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I'm worried how rude the nurses will be

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Question - (17 May 2017) 19 Answers - (Newest, 22 May 2017)
A female Australia age 51-59, anonymous writes:

Im going into hospital tomorrow for a minor procedure and the nurses are known to be nasty, what can i do?

Am staying overnight and on the ward im going to overnight on the nurses are well known to be sarcastic and cold... I have spoken to several people who have been there and read online reviews.

i was on a waiting list and I cannot change hospitals!

I'll be as undemanding as possible but how to handle a rude or cold and uncaring nurse?

Yes they are busy, and I won't bother them, and my procedure is minor but i deserve respect!

the procedure I am having usually means people go home that day but as I have no-one to help me I am staying overnight and am afraid hey will judge me for it.

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (22 May 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntFrom your posts my guess is you are a very sensitive person. The doctor probably did wonder why you where in over night if they usually just do it and the person goes home. Anyway don't worry it is over and done with now and glad to know you got on well.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (20 May 2017):

This is poster

Thanks for answers, nurses were ok which was good

Operation went ok

But.. the Doctor who did the procedure was cold, not at all friendly & sarcastic

I was last on the list for the day.. i was sceduled at 4pm

1.5hours before operation the young female Dr who was doing it came

up to me and said

"Is there a reason you are staying overnight, is it because it's late in the day?"

I explained that its as I live alone & i jokingly said id much rather be at home than here (to keep the mood light)

(And.. as she was kind of smirking & sarcastic and staring at me like i was taking advantage of the hospital system..)

She then said

"You know you usually go home after this procedure" and stared like i was a person who wanted to be here..

I said that I know this but the hospital wont let me stay home alone so I has to stay, I was casual in manner to keep things light..

Sh said nothing & smirked and walked off

1 other nurse and a dr also asked why I was in overnight..

Not all of us have family to help us!but its done now

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A female reader, RubyBirtle United Kingdom + , writes (20 May 2017):

How did the operation go? How are you feeling? Were the nurses as bad as you feared?

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A female reader, Intrigued3000 Canada +, writes (19 May 2017):

Intrigued3000 agony auntI know exactly how you feel. I've been hospitalised twice in my life where I had to stay a few nights. I've had some really lovely nurses, but I had some really horrible ones. My last hospital stay was particularly bad because one of the night nurse took her anger and frustration out on me by hurting me while changing my dressing. I never felt so afraid or vulnerable in my life. I filed a complaint with the head nurse and asked that she be removed from being my nurse. They complied. The experience left me with a phobia for hospitals.

All I can advise is that you will be groggy for most of the night, so you don't have to worry about interacting with them too much. They will come once in a while to check on your vitals, etc. throughout the night. Take your music or a book to read, and put your head phones on and listen to some relaxing music that will calm you down. Be polite. Show gratitude when they are nice to you. You are going to be OK, and you will survive the night. Hope you have a speedy recovery:)

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (18 May 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntHonestly if you are nice to them then I am sure they will be nice to you. Show them respect and hopefully they will return the favor. Just remember the nurses are there to help take care off you, so allow them to do their job. It is only one night and you will be home, you will probably sleep most off the time anyway. Good luck with your procedure and please do not worry. These people that tell you the nurses are cold, they should try and do their job for a day. I wish you all the best.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (18 May 2017):

CindyCares agony aunt Hold your horses, OP ! I am not judging or questioning anybody for having to undergo surgery or for not having tons of friends or not having a " perfect life ". Nobody has a perfect life, and, just to assure you that I am not spouting nonsense, and I have wide experience, both of hospital procedures under SEVERAL state-subsidized ( NHS ) and private healtcare systems ,and of taking care of myself without assistence, I will mention that I had important surgery in Hungary ( my choice and preference ) so, not only I had nobody available to pick me up for going home, but " going home " meant a long cab ride to the airport, a 2 hours flight to my country, and another hour by bus - right upon dismissal. This not to say what a hero I am ( I am not )- just that at times the conditions may not be ideal , for each and any of us.

My perplexity arose from the fact that you are , I think , sort of mixing up two different things .

