Feeling Strain When Violent Patients Need CareBy THERESA BROWN, R.N.Brian Stauffer
I didn’t know much about the patient — just that he’d showed up on my floor the previous evening after some confusion about whether his room was ready. When I went into his room that morning, he was still asleep. I gently roused him while his doctor, who had followed me in, explained that he needed to do a physical exam.
The patient, suddenly fully awake, challenged him: “Are you going to examine me or are you just going to stand there and talk about it?”
He was aggressive, confrontational. But more than that, his voice had an edge to it that, I’ll reluctantly admit, scared me, especially when he quickly got up out of the bed and started yelling at the doctor and me. He was a big guy, weighing almost 300 pounds, muscular, and taller than I am.
The doctor quickly left, saying he was going to call security. The patient then focused on me: “Look at you, standing there with that stupid look on your face.”
What was happening here?
Turns out the patient had a history of being violent in the hospital, and there had been resistance to admitting him at all.
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