctor’s office I work for and they say “Oh, sorry”. I’m also an LPN and pts have told me that RN stands for Real Nurse so what am I, and there was even a comment on this page from someone who said ambulatory care isn’t real nursing (never mind the surgical procedures we do in office and the 50 or so pts we see daily).  Point is, you know you’re real and you’re good, so don’t let them get you down.  

JBMmom, MSN, NP

Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care. Has 10 years experience. 4 Articles; 1,926 Posts

You're a real nurse, and you're probably a great nurse, you can't let this resident's reactions affect you as a person. The mask thing makes it more difficult for everyone to communicate, I can only imagine how much harder it is for you. 

We're going to run into ignorant people- patients, residents, other staff and people in public, throughout our lives. Someone will share their completely irrelevant opinion on many aspects of your life. You know that you're a good nurse. I'm glad your manager is supportive, as they should be, hopefully this resident will come around, but if not it's no reflection on you. 

JBMmom, MSN, NP

Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care. Has 10 years experience. 4 Articles; 1,926 Posts

12 minutes ago, T-Bird78 said:

I’m a nurse and they ask what hospital, you can see their facial expression fall when I tell them which doctor’s office I work for and they say “Oh, sorry”.

For my first couple years after nursing school if I randomly ran into a former classmate and told them I was working in a long-term care facility, almost all of them said "I'm sorry". My usual response was "I'm not, it's a great nursing job", it's very unfortunate that people have some preconceived notion that only certain work environments entitle someone to be called a nurse. Nurses everywhere are providing important care for the patient populations they serve. It's too bad there's some invisible hierarchy that people feel they need to live up to. We're all doing our best for the people we treat. 

Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 15years medical. Has 43 years experience. 1 Article; 9,479 Posts

Internal validation is stronger than external validation.

If we cannot validate ourselves, no amount of validation from others is going to buoy us on through the rough waters to come.

And life will always have its share of rough waters.

JKL33

6,086 Posts

On 1/14/2022 at 12:43 AM, Streetnurse42 said:

I was heartbroken but moved on. [....]

my manager has my back. But this shook me up. In my few years of nursing (I graduated in 2019), I have never had a complaint and my clients always raved about my performance. This resident left me disappointed. 

I think you can use this situation towards your own good.

Not sure how to start/word my comment; I guess I will just clarify that my intent is not to criticize but just provide supportive food for thought. With that:

I have very little internal reaction to patients' nonsensical personal comments or insults. It is unlikely that someone who is essentially no one personal to me (such as a loved one) would make me feel heartbroken or shook up even if they called me the stupidest, most inept nurse on the planet or any other insult. People who do things like that are unhappy with themselves, their own life or their own situation. They don't know anything about me and I don't need them for my sense of self worth or security. Their comments don't change who I am or how well I do my job or take anything away from me...they just don't mean anything. If patients have insults to share, I'd prefer they be really original so at least I'd have good stories to tell. 😉

I hope this incident will provide you an occasion to strengthen your sense of self worth. Mull it over a little and see that you are you and they are them. They don't have the ability to speak to your value as a human being or as a nurse.

You may be able to forge a rapport with this patient. He probably needs a little time. But this is one of those situations where people often respond favorably when the issue is kindly and professionally addressed. Ex: "I'm sorry to hear that you feel that way. I am a pretty good nurse and it's important to me to take the best care of people that I can. I actually think that if you give me a chance you'll find that we get along pretty well..."

Anyway...just some thoughts. I know you'll work through this. 💮

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 45 years experience. 1,691 Posts

On 1/14/2022 at 8:12 AM, Davey Do said:

Internal validation is stronger than external validation.

You are giving such 'pearls of wisdom'.

Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 15years medical. Has 43 years experience. 1 Article; 9,479 Posts

36 minutes ago, londonflo said:

You are giving such 'pearls of wisdom'.

Thank you, londonflo, your accolade gladdens my heart in a time when I wonder if I'm not casting them to apathetic dogs and swine.

nrsang97, BSN, RN

Specializes in Neuro ICU and Med Surg. Has 21 years experience. 2,602 Posts

I work with a nurse that is hearing impaired.  He makes fun of himself and often.  I have never heard of a patient not wanting him to be their nurse, but I can see it happening.  Unfortunately, there are some miserable people out there.  Don't let him ruin your day or your confidence.  

morte, LPN, LVN

7,015 Posts

As a fellow HOH nurse, make sure your aides are in top fir., and you have your hearing checked frequently, and adjustments made.