As nurses, we have to make sure that our patients get the best care possible, and that their families are always well-informed. However, we sometimes get into arguments with them because of certain misunderstanding that may lead to unnecessary tension. Here are 20 effective ways to deal with angry patients and their families:
1. Understand that it’s not easy being a patient. Or a family.
No person would ever want to be stuck in the hospital for days, and to be taken care of by different strangers every eight to ten hours. Try to understand that it’s really not easy being a patient nor to be a relative whose loved one is in critical condition. If nurses tend to get cranky under stress, so are they.
2. Show empathy.
As a nurse, your role is to let the patients feel that you understand and care about them. You can show empathy by focusing your attention to your surroundings and to their feelings, expressions and actions. Show them that you are interested and that they are important.
3. Allow the patient to blow off some steam or ‘calm down’.
The situation may worsen if you just let the patient stay angry. One of the best things you could do is to let them calm down first before you give them your explanation. Remind yourself that they are not happy about being ill, so it’s best to just try your best to keep your cool while waiting for them to calm down.
4. Do not invade the patient’s personal space.
Try not to get either too close or too far from them. Let them feel that they still have their own personal space that you wouldn’t be invading and that they are safe there.
5. Do not touch them.
In line with letting them have their personal space, try not to touch them. This might only make things worse, and make them feel that you are invading their own happy bubble. Let them speak their mind from a comfortable distance, but not too far that you’d have to shout at each other, or too near that you’d be uncomfortable to speak.
6. Be sensitive.
If a patient gets mad at you for something, don’t think that he is a bad patient or person. Think about how you would feel if you were in their shoes. Being sensitive to people’s feelings means accepting them and respecting them no matter what happens.
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