Dealing with Unruly Patients: What Not to Do

Dealing with Unruly Patients What Not to Do (Part I)During your nursing career, you’ll take care of a wide variety of patients. You’ll find over time that some patients are easy—but others can be difficult to handle. This can depend on a number of factors, from pain, to past experiences in hospitals, and everything in between. 

Regardless, as a nurse, dealing with an unruly patient can sometimes get in the way of your job—which is mainly to care for your patient and to make them better!

Throughout this week, we’re going to show you a few things that will help you if you ever happen across a less than perfect patient. For today, we’re going to focus on what not to do when dealing with unruly patients. Take a look below:

Don’t take it to heart

Patients can say some really hurtful things. And while you might just want to bow out and let them be, you need to remember that you aren’t the reason they are there. This means that whatever they say, no matter how terrible it can be, shouldn’t be taken personally. As we mentioned above, a patient can be upset for any number of reasons—but that doesn’t mean they are upset at you.

Don’t explode

Most importantly, don’t lose your cool. The last thing you want is to explode at a patient. Doing so will do nothing more than cause more of a headache for you. And, it may also give your patient an opportunity to play on a moment of weakness.

Keep calm in all situations. If you need to, walk away and cool down for a moment—that’s much better than blowing up at your patient and possibly giving them what they want.

Don’t let them abuse you

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you also don’t have to take everything a patient throws at you. Some patients can be borderline abusive, mentally and physically. If that’s ever the case, then you need to make sure you report it immediately.

As Jacksonville University’s School of Nursing points out, you need to become familiar with your hospital’s policies on protecting nurses from abusive behavior; that is, the measures your department puts in place to ensure the safety and security of its personnel. Being aware of your rights can put you at ease and also help prevent any mishaps from occurring.

Check back on Wednesday, when we talk about what to do when it comes to dealing with unruly patients. In the meantime, have you ever had a negative experience? How did you handle it? You can share your story by connecting with us on Twitter or by commenting below. We’d love to hear from you!

photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery via photopin cc

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