Education Career Articles

Connect Facebook Connect Twitter Connect Google+ Connect Pinterest Connect Stumbleupon

5 Tips for Handling Difficult Patients

Career News August 14, 2013

Nursing is one of the most challenging professions that exist, yet having to nurse difficult patient makes the job even more demanding and exhausting. Whether a patient is being physically abusive, verbally insulting, manipulative or overly demanding, nurses can take several steps to improve the situation and enhance their levels of care communication, so they can avoid harmful amounts of stress.

Focus on Your Quality of Care

Even though a patient may be completely out of line and unreasonable, it never hurts for a nurse to take a step back from the situation and evaluate the quality of care that he or she is providing. As NursingUniforms.net assets, most nurses are short on time and may be in too much of a rush to clearly explain something to a patient. Another issue is that quite a few nurses speak in jargon and don’t realize that their patients can’t understand what they’re saying.

A patient could be frustrated, if he or she doesn’t understand a certain aspect of his or her treatment or condition. Before losing patience in a challenging situation, nurses should evaluate their care communication and try to take a little more time to talk things over and provide as much information as possible.

Listen Carefully

Often, when patients are angry, the first thing they want is for someone to sit down and listen to all of their complaints. There may be a crucial piece of information that everyone has missed out on because the patient hasn’t had an opportunity to express it. Or, it may simply be the case that the patient wishes to vent his or her frustrations and have someone sympathize with their situation. Nurses should try setting aside time to let patients express exactly what has been bothering them.

Remain Objective

Even if a patient is offensive or hard to deal with, it remains a nurse’s job to give that patient the best care possible. The American Society of Registered Nurses notes that maintaining a sense of objectivity can help nurses separate the care they give from any personal anger or backlash they are feeling toward a particular patient. If nurses concentrate on whether the patient is making progress—both physically and emotionally—it can help ease frustration with a patient’s other issues.

Consider the Root of the Behavior

Instead of writing someone off as a bad person, nurses should try to consider what he or she is going through. It is likely that most of these patients didn’t want to end up in the hospital and that they’re extremely frightened or unable to cope with pain or discomfort.

Certain patients may have bad experiences in their past that cause them to distrust or lash out at medical professionals. In other cases, a patient may be acting differently because of a mental illness or some form of substance abuse. Whatever the situation is, considering the reason behind the unpleasant behavior will help most nurses have a greater deal of sympathy and handle the issue with more professionalism.

Seek Out Support

Even after trying multiple techniques to avoid the stress of having to nurse difficult patient, most healthcare professionals still have problems dealing with bad treatment, violence, anger, disrespect, offensive comments or unreasonable demands.

In these cases, The American Society of Registered Nurses recommends that nurses seek out support from their colleagues. Sometimes an especially challenging patient can be better managed with a larger team of nurses that can give him or her the attention he or she wants while taking the pressure off of a single nurse.

If a certain nurse always has difficulties caring for patients who exhibit the same qualities, it may be best to consider those strengths and weaknesses when it’s time to make patient assignments. Nurses should also be their own advocates when it comes to requesting training programs and support to help them handle tough situations well before they arise.

Nurses often take the brunt of a patient’s poor attitude, bad hygiene, inadequate social skills or any other issues that may come up during treatment. Although these situations are unpleasant and present new challenges, nurses should implement these steps to give themselves the best chances at avoiding excessive stress and maintaining a high quality of care.

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • There's still time to apply to Grand Canyon University and pursue your education. Learn more today!
  • Study on your schedule - GCU offers many programs 100% online to fit your busy lifestyle.
  • GCU offers a variety of opportunities to reduce the cost of furthering your education. Campus students may qualify for scholarships, while online students can take part in limited special offers.
  • A regionally accredited university, GCU also holds specialized accreditations and approvals for some of our core program offerings.
  • Degrees in business, education, nursing, humanities and social sciences, theology and more. Find the degree that fits you.
  • Talk to us today to learn more about financial aid and start dates!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Online Bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, Psychology, IT, Healthcare Management & Public Health
  • Over 115 years of delivering quality education and personalized attention to students
  • Provide a range of campus experiences and services online including advising, tutoring, student community, and career services
  • Give students and alumni access to career assistants who help with resumes, cover letters, job hunting, and more.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
4 Program(s) Found
  • Health Care degrees include BA in Health Care Administration, BS in Health Information Management, BS in Nursing (RN to BSN), and more.
  • Coursework focuses on relevant topics in the health care field, such as administration, planning, and policy.
  • Students can specialize in areas like Human Resource Management, Health Care Informatics Systems, and Long-Term Care Management.
  • Online degree programs that can help students pursue a degree on their own schedule.
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
  • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
  • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
  • Michigan's largest independent college.
  • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
  • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked 8th among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A private, co-ed college founded in 1821 and located in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 13:1, and 55.1% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has distinguished alumni including Senator Harry Reid, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and actress Courtney Cox.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Why Earn Your Degree from GCU?
  • Options: Choose from a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Business, Nursing, Psychology, Education & more!
  • Convenience: Complete courses online, on campus, or a combination of both!
  • Earlier Graduation: Our 4-credit courses allow you to complete your degree program in less time.
  • Transfer Friendly: We will request your transcripts, evaluate your graduate coursework, and determine your anticipated graduation date within 24 hours.
  • Quality: Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is regionally accredited. Learn more today!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Online Bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, Psychology, IT, Healthcare Management & Public Health
  • Over 115 years of delivering quality education and personalized attention to students
  • Provide a range of campus experiences and services online including advising, tutoring, student community, and career services
  • Give students and alumni access to career assistants who help with resumes, cover letters, job hunting, and more.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
4 Program(s) Found
  • Health Care degrees include BA in Health Care Administration, BS in Health Information Management, BS in Nursing (RN to BSN), and more.
  • Coursework focuses on relevant topics in the health care field, such as administration, planning, and policy.
  • Students can specialize in areas like Human Resource Management, Health Care Informatics Systems, and Long-Term Care Management.
  • Online degree programs that can help students pursue a degree on their own schedule.
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked 8th among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A private, co-ed college founded in 1821 and located in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 13:1, and 55.1% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has distinguished alumni including Senator Harry Reid, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and actress Courtney Cox.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
  • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
  • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
  • Michigan's largest independent college.
  • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
  • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!