Label jars not people

14 Mar 2015 2:20 PMDPT DPT

It is too easy to brand our residents/patients and in nursing when you brand someone it can stick like glue.

It is too easy to brand our residents/patients and in nursing when you brand someone it can stick like glue. An example is nurses labeling residents as cranky or teary or “she’s always like that”. And when it’s passed on and on its like Chinese whispers- it mutates and sets like concrete.

Be aware of the triggers behind a particular behavior and act compassionately when you know someone has been labeled. Of course behaviors are part of everybody’s life and nurses have to deal with them in the workplace– but deal with them professionally and with kindness.

Resident’s triggers and any incidents should be discussed at handover and ways to manage them are shared in this setting. If you hear any discussion in the lunchroom or in passing that is unkind and not based on any assessment or fact then question it. See your RN to check if the information is correct. With experience you will learn the difference between a label and fact. It’s too easy to treat our residents differently when they are labeled with the wrong intent.

If you are told at handover that a patient or resident is being aggressive then use safety measures like having 2 people assist, keep some distance and your back to a door or open space. But treat the behaviours in aged care not the person. Don’t be scared as it will show – you will be tenser and maybe rush the task to get out of the room quicker.

Find out more about a person so you can get to know them not just their medical condition that is causing the behavior. With time you will know when someone is being “labeled”. It is a form of bullying by staff so be aware and give these residents even more care. From the “Stress Less Nursing Facebook page this quote for all the new nurses. “Let your light shine brightly so others can see there way out of the dark”.

More blogs on bullying in nursing http://www.dptraining.com.au/blog/wise-up-and-toughen-up-to-bullys.5-survival-tips-to-make-you-stronger