How to Deal With Difficult Parents
Nicole Lehr | Scrubs Magazine
5. Give the parents a break. Even if it is just a five minute break to walk around the floor. Offer to listen out for the baby until they return and tell them to go out to dinner. This scenario gets tricky because nursing staff can easily get taken advantage of and suddenly you find yourself transformed into a babysitter. But as long as ground rules are set and the parent knows they can’t just drop the baby off at the hospital and leave, parents truly appreciate some time away for their sanity, which in turn leads to sanity for the nursing staff as well.
6. Be an advocate for your patient. Probably the biggest piece of advice I could give. If you don’t agree with something the doctors have ordered, or if you feel as though the parent’s concerns are not being heard, do something about it. You want to make sure that the medical team is being presented as a united front, but if that united front is not effectively caring for the patient, you have a duty to act as that patient’s advocate. to speak up. This will make parents confident that you are working with them for the benefit of the child.
If, after all of these things, a parent is still rude, demeaning, inappropriate, aggressive, condescending, etc. just continue to remind yourself that they are going through a very hard time and perhaps they are taking out their frustrations on you because there is no other outlet. Not to say this is appropriate behavior or that any nurse should be treated poorly, but while in the room kindly smile, excuse yourself, and if it persists, have the assignment changed.
I have been in the situation where I have felt so uncomfortable entering a room because of the parent that it hindered my care of the patient, which is not only unfair to me but the patient as well. Bottom line, don’t take it personally. The potential for a strong relationship developing between a nurse and a parent is a likely one, and a sought after one for many nurses. The second best thing to making an ill child’s day better is making their parent’s day better by sharing with them your knowledge and your commitment to their child for that shift. Do your best to foster these relationships, because I know if I was in the same situation, I would want my nurse on my side too.
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