4 Steps to Deal with Harassment From Unruly Patients

Unfortunately, many nurses will have to deal with some form of harassment by patients at one point or another. Many patients don’t even know they’re doing something wrong — those with dementia or developmental disabilities, for instance. That doesn’t make it any easier, and it doesn’t make it right.

Let’s take a look at four steps nurses in and around Suwanee, GA can take to deal with harassment from unruly patients.

Document the Behavior

Document the harassment by writing down what happened, what was said, and how you responded. At this stage, do NOT document the incident via video or audio recording — you don’t want to be on the hook later for documenting a patient without permission. The documentation is simply for the purpose of remembering precisely what happened and how the incident(s) transpired.

Report the Behavior

Report harassment to your supervisor as soon as it occurs. Your employer should have guidelines in place for reporting and dealing with harassment issues, not only those perpetrated by co-workers, but by patients as well. If you don’t receive the response you’re looking for from your direct supervisor and the problem continues to happen, go higher — you may have to report the behavior to a program director or facility manager.

Ask for Help

Often, harassment occurs when a nurse is alone with a patient. Again, the patient may not be aware that what they’re doing is inappropriate — it can be difficult to accept, but it’s important to recognize. Many times, all it takes to solve the issue is to ask for help from another nurse or caregiver. More than one person being in the room with the patient can provide not only physical help with the patient, but mental and emotional backing as well.

Seek Support

Harassment in any form (verbal, emotional, physical, etc.) can prove traumatic. Don’t be afraid to seek support in dealing with these issues. Talking with other nurses, friends and family can be very helpful, but you may need further assistance — there is no shame in seeking help from a mental health professional like a counselor or staff psychologist if you’re struggling with a harassment case.


Remember: Even though you’re responsible for the health of a patient in your care, you’re not responsible for putting up with harassment in any form. Take the proper steps to deal with the issue right away. Are you a nurse in the Suwanee, GA area looking to better yourself in your healthcare career? Give the experts at BOS Medical a call today to learn how our staffing service can help you


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