The Methods of Dealing with Rude Patients Essay

The Methods of Dealing with Rude Patients Essay

Difficult customers are just part of doing business today. “Difficult customers could be those in which you have to deal with negative, rude, angry, complaining, or aggressive people. These are just a few of the types of potentially difficult interactions” (Street). From time to time, you will also find the need to help customers who can be designated as difficult, but in a different way: Lack of knowledge about your product, service and or policies, dissatisfaction with your service and or product, demanding, talkative, internal customers with special requests, language barriers and elderly or disabled customers that need assistance.The Methods of Dealing with Rude Patients Essay Companies and businesses that know how to deal with difficult customers or customers with special needs the right way allow a company or business to reap the benefits of high customer satisfactions and increased customer retention.


Finding techniques to help you deal with that difficult customers is just part of running a successful and effective company or business today. By utilizing these techniques a company or business is able to turn a bad customer or difficult customer service situation into an opportunity to improve your business. These techniques by Fox Small Business Center include listening, building rapport through empathy, lowering your voice, assume you have an audience, knowing when to give in, don’t get angry, never take it personally, follow up and remember that your interacting with a human.
Listening is one of the most important steps with dealing with a difficult customer. By listening your can gain a better understanding of the situation and how to solve the issue.The Methods of Dealing with Rude Patients Essay

Dealing with violence and aggression is an area where health professionals
often feel uncertain. Standing at the interface between medicine, psychiatry
and law, the best actions may not be clear, and guidelines neither consistently
applicable nor explicit. An aggressive, violent or abusive patient may be
behaving anti-socially or criminally. But in acute medical settings it is
more likely that a medical, mental health or emotional problem, or some
combination thereof, is the explanation and usually we will not know the relative contribution
of each element. We must assume that dif cult behaviour represents the communication
of distress or unmet need. We can prevent and de-escalate situations by understanding why
they have arisen, identifying the need, and trying to anticipate or meet it. In these situations
‘challenging behaviour’ is much like any other presenting problem: the medical approach is
to diagnose and treat, while trying to maintain safety and function. In addition, the personcentred approach of trying to understand and address psychological and emotional distress
is required. Skilled communication, non-confrontation, relationship-building and negotiation
represent the best way to manage situations and avoid harm. If an incident is becoming
dangerous, doctors need to know how to act to defuse the situation, or make it safe. Doctors The Methods of Dealing with Rude Patients Essay
must know about de-escalation and non-drug approaches, but also be con dent about when
physical restraint and drug treatment are necessary, and how to go about using appropriate
drugs, doses, monitoring and aftercare. There are necessary safeguards around using these
approaches, from the perspectives of physical health, mental wellbeing, and human rights.

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Handling the Angry Patient​​​​​​​​
No matter what field you work in, these tips will help you keep your cool when patients take their frustrations out on you.

Even patients who are normally calm may quickly reach the boiling point when illness threatens their health, mobility, and independence. Pain and fear can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and frustration, which can result in anger and even loss of control. But do you know how to spot your patient’s anger early and defuse it?

For guidance, read on. These tips will help you get control of the situation and hopefully reduce the likelihood of legal action down the road.

Look for the signs

There are signs that indicate a patient’s emotional state is deteriorating. Look for changes in body language, including a tightened jaw, tense posture, clenched fists, fidgeting, and any other significant change from earlier behavior. A talkative person, for example, may suddenly become quiet.

Observe the patient for additional signs that his temper is rising. Is his voice raised? Is he demanding excessive attention?The Methods of Dealing with Rude Patients Essay

If you detect any of these warning signs, you’ll need to act fast to help the patient vent his feelings in a productive manner. Start by spending extra time with the patient. Although you might be tempted to spend less time with him, doing so only increases your risk of liability. Ignoring his complaints or, say, rushing him may prove detrimental to his care. And if something goes wrong, dissatisfied patients are more likely to sue.

If, for instance, you work in a healthcare facility, take time to ensure that he is thoroughly familiar with his plan of care and the rationale behind it. Review the care he’s received so far, the progress he’s made, and how long his recovery should take.

Show empathy

Some patients won’t be soothed by your extra attention and may become belligerent, demanding to know such things as, “Why can’t you start my therapy now?” “Why isn’t my treatment working?” or “Why aren’t my medications ready yet?” Your calm approach in answering such obviously loaded questions can prevent anger from turning into a behavioral crisis.

