rude doctors

  1. I've worked in a hospital for quite some time as a nursing assistant and a unit secretary. In January I start my nursing clinicals. I am excited on becoming a RN, but there is one problem- some of the doctor's attitudes. I have wittnessed countless times when a doctor has a temper tantrum. And please don't let him/her have an audience...it may result in getting charts thrown everywhere. How should a nurse handle this in a professional way when this happens?
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   PPL
    Holy smoke! I have some advice for you, but it's 4:12am and I'm so tired that I read the title of your post as NUDE doctors, instead of RUDE doctors! I couldn't resist telling you! Advice later; night-night.
  4. by   Mijourney
    Originally posted by nursesrthebest:
    I've worked in a hospital for quite some time as a nursing assistant and a unit secretary. In January I start my nursing clinicals. I am excited on becoming a RN, but there is one problem- some of the doctor's attitudes. I have wittnessed countless times when a doctor has a temper tantrum. And please don't let him/her have an audience...it may result in getting charts thrown everywhere. How should a nurse handle this in a professional way when this happens?
    Hi nursesrthebest. I agree with mustangsheba regarding remaining calm and ignoring doctors when they throw temper tantrums. If the problem has nothing to do with you, then I would not give the doctor an audience. They don't deserve one. Doctors are use to being codified by administration, so let them deal with these doctors. I would proceed with patient care as normal. If the tantrum is over a patient concern on your unit and your patient is the one in question, than you, the charge nurse (or whoever) and doctor should go to a less public place and calmly discuss the patient's care. It is totally inappropriate and unprofessional for any tantrums to take place in the middle of the nurse's station, the hallway, the patient's room, or any area where the hospital or even the doctor may be at unnecessary risk. I personally think that when doctors vent inappropriately and unprofessionally, the matter should go to the medical director as well as administration. Some type of corrective action should be taken. Unfortunately, corrective action doesn't take place unless staff are directly threatened with violence. Nursesrthebest, you will see a variety of attitude problems among all sorts of professionals, paraprofessionals, patients, and families that will make you go- eek or worse. Best wishes on your journey to becoming an RN.
  5. by   timonrn
    This is off the subject but I, too was a unit sec for many years before becoming an RN and I can't tell you how it helped me when I started working charge!! You will see waht I mean when your time comes--half the battle is being able to run the desk because often you may not have the luxery of a unit sec when you are charge!! Along the subject of rude (or nude) doctors--I have only seen this in the "older" generation--the new residents/docs try to work colaberatively with us because it is to their advantage!! I know they are being taught this in school nowadays--
  6. by   nightstar41
    Hi! To start with, remember that Doctors are not GOD and no one needs to accept this behavior! I would tell the doc. that his behavior in unacceptable and I will assist him when he has calmed down...also, I would report his behavior to your charge nurse and ask all other nurses who have been exposed to this behavior to do the same! He will continue acting like this for as long as you allow him to.Would you tolerate this behavior from your child or husband?? No way, so why accept it from a doctor???

