Usually, I do not like to rant. But after a Monday at work and dealing with some of the most difficult people known to man, I am going to be self indulgent and go on right ahead. It’s about how to behave if you are a patient. In point form.

1. You are not the only person in the entire hospital. Going up to the nurse and asking if the doctor will see you before everyone else because you are hungry/ thirsty/old/ been here since 7.30am is ridiculous. Everyone is hungry and thirsty and has been waiting. These kinds of decisions are not generally taken by nurses anyway.

2. Just because you happen to see MY face all day, does not mean I am responsible for all things hospital related. So complaining at me is futile (I purposefully don’t say complain to me. I honestly think that sometimes patients don’t actually want a solution but someone to vent their frustration at). If you want to complain, go to customer care and they will direct your complaint to who deserves it.

3. Relatives: there are reasons why you can’t be in the recovery room/operating theatre/holding bay with the patient. It’s because it is in these areas that patients spew out vomit/shit/piss/blood and sometimes utter nonsense during and after procedures. We are not being mean. We are being practical. You also take up room. And demand attention. And talk loudly. You may not mean to be obnoxious, but must often you are precisely that. Let us do our job. We know you love your relative, but love does not trump nursing training, we will probably take better care of your loved one at this stage better than you can. So just accept it.

4. Relatives: when I say no, it means no. Not ‘no’ just until I turn my back. If I say no relatives in the patient area, I will not change my mind 2 minutes later simply because I left the room.

5. Don’t be rude to the nurse. She/he is probably crazy busy doing her best to accommodate you, even though you might not realise it. That tea you are drinking? The nurse probably made it. The stretcher you are lying on? The nurse cleaned it. We do so many things that are not our job. When you tell us to ‘Get fucked’ because we put too much butter in your sandwich or roll your eyes at us when we tell you that your procedure is postponed by 6hrs because you had a coffee when you knew you are meant to fast or after we page the doctor and you ask when is he going to show up and we say hopefully soon and you answer with ‘even tomorrow comes soon’ it is such an ignorant way to behave.

6. Believe it or not, us nurses are on your side. Always. Even when you tell us to get fucked.

Since we deal with this crap on a daily basis, to cheer up the brigade, I made a coconut and lemon cake. It went down a treat:

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I love my patients, I really do. However, a hospital etiquette book must be published and distributed pronto!

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