Manager interrupting

  1. I am curious to see what other nurses think about a situation that occurred last week.

    I was reviewing the preop checklist at the desk with the GI lab nurse. My manager called my name, so I responded "one second, I'm signing off on this patient." Her immediate response was, "No, a physician needs to speak with you." The physician comes to my other side and starts talking about a patient and discharge planning as I was trying to write down the patient's vitals and sign the checklist. After I did that, I looked at her puzzled, and asked which patient she was referring to. She said the patient's name... same last name, but different patient. So I sent her off in the direction of the correct nurse.

    I am a MSN-prepared nursing professor, and this is my casual job at the hospital. I am appalled at the manager's behavior. I find it unacceptable to interrupt another collaboration between healthcare providers for non-emergent issues, especially when it involves sending a patient for a procedure. The mindset that a physician's words are more important is not sitting right with me.

    What are your thoughts?
    Last edit by Brian S. on Aug 3
    •  
  2. 42 Comments

  3. by   caliotter3
    Do you want to butt heads with the manager, or can you let this slide? I don't know that I would want to stir anything at a casual job. You never know.
  4. by   Been there,done that
    All nurses are pulled in MANY different directions. We prioritize and act as best as we can.
    If you were not in an emergent situation, you should have been able to handle both of these tasks at the same time.
  5. by   Boomer MS, RN
    Quote from lifeisgood516
    I am curious to see what other nurses think about a situation that occurred last week.

    I was reviewing the preop checklist at the desk with the GI lab nurse. My manager called my name, so I responded "one second, I'm signing off on this patient." Her immediate response was, "No, a physician needs to speak with you." The physician comes to my other side and starts talking about a patient and discharge planning as I was trying to write down the patient's vitals and sign the checklist. After I did that, I looked at her puzzled, and asked which patient she was referring to. She said the patient's name... same last name, but different patient. So I sent her off in the direction of the correct nurse.

    I am a MSN-prepared nursing professor, and this is my casual job at the hospital. I am appalled at the manager's behavior. I find it unacceptable to interrupt another collaboration between healthcare providers for non-emergent issues, especially when it involves sending a patient for a procedure. The mindset that a physician's words are more important is not sitting right with me.

    What are your thoughts?
    In my opinion, it does not matter what your position is, per diem or a benefitted position re: the risk of stirring up anything. What the manager did was inappropriate. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, she may have not realized exactly what you were doing. After her comment however, it sounds as if the MD simply took that cue, ignoring that you were already in a conversation. Unless an emergency, it is appropriate and professional to wait one's turn. Easy to say in hindsight (and I wasn't there!), but I might have reiterated to the MD that I'd be right with her after finishing my conversation. I had much less tolerance of that behavior as I got older. Think about approaching the manager and speaking to her about her interruption. You know the ole, "I felt, I feel"....You are not out of line. Don't get me started on the lack of common courtesy these days. Only you know what your relationship is with the manager and how far you want/need to take it. Good luck.
  6. by   Sour Lemon
    The manager was rude, in my opinion. I probably wouldn't make a big issue of it, though. She could have at least turned to the physician and said, "She's finishing up with something ....she'll be available in just a minute." Instead, she wanted to show off her authority. The fact that she had the wrong nurse is icing with no cake. Take what you can get.
  7. by   lifeisgood516
    How is one able to have two conversations at once? I'm curious.
  8. by   Been there,done that
    Quote from lifeisgood516
    How is one able to have two conversations at once? I'm curious.
    It is not having 2 conversations at once, it is managing input/output from two different directions.

    Call it multi-tasking, if you want.

    I have ran 2 codes at the same time.
  9. by   macawake
    Quote from lifeisgood516
    I find it unacceptable to interrupt another collaboration between healthcare providers for non-emergent issues, especially when it involves sending a patient for a procedure. The mindset that a physician's words are more important is not sitting right with me.

    What are your thoughts?
    I guess strictly speaking, the manager thinks that the physician's time is more important than your time, the GI lab nurse's time and the potential risk that repeated interruptions and distractions might pose to patients.

