Yes, it’s true, people lie. In fact some of the biggest liars out there are, surprise, surprise…our wonderful patients. If you’re a nurse reading this I have no doubt you’re rolling your eyes, sighing, muttering under your breath, and wishing me to give you a solution. Sorry, but unfortunately I do not have the answer to your prayers. However, if you’re the newbie on the floor here’s a quick list of some of the top things patients will lie about, no matter what! And give it a few days, before you know it you’ll be just like all the seasoned pros, sniffing out those fibs before the patient finishes getting it out. So here it is; your patient by all means will not tell you…
…How Much It Hurts
There you are, all professional looking in your spanking new nursing scrubs, and instead of the loving care you planned on dispensing, you’re standing open mouthed as your patient puts on the performance of his life trying to convince you that his pain is waaaay past the 10 you told him was the highest number on the scale. Never fall for it. All he wants is that extra dose of Vicodin. You know how it goes though, no pain no gain!
…How They Got Sick or Injured
You’d think that once they landed themselves in the hospital or doctor’s office, they’d give you all the petty details leading up to the visit. Think again! Despite the fact that logic dictates telling the truth so that they can get the proper treatment, you’d be surprised to see how creative patients can get when describing just how exactly they got that nasty gash. And get this; some patients will even fake their symptoms so that the doctor will squeeze them in to their already tight schedule. Then of course, they’ve got to run with that story.
….About Bad Habits
For some reason, patients are always on the defense when it comes to their bad habits. Drinking, exercise, diet, smoking etc.; these are all vices the patient would rather hide then admit to, even though it can make all the difference in helping them get better. Everyone wants to seem healthier than they actually are, even if it’ll harm them in the long run. And it’s your job as the nurse to convince them otherwise.
The list goes on. They won’t tell you their entire medical history, and they won’t tell you if they’ve been taking their meds or even which meds they are taking. Whatever it may be, you’ll find yourself catching these patients in the act before you even manage to whip out your shiny new stethoscope, and hopefully you’ll be able to set them straight. Here’s to the truth!