I found an interesting article written a while back and posted to the ESRD Network 14 (Texas) website about Dealing with a Difficult Staff Person. It started me thinking about my own similar experiences with staff people.
One that comes to mind was a tech that was offended because I asked her if my regular tech could stick me instead. I was having a particularly rough time with my A/V Fistula and had suffered several bad sticks along with the pain and discomfort of infiltration, bruising, tenderness. I just really didn’t want to suffer a moment longer. But she didn’t know that, of course. My request hurt her feelings and she stomped off in a huff, promising to “never take me as a patient again”. Now I was hurt. I liked her care and I liked her but I just didn’t feel up to fighting that battle at the moment. My regular tech and the offended one are close friends so now I was also caught between two friends! Geeze!
I could have left things alone. What difference does it make that she was pissed me? Well, it bothered me because I have to see this person three days a week and I may have no choice in who sticks me and sure as heck didn’t want someone pissed at me sticking a 15 gauge needle in my arm! I let a couple weeks go by and before I settled into my chair for a treatment one day, I sought her out. I explained my situation and apologized for hurting her feelings. A few words and we were back to being friends again. I’m learning that apologies, whether one was “in the right” or not, are relatively inexpensive. It didn’t matter that I was the “injured party” or not. I said “I’m sorry” because I was sorry that we had to go through that episode. I don’t like hurt feelings; mine or anyone else’s. There are enough hurt feelings in the world already.
But, my incident with the offended tech is pretty minor. There are conflicts that cannot be resolved so quickly and easily. I had a friend who’s been round and round with a center, the staff, the management and gotten little satisfaction. She’s gone so far as to draft a letter to the state’s Health agency to complain but as far as I know, it’s not gotten to that point. She was at her wits end when the doctor intervened and it appears the issue will get resolved. I hope it does. But her case is a good example of working through the ranks.
Start with the person directly involved then, if you don’t get it resolved, speak with that person’s supervisor. Work your way up until you’re satisfied. Don’t allow the negative feelings to overwhelm you. It’s not getting revenge, it’s getting results that matters most. If you’ve exhausted all the center’s resources and still feel like it’s unresolved, contact the ESRD Network for your area and file a complaint. The instructions are on the ESRD’s websites. Here’s what’s on the Texas area website for filing a complaint. You’ll notice, they give the same advice about working through the channels.
If you read my posting about “Dialysis and the Center from Hell“, you know I tried to work through the channels to get some improvements at the center and was woefully unsuccessful. Perhaps I could have tried some more but I gave up and changed centers. That may be your final step but it may not be available to you. There are far too many areas where your center is the only one available to you so you’re forced to work it out. You can’t change centers. I wonder sometimes if I should have “stuck it out” at the Center from Hell but I’m glad I am where I am now and I’m happy for that.
Even now where I am there’s a chance I’ll encounter a difficult staff person. It comes with the territory. We are all going to encounter a difficult person at some point, an incompetent tech or supervisor, poor management, unsafe facilities, etc. Fortunately there are methods to resolve these problems.
© 2012 DevonTexas