Rude nurses - how do you deal with them?

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Rude nurses - how do you deal with them?

by MotherWMyeloma on Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:00 AM

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I would say that the majority of people at my mother's hospital are great; however, I have had a couple of instances with crazy nurses (accusatory, nasty, argumentative).  My mom just got a new nurse who I had the highest hopes for until I just got into a problem with her.  What it comes down to is that she had a conversation w/ my mom and based on that conversation, I called both her and the other nurse who works for my mom's doctor and left a message regarding the fact that I believed my mom's platelets to be low and she needed a transfusion.  Soonafter the nurse called and said she had consulted the doctor and they were going to transfuse her tomorrow.  I was grateful, said thank you, thought everything was great (I was actually very happy with this woman). About an hour later, I got another call from the new nurse.  She had a confrontational tone, denied ever telling my mother that they weren't going to transfuse and was angry that I had left a message on the other nurse's voice mail.  She said I better "watch how I say things" or somethign to that effect.  I ended up hanging up on her.  I have one priority and that's my mom's health and I get really annoyed when someone gives me attitude for doing what I came here to do:  be my mom's advocate.  I had been nothing but nice to this nurse prior to that confrontational call.

 How do you deal with nasty hospital staff?  As I said, most of the people there are great (there are a few who I absolutely adore) but a couple make an impossible situation worse with their insecurities/attitudes.  I've already put in a formal complaint about someone else at the hospital and I don't really want to go back to Patient Relations and complain yet again. I just want to get others feedbacks on how they've dealt with similar situations.

RE: Rude nurses - how do you deal with them?

by DavesWife on Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:00 AM

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I' m a nurse and also a caregiver to my husband, so I can probably give some insight to both sides.  As a caregiver to someone I dearly love, who is my soul mate and best friend , I absolutely know how much it hurts to see that person in pain and suffering physically and emotionally.  And to have a rude and uncaring nurse or any other medical professional treat you so UN-professionally is inexcusable.  Nurses are supposed to be there for the patients and the families and act as a patient advocate to ensure proper and efficient care of medical problems.   It sounds as if there was some miscommunication between the nurses which can happen when there has been an especially demanding shift.  When my husband was diagnosed, I was in such a state of shock and fear that I was very short  tempered, and I would have been more so if any staff member spoke to me that way!

On the other side, as a nurse who cared for very ill patients such as your mother for many years,  it is very difficult for the patients and families who are so worried about their medical problems to comprehend what is going on "behind the scenes", nor should they have to.  No patient wants to hear that their care was delayed because of someone in the next room who may or not be as ill, but just happens to demand more of the nurses' time.  But the reality is that all nurses must cope with constant unrelenting demands from patients, physicians, pharmacists, other staff, etc...and many days the pressure is almost too much to bear, especially for those nurses who have very high expectations of themselves and of how they care for their patients.  In fact most nurses go home after their shift wondering why they even tried, because the workload is so overwhelming

The nurse who gave you so much grief may have had a confrontation with a doctor just a few minutes before, or may have  been counseled about something that was really not in her control,  and may not have realized how nasty she was to you.  

My suggestion is that you speak with her privately, and tell her that you were very concerned about your Mom, and there must have been some type of misunderstanding, and how would you and the nurses be able to avoid it in the future. Try to keep calm, even though it may feel impossible. You may find out that there was a reasonable explanation, or you may find that she just is an uncaring nasty person.  If it is the latter then I would suggest meeting with her manager to discuss  how the matter can be resolved.  If you are not satisfied, go to his or her director. And you may want to ask the patient rep. to attend the meeting with you to act as a mediator.

Hope this was helpful, and I sincerely hope that things go better for you so you can concentrate on your mom! 

