Sometimes I get really sick of the mentality that people can behave however they want toward nurses. This is one of those times. Aside from being hit, kicked, and spit on because apparently that's just fine, I speak of plain old rudeness and hostility. People seem to think that medical personnel are not subject to the rules of interaction that apply to everyone else. Representative example 1: I walk in to work and sit down at my computer. I have not had time to take report or get coffee. My ass has barely hit the upholstery. A patient comes out of a nearby room and, without preamble, launches into, "Can you take this FUCKING thing out of my hand so I can go home?" Me: "I just got here, but let me talk to your doctor and see what we're waiting on and I'll be right with you." Patient: "I don't even know who my fucking doctor is. You should've checked on this shit 3 hours ago and then I wouldn't STILL be waiting on it." Me: "Like I said, I just got here, and I will speak to your doctor." Her: "You should've done this before...." She wasn't talking, she was yelling, and she was looming over the counter waving her IV in my face. She'd never seen me before, I'd never seen her before, and yet she found this an appropriate method of interaction. This is not uncommon in the ER. What the hell? I bet you her pack of unfiltered Camels that she would never dream of walking into any other business and randomly yelling at someone like that. But a nurse? Hellz yeah. Let me wipe your ass and kiss it too, because damn, we shore do need us some customer satisfaction.
Representative example 2: Patient comes to the ER for a presumably emergent complaint. About 45 minutes into his stay, he uses the call light. I answer. First words out of his mouth: "Yeah, I'm about to fucking leave, so you might want to get this goddamn shit off of me before I do." I go to the room. "What's the problem?" Him: "I'm not sitting here until 3:00 in the fucking morning, so take this shit off before I rip it off." Me: "I'm not sure where this hostility is coming from, but YOU came here asking for help, and we're helping you." Him: "Fuck you, lady. Hostility? You ain't seen NOTHING yet." Again: where else would he go asking for help and then act like a total dick to the people helping him?
I understand in situations like this the desire to leave after a long (or not so long) wait. But don't people recall basic courtesy? I mean, they could start out with something like, "Can you please find out when I can leave?" Or a statement! Without the yelling and swearing! Like, I don't know, "I would like to leave now," would work just fine.
Do we need to start teaching patients to use their words like big girls and boys instead of throwing temper tantrums?