Should nurses have the right to refuse to treat abusive patients?
Every man, woman, and child have the right to medical care, as it is contingent on their human rights. On the other hand, it is the right of a nurse to choose whether to attend to a patient or not, personally. Meaning, when they are acting as individuals as members of the public, but not when they are in uniform at a medical institution of their employ. Unless they have special reasons to decline to treat such a patient.
Abusive patients have poor moral standards that would disgust anybody, male or female. However, as a nurse is their occupation is vocational work and it would be wrong to deny them treatment or treat such patients ill. Just as it would be unfair for a police officer to show favoritism for one person over the other based on their race or social class.
People who behave in abusive nature often need to be rehabilitated and reprimanded in criminal cases. However, such people always need counseling to find out the root cause of their behavior. They may have been raised in an abusive home and they have no better example. More than that, they need to find healthy ways to channel feelings of anger, fear, and insecurity instead of hurting others. Nurses can help in such a situation, if not the health institution.
For such patients. Counseling can be provided to help them deal with emotional imbalance by first settling their own mental health issues. This is because the way you behave and the way you feel are connected, that is why dealing with the thought process that leads up to that situation, where the patient acts abusively; needs to be treated as well. However, it is good to note that some nurses may have been in abusive relationships and attending to an abusive patient, may trigger negative emotions towards the patients and painful memories.
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In that case, it would be better if the nurse did not treat such a patient. In the event the nurse feels negatively affected by the patient’s presence and being in charge of administering their treatment, it is always good as the nurse head or supervisor to have a chat with the affected nurse. Understand their state of mind, and how they feel dealing with such a patient before forcing them to attend to a patient, that could end up traumatizing them emotionally. Nurses should have the right to refuse if it will affect their health in any way.
Abusive patients often need therapy. This means that, if they are not admitted based on injuries from their abusive behavior it is best if they commit to a therapy session regularly to deal with inner challenges. It can be done privately where they can speak openly to their therapist. Treatment for abusive patients means wanting to really change, taking responsibility for their actions, and seeking professional help from someone outside the family. This means, looking beyond your partner to help you change, however starting with admitting you have a problem is the first step.
While a nurse is working with such a patient, it is always to good to maintain mutual respect, a level head because after all, you are dealing with a temperamental character. It means, between the two of you, you as the nurse must maintain order and civility in the event of an outburst, or rage. It is also good to remember that an abusive person often has multiple problems. Including mental disorders such as depression which often leads to suicidal thoughts.
Abusive patients need to be monitored round the clock, with dangerous objects kept out of reach, should they feel the need to behave impulsively. Also, be very aware of how you speak to an abusive patient. They are often insecure, hypersensitive and mistrustful of others. They also tend to be very jealous, hence their controlling behavior. Dealing with an abusive patient is a delicate matter.