If you're an open racist, it's fairly obvious that we're going to have trouble finding people to take care of you. If you throw things, same deal. If you're a sexist piglet, we'll put you with the biggest, ugliest male nurse we can find--or me.
There are some patients that set off warning alarms in a nurse's head. My two personal least-favorites, the people I really and truly dislike, are the Nuts and the Lawyered-Up.
Nuts are reasonably easy to spot. Everybody gets drug allergies, and people with chronic conditions, or who've been treated for cancer, tend to have a lot of them. Nuts, though, come in with four-page, single-spaced lists of things they can't tolerate or are allergic to--and those lists are often annotated with editorial comments about how a surgeon "nearly killed" the patient, or a doctor's mistake harmed them irreparably. Nuts tend to be allergic to everything from tomatoes to polyester, yet are able to eat their favorite foods without harm, even if those foods contain supposed allergens. These are the people who are allergic to oxygen.
Strangely, in all those allergies, two will never pop up: Dilaudid and Phenergan (or Stadol and Zofran). And, because the Nut has been in more hospitals than MRSA, his or her (usually her) tolerance for pain meds is huge.
The Lawyered-Up are a little different. I've had two in the last year. In the first instance, the patient was fine and dandy--it was the family who was Lawyered-Up to the hilt.
They wrote everything down. That does not bother me, actually, and I'll happily write stuff down *for* them--after all, health care is so screwy these days that it's smart to have another set of eyes or three on the patient. What bothered me was that they'd second-guess everything we or the doctors did, call family friends who were doctors in different fields for advice, and question my skills in a particularly insulting fashion.
When I came in to start an IV on the patient, one of his family members looked at me narrowly and asked, "Are you sure you know what you're doing?" A question that silly deserves the response I gave, which was, "Frankly, I haven't a clue." The patient laughed, the family member fumed, and I'm sure wasted more ink on that smartassed nurse.
The second Lawyered-Up patient was, as she announced to me, an auditor for a large national hospital accreditation board. "I" she announced proudly, "make nurses cry."
"Good thing I'm not a nurse, then" I shot back. "I just found this uniform in the Dumpster out back."
Every time I walked into the room, she would regale me with stories of how she's sued this nurse or another, or gotten some nurse's license revoked, or generally destroyed the career of somebody with whom she disagreed. I finally sat down in the chair next to her bed, looked her straight in the eye, and told her this:
"Telling me that you routinely sue people is counterproductive. I will chart more thoroughly than you can imagine, and as a result, I won't be able to be in here every hour, as I'm supposed to be. I won't want to spend the time with you that I should, because you're trying to freak me out. Furthermore, if you continue with this, I won't be your nurse tomorrow, and your continuity of care will suffer. So how 'bout you drop the badass act and let me do my job without attempts at intimidation?"
We got along fine for the rest of her stay in the CCU. I even got a TEAM playa card from her later.
Sometimes it's the patient's fault that they are unlikeable. Nurses are human, and there is only so much we can take in terms of abuse and bullying. It's our dirty little secret: we hate you because you're an asshole.