You mentioned that you were going to have a minor procedure performed in "day hospital" regime, so my confusion was legitimate , because, once again due to personal experience, I know that would mean that you'd be operated , say , at 8 a.m. and after few hours to flush out the anesthetics and rest a bit, - clinically speaking you are good to go,( they would not let you go if you weren't ), and so why they should care if you have company or not.

In fact, also since you mention general anesthesia , I think what you are having is One Day Surgery.

I am not nitpicking, it's different.

One Day Surgery is , basically, that they have found a way to speed up about 750 kinds of traditional ( and not really so "minor" ) operations , as long as they require less than 90 minutes of general anesthesia. They are operations that ,although not mega-invasive, have a statistic likelihoood of complicances , ( for instance , tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy ), or require inspection / substitution of bandage / drainage during the night , or subministration of meds in the night hours , stuff like that.

IF you are not diabetic or cardiopatic, if you weight less than 80 kg., if you are not over a certain age, and IF you have someone willing to watch you at home and call the hospital in case of problems, ( they call him / her a tutor ) you can, if you like,, skip the overnight stay at the hospital ( which , btw, not everybody wants to do even if they can, because generally they must show up the day after for final check up and picking up medical records, which can be a hassle logistically )

But that's not a " day hospital " regime for minor procedures, - where, once they have cut, the technical time to get you back on your feet, and you are good to go.

It's a regular hospital admission and procedure , with shortened stay ( possible in the hospitals which have specially trained staff and technical structures for that ).

Anyway , OP, while I am confident that your overnight stay will be absolutely tolerable, and that chances are you will be treated with care and courtesy, and of course I wish you a prompt recovery- I don't like it when people feel powerless and say " I have no choice ": this is not true. As Ruby Birtle mentions, you can sign and discharge yourself under your own responsibility. No hospital will detain you against your will. If the operation is not imminent, you would have time to contact volunteer organizations or your church or your social services to , at the very least , get yourself picked up and driven home .

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A male reader, Myau New Zealand +, writes (18 May 2017):

Myau agony auntI mastered the art of letting it go in one ear and out the other.

They cant upset you if you dont care. So just no sell them.

And be nice Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd get well soon :)

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A female reader, YouWish United States + , writes (18 May 2017):

YouWish agony auntDon't worry about it OP! The nurses aren't going to judge you because you don't have a person at home to help out. They'd rather have you stay overnight at the hospital than leave and have a medical emergency at home that you can't have help taking care of.

The nurses are also too busy to worry about how long you should be there. All they care about is that the warm body in the hospital bed isn't demanding, high maintenance, or anything out of the ordinary routine-wise.

In fact, believe it or not, a nurse might be relieved to know that there's one evening where they'll have to worry a little less about a patient on their rotation than at other times. You might in fact be giving them a temporary ease of their burdens as opposed to someone needing a very highly-attentive protocol, such as administering extremely frequent medicine, draining suture spots or wounds, changing bedding because of a bowel issue, checking on catheter output frequency and consistency, washing and changing someone, or someone who's in the hospital who is a criminal under guard.

You might be the answer to a nurse's prayer "Please let me have an evening with no crazies and no one bleeding from every orifice."

In short, don't worry about what the nurses are thinking. They don't have time to judge you.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (18 May 2017):

I have a lot of experience with hospitals (USA), and 99% of the time the nurses are anywhere from satisfactory/civil all the way up to incredibly nice. Odds are, a person will have at least a decent nurse during their stay.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (18 May 2017):

Honeypie agony auntI have never met a rude nurse - rude doctors - YES but not nurses. They are generally very nice (in my own personal experience). Does it mean that a nurse can't have a shitty day and not be super nice or cater to a patient's whims? Sure.

TREAT others as you would like to be treated and I think you will have a pleasant and undramatic stay.

Why worry? You are there for surgery and recovery - that's it.

My grandmother who was a "notoriously BAD patient" - the "fluff my pillow" and "change the channel on the TV even though I have a remote" kind... She never spoke ill of any of her nurses and I never saw any of them be rude (though they could have been - TRUST me she was quite the "World's worst patient". I know because I have taken care of her in her home when she got out of the hospital. She had this little bell she would ring and you better run lol.

