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Challenges with Patients

Mai is a nursing assistant at a long-term care facility. Today she has a challenging patient who is unhappy. He says that he doesn’t understand what Mai is saying. She remembers some advice her coworkers gave her.

The first thing Mai does is to stay calm in order to continue her work. Staying calm also allows her to take control of the situation. She remembers her coworkers said to “not take it personally.” She knows that the patient is not attacking her personally. The patient is upset due to a situation.

Mai knows that she should not argue with a challenging patient. She needs to get the patient to tell her what is wrong.

Mai asks the patient, “What is the problem?” He says that he can’t understand her.

Mai remembers more advice from her coworkers. She knows that she now has to look around and pay attention to what could cause the problem. Why can’t he understand her? She is speaking English clearly. She looks closely and notices that he is not wearing his hearing aids. She realizes that he can’t understand her because he can’t hear her. He is surprised when she gives him his hearing aids.

“Oh, I guess I need these to hear you,” he says.

She smiles and continues to give care. She also tells the patient that everybody forgets things. Mai remembers that it is important to be empathetic with challenging patients. Telling them she understands their problems is important. Being empathetic is one of the skills a nursing assistant needs.

The advice from her coworkers helps Mai to continue to do her job. She stayed calm.  She didn’t take it personally. She didn’t argue with the patient. She communicated with the challenging patient. She paid attention to what could have caused the problem. Most importantly, she was empathetic with the challenging patient. With the good advice, she is happy to give care to all patients, even challenging ones.

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© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners