I’m sure you have all had multiple patients who have scared you. This happened to me earlier in the week. I was the only thing between one patient trying to hurt another one. I was so scared but I couldn’t show them that I was absolutely terrified. They were kicking and punching the door that I was holding shut. Cursing and using some very colourful language…I’ll let you imagine that what they said. The patients behind the door, I could not imagine how they were feeling, probably thinking that at any moment the door is going to get busted down. And the patient who was doing the scaring, was also unwell. It’s not like I could not have put myself there, otherwise someone would have gotten hurt. SO…. what did I do? I put on a strong front, told the patient that these patients were also unwell and that it was not okay to be threatening them and bashing on their door. To him I was not scared, but inside I was thinking, he could hit me at any moment, his rage getting taken out on the door… what if that door becomes me? I persisted and tried to reason with the patient, trying to get him to go to his room and his behaviour was not acceptable. Eventually, he went to his room still cursing and shouting out to these other patients. By the time security came he was sitting in his room like nothing had happened. After being talked to by security, he apologised to every single guard and not to me or the other patients, I felt so upset. I was thinking, the patients and I are the ones who got the brunt of the outburst. Where is our apology?
After he had calmed down I went and apologised to the patients behalf of the other one. I checked to see if they were okay and if they needed anything. After this I broke down, I cried, I was frightened, what on earth just happened? I was standing there so vulnerable and trying to protect my patients. Thank god for my colleagues who talked it through with me and gave me a hug. I know its doesn’t seem like much, but at the time it was a lot.
I realise that this patient is sick, he doesn’t know what he is doing. he can’t apologise to me, and that’s not why I am a nurse, I am there to help him and make sure he gets well. As an advocate for my patients, I took on what he had done and apologised for him to the other patients, that’s all I can do. I encourage you, when faced with these kind of situations remind yourself that they don’t mean it and it is not personal. You are there to help, heal and support 🙂