You've known your whole life that you want to be a nurse and help people. Your challenging time in nursing school is almost over. You are about to see the fruits of your labor as you will soon receive your degree, but despite your excitement, one concern nags at the back of your mind: What if you encounter a difficult patient? You've probably heard of horror stories about unscrupulous patients, and you'll probably encounter one at some point. Although there isn't one approach that works in every situation, there are strategies you may use to manage difficult patient interactions.
Keep your compassion.
One of the simplest methods to calm someone who is being tough is to show concern for them. They may experience a sense of helplessness and powerlessness, particularly if they have been admitted to a hospital. Consider yourself in their position, and then patiently listen to them to show that you comprehend how they feel. Without passing judgment and with respect, treat them as you would a perfect patient.
Remain in control.
When someone yells at you, it's only natural to want to respond in kind, but doing so will only make things worse. Patients may lash out at the first person they come into contact with when they are in pain, fearful, or afraid. Keep in mind that even though the patient is angry with you, it's usually not a personal attack.
Sometimes tough patients act out over trivial demands because they think no one is paying attention to them. As long as it doesn't compromise the level of care provided to other patients, put aside your annoyance with the patient and try your best to accommodate their demands.
Prioritize patient care
Even the challenging patients deserve the greatest care you can offer. Give all of your patients exceptional, fulfilling care as your top priority. You'll finish your shift feeling satisfied that you have done your part to the best of your ability, even if a patient is still upset.
When you are dealing with a challenging patient, it is simple to become impatient, agitated, and angry. It will only get worse if you vent your frustration on the patient. You can defuse the situation and prevent it from getting out of hand by remaining calm.
Remind the patient that you expect them to be respectful.
Explain calmly that you are treating the patient with respect and deserve the same in return if he or she engages in name-calling or other improper behavior. You might need to leave the scene to give the patient some space to settle down. If you believe you need assistance handling the situation, request assistance from a coworker.
Ask for assistance.
It is always OK to seek a coworker for help if you feel that you have exhausted all of your options on your own without success. You're just human, after all. Nursing is an emotionally taxing job, and while it is great to be well-versed in coping mechanisms, you are permitted to take a break and remove yourself from a situation if the need arises. Never forget to take care of yourself as well as your patients.
In the healthcare sector, difficult exchanges are unavoidable. Individuals with all levels of expertise should consider taking conflict resolution classes if they haven't before. This lessens the possibility that a challenging patient may catch you off-guard and prevent you from providing high-quality therapy.