"Rude nurse"

About: Bunbury Hospital

(as a relative),

My parent-in-law was transferred to Medical ward late from ED. They were end-stage dementia with renal failure and we were hoping to get them to Palliative. They ended up passing away early in the morning three days later at another hospital.  

I felt this nurse was extremely rude in the handling of my family at the time of my relative being wheeled into Medical ward. They were carrying on about COVID and telling us my parent needed to settle in (they were totally non-communicative and barely conscious so not sure how they needed to settle in). In my opinion, the nurse was very abrupt in their manner with no compassion or empathy towards our family who were all waiting for my parent to die.

Members of our family had come down from Perth too, so emotions were very raw as we had all spent the day with my parent in ED (they were in ED for 16 hrs waiting for a bed prior to going to Medical ward). As a family, we understood the COVID restrictions during this time and were respectful of the hospital’s requirements. At another time, some family members were talking outside the ward where the lifts are about what the doctors might do with my relative. The nurse approached us again in, I feel, an abrupt manner and we explained we were just waiting to hear from a doctor as to what will be happening with my parent. The nurse had also previously pulled their phone out too while staring at us standing where we were, which I believe was to make us feel uncomfortable.

As we had decided to stop further treatment and were waiting to see a Palliative doctor, you could imagine the sadness and start of grief the family was experiencing.

To add to our grief, this nurse decided to call security as we were waiting down the passage very close to the main entrance while only 2 people were allowed in my parent’s room at this same nurse’s request. In my opinion, the nurse was speaking on her phone in a harsh tone pointing at us saying that they had told this family so many times and ... (I feel implying they were so over it)

In my opinion, this nurse’s cynical attitude with no care whatsoever for what we were going through was disgusting. Certainly not the caring nature I feel you would expect for a nurse. This nurse added to our family’s grief and their lack of care and compassion during a family members death was disgusting and deeply upsetting. My spouse was so distressed that night from this abhorrent behaviour that they could not sleep.

I have worked personally within the medical industry for many years and felt quite sickened that someone like that is working in such a role. At no time did the nurse ever question our circumstances. It seemed like it was all about power and control.


Response from Vicki Charters, Director of Nursing & Midwifery – Bunbury Hospital, WACHS - South West 2 weeks ago
Vicki Charters
Director of Nursing & Midwifery – Bunbury Hospital,
WACHS - South West
Submitted on 22/06/2020 at 12:48
Published on Care Opinion at 12:55

Dear starcz46,

I would like to offer my sincerest condolences on the loss of your parent-in-law. This must be such a difficult time for you and your family. I was deeply saddened to read your story about your experience at Bunbury Hospital and how poorly you were treated at such a vulnerable time. This is absolutely unacceptable and does not align with the core values of our organisation. I am sorry that you and your family cannot get back these final moments with your loved one and would like to assure you that as a result of your feedback, we will be working hard to ensure that all of our staff feel empowered to understand the important role that they play in supporting and caring for our families and carers. At the moment we are developing a new e-learning module for staff, which has a strong focus on the importance of being compassionate and empathy in healthcare. I would like to use your story, in this and other forums, to illustrate the impact on families and carers when compassion and empathy are absent in the care that we provide.

I would very much also like to discuss your story with the nurse that was directly involved in your parent-in-law’s care. If you would be willing to contact me about this so that I can get more specific details I would be very grateful. My name is Vicki Charters and I am the Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Bunbury Hospital. I can be contacted directly on my mobile number which is 0447 793 904.

Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback to us, which will help us to improve our service for other people and their families in the future.

Vicki Charters

Director of Nursing & Midwifery

Bunbury Hospital.

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Updates, changes and questions related to this story