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8 Things You Should Never Say to a Patient

Nina Kim, Georgia Price | NursingLink

August 05, 2009

You don’t get to choose your patients. So your relationship with them can range anywhere from “match made in heaven” to “your worst nightmare.”

Any appointment can be a potentially difficult situation, mainly because when patients come to see you, they’re probably already anxious. They may be concerned about what’s ailing them, be uncomfortable with the sterile atmosphere, or have a general distrust of medical practitioners.

Regardless, proper patient care requires utmost clinical professionalism and good communication.

But “good communication” doesn’t necessarily mean “tell all.” While transparency is important, there are certainly things nurses should never say to their patients. Ever.

To help you keep your patients at ease, NursingLink came up with 8 things you should never say to them. We’ll also offer suggestions for what to say instead.

Next Page: #1 “This won’t hurt at all.” >>

  • Screenshot014_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    some of them fall on therapeutic communication, still just needing some common sense=)

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    about 5 years ago


    Great tips. Thanks a lot

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    about 5 years ago


    This is great tips... I will always remember to NEVER Say those things to my patient... I enjoy this tips.

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    Account Removed

    about 5 years ago

    If finding your patient's record is taking time... what do you do? Do you go ahead with the procedure without it ??

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    Account Removed

    about 5 years ago

    Its a good reminder to nurses.

  • 12-10-09_max50


    about 5 years ago


    All good advice and all things we should have learned at the beginning of nursing school but sometimes forget

  • Dsc09353_max50


    about 5 years ago


    Thanks for the tips:)

  • 07117_lovebeingnursepin_nw_med_max50


    about 5 years ago


    :D Thanx, great tips.

  • D1_max50


    about 5 years ago


    This 8 things you should never tell to the patient is good for the patient because you have a respect and sympathy to them inorder to gain trust.

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    about 5 years ago


    Unless you are absolutely sure, never ask a female if they are pregnant. I have certainly been guilty of "Would you look at that", but then I would make a terrible poker player.

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    about 5 years ago


    "Eight things you should never say to a patient....."
    8)"You're gonna EAT THAT?THAT LOOKS GROSS!"( When pureed food is served).
    7)"You're NOT in're just LOOKING FOR MORE DRUGS!"(Pt with FX -hip).
    6)"So when you die,are you gonna COME BACK TO HAUNT ME?"( Said to Hospice Patient).
    5)"He/She loves that call bell SOOO MUCH, they're gonna CLOCK ME ONE when
    I least expect it"( Quoted about a demanding resident).
    4)"Do I need to notify the census bureau about all of the cooties you have living
    under those clothes?"( Said to patient,prior to shower being given).
    3)"If I administer care to a resistive patient, do I recieve COMBAT PAY?"( Night-shift staff).
    2)"If you fall ONE MORE TIME out of that chair,YOUR FAMILY WILL BE PISSED @ YOU!"
    (Quoted about an impulsive patient / high-risk)....And..........
    1)"They're DEAD! So,why are you still TALKING TO THEM?!"( Quoted when a patient expires).

    **Shocking,but TRUE ACCOUNTS".

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    about 5 years ago


    I love nursing,what about you?

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    Account Removed

    about 5 years ago

    Wow, I am surprised most of these would ever escape a Nurse's or Doctor's lips!! I have heard some that make me cringe (and sometimes make me furious):

    1 - "Oh, stop being silly" (to a child)
    2- "You're very lucky you're able to get treatment you know" (to a cancer patient who fought to get a more expensive treatment).
    3- (angrily) "I can't find your cervix, I can't find your cervix" followed by "Well, there is rather a lot of fat to get through" (to a robust woman having a smear who said "ouch" when the Doctor was pressing on her abdomen)

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    about 5 years ago


    How about:
    "What the heck is that?"
    "Hey, (name of another nurse) come look at this!"
    To a very obese pt. "are you hiding anything between those (flaps of skin)?"

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    about 5 years ago


    Let's make a more complete list of what should not be said to patients:

    1. You sure don't sweat much for a fat guy (woman)!

    2. What are those gross-looking things all over your face?

    3. . . .

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