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10 Crazy Things Patients Say To Nurses

Discussion in 'Nursing' started by Egyptian Doctor, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

    Mar 21, 2011
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    Practicing medicine in:

    1. Do you have insurance?
    If a patient asks you this, they aren’t quite clear on the concept. Insurance is for patients to pay for over a period of time in case something happens, not something one can pay for the day one requires medical attention in order to make the overall cost cheaper. The only response to this question is to let the patient know that if they don’t have insurance, they’re going to need to think carefully about how they’re going to cover any of the expenses incurred – because as we all know, there will certainly be expenses to cover.

    2. My last doctor fired me from his practice.
    What this patient is telling you is that they are absolutely horrible to work with. This could mean nearly anything. If you’re in an office that is in a position to refuse patients, this is a patient you should probably think about turning away. If you’re in a hospital that doesn’t have that luxury, then get ready for a lot of agony dealing with this patient’s constant issues and complaining. This is one of those statements that commonly come from hypochondriacs.

    3. If you touch me, I’ll scream.
    Uh oh, we have a live one here. Nothing better than someone who doesn’t want their body touched when something’s wrong … with their body. Patients who say this might require some calming words beforehand to relax. If that doesn’t work, they might require security to restrain them.

    4. I am allergic to everything.
    Here’s a person who feels like the world is against them. A lot of people have allergies to several different foods, plants and/or medications, but nobody’s allergic to everything. The key in this situation is to ask the patient to list off everything they can remember that they’re allergic to, or if you know what medication they’ll require, ask if they are allergic to that specific medicine or anything similar.

    5. Okay, but you have to take everything off, too.
    You just have to love the patients who think sexually harassing nurses is okay. While generally a laugh and/or a firm, “That’s not going to happen” will usually suffice in this situation, if the patient’s leering ways are giving you a bad vibe it might be better to make sure to bring a coworker in with you to deal with this patient. Also, make sure to warn the other nurses on staff that this patient has a problem with boundaries.

    6. Could you hurry this up? I have a nail appointment.
    You could switch “I have a nail appointment” for “I have to pick up my kids from school” or anything else, but it’s still rude. Patients seem to think that going to the doctor’s office or the hospital is like the DMV, full of people who do things slowly and almost relish the fact that they’re making people wait. If only patients knew what happens in between a nurse’s consultation and the doctor coming in to see them. If a patient says this, the best thing to do is say, “We’ll do the best we can” and then work exactly as you would normally. And if you’re feeling vindictive, you may want to put a patient or two ahead of them in line if their issue isn’t an emergency.

    7. Have you ever done this before?
    This is a question that doctors face more often than nurses, but nurses have definitely heard this idiotic query. It’s like patients think this is the first time a nurse has drawn blood, taken a blood pressure or seen someone with a painful condition. While part of being a nurse is making patients feel like they’re being paid attention to and they aren’t just a number, it can be tough to avoid seeming insulted when a patient asks a question like this.

    8. Can I have a rectal exam?
    Is the patient here for some sort of rectal or gastrointestinal problem? Then maybe. If not, then tell this freaky patient that a rectal exam will not be necessary (but keep in mind that someone who asks this might have a myriad of health problems, not the least of which an STD or two).

    9. Let’s skip the BS. Can I have some Vicodin?
    If you hear a patient ask this question, they’re probably not just at risk for substance abuse, they’re probably currently abusing. Let the doctor know immediately when a patient asks this question. Not only might they be faking an injury or ailment, but also this is the type of patient who could potentially overdose or become addicted to opioids — if they aren’t already.

    10. Are you married?
    While this is less offensive than asking you to strip down, it’s still inappropriate. Nurses are in a position to help patients, which often gives the patient the illusion that there’s a deeper connection. While wearing a fake wedding ring is something some people do to avoid unwanted attention, the best thing to say in this case is, “I’m sorry, but it’s none of your business,” and then quickly change the subject to the patient’s condition.



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  2. Aldo Quevedo

    Aldo Quevedo Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2013
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    In México there is a public health system. Although there's private health care, most people rather public system because it uses to be fast and, in a way, "free". Here nurses rule. Literally. They might say to attendings: "I'm alone in the floor, don't mess things up here" and then slap their ass. :) That's when they are not flirting with them or humiliating medical students and patients.

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