Nursing is an appealing career path for someone drawn to the idea of saving lives, but it isn’t all about saving people and developing close relationships with patients. In fact, there are tons of reasons why people become nurses. More importantly, a nurse’s experience varies from one day to the next. For example, every nurse has patients they appreciate and patients that tug at their heartstrings. Unfortunately, every nurse also has rude and annoying patients who make their job more challenging than it needs to be.
In some cases, these patients are aware of their rude and nasty attitudes. In other cases, the patients have no idea their actions piss nurses off by making things more difficult. Here are the top five things most nurses would agree piss them off more than anything else.
1. Overusing the Call Light
The nurse call light is there for patients to alert the nursing station anytime they need something. Obviously, the nursing staff wants the patient to use the call light.
What the nursing staff doesn’t want to happen is to come into the patient’s room, take vitals, give the patient medication, and ask if the patient needs anything before leaving only for the patient to respond with a simple word, “no.”
Then, the nurse leaves. If the nurse has no other patients to check on, they get to head to the nursing station to sit down for a minute. Five or ten minutes pass from the time that the patient told his or her nurse they didn’t need anything only to change their mind and press the call button.
The nurse, who rarely gets to sit down on the job, gets up from the nursing station and races back to the patient’s room. After all, they just asked the patient if they needed something five to ten minutes ago. So, they fear something is very wrong. The nurse gets to the room and learns the patient is hungry, needs a drink of water, or wants an extra pillow. While the nurse will – of course – help with what the patient needs, this is abuse of the call button.
2. Using Pet Names
We’ve all been there and know the use of pet names pisses nurses off more than just about anything else. We prefer patients to call them by our actual names as opposed to obnoxious pet names such as “honey” or “dear.” This is especially true when using pet names to refer to male nurses.
3. Conflicting Stories and Symptoms
Any nurse would agree it is incredibly frustrating when patients claim they are comfortable and in minimal pain only to flip the script and cry to the doctor as if they are dying. In most cases, the doctor checks in with the nurse from time to time to see how the patient is. Not only does taking this approach jeopardize the treatment a patient receives, it also really just pisses off the nursing staff. We hate it when patients tell doctors new information they never told their nurses because it just doesn’t do anyone any favors.
4. Intervention from Family Members
Family members and significant others are an important part of recovery. Statistically, 65.7 million people serve as caregivers to a sick or disabled member of their family. Patients want – and need – the love and support of family members and significant others. Nurses, however, do not need the help of family members. More importantly, when a nurse asks a question, they don’t want a family member to answer if the patient can do so. It is beyond annoying when anyone in the room other than the patient answers. Exhausted and overworked nurses prefer family members to leave the room to prevent the problem entirely.
It is just as frustrating for a patient to intervene. Most nurses agree a patient coming into the room with a printout sheet of potential diagnoses makes them want to run from the room screaming. After all, it is the nurse’s job to treat and diagnose the patient. More importantly, most patients would not come see a nurse if they understood what was wrong with them.
The bottom line is the one thing nurses want more than anything is patients who treat them like human beings. Rude patients with nasty attitudes just make the day drag on for everyone involved.
Need a good laugh? Check “10 best responses to annoying patients.”