While working as a certified nursing assistant provides a look into the human condition, sometimes this look isn’t a pleasant one. Although working alongside ill and recovering patients has its own challenges, when faced with a disgruntled patient you must approach the situation with extreme caution. Review your employers policy regarding disorderly patients; however, the following guidelines are universally accepted.
Identifying Problem Behaviors
Before reporting any negative activity on your report, take a moment to look at the situation objectively. While it’s common to become emotionally involved with patients, especially those with behavioral problems, only move forward if the behavior has one or all of the following three elements:
Disruptiveness to Others – Identifying and classifying behavior as disruptive must be carefully reviewed to prevent your own personal feelings getting tangled with the legal decision to file a report. Examples of truly disruptive behavior is a patient who constantly yells, screams and throws profanities as other patients and nursing staff. Other examples include repeating the same word or words or physically resisting CNAs, nurses and physicians.
High-Risk Behavior – Of course, behavior that puts others at a higher risk of injury physically or by spreading an infectious disease must be controlled immediately; however, other forms of high-risk behavior involve scenarios where the actual patient may hurt himself. Examples of this behavior type include hitting, biting, throwing objects, ignoring safety regulations and engaging in behavior that might cause self harm.
Forbidden Behavior – Patients who fall into this category typically engage in behavior that is against the law or disturbing to other patients and medical staff. Patients who steal, expose themselves or urinate in inappropriate places are all examples of this type of behavior.
Considering Behavioral Problems
While some patients may be acting out as a way to resist their treatment, some may engage in such activities due to an underlining mental illness. In the case of the latter, it’s essential to refer to your employer’s policies for dealing with mentally unstable individuals. Although behavior may be considered high-risk, reporting such behavior must be done through different channels for mentally ill patients.
When In Doubt
Whenever dealing with a difficult patient, never feel out of place approaching your charge nurse or supervisor regarding the patient. When in doubt regarding your ability to care for the patient, always reach out for consultation. Not doing so may lead to legal implications, such as a negligence lawsuit. While working as a certified nursing assistant provides a host of pleasures and benefits, you must become steadfast in dealing with the less-glamorous side of health care.