back to top
Patience is a virtue
February 9, 2013
Most people would agree that at some point in their life they have encountered a person displaying harsh rude behavior.
Weather this behavior was directed towards them or someone else the impact is significant.
Imagine waking up in the morning feeling rested ready to make a difference.
Driving to work playing your favorite music you discover you are low on gas.
You pull into the station only to encounter a gas attendant that is rude despite the tranquility you offered him.
Why so rude?
How does this encounter affect the way your day will be? Does this affect your performance or consequences for the day?
You still may be in a good mood; however the gas attendant’s attitude is still stuck in the back of your head lingering like a cloud.
“As a Nurse, I never would have imagined how many rude and disrespectful people I would encounter in my career.”
Nurses are often blamed for everything from the Hospitals bad food, to the Hospitals crazy temperature conditions, to their roommate being noisy or the bumpy ambulance ride to the ER.
When I first started working as a Nurse this type of behavior emotionally affected me leaving me dumbfounded and frustrated with many of the complaints being out of my hands.
As a Nurse, I never would have imagined how many rude and disrespectful people I would encounter in my career.
I’ve been thinking more lately how Patients and families behavior directly impacts Nurses quality of care.
How does this behavior affect Nurses ability to safely and effectively carry out difficult Nursing tasks?
Nurses are exposed to harsh and rude behavior on a daily basis.
Sometimes this behavior is subtle such as eye rolling, arms crossing, and walking away.
Sometimes this behavior is more direct such as name calling, hitting, spitting, or saying sexually inappropriate things.
It is well documented from the past that Nurses were often at the receiving end of highly tempered physicians and treated with the utmost disrespect.
back to top
Dealing with the impossible
Today however, we have a new generation of doctors and nurses whom demand reverence and professionalism from each other kicking off a new millennium of healthcare provided.
So with doctors’ rudeness no longer being an issue, this only leaves the Patients and the family members.
I understand and have been directed through studies that during a hospitalization family and Patients are under a lot of stress.
I appreciate that fear of the unknown can sometimes manifest itself as disruptive behavior.
Through education and experience I’ve successfully learned how to alter harsh behavior resulting in a comfortable rapport.
However, I still encounter down right malicious individuals indifferent to the compassionate care and understanding offered.
I recognize that their punitive behavior unquestionably impacts the quality of nursing care provided.
I have come into work on ample instances only to find nurses flipping coins over who will care for Mrs. X since she is so emotionally draining.
“Patients behaving rudely, only results in Nurses lack of effort and ultimately produces lower quality of care.”
Numerous times I’ve considered calling out sick with hopes to avoid a son like Mr. Y’s who’s rude and confrontational behavior makes staff avoid him like a plague.
On many occurrences I have provided encouragement to newly graduated Nurses on the verge of emotional collapse following attempts to provide care for Mr. Z which resulted poorly.
To understand the stress related factors of Nursing you would need to recognize the complex structure of the organization.
The number of interactions Nurses encounter in a shift is phenomenal dealing with the disease process, clinicians, technology, policies, procedures, and resources.
The amount of information received and processed from various departments on various Patients is copious.
The amount of timely decisions they need to make is essential. Nurses need to be capable to prioritize, structure thoughts, and carry out tasks quickly.
back to top
This involves an arrangement of mental and physical events requiring a specific sequential process called the Nursing process.
This process requires Nurses to rank tasks and set out clear and precise actions.
Rude and confrontational behavior leads to a disruption in cognitive function leading to medication errors and poor judgment; it also causes distractions on behalf of Nurses preventing them from effectively carrying out the difficult tasks involved which ultimately affects their quality of care.
Patients behaving rudely, only results in Nurses lack of effort and ultimately produces lower quality of care.
Limit setting as appropriately as possible has been the recent practice in many hospitals and usually but not always works.
Hospitals do not have policies for how Patients should treat staff, so it is up to the Nurse to subtly structure and carry out a plan.
I have yet to figure out what makes Patients and family members think it’s suitable to treat us, the ones taking care of them with disregard.
I know from experience that the patients or family members such as the ones mentioned are labeled in the medical field as difficult.
Difficult Patients, difficult family members, confrontational and even bullying have been other terms used to describe them.
I’m not sure why people think they will receive better care if they are bullies.
This behavior only results in staff avoiding contact with them which compromises their care.
“Patience is a virtue and is essential for Nurses and Patients alike.”
By avoiding contact with the Patient, Nurses fail in performing thorough examinations which may lead to missed symptoms and prolonged diagnosis.
The pressured apprehension prevents the continuous re-examination and thoroughness involved to safely and effectively provide care.
Abrupt confrontational behavior results in feelings of resent, anger, frustration and only clouds ones thoughts to properly care for them.
Nursing is driven by human compassion and the willingness to help others.
Understanding that behavior has a direct reaction on staffs quality of care is important.
The ability to care for Patients appropriately requires a receptive grateful response and is well deserved.
Patience is a virtue and is essential for Nurses and Patients alike.
Dealing with different tempers effectively comes with experience, professionalism and is often emotionally draining.
Kindness, understanding, and perseverance need to be exercised and should be a revolving template for human behavior.
Keep in mind the next time you or your family member is hospitalized, that the relationship you build with staff members will ultimately result in the quality of care which they will receive.