I hear about horrible patients almost every day. You know the ones I’m talking about, right? They’re the type of patients that make nurses want to quit and drive everyone in the hospital crazy! These are the ones that seem to go out of their way to make your job the shift from hell. Do they know how horrible they are? Do they care?
For those that do care, and those that want to make the lives of the people that are trying to help them a little bit better, we came up with this list of things that every patient can do to be a good patient. With this guide, you can help the front line troops in the healthcare field do the job they are trying to do- help you get better and get out of the hospital!
1- Have something that is really wrong with you. Don’t go to the hospital telling your nurse that you just don’t feel that good. Your doctor’s clinic is not the place that you should be going to every day just so that you have something to do. If you need medical attention, by all means seek it out, but don’t think of the hospital or clinic as a place to go to for entertainment.
2- Don’t exaggerate about your pain, or don’t try to play down the amount of pain that you are feeling. If you are a drug seeker that says your pain is a 10 out of 10, but you are laughing and playing cards, your nurse is not stupid enough to believe you. Drug addicts that fake their level of pain are obvious, and no matter how good of an actor you think you are your nurse knows better. At the same time, if you are asked to rate your pain and you claim that you are fine, yet you can barely talk and you are clenching the bed, stop that! You need to be honest about the pain you are experiencing so that the staff can treat you. Instead of making their job harder, help your nurse/doctor help you.
3- Don’t beg for morphine or Phenergen for fun. If you are begging for your meds to be pushed faster through your IV so that you feel that wave of a buzz, you have a problem. You are not appreciated, and your need to get high with your nurse’s assistance makes them hate their jobs. If you need a dope dealer, leave the hospital and keep the staff out of the dealing business.
4- Don’t threaten the people that are doing their best to help you. If you think that pushing the call light and saying “somebody better get down here and turn my TV channel or I’m going to call my lawyer” is going to help you, you’re wrong. Instead of making anyone want to help you, you are making them want to do the opposite.
5- Don’t stroll around the facility and park in the nurse’s station to have some fun. You are in the hospital to get better. The nurse’s station is for the workers that are trying to help you get better. Respect their work space and they will respect you.
6- No partying in the hospital, please. Don’t have your whole extended family come so that everyone can “cut up” and roar with laughter all through the night. Don’t ask your cousin to bring a bottle of booze so that you can party. Don’t hide in the bathroom to smoke. In short, the hospital is a place for you to rest, get well, not disturb others around you, and not to treat as a bar.
7- Try being nice to the staff. Being a jerk will not help them, and it certainly won’t help you. If you want someone to care about you and your well being, the best way to achieve that is to be polite and kind. Instead of yelling for some more water, try saying something like, “Nurse Tina, when you get a minute would you mind getting me some water?” You may be surprised at how kind your nurse can be when you are polite to them. Nobody wants to do anything that they don’t have to do for Patient Punk, but many will go out of their way to help Mr. Friendly.
8- Don’t beg to be taken outside at night to smoke, when you know that it’s forbidden. If you are in a facility that has a policy that you can not leave the interior after a certain hour, respect that. Pleading to smoke during after hours just terrorizes the staff, and you are the nightmare patient that nobody wants.
9- Help yourself when you can. If you are actually unable to get some water, by all means you should ask for help. If you are capable of getting up and fixing a glass, do it! The nurses are doing everything they can to get their jobs done. Making them go out of their way and stop doing what is needed because you are just lazy is not acceptable.
10- Say “thank you”. Too many people take their nurses for granted. Many have the attitude that their caregivers are just doing their job, are not really humans, and that nurses get paid too much to begin with. That’s just wrong. Taking a moment to thank the people that are working for you can, and will, go a long way.
Bonus: If you think the staff went out of their way to help you, it wouldn’t hurt to send them a thank you card or a little gift of appreciation.
What do you think about this list of what people can do to become dream patients? Would you have anything to add to it? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comment box below.