Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

THE BIG QUESTION

The big question: how confident are you handling complaints?

  • 4 Comments

Latest guidance from the Royal College of Nursing states that apologising to a patient making a complaint is not an acceptance of guilt and can help defuse the situation.

The new guidance aims to help frontline nurses and support workers “understand how to deal with feedback, both good and bad, as well as concerns, complaints and compliments”.

The guide also stated that it was “perfectly OK to apologise” to someone if they had a valid complaint, adding that “offering an apology does not constitute an acceptance of responsibility”.

The college said it was intended to help nurses know what was expected of them when they received feedback from patients, and also what support they should expect from their employers.  

How much guidance do nurses need?

  • 4 Comments

Readers' comments (4)

  • Who determines the validity of a complaint?
    What if a component of the complaint is outwith a practitioners 'scope of practice and expertise?
    Is a practitioner acting credibly or sincerely when an apology is given as a 'sleight of hand'. A false apology, a diffusion of fact.
    Is the RCN saying that its members can say sorry and not mean it? To apologize is responsibility. To apologize blindly on behalf of accountable others is irresponsible. Certainly not congruent with the 'Code of Practice'. It may be considered fraudulent?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • michael stone

    'The guide also stated that it was “perfectly OK to apologise” to someone if they had a valid complaint, adding that “offering an apology does not constitute an acceptance of responsibility”.'

    This could get very 'interesting': a 'valid complaint' must mean that in someones's opinion [here, the person 'apologising'] believes that 'something 'not right' did happen'. So, is the RCN saying that nurses are [effectively] to say to patients 'I agree with you that something wasn't right, and there might be some blame somewhere, but I don't think I personally was at fault here' ?

    Are hospitals, etc, going to be 'happy' with that ?

    And apologising, if you don't think something was wrong, is not usually helpful.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Apologies need to be skillfully provided!

    There is nothing wrong with saying "I am sorry you believe...................."

    The aim should be to avoid confrontation and to secure the facts!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • michael stone

    Jenny Jones | 25-Nov-2014 3:06 pm

    Most people only complain, if they think there was something wrong - I agree, that everyone needs to work out if something was wrong, but saying 'I am sorry you believe' can be taken by the other person as implying that the issue was merely perception.

    'Why do you think there was something wrong ?' is probably a better approach, I think.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.