Taken by suprise

Nurses General Nursing


The other day I was giving one of our residents his medications and he asked me to clean out his inhaler. No problem I thought. I took it apart and wiped the top part out and was going for the chamber when the resident grabbed it out of my hand and said,

"You f%^*ing nurses nurses don't know what the h*ll you're doing! You went to some obsolete f*%&ing nurses school to learn absolutely nothing by sitting on your fat a$$es all day and all night long!!!" Wellllllllllll, I don't know what I did to make him snap and thought I had a pretty good rapore with him. So I said to him, "Perhaps since you already know how to clean it, maybe better than I, you may get involved in your plan of care and clean it for me and for you." Translation, "kiss my azz and do it yourself b/c I've got other things to do!" I was shocked, humiliated, hurt, degraded and numb all at one time. Now I treat him with kid gloves so he doesn't do this again b/c if he does, I may lose my job. Anyone ever have someone go off on you for no reason and if so how did you handle it?


738 Posts

YEP! I'm not a nurse yet, but this past Friday, I was working and I answered a call light. The patient who I thought was a nice lady told me that she had an accident and moved her bowels. I told her that it was fine and I would help her.......

After cleaning her up and changing the sheets, etc.....I asked her if she was comfortable and she snaps, "comfortable? What is that? I asked for your help and all you did was give me shock therapy!"

I asked her what she meant and she said that I did not bother to warm the wash cloth and then rolled her around like a rag doll!

I rolled her from side to side twice!

Then, she tells me that nobody in the whole hospital gives a sh** about the patients, all we want is her money!!!!

UGH!!! as if!

Thats the thanks ya get for wiping up someones stinkin' disgusting mess!

I hope that the next time she spares herself my torture and walks to the bathroom 10 feet away!


738 Posts

By the way, NightOwl, sorry that this happened to you. Some people are never happy and the more that you try to please them or help them, the more they lash out at you for doing so. I don't handle these things very well and I mostly just walk away. I am glad that you can at least direct it back to the person it came from......sorry your feeling were hurt.

Hugs to you!


Specializes in Trauma acute surgery, surgical ICU, PACU.

Had it happen a few weeks ago - I can only assume that the patient had maybe mistaken me for one of the Aides who had come from an agency to fill in a sick call and spoke little english and had little training(don't get me started on that).

The patient swore a blue streak at me when I went to check his glucose in the morning.... He swung his arms too - I was worried he would hit me if I kept asking. I backed off and asked on of my co-workers to do it instead. The cause of this anger? The patient told the next nurse that I had refused to give him analgesic and told him that "God would take care of his pain" :eek: The LAST thing I would have ever said to a patient... good thing my boss and co-workers all know me and my care well enough that they knew it was a misunderstanding....

Why The H*E*L*L is it that we are the ones they have to take everything out on? Yeah, the patients are going through a rough time... but do I have a flipping TARGET on my FOREHEAD.... that is the way it feels sometimes..... :( MAkes ME want to swear a blue streak many a day....

Nurse Ratched, RN

2,149 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics/Oncology/Psych/College Health.

I've had patients yell at me out of the blue, usually because they had a personality conflict with the person before (used to happen to me quite often when I regularly followed an extremely abrasive nurse.) My standard response was something like "Did I do something to offend you?" Typically I'd hear back "you people (this or that)...." I would ask again, clarifying, "Did *I* personally do anything to offend you?" The patient would always stop and admit that we had never laid eyes on each other so how could I have. "Good - now I don't mind being yelled at, but would you let me earn it first?" (smile). Never failed (assuming the patient was not cognitively impaired or psych, and it even worked on a lot of them lol.)

Maybe your patients are exibiting signs of early dementia ?

night owl

1,134 Posts

I thought of that b/c someone else had mentioned that he came down on her for no reason. Then someone else said maybe it's the prednisone he's coming off of...any way I was still taken by suprise. I hope he's ok when I go back tonight.

Nurse Ratched, RN

2,149 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics/Oncology/Psych/College Health.