    It is my opinion that the prevailing culture that nurses should always be instantaneously available to anyone who wants the nurse's attention, regardless of what the nurse is currently doing is a threat to patient safety. Nursing work by its nature often demands that the nurse splits his or her attention in many different directions and it's difficult/impossible to eliminate that aspect entirely, but in my opinion a good safety culture requires that it's kept to the necessary minimum. Interrupting a nurse/coworker simply because it's convenient, but not emergent, is simply a bad habit. I believe that we're doing ourselves a great disservice if we signal that we are constantly available, happy to please and serve, and that what we're doing is always less important than what someone else is doing.

    Now, I don't go out of my way to be a jerk to coworkers who try to interrupt what I'm doing, just to make a point. If I feel that the interruption isn't a risk or disrespectful to the other person I'm currently interacting with, I will hear the "interruptor" out. But, if I do feel that it's best that I finish what I'm doing before giving them my full attention, I'll do exactly what you did. Tell the person that I'll be with them as soon as I've wrapped up whatever I'm currently doing. When I say that I expect them to respect my request and 99 times out of a 100, they actually do. I admit that I have conditioned them to do so by clearly communicating what I expect from them. One might think that this very straightforward approach would have landed me in hot water and affected professional relationships negatively, but in fact it hasn't.
  10. by   Boomer MS, RN
    Quote from Been there,done that
    It is not having 2 conversations at once, it is managing input/output from two different directions.

    Call it multi-tasking, if you want.

    I have ran 2 codes at the same time.
    Running two codes at the same time is not even close to the OP's post. But kudos to you to be able to run two codes, both emergent situations. And I say that with the utmost respect. I find the attitude of some physicians appalling. I am married to an ortho surgeon (for 47 years!), who is a good human being, but needed some direction how to treat RNs in the real world from day one. I support the OP's talking to the manager in a respectful and professional manner, both that seem to me to be very doable from the OP's post.
  11. by   JKL33
    Rude. And a mite antithetical to what they preach at nurses. If you're on decent terms I'd revisit it. "Oh hi _____ [insert pleasantries]. About the other day - it wasn't my intent to snub you and Dr. X, it's just my practice to try the best I can to concentrate on important hand-offs".

    Or, there's always the yellow safety belt...

    Hospital Mandates Nurses Wear Yellow Safety Belts While Checking Out Pyxis Medications | GomerBlog
  12. by   klone
    Yeah, it seemed rude, but it wouldn't strike me as something that would sit with me to the level that I would think to post about it here, asking for others' opinions. I would probably think to myself, "Wow, that was a little rude" and then I would go about my day and promptly forget about it.
  13. by   Been there,done that
    Quote from Boomer MS, RN
    Running two codes at the same time is not even close to the OP's post. But kudos to you to be able to run two codes, both emergent situations. And I say that with the utmost respect. I find the attitude of some physicians appalling. I am married to an ortho surgeon (for 47 years!), who is a good human being, but needed some direction how to treat RNs in the real world from day one. I support the OP's talking to the manager in a respectful and professional manner, both that seem to me to be very doable from the OP's post.
    The bottom line is.. All nurses would like to complete a task, before moving on to another. That is not the way nursing flows. OP wanted to "finish signing off on a patient". That task could have easily waited, while she addressed the physician's questions.
    I work from home in a challenging position. I analyze incoming cases and answer a call line. I PRIORITIZE. If a physician needs my attention to an issue, I put my documentation on hold and assist the physician. I would never expect a doctor to wait while I am finishing a task that can wait.
    Last edit by Been there,done that on Jul 31
  14. by   lifeisgood516
    Actually, it could not. The patient was ready to go down for her procedure, and I was handing her off to the next provider. This is one of the most critical points in the patient's throughput in care. I am sorry that you see this as a task. Communication is the #1 way to prevent errors and mistakes in health care. Giving report and notifying the next provider of the patient's status is more of a priority than discussing discharge planning, in my honest opinion.

close