Tips for Nurses to Deal With Difficult Patients
Most of the time nurses deal with gentle and grateful patients. Nevertheless, it will not be a surprise to encounters a difficult patient. The experience of handling complicated patients makes nurses more competent in care giving as they learn how to deal with every kind of person.
You cannot claim to be a professional nurse unless you accept and know how to deal with grumpy, ill-tempered or over demanding patients. It is an inventible happening once in awhile. These tips are essential in helping you to cope with the shock and annoying nature of difficult patients.
Identify the early signs
It is essential that you learn to identify the warning signs that a patient is becoming upset or angry. Some of the signs are clenching of the fist, tightened jaw, lip biting and other abrupt behavioral changes. Some patients are more likely to become aggressive due to their stressful situations. For instance, you should know that patients suffering from terminal illnesses like cancer, ESRD or Alzheimer’s diseases are possible candidates for adverse emotional reactions. Patients suffering from drug abuse or those in shock from a recent nasty experience like a brutal attack are also likely to be aggressive.
When dealing with patients with one of the above conditions, you should be extra careful in observing their mood and behavior to set boundaries. You should also understand the patients are not deliberately difficult, but it is because of the illness. When you identify the reasons why a patient does not cooperate as you wish, it allows you to plan a personalized approach that allows you to care for their special needs.
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When you deal with a difficult patient, the right approach is to stay calm. It is worth to consider that if the person does not attack you personally, the annoying action is out feelings of anxiety, resistance to changes in health or life or assumed lack of attention. Staying calm helps in defusing the tension and staying in control as a patient will go quiet after realizing that you are not reacting to the tantrum.
Do not engage the patient in an argument
Upset patients could try to get you into an argument. You have a right to give an opinion regarding the behavior, but it is essential that you make your point respectfully. If they have a genuine reason to complain, you can apologize and sure the patient that you will take care of their need. If the patient is angry, avoid explaining why it was impossible to give the kind of attention that a patient expects or the reason for medication lateness. He may assume you are justifying a wrong and start an argument thus the matter will not end.
Start a friendly conversation
Try to start a discussion as it will help to draw out the feelings. Most of the problematic patients only want to get attention. Call the patient by name and maintain eye contact when speaking. Speak softly even when the patient yells and avoid negative language. Use polite expressions such as "please let me explain." It also helps if you ask a patient for ideas or suggestions on how to handle the problem. It helps in making the person know that you understand his or her feelings.
The above tips will help in dealing with an unreasonable patient but if the patient does not calm down or continues making unjustified demands, ask to leave and promise to return later. Stay away from 25-30 and allow the patient to cool down. When you leave the patient alone helps to prevent escalating anger.