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How to Deal with Pushy Patients

How to Deal with Pushy Patients

Megan Malugani | Monster Contributing Writer

Put Yourself in the Patient’s Shoes

Patients generally aren’t angry at the healthcare provider, but at their situation, says John Song, MD, assistant professor of head and neck oncology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. Try to get to the root of the patient’s problem through open-ended inquiry. You may discover the patient has unrealistic expectations or is frustrated by insurance limitations or high copayments.

Roemer agrees. “Patients are usually pushy because they have a reason to be,” she says. Simply recognizing and validating your patients’ frustrations and concerns may improve the therapeutic relationship.

Maintain a Professional Demeanor

If you feel a situation is escalating out of control, take a time out, Song says. He recommends telling the patient, “I understand this is very upsetting to you, and I empathize with what you are feeling.” Then leave the room to give the patient time to absorb what is happening.

Don’t Let It Ruin Your Day

Family nurse practitioner Debra Bergstrom, founder of Neighborhood Family Practice in Scottsdale, Arizona, doesn’t let irate patients get under her skin. “Our philosophy is that we’re not going to let it get to us,” she says. “We try to identify the patient’s real problem. Maybe they’re afraid we won’t take them seriously, are anxious about money or were treated poorly elsewhere.”

According to Bergstrom, in a service business, “you may as well shut down” if you are bothered by every difficult encounter.

This article was originally published on Monster.com.

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  • Bb_nurse_max50

    jenlasti

    about 6 years ago

    16 comments

    Using the right techniques does help to deal with"pushy" patients, especially when you find the root of where their feelings come from. Sometimes the family/friends can be very "pushy" and mean, that to me is hard to deal with.

  • Steph_s_007_max50

    leswooley

    about 6 years ago

    10 comments

    I work in an OB department, who can be more crabbier than a pregnant woman having labor pains?! We tend to let them express their feelings and not take any of it seriously. After delivery, the patients are always apologizing for how they have behaved. We see people who are in need of our assistance and are not usually feeling very well. It is our job to look past that and deal with the matters at hand! This is why we love our job, we are helping people!!!!!!

  • Lisa_and_nathan_max50

    lisapat63

    about 6 years ago

    18 comments

    I have been pretty lucky and have been able to understood a patient that is being mean, on the other hand there are many families that use the excuse "stressed Out" to be mean to nurses, I will say I find that an intolerable excuse for family or others to be cruel. I often wonder if family may have dementia/psychological issues, and anyone has an idea of how to deal with them?

  • Hpim0013_max50

    reclements

    about 6 years ago

    26 comments

    The "Be up front and sincere" section is particularly helpful, the rest of the article was quite good as well. I have found that if I give patients a heads up about what to expect, as well as a quick explanation of what I am doing and why, is preventative. There will always be patients who ARE mean, maybe even cruel. I've found that taking the high road is the best, and it is o.k. to tell them to not abuse you. Cruelty never acceptable, and "being sick" is not a justification for such behavior. Dementia is another story altogether...

    heart4kids, I think that you will be a great nurse. There is nothing wrong with being sensitive; I am the same way. Over time you will find that there are some things which just do not bother you, but it is important to identify what is most difficult for you before you become a nurse. If you have an idea of what those situations are, then you can plan for them. I think your skin may be thicker than you think if you survived McDonalds!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    aabryan

    about 6 years ago

    24 comments

    Great advice! I've encountered patients that are consistently nasty and non-compliant. I truly believe that listening and empathizing with your patients goes a very far way. However, when patients exhibit extreme behaviors, it may cause for dismissal of care. If the patients interest are not met, then it impinges on quality care.

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    MsKlassy2008

    about 6 years ago

    140 comments

    This article was very sufficient because dealing with pushy patients is kind of hard sometimes......

  • Img_1145_max50

    chrehovcik

    about 6 years ago

    24 comments

    I need help with pushy family members of patients

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    spitfire32708

    about 6 years ago

    6 comments

    I need an article on How to deal with Pushy Doctors!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    about 6 years ago

    this article is comforting for both the pt and care giver but it's sometime easier said than done...

  • P1020069_max50

    Angie_ri78

    about 6 years ago

    92 comments

    Sometimes these patients/residents just want someone to vent on. They are most likely upset about their situation and what better person to dump on than the Rn or Cna! I think being patient and not taking it personal are the best solutions for a crabby patient. The patients were once able to take care of themselves and now they are dependant on another to do simple ADL's. What gets my goat is seeing staff blow off a patient and talk to them like a child or call them 'hon" or sweetie. Sometimes I don't blame the patient for being crabby

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    Account Removed

    about 6 years ago

    we've all had these kinds of patients or residents. I currently work as an STNA and every now and then we get one that you just can't please no matter what! The worst thing would be that they would go to the DON or the Administrator and complain about how inept you are... a few have even gotten people fired. Some are just never pleased, however I have found out that most are just anxious for some reason, lonely, or just afraid. I have been sworn at, hit, bit, kicked, punched, peed and pooped on when someone was upset with me. I just consider it a true test of my personal strength and manage through it. When I get home, just take a nice hot bath and forget about it.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    hcope

    about 6 years ago

    12 comments

    I used to feel this way, still do to an extent. But I got a taste of this as an STNA. One patient in particular was rude to everone, very demanding, and would name call everytime he pleased. On a busy hall with the most difficult patients, he would demand someone to be in his room to cater to him almost constantly. The minute you thought you did everything possible for him and you get to the door, he would think of ten more things. It got to be whenever you were called in there you were gone for 2 hours. But he never got to me, I knew he was lonely. I just told him that when I got my work caught up, I'd be in there to chat, it worked wonders.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    heart4kids

    about 6 years ago

    4 comments

    Thank you so much for this article. This is what I fear the most as I begin nursing school. I want to help people with all my heart, but I know I have "thin skin" when it comes to situations like these. I don't totally shut down, but my feelings are hurt very easily. (I'm reminded of my days as a cashier at McDonalds!) Sometimes it makes me question if I'm really cut out to become a nurse. Did anyone else feel this way before becoming a nurse? Thank you for the tips, I will try to remember them on difficult days. :)

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