Handling Physicians. Any suggestion?

  1. I am not going to generalize and say that all physicians are rude or inconsidereate but there are a few out there who can be mean!!!
    For the first time since starting school I had an experience with a rude physician. I had drawn out my patient's meds and was double checking them with my RN. After I double checked them I was standing at the chart box and preparing to go into the room. As I was the physician walked over, grabbed the chart from me and walked away not even saying a word!!! I couldnt believe that someone could be so rude. I have been told that this physician was known for a temper and rudeness. How should I handle this situation if it arises again? I dont want to be rude myself but I dont want to be treated like that either!!
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  2. 35 Comments

  3. by   mikethern
    You ain't seen nothing yet. Many physicians are first class buttholes. Once you get experience and confidence, you will be able to stick up for yourself. Just remember that the weaker you act, the more you will be abused.
  4. by   AlmostThere:)
    Thanks for the pep talk Do you have any 'tried and true' ways that you've handled this?
  5. by   leslie :-D
    i agree, that with exposure and experience, you'll find what works for you.

    one time, i was reading a chart, when the md whisked the chart right out of my hands, only stating, "i need this" and walked away.
    w/o thinking, i went after him...took the chart from him, telling him i'd give it to him when i was done in 5 minutes.
    i got grief from my boss....afterall, it was the med'l director.
    but i just got so danged ticked.

    the rudeness of some people...

    leslie
  6. by   Spidey's mom
    I've been pretty lucky - in regards to the chart issue, the docs understand that we have to have the chart with us when we give meds. And I always get the chart right back to them.

    I have had experiences with docs in a grumpy mood take it out on me. We have talked later and I calmly told them I would appreciate not being treated that way and, at least in front of me, they have apologized.

    Just be a professional. Calm. Dignified.

    steph
  7. by   ebear
    Here's rude for you: I was staying with my 86 yr. old dad at a hospital out of state. Dad was diabetic and all the complications that go with that disease process. In barges an orthopaedic surgeon and says "Foster? (not Mr. Foster, last name only) I'm doctor X and what I do is I take off legs"... He went on with questions, which he would not give Dad a chance to answer and walked out!

    I followed him out of the room calling his name. He refused to acknowledge me until I yelled. I said "You are the most arrogant, inappropriate XI have ever come across, and trust me, I've come across quite a few as an O.R. nurse manager. In the words of Donald Trump--You're fired!" I saw the nurses at the station put their hands over their mouths and laugh. He looked rather sheepish. I told Dad that particular doc would never be back again but I didn't tell him why. What scares me is that if I weren't there, no one would ever know how he spoke to patients! :angryfire
    I am certainly not suggesting you do such a thing. I was not employed at this facility, only a family member. I was irate that Dad was spoken to as if he had no sense because he was elderly. He was, by the way, sharp as a tack!
    ebear
    Last edit by sirI on Nov 1, '07 : Reason: TOS
  8. by   Snow1278
    We have a doctor who is known for being rude. He had been paged one night for a hgb 6.5 and a couple of other things. When you page this doctor he doesn't usually call unless you page three or four times. Well he was finally reached, orders received. Two hours later he called back from the earlier pages, so the nurse asked for some pain medication because he didn't want the doctor to get upset since he hadn't paged him again. Later on the doctor needed to be paged for another critical lab and another patient had some issues going on. He told the nurse that he had been paged countless times for not good reasons and these things could wait. When the higher ups confronted him about his behavior (because we did an incident report for his behavior) he said we called for a tylenol order. Anyway, doctors can be very mean and I am not sure why when they know we are looking out for their patient's best interest. The way I look at it is I am here for the patient and he can be angry at me all he wants I will call if I have to. Good luck!
  9. by   Xbox Live Addict
    I've known a few temperamental doctors. I don't take crap from them, and one time I spent 25 minutes on the phone chewing one's arse about pain medications for a patient - the doctor said this 80+ year-old hospice patient was "drug seeking." He was crying when I got done with him (not from compassion, but from frustration with me). I had another doctor who did not respond to multiple pages from me about a declining resident, and I sent the resident off to the ER, where said resident was DX with ARF. I then tried to page the resident's doc again to let him know... no dice. I hung it up for the night. You'd think these guys would realize that when we can do our jobs, it's covering his arse as well as mine. Anyway, I documented every juicy detail of this encounter, including a few of his four-letter words. He was dismissed from this resident's care.

    On the other hand, I had a physician who, when I called him, angry because the previous day's nursing staff had let a patient run out of a Schedule-freakin'-II pain medication, within one hour of my call, delivered a freshly-minted script into my hand. He didn't make a big fuss, even though nursing had dropped the big time on this one, and this should not have been an issue (getting emergency refills of any medications in LTC - let alone C-II medications that require new scripts for refills - is an incredible headache, so you have to be on top of things like that.) I was highly impressed with this doctor because he truly put his patient first.