I think whether you have a GOOD or BAD experience it's ALL up to you.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (17 May 2017):

this is the poster.

the australian health cae system is not "EASY GOING OR LAID BACK" CINDY CARES, but each hospital has a POLICY on people staying at home alone following a person having a general anaesthetic/operation..

we have very LONG wait lists, very busy hospitals and over worked nurses and doctors, like any country..

I was put on one of the lists for a NECESSARY procedure,and have been waiting..

it is HOSPITAL POLICY that people DO NOT stay at home alone even after a day procedure so i HAVE to stay overnight I had NO choice!

I could have lied and said I had someone at home..,but that would be no good and they have to see that someone can pick you up from hospital, they call them and must see you leave with a person.

I am a person with little money and cannot afford a private nurse to care for me! I dont need it, I will be hospital because I must NOT because I want to be.

I am all alone and have not a soul to help, no family nearby, friends cannot and wont help, as they are busy with life, and I dont know my neighbours!

so am in hospital overnight

do not judge or question me for being in hospital please... you have no idea what my life is like!

Not everyone has perfect lives with a loving family and friends who will help rather than say 'sorry am working"

i would much rather be at HOME than in hospital.

to everyone else thanks for you answers.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (17 May 2017):

CindyCares agony aunt I am perplexed, I don't quite understand what you mean.

A hospital is not a hotel, you do not get to pick and choose how long you want to stay. Least of all, in an NHS system !

If your procedure is routinely carried out in day hospital form - then , unless because of ( touch wood ) unforeseen complicances- you'll get day hospital treatment and day hospital protocol , and you will be discharged and sent home after 2 or 4 or ...X hours, regardless of your living situation.

They could not care less ( understandably,in my view ) if you live on your own or with a family of 8 people. As long as it is deemed medically safe to send you home, - they'll send you home.

If, for your own comfort and convenience, you prefer not to be alone the night after surgery, it would be up to you to arrange for that by calling over a friend or a neighbour, or hiring a private nurse, or making arrangements with a volunteer orgenization , or whatever you can come up with .

But if the hospital keeps you overnight for a minor day hospital procedure, just because you live alone, .. well, then the Australian taxpayers are the nicest, most easy going , most laid back taxpayers ever !

Anyway, regardless of this little mystery - of course you deserve respect as a patient, but why do you assume that you won't be given respect?

Nurses are trained professionals, and also trained to cater to the public and to deal with sick people in a professional, correct, respectful way. There can be unlucky exceptions, unplesant episodes very occasionally - like in any field of work. But that's surely not the rule, so why are you sure that you will be so unlucky to get the "bad apple" nurse during the ( at most ) 24 hours of your hospital stay ?

OTH, even if you were just so unlucky ... hey, it's ONE day. You can handle it ; a cross word ( which most probably you will NOT get ) won't kill you. Focus your thoughts and energies , instead, on getting your health back and recovering rapidly !

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (17 May 2017):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntI usually find that people's attitude towards me tends to mirror my attitude towards them. In other words, if I am nice and polite, then they tend to be also.

Assume this is the case with the nurses. After all, you have only heard one side of the story. Perhaps the patients who have made the complaints were nasty and rude to the nurses first? Or perhaps they had unrealistic expectations of "service" in a hospital. After all, it is a HOSPITAL, not a 5* hotel. The nurses are there to ensure you are comfortable and start to heal after your procedure. They are not your personal waiters or servants. Keep in mind that they are probably overworked and tired, hence may have shorter fuses than you would like. Be pleasant, don't make unreasonable demands and tell them what a wonderful job they are doing. Maybe even show an interest in them as people and ask them about their day? I am sure they will warm to you and be absolutely fine. And if they are not, just hang in there; it's only one night.

Good luck. I hope all goes well and you are back home before you know it.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (17 May 2017):

I think you have the pre-surgery jitters. People are often apprehensive of the surgery and how they'll be treated; but most of it is unfounded fear. Nobody likes hospitals!

There is no reason for the nurses to be cruel to you; and you shouldn't listen to horror stories told by people who are probably getting a kick out of scaring you.

