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Tired and burnt out from the abuse

Nurses   (1,853 Views | 30 Replies)
by NurseK93 NurseK93, LPN (New) New Nurse Student

NurseK93 is a LPN and specializes in Medicine.

250 Profile Views; 10 Posts

Hi everyone. 

I’ve been working as a bedside RPN on a medical floor for the past three years. And I am starting to feel extreme burnout and overwhelmed. I feel more stressed now after three years with my feet on the floor then when I first started if that makes any sense at all. I have been feeling this way for a while, but have also just started at a new hospital which has made all my feelings 100x worse.

Being at the bedside is really starting to take an emotional toll on me. For example, I just finished up a night shift where I was covering a nurse on break who had a patient alert/oriented who just kept hammering on the bell all night.

She wanted her primary nurse, we explained to her she was on break but she’ll come see her when she’s back. Kept calling because she felt “bloated” (at 1am)  her bed wasn’t as “comfortable” as at home etc.  Finally after a time she had called, and I went back in and she was snoring just to call me 5 minutes later, I told her it was 2am try to use the call bell for urgent issues, I had just been in here and it’s very disruptive to all the other patients when the call bell is ringing in the hall.

Well this lady becomes absolutely irate. Talking to me so condescendingly that she doesn’t care and she’s a patient I can’t talk to her like that, and that I’m incompetent, and that I’m “scolding her”.

The charge nurse was in when this was happening and comes over and she started getting snippy with her telling her to mind her own business and why was she even in this conversation. Until she found out she was the nurse in charge of course. Then proceeds to tell her that I am “insubordinate” and wants the contact information of a manager that I have no business being in this profession and belittling me with every insult under the sun for the next 5 minutes. And it is times like these, when I’m standing here listening to this, not being able to defend myself at 2am while my fiancée is sleeping alone so I can come work these night shifts to “help people”.  But really it’s me holding back tears for the rest of my shift as I’m condescended and verbally assaulted like a 2nd rate citizen. And then I stop and think what the actual f am I doing with my life?!?! NONE of my friends/fiancée EVER leave work with stories even CLOSE to that type of treatment/disrespect. 

And we all know that’s really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to abuse. That doesn’t even touch into the violence, management and safety issues on the floors everyday. 

Anyway, I guess I just needed to rant. Now I’m going to have a large glass of wine and stress until I have to go back and do it all over again 🙃

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"nursy" has 40 years experience as a RN and specializes in ICU, ER, Home Health, Corrections, School Nurse.

193 Posts; 795 Profile Views

Wow, you really need to get a different position.  A glass of wine is not going to compensate for the amount of stress you're going through, and this will end up taking a toll on you and your family.  I left bedside nursing for the same reasons......just tired of the abuse and lack of support by admin.  I hope you can find better circumstances.  Good luck!

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kp2016 has 20 years experience.

311 Posts; 3,567 Profile Views

I'm really sorry you are going through this. The Charge nurse really let you down here, particularly given that she witnessed the patients behavior first hand.

It was her job to address this patients unreasonable behavior and set limits. If this is the norm on this unit it might be wise to start looking for an internal transfer.

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29 Posts; 1,783 Profile Views

21 hours ago, NurseK93 said:

Well this lady becomes absolutely irate. Talking to me so condescendingly that she doesn’t care and she’s a patient I can’t talk to her like that, and that I’m incompetent, and that I’m “scolding her”. The charge nurse was in when this was happening and comes over and she started getting snippy with her telling her to mind her own business and why was she even in this conversation. Until she found out she was the nurse in charge of course. then proceeds to tell her that I am “insubordinate” and wants the contact information of a manager that I have no business being in this profession and belittling me with every insult under the sun for the next 5 minutes. And it is times like these, when I’m standing here listening to this, not being able to defend myself at 2am while my fiancée is sleeping alone so I can come work these night shifts to “help people”.  But really it’s me holding back tears for the rest of my shift as I’m condescended and verbally assaulted like a 2nd rate citizen. And then I stop and think what the actual f am I doing with my life?!?! NONE of my friends/fiancée EVER leave work with stories even CLOSE to that type of treatment/disrespect. 

 

Can you clarify something here.. did the patient say the line about being "insubordinate"? What did the CN do and how did she respond? I can't tell from what you wrote if the CN did or said something that she should not have. Thanks for the clarification.

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NurseK93 is a LPN and specializes in Medicine.

10 Posts; 250 Profile Views

Sorry Sue Demonas - no it was the patient who called me insubordinate to the charge. And the charge nurse just said should could provide the contact information to the manager and wrote a nursing note about it. 

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mmc51264 has 8 years experience as a ADN, BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes.

2,752 Posts; 39,033 Profile Views

We have just started a zero tolerance for abuse from patients and family. I just tell someone like that I am not going to engage until they can speak to me in a civil manner. We get good support from admin, for example, if a pt is rude, the charge nurse will come in with me. We can have the physician explain that appropriate behavior is not accepted and, if it gets bad, security is called and the pt has to sign a behavior contract. 

I am sorry you have to put up with that crap. 

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1 Follower; 938 Posts; 6,643 Profile Views

All I can offer you is a it is rough and even changing this and that doesn't always make it better. You either have to push through in staying with nursing (changing this and that) or get out of it.

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jb_mmmm is a BSN, RN and specializes in Rehabilitation.

66 Posts; 1,745 Profile Views

I'm so sorry that the patient abused you like that. This happened to me too with a patient's husband to the point that I walked out of the room and cried. I actually went straight to my supervisor and security had to be called cause he was becoming louder and more aggressive. 

I would take it to whoever's above your charge nurse and see what can be done better and how the charge nurse reacted to your abuse.

