Dealing with narcissistic patients

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In nursing, you often have to deal with some people who possess personality types that wreak havoc on proper treatment, or just rub you the wrong way. Some patients can be narcissistic. For them, life's events are always centered on them; and all that occurs is "all about me."

Here are some ways to cope with narcissistic behavior in your patients:

  • When explaining something, point out how it will benefit them.
  • Recognize that their perception of you will be clouded by their self-centerdness.
  • Be firm, but kind. Stay focused on their care, and do not stray into casual conversation.
  • Listen quietly to what they have to say. There is no need to agree. Just listen.


Editor's note: This excerpt was adpapted from Stressed Out About Difficult Patients. Check out our other nursing resources here.