Rather than becoming defensive, you’d be wise to respond calmly to the patient and treat him with respect.The Methods of Dealing with Rude Patients Essay

If a patient is uncooperative, try to identify the underlying reason. A patient who balks, for example, when a PT suggests replacing one exercise for low back pain with another may actually be anxious about an upcoming procedure or the results of tests. After you hear him out, reassure him that you take his concerns seriously. Empathize with him, saying something like, “I understand how upsetting this must be for you.”

Be sure, however, to calmly explain the consequences of his refusal. In this example, the PT would need to elaborate on the reason for the new exercise and explain that the patient’s unwillingness to cooperate will delay his recovery.

If, on the other hand, the problem is an administrative one–such as having to wait too long to see a healthcare provider–speak to the appropriate person about scheduling a time that’s less likely to involve a wait.The Methods of Dealing with Rude Patients Essay

Keep your cool

If a patient is angry enough to verbally abuse you, remain calm and professional. Keep some distance between you and the patient and do not respond until the verbal barrage is over. When it is, speak softly and call the patient by name. For instance, an EMT confronted by a patient screaming that he doesn’t want to be touched should listen quietly until the patient is done. He can then try to soothe the patient, saying something like, “I know you’re scared, Mr. Smith, but I just want to take your blood pressure and make sure you’re okay.” That approach may calm the patient enough to allow for a more thorough examination.

Should a patient become irrational, he’s likely to try to intimidate you. He may say things like, “I’m calling my lawyer” or “I’m going to sue.”

Trying to justify the situation or defend your actions will only make things worse. Use active listening instead: Paraphrase back to the patient what he’s already told you, while at the same time identifying the real feelings behind the words–fear or helplessness, for instance. Keep your statements short and simple. Continue to treat the person with respect and show accepting body language by letting your arms hang loosely at your sides rather than standing with your hands on your hips or with your arms crossed.The Methods of Dealing with Rude Patients Essay

If the patient “blows up,” he has lost control and is so irrational he will no longer hear what you say. As in dealing with a child’s temper tantrum, your reaction may determine exactly how long the fireworks last.

Keep your cool and don’t be manipulated by the patient’s anger. Never get angry yourself or try to set limits by saying, “Calm down” or “Stop yelling.” As the fireworks explode, maintain eye contact with the patient and just listen. Try to understand the event that triggered the angry outburst.

When the person has quieted down, acknowledge his feelings, matching your words to his level of anger. Express regret about the situation, and let the person know you understand. Try to find some point of agreement, perhaps acknowledging that his complaint is a valid one.

Ask for the patient’s solution to the problem. Use phrases like, “Can you tell me what you need?” or “Do you have some suggestions on ways to solve this problem?” End the conversation by trying to reach an acceptable arrangement. Offer options by saying, “Here’s how we could handle this.”The Methods of Dealing with Rude Patients Essay

If the patient threatens you physically or you fear for your safety, don’t hesitate to contact security or the police. For more immediate assistance, consider establishing a code phrase that indicates when a staffer needs help.


Regardless of the extent of the patient’s anger, documenting complaints–as well as attempts to resolve them and the results of each intervention–can ward off frivolous claims or help in your defense if a lawsuit proceeds to trial. If applicable to your line of work, note administrative complaints in an incident report. Document clinical complaints in the patient’s chart.

Dealing with difficult patients will always be a challenge. But your finesse in defusing and managing anger will keep the focus on getting the patient healthy and protect you from unwarranted legal action.​

Managing Your Emotions in a Hostile Confrontation
Dealing With Rude Customers – Managing Your Emotions in a Hostile Confrontation
© GettyImages

Facing an abusive customer can be a frightening experience.

Imagine that you’ve just picked up the phone to answer a customer’s call, or a client has unexpectedly arrived in person at your office. Out of the blue, you find yourself on the receiving end of some shocking rudeness. And you’re left gasping.

How do you manage yourself, calm the situation, and build bridges with this person, who remains important to your business? And how do you recover from the experience and prevent such a situation happening again?

Although customer service and sales people most commonly encounter such situations, everyone has “customers.” Anyone who you interact with in your workplace who looks to you for results or some other output is a customer.The Methods of Dealing with Rude Patients Essay

In this article, we explore five strategies for dealing with rude customers, and we look at how to handle the aftermath of these difficult confrontations.

Sorting Unhappy Customers From Rude Ones
If a customer is unhappy about the quality of goods or services that he or she has received from your organization, he is perfectly entitled to express his dissatisfaction. And if he remains calm and civil, despite his frustration or anger, you’ll most likely be willing to help him with his grievances. You’ll try hard to put things right, whether it’s replacing a faulty toaster or compensating him for a missed family holiday because of an over-booked flight.

