The Five Common Practices that Piss Patients Off

Not getting adequately medicated. Most patients don’t understand the concept of PRN. Patients expect their pain to be adequately managed, and sometimes they want us to adequately manage it without them actually telling us that they are in pain or need pain medication. And then there are the times where we want to tell people what their pain scale is. Like, we’ve probably all wanted to say…if you’re talking on your cell phone, your pain scale is probably a six, not a ten. Or, if you have to wake up to ask for pain meds, you probably weren’t in that much pain in the first place. It’s easy to forget that pain is all about a person’s perception. Personally, I have learned that I need two things in order to give a patient pain meds: a physician’s order and adequate patient respirations. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we’re not going to MAKE someone an addict in the few days they’re with us. There’s a greater probability of us under medicating someone.

Disrupting sleep. Every healthcare provider believes that whatever they have to do is so crucial to the patient’s plan of care that sleep be damned, it has to be done! And this might be true…you really may need to draw those labs or take that blood pressure the exact moment your patient starts to snore. But there has to be something said for how a lack of uninterrupted sleep can affect a person’s well-being….and those Great Gatsby patient satisfaction scores. Throw your patient a bone and cluster any activities you can.

Never knowing when the doctor will come. This is something we obviously cannot control, but let’s face it, it’s something that still pisses all of us off, including our patients. “I’ll come by in the morning” can mean any time before 5pm. And although we understand that emergencies come up, and providers are frequently presented with unexpected events, it’s still super annoying for everyone involved.  You can try to get around this by telling your patients “I’m expecting your physician to be by this afternoon” that way if they actually do show up at 9am it’s like a present for everyone.

Delaying discharge. I’m sure you’re not the one holding onto your patient so you don’t get another 😉. Besides annoying the hell out of your patient, who just wants to get home so they can sleep in their own bed for more than 30 minutes at a time, it also angers all of your coworkers who are totally onto you. And then there’s the physician that tells the patient they’re being discharged, but takes 6 hours to write the order. Hunt.them.down. and get the order (and then your next patient). It sucks, but it’s just the way we roll.

Not allowing family to remain with the patient. Maybe visiting hours are to blame. Maybe it’s some unwritten policy that the nurse must first speak to the patient alone… you know, to find out any “secret” information they may be unwilling to divulge in the presence of their partner. And I’m sure someone out there will say “well, once I had a patient confess THIS, and they NEVER would have admitted that if their family would have been in the room.” All I know is, when I’m the patient and not the nurse, I want my family with me. It makes me feel better.  We are taking care of adults, after all. They can make their own decisions.


Previously published on Mighty Nurse.

Until my next delivery ❤

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