"Nurses are like waitresses"

  1. Here's a story that will get your blood boiling...

    A classmate of mine went to the health service at our school last week. The doctor asked her what she was going to school for, and she told him nursing. He proceeded to quiz her about her condition, but she wasn't feeling well so she was in no mood to answer his questions.

    Near the end of the exam, she asked him about a specific drug. He got an attitued and said, "Who's the doctor here! I've been a doctor longer than you've been alive. And what do you know about this drug anyways?" She told him which class it belonged to and that her clinical instructor (with whom she had consulted before coming to the health service) had recommended it. He said "And who was she? A nurse! Nurses are like waitresses. I give them an order and they do what I tell them. That's how it should be". Or something to that effect.

    He continued to refer to nurses as waitresses a few more times during the appointment. My classmate was livid, but managed to keep her cool because she needed her prescription. Luckily she has enough confidence in her career choice not to be influenced by what he said. With the encouragement of one of our instructors, she plans to e-mail the dean of the college of nursing to let her know what happened. Hopefully, heads will roll

    The point of posting this story is not to encourage everyone to start bashing physicians. I would just like to know what we can do as nurses (or future nurses) to improve people's perception of the profession. Also, for the benefit of all the nursing students out there, please tell us how you would have responded to this doctor.
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    About ICRN2008

    Joined: Jul '05; Posts: 923; Likes: 250


  3. by   HeartsOpenWide
    Just like that one cop that got the rest of his co-workers the tile "Pig". There is one in every profession...fortunatly all the doctors I work with are suportive of me going back to school for nursing, and even encouraged me to do so.

    I do not think I would react to this doctor. You can not let every little thing get to you. A reaction is might be what he is looking for. Saying anything syde or "Smart Arses" back might make his point stick even more.
    Last edit by HeartsOpenWide on Oct 29, '05
  4. by   Thunderwolf
    Sometimes the response to ignorance is to educate.
    But, sometimes the best response to ignorance, such as this, is to simply ignore it and consider the source.

    The email to the Dean, however, was a very appropriate response...to educate someone up the chain of the ignorance encountered in the clinic.

    Good job!
    Last edit by Thunderwolf on Oct 30, '05
  5. by   luvltc
    I agree that sometimes ignoring the response is the most effective. I work with some doctors who yell out orders and criticize everything I do. Then, there are others who are the most friendliest and are willing to answer any question or take any suggestion that us nurses might give to them.

    I think we just have to have the confidence that we chose to go into nursing for a specific reason, whatever that may be for each of us, and not let anyone put us down.

    As far as going to the dean, definitely. Somebody needs to report this.

    Best wishes to your classmate.
  6. by   nurse4theplanet
    I can't say that I would have held my tongue...I am a little too outspoken and have worked too hard towards my nursing degree to be treated in such a way.

    First of all, this physician doesn't know jack about jack! I have been a waitress and it is not a walk in the park. I admire waitresses for all the crap they put up with.

    With that said, even a moron can dicipher the difference between waitressing and nursing?! Hello! They don't just hand out nursing degrees like candy! We work our butts off for them, and we are very well educated.

    Well educated enough to call out a physician when he writes the wrong order!

    I would have told him that I felt like he was disrespecting my choice of profession and that I would expect more tact and professionalism from someone with his level of education, however, they obviously didn't teach him that in med school. Then I would have thanked him for solidifying my decision to chose nursing school over medical school and walked out...then I'd find somewhere else to get my 'script.
  7. by   Nella
    Here's how it works for me: I probably would have called this doctor out for his attitude. If it wasn't resolved to my satisfaction, I'd probably look for a new physician. I have a primary doctor that I think has a poor bedside manner. But I don't have to see him often.
    There's always going to be someone out there with some crazy attitude towards nurses. Doctors, patients, the common man on the street. You do what can to educate them. Then you let it go.
  8. by   Jen2
    I am an ER nurse in a large level 1 trauma center that is a teaching hospital and I educate the doctors all the time. I always stand my ground and will not let them intimidate me. I am very fortunate that all of our attendings stick up for the nurses and tell the new residents, "Listen to the nurses, they have been doing this longer than you and if they question something regarding patient care, you better look at it again." However, we still have the jerks that think they are superior, and they usually end up looking like a fool in the end. Orders I have recieved just this past month include:

    Ativan 35mg PO. "Do you really want me to give 35 1mg pills to this patient doctor?" His response, "Is that too much?"

    Tylenol IVP. "Doctor I cannot push Tylenol." Her response, "Can you do it piggy back."

    Morphine when the patient was allergic. Doc just told me it was a nice catch. The last time the patient had morphine they ended up intubated.

    I also had a doc scream at me in the middle of a trauma. The patient was electricuted, we tubed him as soon as he hit the door, primary tube placement was confirmed and the patient was on the vent. I was applying the cardiac monitor becasue I was now worried about an arrythmia. The resident yelled and told me that I needed a pulse ox right this second. I politely told him that my A and B was covered with the intubation and I am moving on to C. My attending stuck up for me and told the resident why I chose to do what I was doing.

    The point is we are all human, we all make mistakes and there are nice people and not so nice people. As long as you continue to educate yourself, keep confident in your skills and advocate for your patient, who cares what a doctor thinks? Just like the attendings in the ED always say, "What goes around comes around, it's the nurses who are going to save your behind."
  9. by   KatieBell
    I was in one of my MPH classes- the only nurse- when a student compared nurses to waitresses and said she didn't understand why Nurses didn't realize that they needed to smile and be nice- after all when she was a waitress- her tip depended on it.

    I politely (took some doing...) explained that as a waitress she was not responsible if her patient choked on a sandwich. Nor did she have to evaluate the customer ordering food for any slurred speech, or droop to the face, or cyanosis around the lips or slight tremor or pain. If she got the wrong order- ham on rye instead of turkey on rye- the patient would be merely annoyed. If a nurse gives the wrong drug- it usually causes more than annoyance.

    Surprisingly she said, Gee- I didn't realize nurses did that, I guess that is why they aren't smiling all the time, they are thinking! (Unique concept I know). She later did a report on our nursing shortage and made a great turnaround to support nurses. She now is an administrator in a pretty big hospital system in the South- and even though she is not perfect, she tells me she nixes all proposals to cut nursing....

    Jen- your heart monitor and Pulse Ox are both covered concurrently under the secondary survey under "F" (for 5 interventions).
  10. by   hotmaleRN2b
    Pityful Doctor... He was so defensive, maybe he himself wasn't so sure about the med...
  11. by   Tweety
    I don't see my doctor often, but I love his bedside manner and whenever I call him about a patient or he comes to the floor he collaborates with the nurses.

    I might have been a smartbutt and said "yeah, but nurses save lives, doctors don't".

    But the reality is there are troll doctors with bad attitudes. I'm not sure what I can do, other than be the best that I can be and continue to be proud and outspoken about my job.
  12. by   bluestar
    Just ignore him.
  13. by   nicunana
    I'm afraid I would have been too tempted to ask him if that means that when he has a heart attack he's going to ask the paramedics to take him to Denny's!
  14. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from nicunana
    I'm afraid I would have been too tempted to ask him if that means that when he has a heart attack he's going to ask the paramedics to take him to Denny's!
    Excellent response! I'm gonna remember that one--and use it prn.