Dear Nurse Marge,
I’m writing you because I honestly don’t know what to do. Two nights ago, we had a new admit on the floor who, when I came into his room, looked me up and down, snorted, and said I was too fat and ugly to care for him. He refused all care and DEMANDED another nurse.
My nurse manager supported me 100% and told him this behavior was unacceptable — either he let me care for him or he could leave. An exact quote from her: “We don’t have time for this nonsense!”
He stayed — but the whole time I took care of him, made snide comments about how I was disgusting and how every time I touched him I made him sicker. Looking at me was “marginally better than death.” We were flat out crazy that night, otherwise I would have swapped with someone. I was never so glad to see a shift end — and I was off for two days, so when I went back, he was gone.
My question is how am I supposed to handle this? I’m not a supermodel by any stretch of the imagination, but this guy makes me feel
Too Ugly to Nurse
Dear Too Ugly to Nurse,
What a jerk! I’m sorry this happened to you. It’s one of those ugly truths — just because someone’s a patient doesn’t mean they’re pleasant. This guy sounds like he had real issues. He’s the one with issues here — not you. It doesn’t matter WHAT you look like: if someone is rotten like this, he’ll be rotten to everyone.
It’s good your NM stood up for you but there was certainly more that could have been done. Abusive patients don’t need to have this type of behavior rewarded. It would have been nice to boot him out — let his health get worse than his opinion of your looks, and we’ll see who comes crawling back.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I say that true beauty comes when you’re the one that be-holding that 14 needle! If he’s already disturbed by having you touch him to start an IV, he might as well have the full experience. We wouldn’t want to disappoint his expectations — after all, failure to meet patient expectations is one of the leading causes of patient dissatisfaction.
And we certainly can’t have that.