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To think NHS do gooders need to realise that the patient is not always right

(647 Posts)
oggieogggie Mon 24-Mar-14 15:10:25

I've had a right few weeks of it. I'm an auxilliary nurse and my morning normally starts by taking breakfasts around the ward. Picture the scene if you will - a trolley full of cereal, bowls and milk and a pot of hot porridge.

I walk into room one = "would you like breakfast this morning?" patient (full mental capacity) says "well before all that I'd like you to fix my TV. I cant get the channel to turn over." I say "well I'll see to that after breakfast, would you like some cereal?" he says "not until my TV is fixed ... can't you just do it, it will only take a minute (so everyone else should wait until YOUR TV is functioning before they get their breakfast and you don't see that as selfish at all?) I don't say this - I remain professional.

Imagine a few more patients who decide that their TV/Slippers/Laptop chargers etc are more important and then the unfortunate patients who receive cold porridge as a result -

Next I take a tray of hot toast around = One patient demands "I want it buttering and cutting into thin strips." I explain that she will either have to press the buzzer for someone else to come and do it or wait until I have finished delivering toast before it gets cold. "But I want it NOW!" she demands. Ok, so it's fine that everyone else will receive cold toast? that's ok with you is it?

Imagine more of the same throughout the day

"I can't get my phone working!" = well I'm taking care of a rather ill patient at the moment, it will have to wait." "that's it!! I'm making a complaint!!"

"I want you to wash me." = "I will help you but you have to wash what you can yourself." = "why?? its what you get paid for!!!" no actually - I get paid to help people back to independence and to care for those who genuinely can't do it themselves ... " - "Ive had no sleep!! I want you to wash me! I can barely move I'm in so much pain!!" (well walking down the stairs for a fag 10 minutes ago must have been agony then eh?)

I'm sorry, but could it not be said that sometimes, just sometimes certain patients are not always right and that as staff members we should not live in fear of one of these people complaining that we're not jumping through hoops to keep them happy? And no I've never had a complaint against me - I do that nursey thing of taking the abuse and maintaining a smile. Just lately I can't quite shake the notion that the NHS (and Britain in general) is so bothered about political correctness and ultimate customer satisfaction that it's actually counter productive. Why are we all so polite??!

arethereanyleftatall Mon 24-Mar-14 15:15:35

Just remember that you're doing a wonderful job and the vast majority of people think you're absolutely fabulous. I do.
if people complain, then quite frankly, they're wankers and you're better than them.
Hold your head high.

Birdsgottafly Mon 24-Mar-14 15:15:54

Firstly "Political Correctness" has nothing to do with this, unless you want the ability to use Racist/Sexist insults, or treat people differently because of a "Characteristic".

You haven't had a complaint against you, so this is a non issue.

I worked in Care, complaints meant that staffing levels were looked at and sometimes rectified.

I worked for private companies were profit did come before people.

People can be arseholes in any situation, if that's the job role that you choose, you have to learn to deal with arseholes.

Birdsgottafly Mon 24-Mar-14 15:18:27

Just to add, I have had hospital admissions and made complaints about the way that Dementia patients were neglected.

I was also shocked at the quality of Care a Plans written and the lack of simple things, such as the lack of a pressure cushion.

frumpet Mon 24-Mar-14 15:21:23

Just keep smiling , thats all you can do , well you could go and kick the macirator in the sluice and have a good swear .

Unfortunately obnoxious people get ill or need surgery or what have you , there is nothing you can do about it and it will never change , ever .

NeoFaust Mon 24-Mar-14 15:21:30

We're polite because, when it gets down to it, the general state of the British population is one of resigned competence; The overriding desire to continue to be damn good at ones job despite the stupidity of the clients, the blindness of lower management and the complete mental vacuum of senior management.

Your refusal to let down the mask, your denial of their bullying and your ignoring of their harassment is the biggest, quietest F*CK YOU a public servant is permitted. You should be proud that you maintain it so well.

Birdsgottafly Mon 24-Mar-14 15:23:09

"s "I want it buttering and cutting into thin strips." I explain that she will either have to press the buzzer for someone else to come and do it or wait until I have finished delivering toast before it gets cold. "But I want it NOW!" she demands. Ok, so it's fine that everyone else will receive cold toast? that's ok with you is it? "

Sorry to go on, but I've seen the terrible neglect of people.

Was that person capable of eating the toast as it come, or was it going to be left for no-one to sort out and taken away again. As I have seen?

Is it your job to ensure a patient has food delivered in a way that they can eat it?

Who are the NHS do gooders?

Those that don't want patients to starve to death, become de-hydrated, malnourished on wards, or leave with 3rd degree pressure sores?

SofiaAmes Mon 24-Mar-14 15:23:59

Sounds like a lot of unhappy patients who have had absolutely no help from anyone. Is it possible that warm porridge isn't in fact the most important thing for these people? Maybe some kind human contact is also necessary. Not your job, of course. That was what I found when I was in hospital after 40 hours of labor and an emergency turned out it was no one's job. So I was left without food, without a working emergency call button, without any way to reach my newborn, without water, without instructions on how to care for my baby or breastfeed, without enough blankets, without anyway to get to the bathroom and with one grumpy nurse looking after 40 patients and obsessed with getting warm porridge to everyone.

