Verbal abuse


  • Specializes in nurseline,med surg, PD. Has 50+ years experience.

I just want to share a situation that happened to me at work. I always appreciate reading about other people's work experiences. I have had a private duty client, a child, for 3 1/2 years. the family has been through ups and downs, like any family, and I have gone with the flow. Yesterday, I arrived at the client's home and mom told me "she is sick I want her to stay home from school today". Well OK, this happens sometimes, so I proceed to assess the patient. Mom leaves, to go to work I assumed. So extended family member, a man, walks in, sees that the child is asleep in bed, and he goes berserk. Yelling, "what is she doing in bed, why didn't she go to school?" I state "she is ill, mom wants her to stay home today". So man says :if she's sick she's going to the ER. " So I say "she doesn't need to go to the ER her vital signs are stable and she just needs some rest." So man goes "crazy", yelling at me and child, "get up, get dressed, we're going to school or ER. Saying "you're incompetent, and crazy" So I call mom and by now I'm so frightened I'm sobbing. I tell her she needs to come home now. She wasn't at work yet so she comes home. In the meantime he yells and yells. I call my agency, I'm crying so hard I can hardly speak coherently. I've been a nurse for a LONG time and I know how to control my emotions but this man was scaring me. So mom comes home and drives us to school. She is afraid of man as well. I shook for hours. Yes the girl was sick but she managed. Plus he got personal, saying "no wonder you're divorced you're so annoying and difficult". I told my agency I would stay with her that day but I refused to go back. So after a few hours the agency calls and says why don't you take tomorrow off and go back the next day? I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I said absolutely not, I will not work in a hostile environment and be abused. I might say that the man is very difficult and has made inappropriate comments before but yesterday was the last straw. He asked me once if I was a lesbian, which I'm not but that's so inappropriate. He has asked me about my religious preferences and I say "I'm not going to discuss that". He has abused many health care workers in the past but no one ever reported him to my knowledge. Well I'm out of there but nobody seems to care. I want empathy.thanks

Specializes in MICU, SICU, CICU. Has 24 years experience.

double post

Specializes in MICU, SICU, CICU. Has 24 years experience.

I think it is commendable that you stayed with the patient and made sure that she was safe. I might have called the police if I felt the man was that explosive irrational and dangerous. I would definitely never go back to that home.

It leaves one reeling to be verbally attacked and humiliated by a family member. It happened to me as a hospital nurse several months ago when a female visitor verbally attacked me with unbelievable fury for no reason at all. After she left I realized that she was probably intoxicated.

It sounds like this guy is mentally unstable or a substance abuser. Either way the problems in that household are too big for you to handle by yourself. We don't get paid enough to tolerate this behavior and I am proud of you for saying you are not going back there.


997 Posts

Specializes in Peds(PICU, NICU float), PDN, ICU.

I've been through that too. It is scary! Its a helpless feeling because if you say anything back, the agency will fire you. But if you sit and take it, you will be miserable too. I've had the same happen where the agency wants me to go back after an event like that. I refuse to go back to an environment like because its an action that shows that you are allowing that behavior. You aren't alone. Unfortunately its the bad side of the job. The feeling of being cornered in a room is scary for sure. You did right. Take a break for yourself to take care of you and go back to a new case after a little time off.

ktwlpn, LPN

3,844 Posts

Specializes in LTC,Hospice/palliative care,acute care. Has 35 years experience.

That sucks,no-one should be treated like that. It's a shame you didn't call 911.If he is not the father I would report them to CYS.


1,335 Posts

Specializes in hospice.

Yeah, I woulda been on the phone to 911 FIRST, then mom, then agency. You are under NO OBLIGATION to just stand there in fear of harm.


554 Posts

Specializes in nurseline,med surg, PD. Has 50+ years experience.

I doubt substance abuse. I think the man is mentally ill. When I started the case he was there for a brief period of time, and the other nurse told me that this man had mental health issues but she wouldn't be specific because she wanted to protect his privacy. He was very rude then but he eventually left and I haven't seen him in 3 years. When he came back I tried very hard to not engage him, I was super polite etc. I was hoping he would leave me alone. After I told the other nurse what happened, she said "I wonder if he's been taking his meds.". I think he's dangerous but nobody cares what I think. It never occurred to me to call 911. I wouldn't leave because he isn't capable of caring for the child and I wasn't going to abandon her. Besides, you know what "patient abandonment" gets you." When we got home from school he wasn't there. I suspected he probably wouldn't be. I feel sorry for the next nurse.


554 Posts

Specializes in nurseline,med surg, PD. Has 50+ years experience.

As far as CPS goes, I don't think he would hurt the child. But who knows? Crazy people do crazy things.

Specializes in MICU, SICU, CICU. Has 24 years experience.

You are in a difficult situation. If the Mother is afraid of him and if you feel he poses a threat, then CYS should be notified.

If he is off his meds, and out of control, the police could take him to the ER for a psych eval. I know, easy for me to say that after the fact.

This is a good example of why we should never share personal information, like where we live, with family members.


38,333 Posts

My agency would not let me live down the fact that I refused to return to a case partly based on how the man who answered the phone acted when I called to confirm my report time for the next day. It must be nice to have gone through life never having been assaulted, threatened, abused, or just scared to death by another. It is not to be your worry that he is, or is not, taking his meds. If you do not want to continue with that case, it is your right to request a work environment where you do not feel threatened, even, if only the possibility of harm. The agency won't be there if you end up in the hospital, or worse.


7,735 Posts

Specializes in retired LTC.

You have my support and admiration for sticking up for your actions and standing up for yourself.


119 Posts

Oh my gosh! What a scary situation. I'm sorry you went through that. I was thinking about home health but I gotta say, that makes me not want to AT ALL!