I have worked in the emergency room for two years now. Those two years have allowed me to gain experience and knowledge to better myself as a nurse. I have learned the ins and outs of the ER, including policies, standard protocols and what is and is not tolerated in that environment. However, there are no protocols or policies that could prepare me enough to deal with an irate family member.
This particular incident occurred on a busy Monday several months ago. I was nearing the end of my shift and was already worn out from the overload of patients we had seen in the ER all day. When I say worn out, that meant physically and mentally. The admitting clerk called back to the nurse’s station stating that there was a patient coming back that was experiencing shortness of breath. I met the patient in their exam room and was surprised when I saw that three family members were accompanying the patient. We have a general rule that only two family members are allowed back in the emergency room AFTER triage and this all depends on th...
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... did not have to because I would have cared for her the same either way. Patient’s family members had treated me poorly before, but I had never had them actually apologize. I made the realization that just as patients have the right to feel frustrated so do their family members and so does the nurse. I realized that these people are by their family member’s side through an illness and when they feel that their family is not being taken care of, it affects them negatively as well. I realized that family is an integral part of the patient’s care, but the patient always has to come first regardless of family’s input. As underprepared as I felt to deal with this situation, I felt that I handled it completely appropriately. I was glad that I did not back down when faced with an uncomfortable situation, because the patient and family left our emergency happy and healthy.
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