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To expect ward staff to be treated politely?

(41 Posts)
grannyactivist Sun 25-Nov-12 21:55:22

I am genuinely really horrified at the manner in which staff were spoken to by parents on the children's unit. If a child in my class had spoken to me in the way I heard staff being spoken to I would have been shocked, but the casual rudeness and bad manners I encountered left me almost speechless. shock
Honestly, the staff, including non-medical staff were outstanding in every way. It's a very busy unit, but the nursing staff were very 'present' and accessible. No question was too trivial and every child and parent seemed to me to be very well looked after. So I am dumbfounded at the sheer level of rudeness staff encountered as a matter of course. My nursing daughter has often complained that many patients and their relatives are rude and ill mannered, but I hadn't even begun to imagine the scale of the problem. Most of the nurses and doctors commented, not only on my grandson's good manners (which I might have expected, he is only two after all), but also on how polite my daughter is! At dinner one couple referred scathingly to my daughter as, 'the Princess', because she had thanked one of the specialist nurses for her time.

If you're a nursing granny and have to put up with this on a daily basis I salute you!

annodomini Sun 25-Nov-12 22:31:01

Such a change in the last forty years. When my DS spent 5 weeks in Birmingham children's Hospital, parents looked on the nurses as saints and the sister was all-powerful and, I may say, extremely kind to upset parents. We knew our children's lives depended on their skill and we trusted them implicitly. So sad that things have come to the pass that you describe, GA. There does seem to be a lack of respect for so many professionals these days - teachers also spring to mind.

merlotgran Sun 25-Nov-12 22:35:29

Emotions run high on a children's ward but that's no excuse for being rude to the staff.

Ana Sun 25-Nov-12 22:37:01

That's truly shocking, grannyactivist. Rudeness does seem to be a by-product of the growing 'entitlement' culture.

Nelliemoser Sun 25-Nov-12 23:31:42

It is utterly appalling! . Do these parents have an over inflated view of "their rights?"

grannyactivist Sun 25-Nov-12 23:38:10

Emotions running high I can understand, I also 'get' why people may say things in the heat of the moment, but that's not what I was witnessing. It was just rudeness, plain and simple.
The other thing I found disturbing was the number of parents who didn't seem to want to be involved in their children's basic care; not nursing, but feeding, cuddling, changing etc. The attitude seemed pretty prevalent amongst the people I saw that childcare was the nurses job and some parents appeared quite happy to wander off to the parent's room and leave them to it. Sadly (and quite understandably) the parent's attitudes were reflected in the behaviour of their children. shock sad

absentgrana Mon 26-Nov-12 08:39:32

How bizarre. I would have expected the parents of ill babies and children to be extra polite because they would be extra grateful for every bit of care and help. There is never an excuse for routine discourtesy, let alone downright rudeness.

wisewoman Mon 26-Nov-12 08:58:48

We seem to live in an age of entitlement where people have rights but no sense of responsibility in how they exercise them. There is rudeness everywhere and people are surprised if one takes the trouble to say thank you and show appreciation. Like the others though I am surprised that there is rudeness on a children's ward. I would have thought parents would be so grateful for the care their children receive and would try to help staff as much as possible. Hope things are improving for your family grannyactivist and you don't have to spend much more time in hospital. flowers

wisewoman Mon 26-Nov-12 09:27:10

Just had a thought. Maybe it is because we are all treated as consumers or customers that people are very hot on their rights.

annodomini Mon 26-Nov-12 09:36:39

I fear for the children of such parents. Who is responsible for the behaviour of the parents? An awful thought: is it the baby boomer generation - who were their parents?

vampirequeen Mon 26-Nov-12 09:39:02

It's sad that basic manners are disappearing.

My youngest daughter fell off a swing when she was 8 and bit off her bottom lip (as horrible as it sounds). The hospital gave her morphine for the pain and she reacted. I was horrified as she became incredibly bad mannered and rude. I spent all my time apologising and telling her off until one of the nurses said not to worry as it happened sometimes on morphine and they were actually finding it really amusing to watch my reaction so it was so obviously out of my daughter's character to behave in that way.

I think we have moved into a world of expectations. I know someone (a teacher) who is very ill and has been signed off work. Some of the parents in her class have made a formal complaint to the school regarding her absence on the grounds it will affect their children's education.

Barrow Mon 26-Nov-12 10:17:23

There does seem to be an attitude these days of people knowing "their rights" - no-one seems to realise that with rights come responsibilities. If they have a right to be respected, then the people they are speaking to also have a right to be respected.

I have to say when DH was seriously ill in hospital I did almost lose it with one nurse. I was called into the hospital as they didn't expect him to last the day. He surprised everyone by pulling through but was very ill and I stayed at his bedside for the whole of the week he was in there. The majority of the nurses were kind and supportive and I had no problem treating them with the respect they deserved, however, there was one agency nurse who totally dismissed me, stated very forcefully that I should go home and there was nothing I could do for him. I was feeling very stressed and told her I wasn't going anywhere and even if I couldn't do anything for him I could be there when he woke up. It was the closest I have every come to actually striking someone.

