Nursing

Blog spotlight: The Maddeningly Difficult Patient

Nurse Leader Insider, June 28, 2010

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Editor's note: This post comes from our monthly guest blogger; Wendy Leebov.

The maddeningly difficult patient presents a maddeningly difficult challenge —almost daily.

Oops. I said “difficult patient” and I vowed never to use that term. I think it’s much more constructive to talk about “difficult situations” and the “difficult-for-me patient.” The fact is, because patients and families are so anxious during healthcare experiences and so out of their element, many people do not behave at their best. They are not inherently difficult.The situation is difficult for them. (Click here to read more about “The Difficult-for-me Patient”)

Yet, since challenging patients and families produce so much stress for service providers, I am constantly trying to learn about ways to help. Recently, at a large medical group, I ran a focus group with nurses, billing reps, registrars, phlebotomists, and others known for dealing with difficult situations well. To help spark sharing and insights, I used behavioral interview questions:

“Tell me in detail about a time you were challenged.”

  • What were the circumstances?
  • What happened exactly?
  • What did they say?
  • What did you say?

To read more on the story and leave your comments, click here.



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