visitors hell

Nurses General Nursing


just came home from working a 12 hour shift, usual busy day nothing too exciting but i am so sick of visitors! i think there should be a national ban on visitors until they learn to be nicer to the nurses. i would never consider going into someone else's workplace and telling them how to do their job. visitors all seem to think they have rn after their names and know more than we do. am i suffering from earlier burn-out or is this a common problem, no support from mangement to enforce visiting hours and usually the supervisor wil l side with the visitors. today i had 4 visitors who refused to leave the room while i put their relative on the bedpan, when i asked if they all go the bathroom together at home, they were not amused. any help appreciated

What is worse is that our facility ALWAYS backs up the visitors and not the nurse. Then, after the visitor is gone, we are told to "stick by our guns", etc. Two-faced administrators are frustrating. After several years I have finally decided to do EXACTLY what the hospital protocol is, copy it before I go home if there is a problem, keep a diary, record names of witnesses and hope all this is not needed.


164 Posts


i was most amused by your question tho i can see how the visitors werent, you made them look stupid, which of course they are.


992 Posts

Visitors tend to show up at anytime too!! We have oral report, and visitors will interrupt us for something silly like pt so and so needs a pillow. Some of them believe you should drop everything you are doing and tend to them!! Some of the families can be really difficult too. I have had some families who would complain about the color of the paint on the walls if they ran out of other subjects. I feel like sometimes dealing with the families can be more difficult than taking care of the patient. But, some visitors and families are great!! Those are the ones you really look forward to brighten your day.


1 Article; 5,758 Posts

My biggest problem was always with the person who insisted on meeting his or her own needs ignoring the patients needs. Example, "The patient who tells you they are not up to have any more chemo but their sister, spouse, child wants them to do it so they feel they must.


1,577 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg Nursing.

This is why I switched to night shift! A lot less run-ins with pain in the a$$ family members!


164 Posts

in the back of my mind i keep the thought that this is probably the only thing they can do for their loved one. seeing that aunt marge has a pillow might be the very last thing they can do for her.

it may seem stupid to us but its not to them. so far this thought has been able to keep my anger with families in check.

one time i had a family whos moms sepsis was getting out of control. as it progressed so did the despair and frustration of the family. just like everyone else they started blaming the nurses.

after a sequence of events i called the daughter aside and explained her moms condition. i told her very delicately that if the family continued to abuse the nursing staff, the staff they were counting on for help would be alienated from them. and thats not what they wanted.

i suggested they buy a book and start writing down all medications mom was given, who her nurse was, what time the doc came in and what he said, as well as any other pertinant information.

(if the nurses on my unit knew i was the one who started the book...they would have killed

this book became their bible. they felt like they were actually doing something to help mom. they felt power in the knowledge they were obtaining and the book kept them busy.

they backed off the nursing staff.

this is not always the case with families tho. sometimes they just want to get the "services entitled" to THEM with their loved ones

i dont mind dealing with families if they are unobtrusive. its the demanding suffocators that i hate. the ones that have the "us against them" attitude. im pretty good at disarming them tho.

not all but most.


992 Posts

I don't mind getting a pillow, a soft drink, or a comb for anyone except for when I am trying to get through report or in the middle of some big disaster (such as a code). Most people are understanding about waiting another 5 minutes for this stuff, but then there are the ones who want it yesterday. Those are the ones I want to strangle. One of the people in the ER one night actually had the guts to ask the doctor to look at her husband who was probably sick with the flu. The only problem with this was the doctor was in the middle of a code blue and since we are a rural hospital, he is the only physician in the ER. The lady actually said to Dr.----, "since that person you are working on isn't going to make it anyway, do you think you can look at my husband?" The doctor and nurse were flabbergasted!!

To the poster who said she told the family to buy a book and keep track of everything, you're right about your fellow nurses wanting to get you. I hate when families have little books. It makes me nervous. I can just see the thing being used against the hospital in a lawsuit.

We have a large Amish community in our part of the state and man do they believe in visiting!! They come in droves. We usually try to put the Amish patient in a room by themselves because we know it will be packed with visitors. I have more than once ran out visitors because my patient was just exhausted. The Amish are excellent about tending to their own though. They usually do all of the patient's ADL's if the patient is unable to perform them themselves. Usually one member of the family stays the whole time with the patient. We have become accustomed to it.

I guess we will always have to deal with visitors, so I guess learning to cope with them is the best thing to do.


164 Posts

much rather have somebody writing down what time i hung an antibiotic than screaming at me when i come in the room....what time was her last dose????

is this one late???????

or worse yet blaming me for something some other blonde nurse did or said.

the er thing is just ridiculous. when the doc finished the code he should have 302'd the wife


566 Posts

Specializes in ER, Hospice, CCU, PCU.

One night we were in the middle of a trauma code (not a trauma center but the accident haddened right down the street.) Only have 1 doc. A patients wife walked into the trauma code and said "Look this thing is going to take all night and my husband just needs a bandaid that will take 2 minutes. You can run in and see him and then come back here and we can go home."

My question (Yes, I really said it out load) "What the F##k did he come to an ER for a bandaide for???" I was lucky that night, she must have thought about how stupid she had been because I never got reported for that one.

As our hospital takes pleasure in drumming into our heads "CUSTOMER SERVICE, CUSTOMER SERVICE, CUSTOMER SERVICE"

I had been off a couple days and when I came back I noticed a large amount of methodone had been uses (they started stocking it in the ER after (/!! incase people couldn't get to their clinics). I asked the nurse I was counting with "Who are wee giving all this methadone to?" and bless her heart she looked up at me and simled and said "Anyone who wants it dear, remember CUSTOMER SERVICE, CUSTOMER SERVICE, CUSTOMER SERVICE.

So I guess that goes for visitors too.:confused:


108 Posts

:eek: What is really irritating to me is when visitors will enter a room even though the door is closed and the privacy curtain is pulled. They don't knock and they don't heed your request to not enter. Here I am trying to straight the patient. It happened to me just recently. Recently, I had a patient in ICU, an MI. She had several family members vistiting. I could tell the patient was getting tired and subtly hinted that it was time for the visitors to leave. They didn't take the hint immediately. About 15 minutes later one of the daughters came out and stated that "I think mother is getting too tired" and what was I going to do about it? :rolleyes: DUH!! I politely told them to leave so that mother could rest.


28 Posts

I would say 98% of our visitors are lovely helpful people...but that 2% always seems to be ppl whose tree does not branch. Frustrating as it does give us something to laugh about later. Once in awhile we get someone with a chip on their shoulder. That is very difficult to deal with. Many of these ppl have their own issues with Mom & Dad (or whoever the pt is) . My most recent problem has been coffee..believe it or not. The hospital owner said they were spending too much money on coffee. Took away our coffee maker..put in a coffee longer supplies to pts, visitors or employees. Patients can get coffee until dietary closes at 5pm. I bring coffee ina thermos from home (i work 7p-7a). Visitors actually expect me to give them my thermos coffee! I am not essentially a selfish person but without coffee I have a hard time functioning by 5am. I have been yelled at etc because they have to pay for their own coffee out of the they try telling me the machine is not working..I just tell them the gas station 100yds away from hospital has excellent coffee..sorry.:D

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