just a little pet peeve...

  1. I'm still a student nurse, but have seen over and over patients assuming that any male health care provider that walks into their room (whether it be a nurse, RT, PT, etc.,) is a doctor or "someone in charge." Frequently, pts refer to the male staff as Doctor. The other day a patient was telling me how nice it was for our "head nurse" to come in and check on him- when actually it was the male LPN assigned to him for the day. Granted, I work with mainly older pts who may still think all nurses are women, but still...Is this a common thing?
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   oramar
    This confusion is very common in our older patient populations. Younger patients are much less likely to assume that a male is in charge or a physician, though I can't say it never happens. Most of my fellow nurses who happen to be male are pretty good natured about it. After all, what are they going to do, lambaist a 90 year old for calling them doctor. Some time however, nurses get a little testy when they have to explain it to a 20 year old that they are a nurse not a doctor. On the other hand in the past I have had physician who happen to be female have problems with people thinking they are nurses. I see a decrease in this, it is amazing how quickly the older crowd got used to the idea of physicians being female. I do not know if it is TV exposure or what. You have to realize that most people in their late seventies through ninties never saw a female physician until they were past middle age.

    [This message has been edited by oramar (edited February 17, 2001).]
  4. by   SUBQ
    I get this kinda thing all the time. It reall cracks me up!

    How many doctors take their pts. to the restroom?

    I have several pts. ask me if I'm their M.D. after I take them to the restroom and help them wipe their tail.



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  5. by   kewlnurse
    I get called Doctor once in a while. Doesn't bother me that much, i ususally resond with somthing witty like, well if i'm the Doctor, they need to increase my salary. Somtimes it's helpful; ie: An older confused patient needs to take meds won't. If it is a patient not on my assignment i take them the meds and say "(Name) i need you to take your medication", I NEVER say i am the docter, they just assume it and they take their meds. Try it somtime, it works.
  6. by   fergus51
    Get used to it, cause it won't stop when you get out of school. Male nurses are in a strange boat. The patients all treat them like they're doctors and the doctors treat them like buddies, but society at large thinks they're either gay or couldn't cut it in med school. Haven't you seen "Meet the parents"?. I for one think male nurses have a lot to contribute to the profession and I hope more start going to nursing school.
  7. by   Cathy RN
    I work in an ER. I got supreme hell from a patient once when she thought the Doctor had seen someone else befoer her and she had been waiting ages to see a doctor. She left in a real huff. What had actually happened when I investigated was that a male nurse had taken a patient in to the room next to this lady and she had assumed he was a doctor. I was so upset with this lady I actually called her back and explained what had happened. She was still made but I felt better. You could tell she pulled in her horns......
  8. by   Louie18
    When I became an RN, I was part of .02% of the nursing population and really had no problems .
    It did make me laugh when I would say I'm a nurse and the response was always "A male nurse?"
    To which I would respond, no a female. Married retired, and raised 4 kids.
    The thing I wonder is why should these seual stereotyping incidents annoy anyone.
    Remember a majority of these patients are older and scared as heck!
    Louie DuLac RN
  9. by   Mito
    Yes I have been called a doctor by many elderly patients as Im sloshing pee and wiping butts. I don't think its much to worry about though, when they give me a new JAG and their salary then it will be time to worry.

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  10. by   Zee_RN
    You gotta add the corollary to this to though...Patients assume female doctors are nurses, especially the young female residents. I frequently have to remind patients that the "nurse" who was just in their room was the Doctor. It's gotta drive them (female docs) bonkers...although I've never had one of them complain about it (just a few eyes rolled).
  11. by   susanmary
    Originally posted by Zee_RN:
    You gotta add the corollary to this to though...Patients assume female doctors are nurses, especially the young female residents. I frequently have to remind patients that the "nurse" who was just in their room was the Doctor. It's gotta drive them (female docs) bonkers...although I've never had one of them complain about it (just a few eyes rolled).
    This happens all the time, especially with the elderly male population. One male patient could not get over the fact that one of the surgeons covering for "his" surgeon was a new female partner. After she left the room, the patient asked me "is she his sister?" as if a family member were covering for the surgeon! I assured the patient that she was indeed, a qualified, new partner. To which he replied "well, she's pretty good looking for a doctor." I told the doc the story, and we had good laugh about it -- she took it in stride.
  12. by   purplemania
    Part of the problem may be that people are not wearing prominent ID's. They are required in my hospital but many "rebels" insist on wearing them backwards or under the labcoat, etc. And common courtesy is not so common to some people - we should introduce ourselves when entering the patient's domain. Little things like this make the patient feel less anxious.

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