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How To Handle Impossible Patients (Or Patient Relatives)

Dealing with patients can be such an enriching and positive experience. Their strength as they handle medical situations, their outlook on life, how grateful they are for your care. It is enough to make being a Certified Nurse Assistant a dream come true.

Until you have to interact with a patient you don’t like. This is going to happen more than once in your career. You may even be fine with the patients, but have to deal with their difficult relatives. Either situation can be uncomfortable, infuriating, and make it hard to get through your daily duties.

There is no way to keep yourself from difficult patients, it is just a part of your job. But you can learn to handle them more effectively, and keep yourself from going insane in the meantime.

Remember That They Are Scared/Hurt/Sick 

One of the easiest ways to avoid becoming angry with a difficult patient is to remember what they are there for. They could be really ill, or just living with daily discomfort. Maybe they are a parent or child to the patient, and they are frightened, worried, and tired. Their injury could be causing significant pain that is making them irritable.

Remembering this fact can lessen your annoyance greatly.

Know That You Have Others To Care For 

You are a CNA, you have a lot of patients. When you are done finishing the duties involved with this one, you will move onto other that are less taxing, or more pleasant. There is no reason to allow yourself to get angry or upset when your interaction with the person causing your ire is temporary and occasional.

Take a deep breath, and move on.

Communicate Openly and Positively 

They are screaming at you and insulting you. You keep your expression and voice calm, and carefully explain what is happening, what will happen next, and ask them for any concerns to convey to the nurse or doctor. Offer compassion, and ask if there is anything you can do for them to help make them more comfortable, or less anxious.

Often, people will lash out at times of great stress. But when you refuse to be baited, they will back down.

Don’t worry, dealing with difficult patients is easier than you might think.

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