    The doctor at my current job is a low-key, amicable individual, who is well-liked by everyone. He does his job as competently, if not more so, as any of these arrogant doctors with anger-management and God complex issues. He talks to everyone - from the nurses to the brand-new medical reception screener - like a human being and doesn't patronize or demean people. That's a class-act doctor there.
    Last edit by Xbox Live Addict on Oct 15, '07
  10. by   deeDawntee
    I would highly recommend that you start writing those blatant incidents up. One or two reports of bad behavior may not make any difference, but if everyone does it, I promise that it will start having an impact. I have a direct experience with that issue! Doctors are like spoiled 2 year olds sometimes and you handle it like you would with the 2 year old. Firm boundaries need to be set and set consistently by everyone (or as many people as possible). Obviously, the grabbing charts has been allowed or else they wouldn't do it. Don't allow it, at least not without a respectful, direct comment. The trick is never to stoop to their level. Too bad there wasn't a "naughty corner" for all bad behavior at the workplace. People could go there, calm down, start over and all would be forgiven....

    If someone grabbed a chart from me, I may say, it isn't polite to grab things from other people without asking first. You should say please first and I would like an apology for that behavior. (Sounds like what you would say to a kid, doesn't it? hehe)
  11. by   EmmaG
    Quote from ebear
    Here's rude for you: I was staying with my 86 yr. old dad at a hospital out of state. Dad was diabetic and all the complications that go with that disease process. In barges an orthopaedic surgeon and says "Foster? (not Mr. Foster, last name only) I'm doctor X and what I do is I take off legs"... He went on with questions, which he would not give Dad a chance to answer and walked out!

    I followed him out of the room calling his name. He refused to acknowledge me until I yelled. I said "You are the most arrogant, inappropriate azzole I have ever come across, and trust me, I've come across quite a few as an O.R. nurse manager. In the words of Donald Trump--You're fired!" I saw the nurses at the station put their hands over their mouths and laugh. He looked rather sheepish. I told Dad that particular doc would never be back again but I didn't tell him why. What scares me is that if I weren't there, no one would ever know how he spoke to patients! :angryfire
    I am certainly not suggesting you do such a thing. I was not employed at this facility, only a family member. I was irate that Dad was spoken to as if he had no sense because he was elderly. He was, by the way, sharp as a tack!
    ebear
    Good for you! Sad to think there are so many patients without someone to advocate for them as well as you did for your Dad.

    I hope you reported that jerk to the medical director and administration too.
    Last edit by sirI on Oct 30, '07 : Reason: quoted and referred to edited post
  12. by   ElvishDNP
    There are horse's behinds that have MD behind their name. There are also plenty of them with RN behind their name too.

    My mindset is this: Screw it if it's 0200 and I need to talk with them about a pt. If they get mad, too bad. There is NOBODY out there worth losing my license over. And I document document document every time I page. I can deal with cranky docs much better than I can deal with finding a new career.

    Another thing to remember is this. We all have our bad moments. If a doc who is generally friendly, or at least respectful, snaps at me, I give them the benefit of the doubt, as I would anyone else. I might even say, "Rough night, eh?" or something like that. If it's someone who's known for showing his/her backside, I'm a little less forgiving and more likely to call them on it.
    Either way, docs are just people too. And most of them are ok.

    As Dr. Phil says, "You teach people how to treat you." You'll find your own way to teach them. Good luck.
  13. by   FlyingScot
    I had a Doc once enter an order for pain medicine into the computer (we were a "paperless" ED) and immediately walk into the patient's room and say to him " You haven't gotten your pain medicine? I ordered it a long time ago". He did not know that I was within earshot of him at the Pyxis getting said medicine (within thirty seconds of the order coming up I might add). When he walked out I asked him to step into the supply room (what I refer to as the "woodshed") for a moment. I told him that I heard what he had said and that the nurses could either be his friends or his enemies. And that if he kept up that kind of behavior we would make his life miserable and enjoy doing it. Plus a few other choice things including outright threats if he ever again made a patient think I was lazy. Then I made him walk back to the patient's room and admit that he had lied to him and that the delay in getting pain medication was his fault not mine. By the time I was done he was actually shaking and from that point on he NEVER gave me a lick of trouble. Man that was fun! He was fired about one month later!
  14. by   GenXnurse
    I agree with the responses that elude to teaching people how you expect to be treated. First, be firm but fair. If this is an ongoing issue take it to the physician first- tell him/ her how their behavior is unacceptable. Then tell them what the consequences will be if the behavior continues (ie: Written up, take it to the medical director etc.) Try and work it out face to face- BUT most of all REFUSE to be a punching bag for someone else. Please do not let Physicians, Staff, OR patients treat you poorly. We all have bad days, but no one deserves to be verbally abused or made to feel bad. Set firm boundaries NOW. Do not wait. Your longevity in this career depends on you making a stand for yourself. When you set an expectation as to how you want to be treated people very often comply.
    In the end- if this physician continues, and your efforts do not curtail his/her behavior (to include write ups/ and management notification) I would notify an attorney as a LAST DITCH effort. A letter from an attorney will grab his attention very quickly. I worked in an ICU for 3 years where we finally go fed up with a cardiovascular surgeon who was outright abusive. As a group we hired and attorney just to do some preliminary investigation as to what our options were. When the surgeon got the letter he was very quick to make ammends. Now- he did have a blow up every now and again (and sometimes justified) But if we ever had a problem from that day forward he would take time to listen to our concerns. Okay long post sorry-- Hang in there! and MAKE SURE TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AS WELL AS YOUR PATIENTS.

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