In fact I was doing a lot for him, I changed his sheets, washed him and helped feed him when he would eat.

One of the other nurses came and sat with me shortly after and sympathised with my feelings and said they had had complaints from other relatives about her attitude.

Mishap Mon 26-Nov-12 10:38:09

Having watched the programmes on TV about A&E I came away so impressed by the staff's patience and tolerance in the face of abuse and drunkenness.

How are these children going to grow up as civilized caring adults if this is the sort of behaviour they are witnessing all the time - it is deeper than the behaviour itself - it is about underlying attitudes. We do indeed have the right to expect good professional care, but that does not give us the right to be abusive.

I can understand that things might be said in the heat of the moment and of anxiety, but this does not sound as though this is what you have witnessed. How very distressing for you all to have to watch all this on top of your major worries at a time of stress.

absentgrana Mon 26-Nov-12 10:42:39

They are routine now but I remember being deeply shocked when notices started appearing in A & E Departments pointing out that abusive behaviour would not be tolerated. Obviously when someone is in terrible pain, observing the niceties may be beyond them, but abuse is a wholly different matter.

Bags Mon 26-Nov-12 10:52:31

Can you give any examples of what you heard, ga, and in what context?

Elegran Mon 26-Nov-12 11:10:38

Barrow During DHs last day at home (though we did not know it at the time) the district nurse told me that she had arranged for someone from the hospital night service to come in during the night to turn him and check him over, so that I would get a rest.

In the early evening, two of the usual carers came to settle him down and as ever they handled him gently and quietly and did the minimum to leave him comfortable. He slept peacefully while DD1 (who had arrived just the previous day) ate and talked in the room beside him. At 9pm the doorbell rang. It was two sharp-faced nurses, who rolled their sleeves up and told me in no uncertain terms to leave them to it. No other carer or nurse had ever insisted that I leave the room, but I did not make a fuss - went into the kitchen to clear up and do a few chores.

We had a baby alarm hanging on the wall above his bed, with the speaker in the kitchen, so I heard the two nurses continuing their private conversation in animated voices while tending him (no gentleness in their voices, he could have been a side of beef at the butchers) and he, who had said nothing to anyone for two days, let out a sharp cry at something they did. Someone said "Sorry" brightly and the chatter continued until they were finished and left to move on to the next chore patient.

He died just after 10 that night.

glammanana Mon 26-Nov-12 11:24:52

Elegran ((hugs)) flowers xx

Ana Mon 26-Nov-12 11:28:19

So sad, Elegran {{hug}}

Mishap Mon 26-Nov-12 11:30:37

Oh elegran - that is appalling - what a dreadful thing to happen. There are always rotten eggs in any profession, but it is very shocking in one whose raison d'etre is caring.

I experienced a rough and thoroughly unpleasant nurse when I was in hospital after an op - she caused me a lot of;pain, and when I squealed she said:"What's the matter with you, do you think you are going to fall in half?"

Luckily these sort of people are few and far between and the most nurses deserve our praise. Where they do not, we should speak up I think - the whole business of chatting to other nurses whilst caring for the patient is so unaccpetable - I hate it.

Justifiable complaints (which will happen) are one thing - uncalled-for abuse is quite another.

Elegran Mon 26-Nov-12 11:37:52

Thank you. That evening will stay with me for ever. If they had appeared in the middle of the night as expected, we would have turned him ourselves and he would not have been disturbed, or they would have been too late to do anything. I shall always think I should have stayed, however disapproving they were. Maybe they would have shown more consideration. Maybe not, who knows.

Elegran Mon 26-Nov-12 11:42:56

I should have complained, but just did not feel strong enough.

annodomini Mon 26-Nov-12 11:49:47

The image of the nurse is taking a beating in this thread as is the image of the parent of the patient. However, when I've had a couple of visits to the orthopaedic ward of a hospital since made notorious by the murderous administering of insulin through a drip, I had nothing but kindness and friendship from the nurses and the HCAs, especially when I was 'reacting' to the anaesthetic and morphine. The raucous behaviour of some of the visitors, however, was over the top, but handled tactfully by the staff.

Barrow Mon 26-Nov-12 11:58:05

Elegran - sympathies and I do know how you feel. I got my DH back home as early as I could and the District Nurse would come in every day to change his syringe (he was on morphine) and the different nurses were wonderful, caring and treated him with respect and gentleness.

After a week they suggested they get a night sitter so I could actually go to bed and get some rest (I had been sleeping on a sofa next to his bed). The first night the sitter came, she was, again friendly and kind. I went to bed and after a couple of hours she came into the bedroom and said he was asking for me. I went downstairs and he had tried to get out of bed and had slipped onto the floor, I put my arms round him and told him we were going to try to get him back into bed. He mumbled something and then he was gone.

I now feel very guilty that I had not stayed with him that last night.

soop Mon 26-Nov-12 12:31:35

Elegran flowers So sorry, but I cannot put my thoughts into words.

janeainsworth Mon 26-Nov-12 12:58:25

Elegran and Barrow flowersfor you both. I can't express how sorry I feel.