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[black small square] I was disappointed in your advice to the nurse-manager who asked for ways to deal with patients who never seem satisfied with anything. One suggestion was to assign nurses with "good communication skills" to these patients ("Communication: Picky, Picky", Advice, p.r.n., January 2004). This isn't good for the morale of nurses who are considered "nice" or "good with difficult patients." Instead of pushing the responsibility on her "nice" nurses, this manager could sit down with the dissatisfied patient or family member, discuss the reasons for the dissatisfaction, and explain the unit routine. In my experience, patients who are irate either don't know what to expect in a hospital or are just plain scared. A kind person sitting down and explaining what to expect can go a long way.


Giving a patient an outlet for frustration can also help. The manager can explain that she's the boss and offer to stop by each morning to hear the patient's concerns.


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