Why apologize to doctor when calling?

  1. 5
    Hi,

    I'm a new graduate. I just wanted your thoughts/opinions on this. When calling doctors at night, I noticed that a lot of the nurses start the call with 'I'm sorry to bother you doctor, but....."

    Don't they realize that the doctor is not on call out of the goodness of his heart? He/she is getting paid. That's his/her JOB.

    I'm not heartless and can sympathesize with someone being woken up/sleep deprived/etc. but I'm not calling to talk about the weather or chit-chat about a game - so it's definitely not a BOTHER.

    I feel like everytime a nurse apologizes for calling the doctor to do his job - they get this entitled feeling and that's why most act so nasty and bothered and start yelling at nurses for calling them. Some nurses just dread calling certain doctors and always make apologizes and it just annoys me.

    Why do you think they do that?

    And do you do it?
  2. Get our hottest nursing topics delivered to your inbox.

  3. 102 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    Doctors yell at nurses for calling them at night, even if they're on call? Wow!

    PS: Can you tell I'm not a nurse yet?
    lindarn likes this.
  5. 49
    It's just pleasant and social....kind of like asking someone, "How are you?" when you really don't care. It also gives them at least a few seconds to get oriented to what's going on. No one wakes up from a deep sleep at 3AM ready to have a question thrown at them like a brick being thrown through a window.
    fashionistaRN, Aurora77, nursecass, and 46 others like this.
  6. 8
    It's just a common courtesy. My docs appreciate it and respond in kind. But then, you'll always get the few that act like buttheads regardless. It's then that you show your true professional self by rising above it.
    mamastucky, kaliRN, navyguyhm3, and 5 others like this.
  7. 3
    One benefit is working at a hospital that has residents on call. Most doctors with good rapport with the teaching service will allow the PG 2,3,4,5 to write
    orders
    Of course there is the one in every crowd who calls from where he is to check on his people. Out of the country-no problem, river rafting, still checks, if he's at his mom's house we have permission to call there. No sorry for these calls. It's nice he cares that much for his people.
    mamastucky, kaliRN, and neuroms like this.
  8. 16
    I say "I'm sorry to wake you, doctor.", not "I'm sorry to bother you."

    I agree, it's part of their job, they get a whole lot more money than I do, and I don't really feel too badly about calling them.

    Just as a fellow human being, knowing how it feels to be sleep-deprived, I do regret inflicting that on them. Also, they need to be functional the next day for the sake of their patients, if nothing else. But I don't enjoy bugging them and don't need them upset at me, for sure!

    I think that they learn pretty quickly to go back to sleep. Likewise whoever they sleep with.

    It's part of being nurses and doctors.

    And I agree that some of them are very groggy when first awakened. And they might talk goofy at first. So I give them a few moments to wake up. I don't put up with being yelled at, though. I tell them to call back when they are feeling better and hang up. This hasn't happened in quite a long time, though. They know I only call when essential and we have good rapport.
    talaxandra, pedicurn, mamastucky, and 13 others like this.
  9. 5
    Quote from becca001
    It's just a common courtesy. My docs appreciate it and respond in kind. But then, you'll always get the few that act like buttheads regardless. It's then that you show your true professional self by rising above it.
    One way to rise above it is to courteously, professionally, and perhaps at a time when they are calmer, is to let them know that you cannot allow them to yell and act childish when all you are doing is trying to keep your mutual patient alive.

    Lest anyone think that rising above it means to just let it go.
    mamastucky, kaliRN, harleypinkno15, and 2 others like this.
  10. 25
    I know when I'm calling an MD at 4am, I always apologize for waking him or her up. Why? Because I know that MD, while he or she may be on call, is probably catching the only 3 or 4 hours of sleep that they will get for the entire 24 (or 48) hour shift they are covering. While I only call for what I think is important enough to warrant it, I want them to know that wanted to wait until 6am to call, but this problem will not wait. So, it usually goes something like this:
    "Hi Dr. ******. This is 86toronado calling from the ED. I'm very sorry to wake you, but you know that ICU patient Mr. ***** we've been holding in the ED for the past 12 hours? Well his heart rate has been steadily increasing, from the 80's at 12am to the 110-120's with frequent PVC's now at 4am. His BP and O2 have been stable, but I would like to give him ******."
    That way I am letting them know that I am sorry to call them at this time, but giving them a good reason why I did so. On the other hand, a phone call such as this might not go over so well:
    "Hi Dr. ***** I am calling because Mr. ******'s heart rate is in the 120's. What do you want to do?"
    It's common courtesy.
    Last edit by 86toronado on Mar 19, '11 : Reason: editing
    talaxandra, llerkl, pedicurn, and 22 others like this.
  11. 1
    Ahh, Kooky Korky, you said it much better than I. Thanks.
    mamastucky likes this.
  12. 11
    You're a new graduate and this is nit-picking. Honey catches more bees than a sharp tongue. In time, you will learn and alter your approach to certain matters.

    Offering that empathy takes nothing from you. PCTs sometimes do that, when they know they have to take your attention away from something you're working on.

    I haven't heard any gripe about it...yet. So lets put things in focus and try not to run away with much. K.
    Aurora77, Mrs.Rollins, mamastucky, and 8 others like this.


Top