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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??!

RustyParker Tue 01-Apr-14 18:51:31

Thank you TruffleOil smile

CharlieSierra Tue 01-Apr-14 18:55:44

Sorry for your loss Charlie but I don't think the ward 'used' Norovirus' as an excuse to hide neglect

I don't think they did either Kudzagirl, they would have neglected her anyway, they clearly didn't give a shit, however we could have given her the food and water they couldn't be arsed to bother with.

HappyAgainOneDay Tue 01-Apr-14 19:03:19


My mother was in a stroke unit of a north eastern hospital where she had superb treatment. The only thing was that they were told that she was vegetarian and, one day, (only one day) she was given a plate with fish on it. She couldn't eat just the vegetables with it because they had been 'tainted' by the fish. They apologised profusely and brought her a meal that she could eat.

HotDogHotDogHotDiggityDog Tue 01-Apr-14 19:20:24


That is a mistake either by the nursing staff or the ward caterer. A complaint is justified and it's good to hear they apologised and made sure it didn't happen again.

Although some vegetarians do eat fish. I've come across it many times, but if you told them, then no, it shouldn't happen.

Kudzugirl Tue 01-Apr-14 22:23:03


My deepest condolences. Have you posted about your sister before as your name and details sound familiar to me? I am glad you got some aftercare.

Charlie I am sorry that happened. I happen to prize the older patient. They have a lifetime of knowledge and experience we could all learn from and for me, a person who has lived a long life makes them even more of a loss to the World, not less. I wish the care of the older person was more enlightened on general wards.

Flora It is sometimes very easy to put something down because two other more important or emergency issues have cropped up. However sometimes staff are plain sloppy and they were lucky you were around.

One thing i do dislike is the lack of privacy in a general ward setting. In psychiatry we don't have ward rounds at a 'bedside' and we don't assess a client in earshot of anybody else. It is all done in small separate counselling rooms or in their separate bedroom. When i was in hospital I refused to give my history on the ward separated by just a curtain and I requested staff did not hand over each shift at the foot of my bed. I am sure they hated me! You can request this is done and you can request they talk to you somewhere more private.

Latara Tue 01-Apr-14 23:04:16

Today I had a really good shift; we had a great team on and a good staff to patient ratio.

The man with COPD was actually showing improvement and I had time to chat to him properly as well as cut his fingernails. He might even go home soon.
So that was nice.

RustyParker Tue 01-Apr-14 23:20:28

Thank you Kudzugirl. Yes, I did post at the time about my sister but under a different NN. Posters were so kind and several posters in the medical field pm'd and offered some much appreciated information. The aftercare has been amazing and I've been asked to participate in a focus group to look at breavement provision across our area. I've been really impressed with our trust being so proactive in this area.

Glad to hear you had a good shift Latara smile

RustyParker Tue 01-Apr-14 23:24:33

Oh, just thought Kudzugirl, I won't out you but have you namechanged recently? I suspect you may have been one of the kind posters who pm'd me. Apologies if I have mistaken you for someone else.

Kudzugirl Wed 02-Apr-14 09:49:30


Have PMed you lovely. x

RustyParker Wed 02-Apr-14 13:03:31

Got your PM Kudzugirl! Thank you x

namechangegamechange Thu 03-Apr-14 19:39:03

I have had a very positive experience today.
Spent the last 2 weeks worrying that the lump in my breast was cancer.

From the moment I walked into the breast unit I felt cared for.
All the staff were kind but also professional - I felt very safe in their hands and luckily it was only a cyst - huge but now gone.
Thank you for holding my hand - I really appreciate your kindness flowers

Mignonette Thu 03-Apr-14 19:40:37

That is wonderful news Name - thank goodness for that and glad to read that you felt looked after. flowers to you too, And you probably need one of these wine

BoffinMum Thu 03-Apr-14 20:00:26

Can I add I went to another hospital today in relation to complications after my surgery and they were very friendly, kind and professional. Very understanding about my situation. The difference with last week in the first hospital was very marked.

namechangegamechange Thu 03-Apr-14 20:08:51

Does it begin with A Boffinmum

I am very happy with the care I have received smile

BoffinMum Thu 03-Apr-14 21:01:39

No, the one with A is very good, but I was at another hospital that begins with an N, although actually if I wanted I could have gone to the one beginning with A as well, in the situation (same bloke works at both).

BoffinMum Thu 03-Apr-14 21:02:14

The uncaring hospital begins with an S. wink

namechangegamechange Fri 04-Apr-14 10:08:20

Ah yes I know wink
I would go to A any day rather than those two and if there was a long wait just ask to be considered for last minute cancellations.
My friend had her hysterectomy there ,she asked if it was possible to be considered if there was a cancellation and went in 6 days later !!!

Latara Fri 04-Apr-14 11:51:42

My shift on Wednesday was very busy but ultimately quite good because management offered me a vacancy as a Staff Nurse again after 16 months of working as an HCA following mental illness.

It will be on a ward with a good reputation, for a 3 month probation period, and I will be able to get my job back as an HCA if things don't go so well. But I am so much better and healthier than I was. I'm really looking forward to it. smile

Also on Wednesday I was feeding an elderly male patient who was bedbound, I accidentally dropped his dinner on the bed which was awful so I cleared it up and when i'd finished feeding him he said quietly, ''will you marry me?'' I pointed out that he was already married but said I appreciated the compliment!

Pobblewhohasnotoes Fri 04-Apr-14 13:47:01

I've had an awful week at work. Really really busy, some high dependency patients who need 1-1 nursing care and not enough staff on to cover them and a full ward. One of my colleagues was nearly in tears. Also had a few parents a shouting and being abusive to staff. I've finished late every shift. Immediate managers don't care. What's the point?

Mignonette Fri 04-Apr-14 18:19:39


Well done flowers. Your patient responded to your innate kindness and it clearly evoked feelings in him that he associates with love, safety and companionship. That is the underlying message behind even the most confused expressions of thanks.

and Pobble some flowers for you too. I am sure that those very sick patients see every point in what you and your colleagues do.

Something happened recently that made me think of the qualities innate to moist nurses. i am not saying that non nurses cannot be kind and thoughtful - that would be clearly ridiculous but this made me think.

I asked a group of people if they'd mind contributing towards a gift for another member of the group who was making great strides in achieving her goal. This goal was being reached despite considerable obstacles. Out of all the people I asked, the only ones (bar one other person) who agreed to contribute were the nurses. All the group are of comfortable means (pretty well off, some of them) but they weren't interested. It made me wonder if Nursing makes a person more likely to want to give to others or if the job attracts that type of person?

Again, I am not implying that all nurses are selfless and generous and non nurses are not. It was just very striking, that difference between the yes and no-ers.

Mignonette Fri 04-Apr-14 18:20:00

Moist nurses [grin. I meant most

BoffinMum Fri 04-Apr-14 18:54:07

Tbh round here we are very spoiled, name change.

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