 

RE: Rude nurses - how do you deal with them?

by Lucymac on Fri Nov 09, 2007 12:00 AM

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I too have experienced very similar rude and obnoxious attitudes from nurses but at the back of my mind has been always the fear that if I retaliate, then it would be my husband who would suffer when I was not physically present at his bedside. Many of us have had busy and stressful jobs but there is no excuse for anyone, no matter what their profession, to treat a client/patients with anything other than courtesy and respect. I believe that the Medical profession is given a much wider berth than we would allow to anyone else - purely because we are so dependent upon their goodwill.
On the other side of course, my husband has on several occasions told me of things which have occurred or been said that quite obviously haven't. We must remember that they too are under stress and often on strong drugs which make their understanding and contact with reality sometimes open to question.

RE: Rude nurses - how do you deal with them?

by MotherWMyeloma on Fri Nov 09, 2007 12:00 AM

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Thank you for your insight. It really helps me to hear it from someone who has experienced both sides of the spectrum.

RE: Rude nurses - how do you deal with them?

by roadrunner on Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:00 AM

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Many people feel the same as Lucymac's response, that if they complain or retaliate the nurses will treat their loved ones worse when the family members are not present. Several years ago, my older son was in a hospital after a bad car accident with head trama and broken bones. I visited every evening after work. One night my son rang the buzzer several times for the nurse, because he had to use the restroom and the nurses helped him since he had a cast on one leg. He was too heavy for me to support, and I did not want to risk his falling. I went to see why the nurse was not resonding, and before I was within sight of the room where the nurses sat I heard them chanting, "He has to go to the restroom, he has to go to the restroom..." As soon as they saw me, their faces turned beet red. I told them that my son had to use the restoom and needed some help. Both of them were very overweight and acted as if they did not have a care in the world. I did not report them to the hospital administration for fear that they would treat my son worse when I was not there. Many people probably have that fear.

RE: Rude nurses - how do you deal with them?

by steveno11 on Sun Nov 18, 2007 12:00 AM

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My mother has had MM for 2 1/2 years. In this ongoing adventure, we (my brother and sisters) have become my mother's advocate in numerous situations. We have encountered the same problem you describe. Our response is always the same.

We ask to speak to the nurse in private and explain to her or him that our mother was not always in the state that you see her in today. She was a professional woman that deserved and received respect from those whom she came in contact. We expect and demand she be treated with the same respect during the illness she is now going thru. Any deviation from this will result in us going to her superiors and requesting she no longer care for our mother. We also discuss with our mother any problems on a daily basis.

With one exception, this has always taken care of the problem. You really have to look upon yourself as your loved ones' advocate and take the attitude to watch over their physical and mental interests. One could write a book about the motives for such rudeness by healthcare workers but that is not your job. When you see it, address it immediatly and nip it in the bud.

RE: Rude nurses - how do you deal with them?

by Wilmabc on Sun Nov 18, 2007 12:00 AM

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I to have faced this situation with my husband. For three days the pharmist had been trying to call the nurse pracitioner in reference to a prescription that she had written out for my husband for pain medicine. Along with the incorrect phone number on top of the script and not being able to contact her and the doctors office not addressing this issue, who was wrong. The prescription could not be filled because it was for a nacotic drug by law can not be filled, my husband had no pain medicine, so I called the doctors office and blasted them. Was it my fault, NO, but when we had the next appointment the head oncologist told me that there have been numerous phone calls made that were not warranted. I excused myself from the room because I did not want to get my husband upset, got ahold of this doctor and nurse and blasted them. I told the both of them don't ever give me your pompus attitude ever because your office caused this problem. I had my husband in pain for three days, they were not up with him and reminded them it's there job and if they felt I was a bother for the phone calls they have a big problem being in medicine.

My sister is a nurse for twenty eight years, never do you have an attitude with a patient it's the nurses job to deal with it. Especially when its a cancer patient in pain. So my sister called the doctor and nurse after I got done with them and reminded them when a prescription is written out incorrectly, its dangerous and very lucky she did not report it. As my sister puts it if the issue is not addressed with the superiors it will never be corrected. Don't let the next patient suffer because you did not address the issue.

Bernadette

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