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How to Deal with Pushy Patients

How to Deal with Pushy Patients

Megan Malugani | Monster Contributing Writer

Every healthcare professional encounters patients who are short-tempered, belligerent or just plain rude from time to time. But the frequency of these encounters may increase as the stress level rises among patients and providers. Experienced physicians and nurse practitioners offer five tips on keeping your cool when tempers flare:

Give Patients the Benefit of the Doubt

Most patients don’t purposefully cause problems for health professionals. “I try at all costs to avoid labeling patients as being ‘difficult’ or ‘pushy,’” says Brian Dwinnell, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. “Who’s to say it is the patient being difficult and not the physician or at least the system in which the patient has been forced to receive care?” Remember, patient behavior that could be considered difficult is often “born out of intense emotions such as fear, anger and sadness,” he adds.

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Be Up Front and Sincere

Nurse practitioner Linda Roemer, PhD, owner and CEO of Fridley Roemer Health Care Services in Panama City, Florida, tries to nip bad patient behavior in the bud by telling new patients exactly what to expect from her and her office staff. During her first meeting with a new patient, Roemer makes her policies clear on everything from how quickly she returns phone calls to the process of calling in prescriptions.

She is also up front in apologizing to patients who have had long waits. “I tell patients, ‘I’m here now, and you have my full attention,’” she says. If a patient isn’t appeased, Roemer tries to empower the person by giving options. For example, she may suggest that a patient schedule his next appointment to be the first one of the afternoon so he won’t have to wait again.

Next: Put Yourself in the Patient’s Shoes >>


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    feltonsite

    almost 2 years ago

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    feltonsite

    almost 2 years ago

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    dianekirse

    almost 4 years ago

    10 comments

    This is very true, especially the part about leaving the room and giving the patient and the family time to think the matter over. This has worked for me thousands of times.

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    retchel

    almost 5 years ago

    12 comments

    It's true. I believe that patient's have the right to vent their feelings (as long as they don't physically hurt you). And hopefully, we should be better with our patience in situations like these because usually by experience, these kind of people needs help the most.

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    Emmatol

    over 5 years ago

    186 comments

    Yeah, everything goes down with attitude, it influences alot of things and prevent unnecessary rift or dissatisfaction.
    It also reveal the professsionalism in you.
    Thanks for this piece, I pray all health care provider performs this effectively!

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    kdblueey

    over 5 years ago

    6 comments

    ayg1968: I agree with your comments. I have often heard in 'report' from a previous nurse about 'Mr or Mrs' is really a .......etc....hard to get along with, throwing things, etc'. But I have found in my own 'personal' experience, that if you approach this type of patient in a completely different manner than others, then I get a completely different type of patient. A type of patient that we all would enjoy having. Approach is everything. Also, a patient has a lot of family dynamics going on. Just as we also have things going on in our own private lives, but yet we have to maintain our own professionalism.

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    cowboysgurl

    almost 6 years ago

    4 comments

    Excellent advice. It can sometimes be easy to get stressed out. We just need to remember to take a step back. Works wonderfully for a presentation that I needed to give on a noncompliant patient! Thanks for the information!

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    ayg1968

    almost 6 years ago

    6 comments

    Being professional is very important in nursing as it will gain respect for the nurse. Lashing out will only make things worse.

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    ayg1968

    almost 6 years ago

    6 comments

    Many a patient who is diffiicult to deal with can be "flipped" to a wonderful patient with extra kindness and understanding. You may even find that something occured during the previous shift that upset the patient or family member.

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    eadiban

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    it is fantastic. Thanks.

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    buck

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    With every patient encounter, the nurse deserves the respect they give to the patient. Every person (no matter where or who they are) are deserving of this respect. The population in general should have this reinforced. Not just when they come into the hospital for care. Give respect and you are deserving of that respect in return. J. McEachen

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    bcarrillo

    almost 6 years ago

    14 comments

    Thank you for the great advice.

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    AbusyRN2go

    almost 6 years ago

    13876 comments

    Good advice thanks

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    casassy62688

    almost 6 years ago

    290 comments

    Great tips, thanks!

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    bourdony

    almost 6 years ago

    68 comments

    we first need to establish why that patient is crabby. we need to develope techniques that can aid us with dificult patients. we do need to let them know in a professional and compassionate manner that we cannot accept their abuse or behavior. yet we do understand that they are ill and that we will work with them to resolve and meet their feelings and needs. we also need to understand there are people with all types of dementias and behaviol disorders. i find family members and insensitive ,overbearing doctors a great deal harder to deal with. bourdony

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