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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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    dianekirse

    over 3 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.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    retchel

    over 4 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.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Emmatol

    almost 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

    about 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

    over 5 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

    over 5 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

    over 5 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

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    it is fantastic. Thanks.

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    buck

    over 5 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

    over 5 years ago

    14 comments

    Thank you for the great advice.

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    AbusyRN2go

    over 5 years ago

    13876 comments

    Good advice thanks

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    casassy62688

    over 5 years ago

    290 comments

    Great tips, thanks!

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    bourdony

    over 5 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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