Ever have a pt. that brings out the worst in you?

  1. My patient this weekend....she just brings out the worst in me! I cannot connect with her. I'm trying oh so hard not to be judgmental.

    She is intubated. And on major sedation but has these WILD breakthrough periods. And of course the family that can't resist yelling at her to wake-up, even prying her eyelids open! She makes the list of my top 5 wildest, intubated patients. Maybe she's no. 1. Had to send one of our nurses to Employee Health after she got whacked by her flailing limbs.

    The patient has had some bad breaks in life and has also made some bad choices. She is nonpracticing RN. She is exactly my age.

    And I feel just awful because I just feel angry. Angry that she has let this happen to her; angry that she is hurting people (albeit unintentionally); angry because she should know better. She must be touching some nerve in me, some unconscious SOMETHING that bothers me so badly.

    Sorry for the rant. I just feel like the world's worst nurse today ... at least on an emotional level. She got all the care she needed and extra touches too ... good mouthcare, T&P, cool washrags to forehead, etc. etc. etc. But *I* know how I was feeling inside, even if she didn't.
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   mattsmom81
    I'm sure the fact she was a nurse was hardest. We had one of our coworkers in our ICU as she died from cancer very quickly following diagnoses. She was not well liked by her coworkers and this complicated things. Made it all the more emotional for us...we didn't like her but had great empathy for her...yet felt guilty for not liking her <sigh> We're only human and emotions can be confusing sometimes, eh?

    Sounds like you're doing the best you can, which is all we can do. Don't beat yourself up for being human.
  4. by   Tweety
    If we had to like all of our patients, I would be in big trouble. You're a great nurse by the care you give. Sometimes you can't feel that compassionate edge regardless.
  5. by   LesJenRN
    Quote from 3rdShiftGuy
    If we had to like all of our patients, I would be in big trouble. You're a great nurse by the care you give. Sometimes you can't feel that compassionate edge regardless.
    Tweety,
    You always have kind, compassionate answers for us all.....Thanks for being out there!
  6. by   Stitchie
    for me it's the OD's and the 'detoxers'. I essentially just want to slap them most times. It's hard for me to get that anger under control lots of times. Yes, nurses are supposed to be compassionate, nice creatures, but when you have someone who swallowed 25 pills in front of her 19 year old daughter because they had a fight, well, sometimes a well timed slap is exactly what the doctor should have ordered! They fray my last nerve, for sure.

    I know why I have a hard time here -- it's because my father was an alcoholic who basically turned his back on his kids after a certain point. So I think that perhaps the lesson for you and for any one of us who encounters this problem is that there is identification with the person / victim.

    Maybe you would not have been friends with this woman, but I think that her age and profession give you a lot to identify with. You have a lot in common with her, I think it's hard to see someone like that and know that someone your age is so sick, whether self-inflicted or not, and it's scary.
    Last edit by Stitchie on Apr 19, '04
  7. by   Katnip
    It's ok, Zee. We all have patients we don't like. It says a lot about you that you still give her the best you have regardless of your personal feelings. I wish all nurses were like you.
  8. by   Tweety
    Quote from LesJenRN
    Tweety,
    You always have kind, compassionate answers for us all.....Thanks for being out there!
    shhhh..............and thanks.
  9. by   steel magnolia
    For me it's the alcoholics, GI bleeding, hepatic coma.... my dad died from his etoh abuse, and I just have no tolerance for it, even tho I know it's a disease. I can't even stand being around people who are drinking, and rarely ever have a drink myself.

    I agree, there is something you are connecting to yourself with this woman, maybe just her age and profession. Maybe more.... it will come to you eventually, in a quiet moment after work.
  10. by   Rustyhammer
    I have difficulty with the folks who think they are checked into the Hilton.
    "I only wanted HALF a pitcher of ice water"
    "What do you mean, You don't have cable"
    "But I NEED my toenails trimmed, it's been forever"
    "This food sucks! Why did you put gravy on the potatos AND the meat?"
    -Russell
  11. by   MandyInMS
    Quote from Rustyhammer
    I have difficulty with the folks who think they are checked into the Hilton.
    "I only wanted HALF a pitcher of ice water"
    "What do you mean, You don't have cable"
    "But I NEED my toenails trimmed, it's been forever"
    "This food sucks! Why did you put gravy on the potatos AND the meat?"
    -Russell
    They gripe my butt too Russell....lol

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