In the know: How to handle angry situations

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, August 31, 2009

Everyone encounters angry people. And everyone gets angry form time to time. Patients get angry. Nurses get angry. Everyone "loses his or her cool" from time to time. It may be uncomfortable to handle anger, but it is a necessary task. And dealing with anger or other emotions can often strengthen and enrich a relationship.

Here are some tips for handling angry situations:

• Don't waste a lot of time, emotion, and energy trying to solve a problem that's not solvable. If a problem is not solvable, admit it. Say something like "This situation is out of our control. What we can control is…" Then, offer something that you can do to help the situation even if only indirectly.

• Do not allow yourself to get into a heated battle with the patient. There are many tricks to this. One way is to speak softly and slowly. Some nurses even just mouth words so that nothing can be heard. Patients often quiet down because the want to hear how you might be able to help them.

• Avoid saying things like "calm down," and avoid touching the person. Even though you mean to soothe the situation by these actions, it often inflames it.

For more tips, read HCPro's book, Stressed Out About Difficult Patients.

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