How do I deal with an angry patient?


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The nature of the job forces nurses to encounter people from all walks of life with varying personality traits and demeanors. That can be very gratifying but sometimes extremely difficult, especially if you’re dealing with a personality that clashes with your own or a patient who may be less than pleasant. It’s a nurse’s job to help people—all people—but it’s also important for you to stand up for yourself if a patient becomes unruly and insulting.

1. Don’t be too hard on people who act like jerks. Try to respect that you may not know all of the deep-rooted reasons for their behavior.

2. Try to sympathize with the patient, and let that sympathy breed patience within you.

3. Tell the patient that you are sympathetic and that you want to help.

4. Take a “personal breather” and step off the floor for a minute if the burden of the rude patient becomes overwhelming.

5. It’s even appropriate to ask somebody else to take over the care of a patient if it becomes an emotional burden on you once the interventions noted above are carried out.

And don’t let your day be ruined by a belligerent patient. It’s no reflection on you.


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