Occasionally, though, despite your welcoming manner, expert knowledge and willingness to help, there are people who can’t control their anger and resort to verbal abuse, offensive language, and even threatening words or behavior. When you’re confronted by these rude customers, it can be difficult to know how to respond or defuse the situation.

Strategies for Handling Rude Customers
Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada, have studied “incivility” between customers and employees. Their findings show that employees who expect to encounter rude customers at work react far less strongly than employees who normally enjoy good customer relations, but who face unexpected rudeness.The Methods of Dealing with Rude Patients Essay

The researchers recommend that organizations train their staff to deal effectively with irate customers, even when those customers are generally viewed as highly civil. And they add that employees should deal with rude customers at the time of the encounter, rather than try to repair a damaged relationship after the event.

The consequences of not handling such situations effectively can be serious. The UBC study cites customer incivility as a cause of stress, emotional exhaustion, absenteeism, and reduced performance. And if an employee reacts negatively to the customer, it threatens an organization’s reputation for customer service and can impact customer retention.

Coming face to face with a raging customer can be a frightening experience. So, what do you do if you are suddenly on the receiving end of a stream of bile and abuse? Here, we explore five strategies for dealing with rude customers:

1. Stay Calm, Don’t React.
The first thing to do is to remain calm and not respond in kind. If you are faced with an unexpected verbal attack, a natural defense mechanism is to “bite back.” Something as simple as taking some deep breaths can give you a vital few seconds to gather your thoughts and avoid retaliating in a way that might see you being viewed as the aggressor.

Your personal safety is paramount. If you feel threatened by an angry person, trust your instincts and leave the room immediately if you feel unsafe, or if you’re too upset to resolve the situation on your own.

Ask your boss or a trusted colleague to work with you to resolve the situation. It might also be appropriate to report the incident, if the person is completely out of control.The Methods of Dealing with Rude Patients Essay

The UBC research suggests that rude customers “can violate an employee’s sense of dignity and respect, and trigger negative emotions that can motivate employees to react negatively” toward that customer.

So avoid “fighting fire with fire.” Remain calm , controlled and tactful , otherwise you risk inflaming the situation further. Keeping your emotions in check can defuse the encounter. You can find techniques for controlling your feelings and presenting a positive face in challenging circumstances, with our article, Emotional Labor .

If your interaction with the customer is by email or on social media, you may have worse rudeness to contend with. People often say things online that they’d never say in person, but resist the temptation to give them a “taste of their own medicine.” Take a deep breath. Go for a walk to disperse the tension. Do whatever it takes to gain distance before you hit “send.” When you do write your reply, keep your cool, state the facts, and make clear your willingness to help.

2. Don’t Take It Personally.
Chances are, your customer is angry about a bad product or service and you are just the unfortunate target for her frustration. Instead of taking her rudeness to heart, try to empathize with her. She wants to know that you understand the inconvenience and disappointment that she’s suffered, so you need to show her that you do. Developing emotional intelligence is a useful strategy for managing your emotions and sensing other people’s emotional needs.The Methods of Dealing with Rude Patients Essay

Occasionally, though, it really does feel personal. A customer will approach you with the sole purpose of insulting you. Despite the provocation, try to remember that the customer doesn’t know you personally. He was probably angry or having a bad day before he met you, and had already decided that he was going to “raise hell” with somebody. In these situations, it doesn’t matter who you are, you’re just the unlucky one in the firing line.

One way of learning how to deal with rude customers is with Role Playing . Our article can help you use this technique to prepare for a variety of challenging or difficult situations.

3. Listen and, If Appropriate, Apologize.
A rude customer might want to vent her frustration. She wants you to hear every word that she says say, so listen actively , no matter how unreasonable she sounds. Demonstrate that you have taken in what she’s said by occasionally reflecting back her words. For example, use phrases like, “So, it sounds like you’re saying that,” “What I’m hearing is,” or, “Is this what you mean?”The Methods of Dealing with Rude Patients Essay

Be aware of your body language while she speaks. Keep your arms unfolded, and maintain appropriate eye contact to demonstrate your open attitude. And when you reply, keep your voice low and even, to keep things calm.

Saying sorry might run against every instinct you have, if you’ve been subjected to a barrage of abuse. But if the customer’s grievance is genuine, a prompt apology may staunch the flow of rudeness and provide the basis for a better relationship. The Methods of Dealing with Rude Patients Essay