Hi everyone, my name is Eric and I am a 4th year osteopathic medical student. I have a question regarding communication with the nursing staff in civilian hospitals. I currently am finishing my clinical rotations at a large teaching hospital that is used for 2 medical schools
(1 MD, 1 DO) and I believe at a minimum of 4 nursing schools from the area. It has been my experience that the general nursing staff regards the whole of the medical students in a less than optimal light. Coming from a family of nurses, and I mean a FAMILY of nurses, it bothers me that I have difficulty getting along with some of the nurses on the staff. I am a very easy going person, I do have my beliefs that I don't compromise on, but I am not arrogant or "unapproachable." So, I decided to go to the source and I thought that this forum may be a reasonable place to start. I understand some nurses, like all people, may have bad days or in general are just cranky, but this isn't always the case. My general experience has been this: I get along well with the male nurses and all of the nursing students. The critical care nurses are great, but the general ward nurses and the ER nurses not so much (at my institution). In the hospital environment, I have observed, the rules of civilization sometimes don't apply...politeness, respect, etc. I enjoy working in the hospital however, and want to make it more enjoyable for myself and the nurses that I work with, so...
My questions are: 1.) is there a general feeling of animosity toward medical students, and if so, why? 2.) what can I do to improve the relationship with the nurses I work with without compromising my dignity (i.e. not kissing up)?
Thanks for taking the time to read my questions. I enjoyed reading some of your other forums!
Sep 19, '06
Quote from TheCommuter
The general ward nurses (Med-Surg) and ER nurses tend to be the most overworked people in the entire hospital setting. They often deal with bad staffing ratios and are spread too thinly, which adds to the list of stressors. As a result, some of the ER and ward nurses you've encountered might be cranky due to being overworked, underpaid, and lacking resources or help. It often helps to place myself in the shoes of the other person to visualize their unique perspective of things.
Oh my God - you took the words right out of my mouth! The general ward nurses and ER nurses are under so much pressure to get things done QUICKLY. An ICU nurse has 1-2 patients, and has more time to work with med students/docs, etc. A student nurse doesn't have all the responsibilities that an RN has - so again, they have more time.
I work on a med/surg floor (and I'm transferring because I'm tired of being a waitress)- and I know a big source of stress is the constantly revolving door of patients - constant admits and discharges - and the nurse can't do anything until we get orders - often from med students. I've had many occasions were you're waiting for hours to get orders, meanwhile your pt is in pain and you can't do anything about it, etc.
Also, many med students/residents are new at making decisions, and often change their minds back and forth, which means double work for the nurse. Just the other day for one pt, an R1 wrote to DC a PCA & foley - then her attending came around, and reversed all the orders within hours - this was frustrating, since you're already so busy with at least 4 other patients - not to mention the patient didn't like getting a foley pulled and then have to go through the procedure all over again.
I'm always nice to med students and I sympathize with them - you guys have to deal with a lot of pressure. My advice is to keep doing what you're doing - be nice and respectful, and usually you'll get that in return. Already, it says a lot that you're reaching out to nurses to get their perspective. I applaud that! Also, thank the nurse - and listen to their input. Nurses spend the whole day with your patient, and are able to sense problems more easily than some docs who spend 5 minutes with the pt.
Lastly, many nurses are burned out, underrespected and overworked - and being in that type of environment for a long time will turn anyone into a bitter person.
Last edit by anne74 on Sep 19, '06