Tough Love

Some nights at the hospital are absolutely wonderful, and some are just awful.

It’s difficult when people have bad health, and there’s not much you can do for them.

Yes, you can prescribe them medication. And you can get them warm blankets and water.

But sometimes, the patients are allergic or have adverse side effects to medication. Sometimes, the medication takes a while to kick in. Sometimes people just feel tired of being stuck on bed rest.

In these cases, there’s not much you can do. Let’s face it, being sick sucks.

It’s also difficult because no one wants to take care of someone who’s giving them attitude. People are stressed out, and it goes both ways. The patients just want to go back to their normal lives, and nurses just want to do their job.

There was a patient today who kept throwing tantrums and sneaking out of her room to smoke. The hospital staff wants to do the best for her health, but ultimately you can’t control a person’s actions. You can somewhat limit their behaviors in the hospital, but once they leave there’s no stopping them.

I had to witness some nurses lecturing this patient and listening to her demands. This person was being very difficult, talking about her rights and ability to call a lawyer. All the staff wants to do is help her. If the patient is so distressed over the “lack of service” she could easily request to be moved to a different hospital, or referred to a different doctor.

As a nurse, you have to deal with the crap, stick by hospital policy, and still maintain a compassionate positive relationship with the patient. People don’t always like hearing what you have to say, especially if you are the bearer of bad news.

“Sorry ma’am, we have to keep you overnight for observation.”

“The doctor didn’t approve an increase in the dosage of your medication.”

“You won’t be able to eat food for the next 12 hours before your surgery.”

It’s tough, but someone’s got to do it.

Readers, what are some experiences you’ve had where you had to show someone tough love?

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