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How do you handle difficult patients?

nurses and doctors always seem to stay relaxed #doctor #nursing #patients

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ellyn’s Answer

What exactly do you mean by difficult? I have many patients who, if I allowed it, could get under my skin for a number of different reasons. There's the person who doesn't respect your time and appointment timeliness, there's the person who asks about every little move I am making, there's the person who is just a jerk, and there's patients who for whatever reason are hypersensitive either physically or emotionally, or both!


One of the biggest things that helped me cope with all of these patients is the grueling work I did during dental school and having to always keep my cool. Professors would be hard on you, but you had to learn how to bend and not break.


Also, you have the power to help them, assert your confidence and let them know that you are in this with them. My patients who are the most frightened, sensitive or otherwise difficult respond very well to the fact that I tell them, I have a lot of ideas about what this could be, but if we can't figure it out I'll stand with you and set you up with someone who is wiser than I.


Good luck and start practicing keeping your cool and NOT taking things personally, almost ever.

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Katherine’s Answer

When you are taking care of someone in the hospital, it's important to remember that they are going through a bad time. They are having to deal with something out of their control. I have had to deal with some very angry and mean patients in my time as a nurse. You can't take it personally!
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Jodi’s Answer

I am an ObGyn, and have had many patients that are challenging (patients are people first). As Ruth pointed out people who are sick are not at their best. I would broaden that to say many people have had bad experiences in healthcare settings and are under alot of stress. It is really important to take an extra minute to try to hear and understand why someone is struggling, and try to find a way to help them. Part of what makes being a doctor (or nurse) rewarding is when someone is struggling or in pain and you can help them. You can even get good at it!
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