Sick people are usually cranky and uncomfortable, and they sometimes abuse the nursing-staff or refuse to take their medication. Some people go nuts and fight them when they need to give injections with needles. I've been in the healthcare field and I seen it all.

The nurses have to do their jobs in spite of how they're treated by ornery patients; and sometimes they have to be assertive to make the patient behave. You've only heard one side of the story. If you're a nice person, they will have no reason to be mean to you.

Relax and don't expect anything but to get better after they take care of you. Stop listening to people and their nonsense. People always have something bad to say about everything. Have you ever done your best, but someone still complained about you? Who hasn't?

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A male reader, olderthandirt  +, writes (17 May 2017):

olderthandirt agony aunt#1 Nurses are generally just the opposite. Nurses in general are very nice and do a great job. An B... Relax you're going to be just fine.

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A female reader, RubyBirtle United Kingdom + , writes (17 May 2017):

If you are having a type of surgery that would normally be done as a day patient, you could discharge YOURSELF from the hospital against medical advice. The hospital will have some form of procedure for patients who wish to do this. They can't stop you (or judge you) for doing this unless you plan on doing something stupidly reckless such as drive yourself home. So either get a friend to pick you up in the evening or take a cab.

Otherwise, I agree with what the other aunties have said and be polite, thankful and undemanding. So many patients seem to think that nurses are servants rather than highly qualified health professionals.

On another note, rude and uncaring nursing staff are usually a symptom of poor management so perhaps you should complain formally to the hospital management if you DO receive poor treatment.

Were you a nurse yourself at some point?

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A female reader, Tisha-1 United States +, writes (17 May 2017):

Tisha-1 agony auntThis thread may help!

Assume that each nurse you encounter is the one who is actually nice and treat her as such. Good luck and I hope you recover quickly!

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A female reader, YouWish United States + , writes (17 May 2017):

YouWish agony auntI'm very well acquainted with hospitals and nurses. My college roommate was also studying nursing and is a chief RN now at the Mayo Clinic. I also have been a regular patient, having gone through kidney dialysis and then a transplant, and I still have to visit on a regular basis for the rest of my life. You're right, there *are* some nurses that you'd think their former job was to be a nurse at a prison camp for unruly children.

For one thing - they won't judge you. A nurse's weakness isn't that they judge patients - it's that they won't see you *as* a patient, but merely a series of tasks they need to perform in their overburdened overtaxed schedule. Blood pressure, medicine, cleaning sutures, etc. It can be cold and impersonal for this reason. It is not personal, and that's the issue.

The way to change that isn't to go in there with an "I deserve respect" attitude, because trust me, the nurses all feel that way, and they *do* deserve respect for seeing and cleaning up after things we civilians could never even fathom. I could tell you stories I witnessed firsthand with my own eyes that would have the hair on the back of your neck standing on end, and I was amazed at the calm that nurses showed dealing with stuff that would have had me in the corner covering my head in the fetal position.

To get them to open up and treat you well, smile at them. Treat them well. Ask them how their day is going. Make the small talk. Show your appreciation to them. Thank them for being prompt with the medication (especially if your procedure puts you in pain). Don't make tons of demands as if nurses are hotel concierges or servants. In short, act like you're happy to see them when they come in, and that goes miles for a nurse. They'll go the extra mile for you if you're really good to them. I'll never forget this, but when I was getting my transplant, I chatted with the Intensive Care Nurses as much as I could, and on the 4th of July, one of them got done with her 12-hour shift and offered to wheel me up to the roof with the other nurses to watch the fireworks over the city. She took the time to mask me and prep me for the outdoors and I hung out with the off-duty nurses watching the fireworks.

Nurses are real people. If you treat them well, they will treat you even better.

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A female reader, Honeygirl South Africa +, writes (17 May 2017):

Honeygirl agony auntHon, say please and thank you and treat them how you would like to be treated. Smile and be nice to them. Unfortunately some people think nurses are their own private slaves. Go into hospital with a positive attitude, and if they are rude to you, ignore it, you will be out of there after a short while.

Hope your procedure goes well!

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