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Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


Babs, I hear ya! I spent many years in healthcare, and I had many a demanding patient. You really see people's true nature when they don't feel well. But as the health care provider, you just bite your tongue and let people vent. How many times did I get yelled at by a patient or their family for something another health care provider did (or didn't do). You just try to smooth feelings and realize that they're very stressed and try not to take it personally. But when you're the only therapist on the floor and people are yelling stat treatment for someone you've already seen and know isn't stat, it's just because the patient wants attention, and you have to leave a patient who really DOES need you, it's more than aggravating. A lot of the therapists and nurses wanted to do the bare minimum and get out of the room fast so they could go talk to their friends. The ones of us who were wanting to help the whole patient, not just give a treatment and run out, understood each other and got a lot more "reward" out of our work. But those patients who would yell for help when they didn't need help, or put their call button on for ridiculous things like what's the temperature outside just drove us crazy. Patients don't generally understand that the GOOD nurses aren't just sitting around at the nurse's station waiting for them to put on their call light. They're very overworked, and if they're doing their job well, they do very little sitting, and when they do sit they're doing charting. When they answer through the intercom, it's not that they don't feel like walking down to the patient's room. If the patient has a particular need, it's a waste of precious time to walk all the way down there just to have to go all the way back to get a pain pill, or a fresh gown, or whatever the patient needs. It makes sense to find out what the need is first.

That said, I was a model patient. I'm not bragging or patting myself on the back. I just know what a difficult patient is, and I refuse to be one. The only times I ever put my call light on were for help turning, if a machine had been beeping for over 10 minutes, or for a pain pill and only when I knew it had been long enough since the last one. If I needed anything else, I waited till a nurse was in the room anyway. And I thanked every nurse for everything they did for me, even the bad ones. What did I get? I got the worst treatment I've ever seen in any hospital where I was either a patient or an employee. The whole 8 days, I had only two good nurses, and they were working together on the weekend, a total of only 24 hours of good nursing in the entire 8 days. The nurses in ICU had no idea how to turn a back patient. They piled soiled linens on top of the bed table and scooped up my personal belongings with them when they took them out. My belongings were never seen again. They would leave machines beeping for an hour. I had one nurse who let the machine beep for over 45 minutes, then when she came in she didn't hit the silence button. I was on noise overload and it was making me nauseous and dizzy to hear it. I asked her sweetly if she could please hit the silence button. She said in an uppity voice with a fake smile, "Honey, I'm going to do better than that. I'm going to fix the problem." And she made me keep listening to the beeping until she got it fixed. That was just plain sadistic! I could tell a dozen more stories just as bad. What a horrible experience that hospital stay was! If I was a problem patient, I still shouldn't be treated like that, but as a quiet and cooperative patient, it was even worse that I would be treated that way.

I've seen both sides of it, and sometimes it's just not pretty either way!

Thanks for the post, Babs. It's good for patients to have a better understanding of the other side of patient care.

And thanks for letting me vent!

Emily :wave:





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