Is this common with teaching hospitals?

  1. 0
    This was several years ago, so bear with me while I remember some details.

    I had been admitted to one of the larger hospitals in my area. I was in DKA, recently found out I was pregnant, and was basically just waiting to get my blood glucose down. So, there I am, feeling crappy anyway, when a teaching doctor comes in with a bunch of residents without asking and tells them about my conditions. He then proceeds to ask me about another condition, which has nothing to do with the diabetes or the fact that I was pregnant.

    I have mild excess facial hair, something a lot of women do. Normally, if I am at home, I groom it away and generally no one knows about it. This doctor pointed it out, asked me "has it been like that since puberty?", and then talked about me as if I wasn't there.

    Is this standard practice at a teaching hospital? It made me very uncomfortable, and as a potential nursing student, I would hate for any patient to feel weird or like a sideshow. This was not my doctor. These were not people I knew. It wasn't the nurses who had been taking care of me a couple of days now. I, as a patient, was already feeling pretty crappy to begin with. This certainly didn't help me rest better or add to my getting better. What should I have done?
  2. 55 Comments so far...

  3. 11
    I can only tell you some pretty dated info, but it speaks to what you describe. My mom, in 1982-83, was s/p molar pregnancy. It was pretty brutal for her and she basically ended up delivering a dead baby. She was an inpatient in a teaching hospital and was talked to (about?) just the way you describe by an attending to some residents, without her permission or even advance notice. The attending even chastised her for crying when he examined her.

    Her experience there led her to be so suspicious of medicine and hospitals that she ignored her breast cancer and pursued alternative medicine until she had both bleeding open wounds to her breasts and extensive mets, which she ultimately died from shortly after her 58th birthday--6 months after she finally dared to present to an ED, because her SOB was so unbearable she could no longer take a flight of stairs.

    Was she crazy? Sure. She had experienced a childhood of sexual abuse, and was told no one believed her about that, so she didn't really have it in her to advocate for herself.

    One of the saddest moments in my life was in the middle of the night at MD Anderson in Houston, when she was about a month from dying. She held both of my hands and said, "if I had known they'd be so nice, I'd never have waited this long."

    If you're an RN at a teaching hospital, please keep this in mind. As a nurse myself now, I see both sides. I just hope I'm never as callous as that attending my mom described.
  4. 9
    At a teaching facility you are fair game....when you are admitted it's in the fine print...it is in the consent to treatment.
    Jessy_RN, canoehead, psu_213, and 6 others like this.
  5. 1
    Yes, I would say that's pretty standard. I loved working at a teaching hospital. I really believe our patients got more competent care more quickly.
    canoehead likes this.
  6. 2
    Quote from schnookimz
    Yes, I would say that's pretty standard. I loved working at a teaching hospital. I really believe our patients got more competent care more quickly.
    So at the cost of dehumanizing patients? Just because it is a teaching facility does not mean bedside manner has to be left at the door. The stories the PPs told are pretty sad, and it's a shame that's the standard.
    Not_A_Hat_Person and RetRN77 like this.
  7. 3
    Quote from SquishyRN
    So at the cost of dehumanizing patients? Just because it is a teaching facility does not mean bedside manner has to be left at the door. The stories the PPs told are pretty sad, and it's a shame that's the standard.
    Not all reaching centers are this way...however some/most of them are. I worked at one prominent center know for it's patient care as they are always on the top 10 list in the country....they we re so oblivious to the patient...most of my patients asked as the pack left the room...."Am I going to be ok?" man that grated on my nerves....I quit a short time later.
    Bklyn_RN, RetRN77, and SillyStudent like this.
  8. 4
    Yes. Although some doctors do it more tactfully than others. (Our surgical services often don't wear their coats and several docs are notorious for not at least introducing themselves as a doctor -- sigh.)

    What happens in the OR after the patient is out is about ten times worse in my opinion.i
    RetRN77, sharpeimom, llg, and 1 other like this.
  9. 15
    The problem isn't the teaching hospital; the problem is that some MDs, just like in every other group of people, are jackasses.
    dudette10, brownbook, Carrie RN, and 12 others like this.
  10. 8
    At my facility (a large academic medical center typically ranked in the top ten in the US), the attendings and residents/students are pretty civilized and sensitive, but you (as a client) do have crowds of people you don't know traipsing through your room to discuss your situation and treatment. It's a teaching hospital. As already noted, the consent to have students and residents involved in your care, and to be used as a teaching case, is written into the consent form you signed in order to be admitted. This is the trade-off for getting world-class, cutting edge medical care.
    dudette10, mmc51264, RunnerRN2b2014, and 5 others like this.
  11. 3
    Quote from ♪♫ in my ♥
    The problem isn't the teaching hospital; the problem is that some MDs, just like in every other group of people, are jackasses.
    Unfortunately, if someone is going to be upset about a parade of residents and medical students crowding into their room, or having to answer the same questions over and over again to different medical students, residents, nurses, and nursing students (a big complaint we get) -- than it kind of *is* the fault of how a teaching institution is set up.

    You can go about it tactfully and some of our docs are great about introducing themselves and explaining the process but. /shrug


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