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On 11/14/2019 at 4:30 PM, NurseK93 said:

Hi everyone. 
I’ve been working as a bedside RPN on a medical floor for the past three years. And I am starting to feel extreme burnout and overwhelmed. I feel more stressed now after three years with my feet on the floor then when I first started if that makes any sense at all. I have been feeling this way for a while, but have also just started at a new hospital which has made all my feelings 100x worse. Being at the bedside is really starting to take an emotional toll on me. For example, I just finished up anight shift where I was covering a nurse on break who had a patient alert/oriented who just kept hammering on the bell all night. Shewanted her primary nurse, we explained to her she was on break but she’ll come see her when she’s back. Kept calling because she felt “bloated” (at 1am)  her bed wasn’t as “comfortable” as at home etc.  Finally after a time she had called, and I went back in and she was snoring just to call me 5 minutes later, I told her it was 2am try to use the call bell for urgent issues, I had just been in here and it’s very disruptive to all the other patients when the call bell is ringing in the hall. Well this lady becomes absolutely irate. Talking to me so condescendingly that she doesn’t care and she’s a patient I can’t talk to her like that, and that I’m incompetent, and that I’m “scolding her”. The charge nurse was in when this was happening and comes over and she started getting snippy with her telling her to mind her own business and why was she even in this conversation. Until she found out she was the nurse in charge of course. then proceeds to tell her that I am “insubordinate” and wants the contact information of a manager that I have no business being in this profession and belittling me with every insult under the sun for the next 5 minutes. And it is times like these, when I’m standing here listening to this, not being able to defend myself at 2am while my fiancée is sleeping alone so I can come work these night shifts to “help people”.  But really it’s me holding back tears for the rest of my shift as I’m condescended and verbally assaulted like a 2nd rate citizen. And then I stop and think what the actual f am I doing with my life?!?! NONE of my friends/fiancée EVER leave work with stories even CLOSE to that type of treatment/disrespect. 
 

And we all know that’s really just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to abuse. That doesn’t even touch into the violence, management and safety issues on the floors everyday. 
 

Anyway, I guess I just needed to rant. Now I’m going to have a large glass of wine and stress until I have to go back and do it all over again 🙃

I am sorry you are having trouble and hope things improve soon.

In truth, of course, no one really cares about your personal troubles, such  as your fiance having to sleep alone,  least of all your patients.  You shouldn't expect them to.  

You didn't have to stand there for her whole tirade.  Nor do you have to keep working where you do or at the bedside.  Look around and find some other specialty.

Honestly, though, I'd have been angry at you, too, if you tried to tell me to not bother you because it's 2 a.m. and you'd just been in and found me asleep,  and I was bothering other people by using my bell, no matter how nicely you had said it. 

You need to come to an understanding that people just are not at their best when they are sick, afraid, lonely, and probably confused.  It seems that pt didn't understand the situation with her primary nurse being on break.

Use commas and paragraphs. 

Good luck.

20 hours ago, mmc51264 said:

We have just started a zero tolerance for abuse from patients and family. I just tell someone like that I am not going to engage until they can speak to me in a civil manner. We get good support from admin, for example, if a pt is rude, the charge nurse will come in with me. We can have the physician explain that appropriate behavior is not accepted and, if it gets bad, security is called and the pt has to sign a behavior contract. 

I am sorry you have to put up with that crap. 

What if they won't sign?  

 

Edited by Kooky Korky

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3 Followers; 4,560 Posts; 35,730 Profile Views

On 11/15/2019 at 3:06 PM, NurseK93 said:

Sorry Sue Demonas - no it was the patient who called me insubordinate to the charge. And the charge nurse just said should could provide the contact information to the manager and wrote a nursing note about it. 

She put a note in the chart that the pt was mad at YOU or that she gave the pt the Mgr's contact info at the pt's request?  

She seems like a not so great CN.

Edited by Kooky Korky

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Been there,done that has 33 years experience as a ASN, RN.

4 Followers; 6,236 Posts; 69,569 Profile Views

The patient has  borderline personality. It really shines through at 2 AM. Do some research on handling them. Setting limits... blah. blah. blah... is  not going to satisfy them. 

Medication time... ladies and gentlemen.

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NightNerd has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN.

856 Posts; 16,198 Profile Views

Very much agree with Kooky Korky on this one. Not that I don't think this patient was out of line; it sounds like she was rather mean and she should have expressed her complaints differently. She could also probably use a reality check, because it's a hospital and obviously isn't going to be as comfortable as home.

However, from what I'm reading, you essentially told the woman to stop bothering you. Using the call bell is how we want patients to contact us. Like, it's understandable that you were annoyed, just having checked on her five minutes before and found her sleeping. But this is part of the job, and I'm not sure that was the best battle to pick at 2 AM.

Believe me, I am all about zero tolerance for abuse, verbal or otherwise, and I don't think being sick or scared is any justification for cruel speech or actions. But it sounds like this woman, while maybe a little needy, was merely expressing anxiety and discomfort at first and could have used a little extra attention. Instead, she heard that her issues were not urgent and she needed to stop calling the people who are there to help her.

I don't want to dismiss your feelings - the struggle is real! Night shift does take a lot from your life, and sometimes you do wonder why you're doing all this for precious little thanks. Use your vacation and personal time liberally, vent on here to us, and consider looking for a new job if you don't feel adequately supported. Everything you're experiencing is, unfortunately, sort of common, so you absolutely deserve to acknowledge those feelings, and figure out how best to address them so you can be a dynamite nurse and also live your life outside of work. I just think it's important as well to think of how you might phrase things differently next time - sometimes our own choice of words can make or break a patient interaction. Stand up for yourself when necessary, but also try to recognize which patients might just need a softer approach. It's not allowing yourself to be disrespected in that instance; it's just trying to keep things peaceful for the patient AND you for the rest of the shift. 🙂

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