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Should nurses treat abusive patients?

  • Comments (60)

What do you think?

  • How do we define abusive behaviour?
  • How do we measure abusive behaviour?
  • Should it be tolerated if it is associated with patients’ health problems?
  • Do NHS staff receive enough training to managing conflict with patients and relatives?
  • Comments (60)

Readers' comments (60)

  • Anonymous

    No, they shouldn't.

    Warnings are constantly around in the form of useless zero tolerance posters etc, so if any abuse is given then that person should be discharged and removed immediately, by security or even the poilce if necessary.

    A little harsh? Maybe. But for too long the other cheek has been turned and we have all at some point been abused, kicked, punched, spat at, swore at, shouted at, etc etc etc.

    Enough is enough and the public should know that. You want our care? Then you will behave and be nice. Simple.

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  • Anonymous

    Depends why they are being abusive. If it is illness or injury that is causing it then we have a duty to care for them, or if they lack mental capacity. However, if they are just plain nasty they should be thrown out leaving us time to care for those that deserve our attention,

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  • Anonymous

    those with mh disorders, brain tumours, brain injuries, affected by some types of medication, etc. can be abusive as well as those who are highly distressed or perceive they are not getting the care they need. far more specialist training would be more appropriate and/or better protection for nurses at high risk from certain patients. 'Zero tolerance' instead of attempting to find out the cause is not a solution in my view and can exacerbate the situation for the patients, especially at a deeper psychological level. cf the patient with diabetes insipidus who rang the police to get a drink.

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  • Anonymous

    we get abused every day, from patients, relatives, visitors, other staff - if there is a genuine medical reason for it and it cannot be helped then there's not a lot we can do but it's just an everyday occurance now, something we have learnt to tolerate because we know nothing will be done about it. All the signs are completely meaningless - we know it, so does everyone else.

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  • Anonymous

    I have come to accept that every shift someone will be rude to me, shout at me, make some spiteful remark - maybe it will be racist too. It's part of the job, does anyone seriously think any patient or visitor ever gets asked to leave? of course they don't.

    Why do people think nurses are leaving in droves.

    To make matters even worse we get constant criticism from the media.

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  • Anonymous

    We should try our best to look after every one.
    However if dealing with an abusive patient is taking away too much of the nurse(s) time from other patients we should be able to call on help from a more senior nurse in management.
    I had the experience of dealing with a patient who others found difficult, however I did not. In fact he needed more time which a busy acute medical ward did not have the extra nurse resource to give.
    As I had worked in mental health settings although not a mental health nurse, I felt that I was better able to cope than the others.
    Perhaps we need senior sisters or managers to be dual trained.
    Lets get serious about real care for real patients and plan for this instead of all this tick boxes and rounding nonsense.

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  • Anonymous

    excellent comments here. shame there is no 'tickboxes' to recommend them as in some of the newspapers online (or are you all allergic to tickboxes - surely not when they are intended for praise).

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  • Anonymous

    I believe that all staff know when a patient is unwell or scared which may make them appear abusive, we are not stupid, it is the first thing we think of. It is also the first thing we are asked when we seek advice from senior nursing or medical staff.

    Abusive patients and visitors can just be plain nasty for no reason other than they are showing off, have spiteful personalities or just want to wind people up. They can be rude to other patients and visitors too.

    We all know the clear difference, what we don't get is support dealing with rude people, we know we cannot ask them to leave, threaten to withdraw care, ask them politely not to shout - most staff just back off and keep out of the way because everything you say will be misinterpreted and you'll find you are the one in 'trouble', not the person who has been rude.

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  • Anonymous

    Anonymous | 9-Apr-2013 9:39 am

    your shared experience with many of us is quite right. good post but it just shows that you cannot assume that other stupid people, just because they are more senior or are managers, assume or realise that we are not stupid or rely on them for their support! :-)

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  • Anonymous

    I get frightened when patients and relatives shout, swear and threaten me, I've had various things thrown at me over the years and much verbal abuse.

    No-one has ever asked me if I need support or counselling afterwards, no-one has ever asked me if I wish to report it to the police - I've just come to accept that it's how things are nowadays.

    Some patients can be very thoughtless, I've had some terrible verbal abuse when I've asked patients to use tv headphones or not use their phones late into the night so that other patients can rest and recover - why do people have to be so unkind.

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