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The Importance of Respecting your Healthcare Team

healthcare teamBeing sick or caring for someone who has a long-term sickness is very stressful.

No matter how hard you try – it has an effect on your personality.

Long-term sickness, pain and discomfort, or the stress of looking after someone else, can make even the calmest, most tranquil person, intolerant and even aggressive. 

We all try not to let this happen, but it is evident that not all of us are able to do so. This is reflected in the way people are treating the healthcare workers who look after them. 

Across the world, hospital and clinical staff are increasingly experiencing more physical and verbal attacks by patients. 

Things have become so bad that the lanyards for those working in the NHS have had to be adapted to take account of the fact that staff are being attacked at work on a regular basis.

For safety, all members of staff have to wear breakaway lanyards to ensure that an attacker cannot use it to choke them or keep them within reach of the attacker.  

The Negative Impact of Healthcare Work Attacks on All of Us

As you can imagine these attacks are having a negative impact on the staff. It is causing some to leave the profession.  

Hospitals and clinics, which are already short on personnel, are finding it impossible to recruit enough people. 

This is reducing the amount of care they can offer to patients. That means longer waiting times, and people being looked after staff who are stretched and under a lot of stress.  

Hiring security staff, installing CCTV and paying for attack alarms and sickness leave after an attack are all soaking up money that could otherwise be used for patient care. 

Nobody wants this. So, what can you do, how can you make sure that you keep your cool and treat your nurses and doctors with consideration even when you are under stress? 

Show Understanding and Be Empathetic

Try to be understanding. Recognize that staff are doing their best in a tough environment and make allowances for that fact. 

If a nurse or doctor is snappier than normal, take the time to ask if they are OK rather than snapping back. You can let them know that you have noticed they are not themselves, but do it gently to help them to see what they are doing. 

Say “Thank You”

When someone does something for you, let them know you appreciate it by taking the time to say ‘thank you’. 

Address Your Pain and Fears 

Often we feel angry and defensive when we are in pain or are frightened. Getting the pain or fear under control helps you to calm down and stay in control of your temper.

If you can feel your pain getting out of control, let the nurse know, so that your pain meds can be changed.  

Recognise and address your fears. If you are worried or do not understand something say so and ask for clarification.

Facing your fears and gaining a better understanding about your treatment regime will help you to say calm and be a good patient. 


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