NoodleOodle Mon 24-Mar-14 15:25:35

Be kind to yourself, remember that you are doing a good job, and don't let the bastards get you down. Would it be terribly British of me to now suggest you have a nice cup of tea? <3

ICanSeeTheSun Mon 24-Mar-14 15:27:02

The hospital you work in sounds awful.

In the hospital I work, we have patient line to fix the TV, ward hostess which do breakfast ( cook the toast collect the porridge and do teas and coffee, water jugs and collect in all the wash and trolley ready for lunches)

NA or HCA then concentrate on patient care.

Sillylass79 Mon 24-Mar-14 15:28:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ICanSeeTheSun Mon 24-Mar-14 15:28:55

Also on some wards, the hostess butter the toast and cut it up so it ready to eat. This is mainly care of the elderly kind of wards.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Mon 24-Mar-14 15:29:26

I've had several parents as soon as they arrive on the ward say 'where's my bed, where's my TV'. Strange priorities, and quite rude.

WestieMamma Mon 24-Mar-14 15:31:03

In my experience YABU. The wards I've been on have been so understaffed that I didn't see anyone for hours at a time. It's only natural that they won't want to be put off when somene eventually puts in an appearance, even if their priority is delivering porridge. The last time I was in I couldn't even get any water until my DH arrived because the staff were busy doing other stuff and kept telling me to wait.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Mon 24-Mar-14 15:33:33

I think asking for a bed is pretty reasonable.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Mon 24-Mar-14 15:34:24

That's my experience too westie of every hospital I've been in.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Mon 24-Mar-14 15:38:28

We have camp beds for all parents, not at 9am. And not the minute they walk on.

HauntedNoddyCar Mon 24-Mar-14 15:43:39

Surely this is more to do with staffing levels? If you are the first person approaching them with something routine like food then they will have a two minute thing. That happens in every workplace. If it's not obvious to them who should be responsible then they ask the first person.

Whose job is it? Presumably there isn't a fixing person they can call.

JerseySpud Mon 24-Mar-14 15:43:50

Ok on the other side. So this lady stops and does everything asked of her on the way.

She gets to the end of the ward with the now cold porridge and endures the complaints of 'but i can't eat this its cold' or 'you should have made sure it was hot for me'

The simple fact is that nurses can not win. And thats why i will not go back to it.

hazelnutlatte Mon 24-Mar-14 15:48:48

OP I do get where you are coming from, I'm a nurse and when I worked on a ward first thing in the morning was always difficult. I was expected to do the drug round on time so the patients could take their tablets before breakfast / with breakfast or whatever they were supposed to be doing, at the same time as listening to the ward round (always 1st thing in the morning on emergency surgery ward), seeing the new admissions that had come in overnight and being in charge of the ward. Whilst doing all these things patients would ask me to fix their TV's, butter their toast etc and it's just impossible! However 90% of the time the patients weren't being unreasonable - they just hadn't seen a member of staff for a while, and it's not really for them to know who is supposed to be doing what. A polite answer that I would find someone to help asap is usually all that's needed, on a well staffed ward this should only mean a short wait for the patient and they are mostly fine with this.
On a short staffed ward it's a different story of course, this is frustrating for the staff but we really can't blame the patients for wanting help!

almondcake Mon 24-Mar-14 15:49:08

I think YABU, because a lot of these aren't good examples of anything in particular. Somebody being able to walk downstairs doesn't mean they can bend and turn and twist to wash themselves without being in absolute agony. Somebody might not eat at all if there food isn't cut up for them. Someone might want their phone on because they feel trapped and isolated.

There are undoubtedly difficult patients, but there are also a lot of people who are vulnerable and scared.

I think this thread is a bit upsetting, TBH.

TheScience Mon 24-Mar-14 15:54:14

I got told off several times on a post natal ward for asking the "wrong" person for help with something. You have to remember that your patients don't know it isn't your job to help them with their toast or whatever.

ohtowinthelottery Mon 24-Mar-14 15:55:50

In my experience of hospital food the porridge won't be palatable whether it's hot or cold!
And as for toast - they should be grateful they weren't in Wales. The 2 hospitals my mum was in didn't do toast - it was bread and jam for breakfast. No chance of that going cold.
OP you have to understand that when you are ill/bedbound then a working tv is probably quite important to the patient. They've got nothing else to do all day and it is probably the only stimulation they've got. You cannot deny that the NHS is woefully under staffed and it is for this reason that patients make demands on the 1st member of staff that they see near their bed. They may not see another one for a couple of hours. Believe me, I have spent many hours on wards both visiting my elderly mother and caring for my own DD. I had to sleep next to my DDs bed and stay with her 24/7 as her health needs/disabilities cannot be catered for with the staffing levels the NHS provides - she is 19!

claraschu Mon 24-Mar-14 16:05:51

A person who is asking you to butter and cut up toast is probably not able to do it for herself. She is suffering from a physical or mental disability.

You don't sound very caring.

I saw some wonderful nurses during the 3 weeks my mother spent in hospital, but I also saw a lot of meanness: nurses asking people to wait unreasonably long for bedpans, not wanting to deal with the overweight stroke victim, and having a condescending manner of speaking.

I guess some of the nurses were overworked, but they didn't always come off well, as I sat quietly watching over the course of weeks.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Mon 24-Mar-14 16:06:55

You can't win whatever you do.

Which is why I will never go back to that job.

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