In our line of work, it is very easy to become stressed out, burned out, irritable, and just downright grumpy. This is something you have to quickly learn to manage if you want to make it in the psych field. If I snapped at every patient who demanded I get them what they wanted instead of asking politely, I'd be in the running for the title of bitchiest nurse in the region. I certainly don't want that!
I've learned to let most negative comments roll off my back like water on a duck. (Sure, there are plenty of times I go home to my husband and whine about how it seems like people aren't taught appropriate manners these days and how it seems like pleases and thank yous are very few and far between.) I do remind people that although I am happy to help them out with whatever it is they need, I am not their personal assistant and there are other patients on the floor who require my attention as well. Sometimes all they need is a reminder that I understand that they are going through a difficult time, but they are still expected to be respectful of others on the unit - staff and patients included. Sometimes they are so sick that this goes right over their head. Can't blame me for trying!
In my years as both a nursing student and a licensed RN, I've seen staff burnout rear its ugly head. I've seen call bells being ignored because the patient was known for being "needy" and it was assumed that whatever they wanted now could not possibly be urgent. (What if that time it actually was urgent, though?) I've seen staff goaded into arguments with patients who are irritable and just looking to pick a fight with the first person they see. I've seen a lot of ugly things that made me wonder why people chose to work in the psych field if it makes them so miserable to be around.
Here's a word of advice to anyone who is thinking about working in psych - if a patient is exceptionally rude, negative, or just plain hateful...don't take it personally. For myself, I know that when I am sick with a bug, or haven't gotten enough sleep, I can be a little extra snippy. These people are patients for a reason! They are going through an incredibly difficult time in their lives and they don't feel well. In fact, some of them feel so bad that they would rather be dead. Do you really think they are going to spend their practically nonexistent energy trying to make you feel better? If you had just lost your house, your job, your spouse, your kids, and half of your real teeth, do you think you'd be concerned with boosting the ego of the person whose job it is to help you?
I didn't think so.
I'm fortunate enough to work with great people who understand this and don't get overly upset when patients lash out at them. They calmly remind the patient that they are here to help, but that it is easier to understand them if they are calm and controlled instead of shouting in their face. The majority of the time, that seems to work. And if not....dude, you can't win them all! Some people are just born cranky.
I suggest you accept this and move on, or you're just setting yourself up to be miserable. "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." And if you want a job that is mostly sunshine and roses, work in maternity, not a psych ward! You can't seriously expect a suicidal patient to put on their happy face just to appease you, can you??
So, thank you for listening to my rant. I apologize for being crabby. I'd appreciate any constructive criticism if you don't agree with anything I post on here!
Mother and wife by day, psych RN by night. So many different ways to view life. I try to take everything in and be very slow to judge.