Do You Have Difficult Patients?

Nursing is a rewarding career, however, it can also mean that you will need to work with people who may be difficult. The key to being a successful nurse is to understand that anger, fear, being overly demanding, among others, may be a result of medications or diseases that can cause confusion or agitation.

There are strategies to help you manage these unpleasant or uncooperative patients while continuing to provide the much-needed care and attention they need.

Here are what the experts say to do with certain patients and situations:

First, determine, is it them or you?
Make sure it isn’t something that you’re dealing with in your own life that is causing you to interpret their behavior in a negative way.

Acknowledge the situation
Sometimes, you just have to speak out loud about the tension. Say something like “I feel like we are getting off on the wrong foot.” This opens the door for you to talk about it and give them the opportunity to fully realize you’re there to help.

Take yourself out of the situation for a moment
Sometimes a quick walk around the block or taking a moment to read a book can help you clear your head.

Look at it from the patient’s point-of-view
Sometimes they may simply be scared about their health or recent diagnosis that can be clouding their perception of what’s going on.

Hear them out
Sometimes they just need to talk to someone, and the power of listening can really help both them and you. Be open and patient so that they know you really care and there to help.

Be empathetic
If they begin to cry, hand them a tissue. This goes a long way to show you are really trying to understand their situation.

Boundaries are important
If a patient is getting very loud or throwing out profanity, make sure you let them know, in a calm voice, that this will not be allowed here. Once they calm down, you can reenter the room to continue the conversation.

You may need the help of others
Don’t be afraid to ask for the outside help of a professional. They are trained in this area and can be a great resource to help you, and the patient, get through this. Remember to handle it very carefully so they know you will still be by their side.

Patients come to nurses with all types of mental and physical challenges. And, each patient deserves the best care you can provide. Following some of the guidelines above can help you get through these tougher times while you continue to provide the best care possible for your patients.