Saturday, February 04, 2012

mary the nurse masochist

There is somebody I work with who has labelled how nurses are sometimes treated by patients as bullying. He predicts that in the future nurses will force employers to deal with this. He thinks that the young nurses coming into the profession today won't put up with it like the older nurses have. I hope so.

I wonder why allow ourselves to keep being treated badly by patients? Sometimes I think that we convince ourselves that this person is under stress and normally they wouldn't be like that. We as a group tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, to forgive bad behavior.

Putting up with abuse is taught to us starting in nursing school and reinforced by our employers. We are taught to understand, empathize, to de-escalate. We are told that the patient is always right. We are told patient satisfaction is number one, even if it means taking verbal and sometimes physical abuse. When we object we are told, you knew what this job would be like when you got it. Maybe if you can't handle it, you should move on. In other words, WE are the problem, not the abuser.

We as a group allow ourselves to be treated like we are sub human. In what other job than ours would people allow themselves to be abused? What a strange profession we work in, that this goes on. What a strange group of people we are, to allow it to go on. Why don't we value ourselves more?


Anonymous said...

i can't imagine being rude to a nurse (or anyone!) who isn't being rude to me. when my infant daughter was brought to the ER this one nurse kept me as calm as possible and even went with my daughter for her spinal tap when i couldn't handle going, even though it wasn't her job. i asked her to go and she carried my baby in her arms there and back. she got the iv and urine cath quickly. i've seen pretty rude nurses on L&D but not in ER. thank you for all you do for the terrified patients who come in! we're not all drug-seeking/mental patients/high/drunk and it can be truly terrifying to where we can't think straight. sorry for the no caps, my now-healthy daughter is sleeping on my arm.

Anonymous said...

I work medsurg. We're quick to tell a frequent flier you will not talk to us like that. Someone that we haven't seen before gets a free pass.

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Seems incredible to me that anyone can act that way no matter what the heck is going on...

ER is where I go when the only other alternative is to shoot myself from the pain. I have been treated so well in my three experiences with ERs, I can only marvel at the knowledge and skills that the doctors and nurses possess.