Hospital Orientation


Anger... Anger can poke its head up at the strangest times in the hospital, and for reasons that may not in other circumstances produce such a reaction: petty annoyances, poorly prepared food, inattention, mechanistic care, you name it, anger seems ready to emerge at the slightest provocation. So what's it all about?

Anger and its roots are much like an iceberg, 10% above the water and 90% below it. The anger component of this mammoth structure is the tip that's visible. That's all. What's below is a formidable complex of emotions that camouflage as anger. And this giant icecube is the root of great deal of stress. It's made up of fear, uncertainty, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, guilt, depression, and that's just the beginning. These emotions find their expression in anger, and anger, so released, creates more guilt, and a vicious cycle of negative feelings follows.

Here's what you can do about anger in the hospital:

  • Recognize that your angry feelings are are not a bad person for having them.
  • Spend some time analyzing the part of the iceberg under the water. If you increase your awareness of its source, you gain more control over it.
  • Work on developing mechanisms to relieve your feelings of anger, and to express them in a productive manner.
  • Engage in a variety of activities
  • Get regular exercise
  • Take breaks from your child regularly
  • Practice focused breathing and relaxation 
  • Express your feelings
  • Learn assertive communication strategies
  • fear

    Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
    Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
    Bronx, New York 10468

    Last updated: November 14, 2004

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