MD Phobia

  1. Hi everyone-

    I'm fairly new to this website but have thoroughly enjoyed reading the posts in this forum.. I don't feel so alone anymore! Anyways, I'm starting my new job in a few weeks (second round in a different hospital, long story, different post). Yet I have a problem and would love any feedback from newbies and experienced nurses. Basically, I freeze when I have to talk to doctors! All through nursing school, as an extern, and even in senior year practicuum, I would RUN the opposite direction almost when the MD walked in because I was terrified to talk to them. What scares me the most is getting cussed one side down the other. I've seen and heard it happen and it terrifies me. I also am scared that they're going to ask me a question that I either don't know the answer to or sound like a total idiot when I answer it. I admit I have a problem with self confidence and relying on my skills as a new nurse, so I question my assessment and what I see. So when the MD asks me about the patient, I almost freeze! I'm afraid its inaccurate or flat out wrong. I know the confidence does come with time, but as a new grad how are you to properaly approach an MD or converse with the MD? When i did my senior praciticuum, my preceptor was the one who conversed with the MD's so I had very little interaction with the MDs. So I'm just now learning what to say and to know what to expect from the MD's. Any suggestions to get over the MD phobia? As a new grad, what do you suggest? Any feedback is welcome!

    Thanks everyone!!!
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   truern
    Ari, you are a valuable member of the healthcare team!! Just remember that what you have to offer is valuable to the outcome of your patient's hospitalization.

    If that doesn't work: picture them naked
  4. by   Lace-RN
    Ari,
    Remember, you are the patient advocate. You have the "front-line" knowledge of how your patient is doing and that is valuable info for their doc. Be respectful but not subservient. Be knowledgable about your patient and think ahead as to what info their doc may want. Are there new lab results? How is their fluid balance? Recent vitals? Have that type of info on your report sheet in your pocket.. don't get flustered. If a doc asks for info you don't have, be honest that you don't know but are willing to find out the answers. Good luck and hang in there!
  5. by   rn/writer
    Sometimes what we imagine is far worse than the reality.

    There are a couple of things you can do to help overcome this fear. Talk to someone you think of as a "tough cookie." As that person how they got to be so bold.

    Rehearse what you might do if such a thing actually happened. Have a friend play the doc and start ripping you verbally. Try different responses till you find something that fits your style.

    Practice an important phrase that both buys time and signals the other person that they've crossed the line. Say, "Excuse me?" in a tone that indicates you can't believe the other person would speak to you that way.

    Envision the situation taking place. Now picture the worst possible response you could come up with. Fumbling all over yourself physically and verbally. Bursting into tears. Turning beet red and running from the room. Now imagine editing each of those worst case scenarios, little by little, until you find a comfort zone. In fact, take it further and OVERreact. Then throttle back a bit.

    If you're a spiritual person, ask God to calm your inner spirit and teach your heart that you don't need to accord doctors superhuman status and the fear that goes with it. Imagine the docs as people who have significant others and kids and dogs and mortgages and favorite TV shows and occasional indigestion just like the rest of us.

    Walk yourself through the situation by imagining and practicing enough for you to feel familiar with the options. As you do this, that gut-clenching anxiety you now feel will begin to level off and even decrease, because you will have thought things through ahead of time and put a few strategies into your bag of tricks.

    In the mean time, stop avoiding the docs. Learn to make small talk that will help you start seeing them as people. Comment on an unusual tie. Keep your ears open for conversational items other people use. Cultivate a comfort level. And let them get to know you and see YOU as a person too.
    That makes it harder to rip on you.

    Mostly, stop thinking, worrying, and obsessing and start working your way through the problem. Taking any action is better than letting the fear build.

    I wish you well.
  6. by   shablee
    I still have MD phobia & I've been an RN for 1 year, LPN 1 year, CNA/Ward Clerk for 17 years so I've worked with DR's for a long time! I just have trouble with people in authority in general because I am so afraid of confrontation. I can only tell you to try to gain some self -confidence and try to remember you are the patient's advocate toward the Doc. You also are the Doc's eyes & ears so he should be greatful for your help in assessing his patients.
    I think it will come to us eventually- as we gain more knowledge and confidence in nursing.
  7. by   KnarfKS
    Work in an academic hospital. You get to see interns who know less than you as a brand new grad. It is really funny when a doc asks you what he or she should do when you have just graduated. Then you have to learn to call them because they constantly screw up orders.
  8. by   cardiacRN2006
    Quote from KnarfKS
    Work in an academic hospital. You get to see interns who know less than you as a brand new grad. It is really funny when a doc asks you what he or she should do when you have just graduated. Then you have to learn to call them because they constantly screw up orders.
    I was thinking the same thing! I have doctors asking me all the time what I think we should do! I used to be terrified at the thought of talking to them, but now I just come right on up to them and ask for what I need.

