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How do I deal with judgmental feelings?


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We all have a less than favorite patient population. Many of us might consider “non therapeutic drug seekers” as one of our least favorite type of patients.

I remember taking care of a patient who wanted lots and lots of narcotics and was admittedly a drug abuser. At first I became indignant and judgmental and it was starting to ruin my shift.  Then I really started to view the situation from her point of view.

She was an addict, yes. Addiction is a disease, yes. It was a beautiful Saturday and she was in the hospital begging and arguing for narcotics, yes.

If I had a day off, I would definitely be shopping or something else legally pleasurable. Isn’t it sad that this person had such an addiction that this is how she had to spend her free time? And after all, who am I to judge? I don’t want to be president of the United States so why would I want to be the judger of all patients?

I probably won’t be able to change her with dirty looks and arguments so sometimes it’s best if you can’t beat ‘em, just don’t judge ‘em. When I wrapped my brain around this, I had a much better and healthier shift!

Rebekah Child
Rebekah Child attended the University of Southern California for her bachelor's in nursing and decided to brave the academic waters and return for her master's in nursing education, graduating in 2003 from Mount St. Mary's. Rebekah has also taught nursing clinical and theory at numerous Southern California nursing schools and has been an emergency nurse since 2002. She is currently one of the clinical educators for an emergency department in Southern California and a student (again!) in the doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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