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    nightstar
  7. by   mustangsheba
    I walk away if they absolutely are not hearing. If they are a little bit receptive, I ignore their behavior and ask how I can help them. If that doesn't work, I ignore them, as I would a child having a tantrum. I don't speak again until they have something appropriate to say. This works for me because I consider it interesting to watch human behavior. I'm sort of detached when I do this, not intimidated. It's probably more shock, but I like to call it detached because it sounds like I know what I'm doing. Afterwards, I try to figure out what triggered the explosion. Basically, I treat docs like patients. Psych patients. The key is to not feed into the behavior, be very calm, take your Xanax. If it becomes threatening, the nursing supervisor needs to get in a huddle with the administration. Good luck!
  8. by   PPL
    Hi. I agree with all the above advice. One thing that has really worked for me when they're giving you the rub over the phone or in person, is to shut up completely, absolutely do not respond. Finally, they stop their sputtering, because they've gotten the idea; they can only argue with themslves for so long! This technique works, and also telling them "I won't participate in this conversation, until you talk to me like I'm human." I have turned my back as well as walked away. If they are in the nurse's station with you and they're sitting down and they start in, I always stand up; more height gives you the advantage, even if it is only 5'3"! Now, on the subject of NUDE doctors, try to imagine the doc giving you holy h---, standing there gesticulating and jumping around like a monkey, with his wang a swingin' and stare 'em down like the fool he is! This can't help but put you in a better mood. I know, women docs can be trouble too, but in my experience, it's been the alpha male syndrome. Maybe our brothers in nursing will have some advice too, but I think if you don't at like a doormat, you won't be walked on. Hope this helps
  9. by   nursesrthebest
    Thanks everyone for all those replies. They help soo, sooo, much...speaking of ignoring the docs temper tantrum- it reminds me of a story. One of the unit sec. had a doctor one morning and starting yelling at her because he could not find a chart. She just walked away. She refuses to talked to that way. The charge nurse saw that she did this, and guess what? The charge nurse got all into the doc's face and began apologizing for the missing chart, and even the nurse manager did the same. They both started looking for the chart.lol. The unit sec. just shook her head. What a sight!
  10. by   Zee_RN
    Just more agreement with above posts. I walk away if I'm not directly involved; I remain quiet and calm and look the physician directly in the eye during his tirade and say NOTHING until he sputters to a stop...and pause some before responding. I've never had to actually tell a physician that his behavior is unacceptable. They usually run out of steam when I don't play into their temper tantrum and dispassionately provide them whatever information I have available.
  11. by   nursejanedough
    I love all these responses. I have not experienced an "irate" doctor yet, maybe some a little agitated over the phone. But I want to tell on my hero, big sister, the nurse. She was a surgical nurse, and the surgeon said, "Sue go get this!", the scrub nurse, "Sue, go get me this!" and on and on after various operating room people had told her they needed this and that all at the same time (everyone so self involved in what they needed). Sue was so overwhelmed but gutsy, said, "Hey, I will get this and this and that and that, but I can not do it all at once, OK!" They all stared at her for a moment and all started laughing realizing what they had done. Sue is the best nurse ever.
  12. by   pickledpepperRN
    Reminds me of a line froom a book 'Ambulance Ship' by James White.
    The doctor repeatedly answers the nurses questions and descriptions of symptoms with,"Keep an eye on it."
    The nurse answers, "I ONLY HAVE TWO EYES, DOCTOR, AND THEY DON'T SWIVEL INDEPENDENTLY!"
  13. by   prmenrs
    Once a few years ago, my son was in another hospital in our city recovering from surgery; there was a pt in the other bed, his Attending was a peds surgeon whom I had encountered infrequently in my unit, but I sure knew him on sight; he must of recognized me, too, because he looked his pt, then @ me, saying the pt's name, "John Doe??" I said, "Oh, no, I'm his", gesturing towards my son. He then started complaining, "Why do they put a nurse in the room when she only has one of the pts; I just don't understand it, it's just inefficient....yada, yada" (keep in mind I was dressed in "Mom" clothes--tee-shirt and jeans) I waited politely til he had finished, and then said, "I totally agree with you, Dr. So-and-So, but in this case, I'm the Mom!!" reply: "Oh" exit, attending! I shared the joke w/the nurse who REALLY had the pt; when she teased him about it, he said, "Well, she LOOKED like a nurse!!"
  14. by   pickledpepperRN
    We used to have a couple of doctors who could go on and on with unfounded insults such as blaming the RN for a low K on a patient HE ordered Lasix for! He would yell at the nurse for calling him to tell of that. He even once said of a patient with a K of 2.8,"I didn't order labs until morning so why did you draw it? You woke me up!"
    We would call a "Code Pink" Anyone available, often the clerk, would come and "Record" He quickly stopped with witnesses taking notes!

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