I have been a nurse for nine months and work in a busy ER outside of Washington DC. I often find myself dealing with "Frequent Flyers" and people who misuse the emergency system (i.e., I'm fairly certain the rash you've had for six months did not just today become an emergency).
I am really struggling with how to deal with some of these difficult patients. I just cannot understand the nerve of some people! Just last night, I was discharging a patient and the curtain wasn't completely closed. The wife of a patient from the room next door peeked in and told me she was going home for the night.
As she began talking and asking for help, I interrupted her and said, "Excuse me, ma'am, but I'm with another patient right now. Please ask one of the other nurses for assistance."
I have even had patients' families actually come into other patients' rooms while there is a code situation- or while I am doing CPR-and repeatedly ask me for pillows, test results, food trays, etc. How do people not understand that we're in the middle of something?
I have struggled with trying to be polite, but I think in a way that only will encourage this behavior. I just don't know how to be assertive without getting so upset at patients and their families.