Many nurses have had to contend with this issue at one time or the other in the course of their practice.
I have personally noted this most times especially in surgical or orthopedic open ward when patients are not necessarily ill but are simply incapacitated because of certain orthopedic impediment.Hence all other parts of the body including the perception and speech are intact.
Nurses have also reported sexual advances in patients private rooms where they had gone to care for such.Nurse are caring and patients sometimes misunderstand this to mean a call reason to advance.
Nurse Sarah Andres is so used to male patients calling her “sweetie” or “cutie” — or even asking her for a kiss — that it rarely upsets her anymore.But nursing organizations say such treatment is common, and it is definitely sexual harassment.
The American Nurses Association cites a 1982 study that reported that 60 percent of the nurses surveyed said they had experienced sexual harassment at work, though that included all cases, not just from patients. Still, nursing officials said it is clear that inappropriate behavior among patients is a widespread problem.“I suspect that if you ask nurses if they’ve been harassed by patients, a majority would say yes,” said Belinda Heimericks, executive director of the Missouri Nurses Association. “Nearly every nurse will run into it at some time in their career.”
The harassment can run the gamut from offensive jokes or sexual comments to inappropriate touching. Sexual assaults are rare but do occur, nursing officials say. Some male nurses have reported being harassed, but the overwhelming majority of cases are between male patients and female nurses.
Such harassment creates tension for nurses, who must walk a fine line between meeting their professional responsibilities to the patient and protecting themselves.
She found that nurses usually crack jokes or sternly reject the patient’s conduct. Most nurses said they continue to provide medical care, but the emotional support patients need from them sometimes declines, Dougherty said.
“It probably makes the relationship a little more tense because there is a feeling of uncomfortableness between the nurse and patient,” Heimericks said.
Nursing organizations say that if harassment from a patient continues, nurses can ask to have a second nurse stand by in the patient’s room, refuse to care for the patient, ask that the patient be transferred to another floor, or report the behavior to a superior. Doctors and administrators are sometimes called in to talk to the patient.
In extreme cases, institutions can “fire” patients and send them to another hospital, said Scotty Shively, an employment and health lawyer in Little Rock, Ark.
But medical institutions are constrained by certain legal obligations to care for patients, Shively said. For example, patients needing emergency care must be admitted. And dealing with harassment becomes more complex if the patient is mentally ill.