BTW, night owl - I don't know how *you* could be fired because the patient was a butthead to you without provocation. Is this more of that whole customer service "entitlement" stuff we keep hearing about? I hope your bosses aren't that stupid and I hope you documented the interaction in his chart. ((Hugs)) with hopes for a better night.

night owl

1,134 Posts

Oh yeah, I definately charted all about it and everyone loved my little signs and symbols...I wish I had the smiley's to go with it!!! Thanks for the hug I needed. I'm sure I won't get fired, but if it happens again, I may not be able to bite my tongue considering I almost bit it off the other day...it's still sore...


626 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Long Term Care.

YIKES, night owl-- Sounds like the resident set you up for that tirade-- Lousy and unfair treatment, but sounds like you handled him well!

A few months ago, I introduced myself to a patient during first rounds at 4 p.m. and he mentioned that wound care had not been done by day shift and he'd like it done as soon as possible as it was overdue by a few hours. I explained that I would get to it as soon as I could, but I needed to see all my patients first. I then hung an IV antibiotic that was due and as I assessed him, we chatted and had a friendly conversation. When I finally got back to him around 45 minutes later, I began looking for the Curasol gel that'd recently been ordered, but didn't see it anywhere. Just to be sure, I started to search his room to see if it had inadvertently been put in with his hygeine supplies. As I reached up to a shelf to look in the basin, he snapped, "It's NOT in there!" I then walked over to his bedside table thinking it might've been placed in the drawer. As I reached to open it, he yelled, "I TOLD YOU IT *WASN'T* THERE. WHY WON'T YOU *LISTEN* TO ME?!!" His face was practically purple and he was shaking in anger. :eek: I apologized and slowly backed out of the room, but was extremely taken aback and surprised at his outburst. I realize I shouldn't have checked his drawer without asking-- I was rushing (as usual) and not thinking about the fact that I was invading his privacy-- I just wanted to find the confounded Curasol!

It turned out that there was no gel in his room because no one had gotten it from the wound care nurse. I eventually got a tube, and when I finally got back to him to do the wound care, he was apologetic and I forgave him, but I was "on guard" the rest of my time with him. I was very careful with him in the future, sensing a great need for control, and have also learned to be very careful with patients' personal items and privacy...:imbar Patients lose so much sense of control in their lives when they're sick and especially when hospitalized (or in a LTC facility). I try to give them as much feeling of control as possible-- I knock most times before entering, ask permission to assess them, negotiate prefered times for wound care, etc. And some patients need MORE feelings of control than others, so I try to be sensitive to that. I'm not excusing the outbursts we sometimes deal with, and no nurse deserves to be treated lousily; I'm just trying to understand and be compassionate if possible, and not take it too personally (often easier said than done).

live4today, RN

5,099 Posts

Specializes in Community Health Nurse.

nightowl......so sorry to hear about your nasty patient episode. I would tend to agree with "dawngloves" in that the patient may be experiencing an early onset of dementia, or perhaps one of his medications is the guilty culprit......for that matter it could be a combination of his meds. Was he started on any new meds prior to that episode? :)

hoolahan, ASN, RN

1 Article; 1,721 Posts

Specializes in Home Health.

I was doing hemodialysis on a pt in ICU one day. It was about time for my break, so I had set up the machine, laid out all my clamps and stuff, gave him his bkft tray and he was soooo happy b/c there were some huge gorgeous strawberries on it. I told him to enjoy, and I would be back in 15 min to start his Rx. I left him happy and smiling.

When I waled back into the unit, I got the shock of my life. Everyone was standing around his room, docs, nurses, security. I'm like WTF??? Turns out, when he opened the milk and poured it onto the strawberries, it was sour. He looked at the expiration date on the milk, and it was expired. (I mean, how many of you check the expiration date of the milk, esp if the pt can open it for themselves?)

This set him off, and he had a total psychotic break. He threw the tray, grabbed some of my equipment, and had even threatened to rip his shunt out of his arm. The poor man was so depressed, and all he wanted was those beautiful strawberries in some cream. I felt sooooo bad. Finally, he was talked down by security, sedated, and dialysis was held for the day. Even in his haze after sedation, all he could do was shake his head in disgust and go on and on about that sour milk.

Sometimes you just never know what is going to set someone off, whether they are depressed, someone else before you treated them badly, etc... But, it does sound like maybe he's gettinga touch of dementia. Renee makes a good point too, any new meds?

(((nightowl))) you know your capability, it's him, not you, for sure!!

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