    Teaching hospitals are the best.
  9. by   racing-mom4
    I think you just have to bite the bullet and do it. I too at 1st was kind of freaked out when I had to talk to drs. Before I call them I make sure I have everything in front of me, current med list, recent labs, dx. what I have done so far, what has worked what is not working, and I also have written down the goal of my phone call, do I need an order for lasix? Why ? how are there breath sounds what is their output.

    In person I listen to what Drs says then repeat it, and write it down even if it is on a peice of paper towel, I then ask, what parameters for me to call him.

    I have found over the past 5 months that I look at Drs as just another member of the health care team. I dont fret about calling them at home in the night because I only call if I truely think it is important, and would I want to be called if I was the Dr, not to mention, they make alot more money than me and they knew when they went into the profession they would be getting called at home.

    Best of luck, I think with time the anxiety will lessen, it is just a matter of jumping in and doing it to over come that anxiety.
  10. by   P_RN
    the look also accompanied with the excuse me?......but remember sometimes the other guy is just frustrated, angry or frazzled about something totally out of your sphere.
    wait for the question. you know the answer, and if you don't say let me look.
    if he starts screaming you are totally within your rights to walk away a few steps. call a code pink-get a couple of other staff members to stand near and watch. however that cooling down moment is usually all it takes. if not then run him up the chain of command all the way to the president. see how fast he backpedals.
  11. by   Laughs-a-lot, RN
    Remember that you are their eyes and ears when they are not here and you just spent 8-12 hrs with the pt. tell them if they are bettere/worse than whenever if you worked the day before. if they expressed any concerns- maybe a sore throat or cough that they told you about but may forget to tell the dr during their 10 min visit. if you notice anything that maybe had'nt been addressed. We never did get a ua, but the urine was a little foul smelling today. Where I work we have units that we always stay in so that we keep the same pt's. IOf the dr cusses at you report them. You are a person deserving of respect as much as they are, and perhaps they need to be told that.
  12. by   KR
    Quote from KnarfKS
    Work in an academic hospital. You get to see interns who know less than you as a brand new grad. It is really funny when a doc asks you what he or she should do when you have just graduated. Then you have to learn to call them because they constantly screw up orders.
    Thanks for the memory flashback. 8 years ago I was a new grad in the ICU in a teaching hospital. My first reality check was that just because someone had MD after their name did not mean they had a clue or knew more than I did.
  13. by   november17
    Quote from cardiacRN2006
    I have doctors asking me all the time what I think we should do! I used to be terrified at the thought of talking to them, but now I just come right on up to them and ask for what I need.
    Amen to that. I love the physicians where I work because they value my recommendations and more often than not will implement them.


    To the original poster, Think of talking to a physician in the SBAR format. In other words, be prepared. I'll use a few examples...

    Example 1: Situation-Describe what the patient is there for. Most of the time, the physician will already know. Unless it is an oncall physician, at which point you'll have to be a bit more detailed and have the information very handy. Don't be afraid to ask them to hang on for a second while you look it up.
    Background- Any pertinent things to what you are about to say (this patient has a history of MI!)
    Assessment- What's going on(This patient is in vtach!!!)
    Recommendation- What you think needs to be done ("Can we send this patient to a cardiac unit?")

    Example 2: Hi Doc, my patient is here with pneumonia, she has an upset stomach, she's been feeling nauseous for the past few hours and vomited 100 ccs of clear fluid a few minutes ago, can she have an anti-emetic?

    Example 3: Hi Doc, I have a patient here that got admitted after being in a car accident. The patient is a diabetic and the blood sugar is 300. They're flushed and peeing a lot. I was wondering if you'd like to put this person on insulin?

    And of course, there is the other example if you don't even know what the heck is going on...
    Example 4: "hi Doc, this patient got admitted after being in a car accident and they are bleeding from the ears...WHAT THE HECK DO I DO!?!!!!"

    And depending on the physician, you will have a lot of questions out of the blue. Once you know the physicians, you will know what they will ask/order before it even comes out of their mouths and be prepared before you even talk to them.
    Last edit by november17 on May 15, '08
  14. by   paxpax
    Quote from p_rn
    if he starts screaming you are totally within your rights to walk away a few steps. call a code pink-get a couple of other staff members to stand near and watch.
    it's sexist to assume that only male docs scream. i've been inappropriately chewed out by both female and male docs. bullying behavior can be exhibited by both males and females.

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