It was humbling to read social worker Amy's "I'm sorry they weren't nice to you." I could see a bit of myself in the nurses' response to a tough client who wasn't appreciative of their services, in fact behaved contrarily so. It's demanding to work with other people without getting some positive feedback. Or just get negative feedback. It's touching to hear a thank you or gratitude from a client but also easy to remember vividly the occasional client who tests your patience with an angry or entitled attitude.
On the one hand, I am doing my job when I work with a client. My compensation is pay. But it's a lie to say that I haven't in the past expected (and thus been disappointed) not to get some form of gratitude or not expected to be treated disrespectfully. It's a part of what I expect in regular human interaction.
I've also been particularly protective of other staff in the past, especially when clients have cursed and/or screamed at another case manager. It's not part of a professional relationship, it's not the case manager's role to be on the end of a tirade. An attitude of us (ingroup) vs. them (outgroup) may have played a role in this reaction.
I've seen my agency not take such instances personally and staff try to work issues out with difficult clients from various approaches when the first few don't work. The goal being that if we can help in some way (while staff safety is not undermined) we'll do our best to work with our clients.
Going back to Amy's post. Her words about changing expectations when interacting with clients are very true and encouraged me to see the other side, not just try and understand limitations of empathy from clients with mental illness but limitations that many people may have. It goes along with keeping an emotional distance from clients so not to take negative interaction personally (though somehow only take positive interaction personally). And too, changing expectations when working with clients.