WHY do nurses apologize for doing their jobs? - page 2

Little bit of a rant about a particular pet peeve of mine here. I was taught years ago in nursing school--don't apologize to the doctor for calling him/her. So many times I hear other nurses,... Read More

  1. Visit  Guttercat profile page
    3
    Quote from Bortaz, RN
    There is nothing demeaning or unprofessional about being courteous.

    HELlo.

    Thumbs up.
    kids, lindarn, and Bortaz, RN like this.
  2. Visit  sj73201 profile page
    1
    no, i work with nurses on the 3-11 shift that say "hi doctor, sorry for bothering you" - that is embarrassing. it has nothing to do with waking them up at 3am sometimes.
    lindarn likes this.
  3. Visit  nursel56 profile page
    5
    Yes, they chose to be a doctor and they know being on call means they might get a call in the middle of the night, but saying a courteous "I'm sorry" is a way of acknowledging that it still bites to be woken up or interrupted in the middle of something non-work related and that tends to set the stage for a more agreeable conversation. I've never felt it signified anything involving a power dynamic.
    Esme12, mazy, lindarn, and 2 others like this.
  4. Visit  barbyann profile page
    3
    I keep the phone calls as brief as possible, just the facts with no extra flowery language. When I am on-call and I get the "I'm sorry" sentence I see it as a waste of my precious time. Get to the point.
    Gabby Pentin, ProfRN4, and lindarn like this.
  5. Visit  Do-over profile page
    5
    I do usually say something along the lines of "I am sorry to have to disturb you..." Calling late, I also need a stall tactic to allow the physicians time to wake up a little anyway...and I don't want to quit talking for fear they may fall asleep on me (it has happened).

    I once had to call a surgeon about a patient that was bleeding (ALOT) in the middle of the night. He was very groggy on the phone and only said "NPO" and hung up. I was new, and not a little freaked out. By the time I found my CN to ask her to call him back, he had already called back to ask us to call in the surgery team...

    I also agree that "sorry" does not mean that I am doing anything wrong. The physicians are not the enemy, they are my colleagues, they are human beings and I lose nothing by offering simple courtesy and respect to them.
    mazy, lindarn, caroladybelle, and 2 others like this.
  6. Visit  Ruby Vee profile page
    8
    Quote from rntj
    little bit of a rant about a particular pet peeve of mine here. i was taught years ago in nursing school--don't apologize to the doctor for calling him/her. so many times i hear other nurses, especially new grads, do this, and it makes me just cringe! who told them they need to apologize for doing their jobs and taking care of their patients? it just brings down the entire profession, in my view. we are not making social calls when we call the doctors, we are notifying them of things that we, in our professional, trained opinion, feel they need to know in order so that they can do their jobs correctly as well and, most importantly, to protect the well being of the patient. it just irks the heck out of me!
    i think it's just common courtesy to apologize for waking someone or interrupting someone. i'm not apologizing for calling or for asking for an order, reporting a lab or updating on a change in condition of my patient, but an "i'm sorry to wake you, but i need to let you know about mr. smith's ongoing chest pain . . . " allows the sleepy head on the other end of the phone line an additional second to pull it together before being expected to respond intelligently to the information i'm passing on. it's also somewhat humanizing. and we're all human aren't we?
    ProfRN4, nursel56, badmamajama, and 5 others like this.
  7. Visit  nursefrances profile page
    1
    One thing I catch myself doing is thanking a doctor when they call back quickly. It is sooo irritating to wait and wait for a doctor to call back for an answer/order I need sooner than later. And we have a few that are notorious for this. But some docs call back quickly,within a minute of me hanging up the phone.I reallly do appreciate that and let them know.
    On another note, I called a doctor at the end of my shift the other day to hold a discharge on a patient that was not yet stable to discharge home. The doctor I called was the admitting doctor. When she called back , I began to explain the situation. I did not get 3 words out and she cut me off and said loudly "What do you need? a pill? what??" I know they are busy but that wasn't nice. I evertually got the order I requested. The nurse I was giving report to was with me and said this was a common thing with her. She needed a day off. Or maybe a trip to Maui. Hmmmm... I could use a trip to Maui.
    badmamajama likes this.
  8. Visit  nursefrances profile page
    2
    Just a thought.
    In regards to not saying sorry because that is what the doctor should expect when he signed up to be a doctor.
    I have other staff who also say sorry to me when I am busy and thay have to give me something else to do or pass another phone call to me when I have just been bombarded with 5 things at once. That receptionist could think: well she is busy but that's what you get/should expect when you are a nurse.
    Aurora77 and badmamajama like this.
  9. Visit  nursefrances profile page
    0
    [QUOTE=Guttercat;6115769]I called (interrupted) a vascular surgeon today saying, "first and foremost I apologize for being an idiot if it turns out I am unable to find your order in the EMR but...I can't find it."

    As I suspected, he had not yet entered it and in fact had forgotten to.

    No worries.

    My call sounded a lot better than, "Hey jacktard, I can't find your order."

    I like the docs I work with (and I work with multiple docs from different departments/specialties) and find that falling back on the human equation, serves us all well.

    They treat me in kind.[/QUOTE




    LOL!!! BAHAAAHAAA!!! I can't breathe!!
    Hmmmmm...."Hello Dr Jacktard, how are you today?"
    I don't think I saw that name on the funny doctor name thread. ]
  10. Visit  Esme12 profile page
    6
    Quote from rntj
    I respectfully disagree. I am very respectful to the doctors I work with, but it was their choice to become an MD, which they all knew when they got into the field would require being woken up when need for their expertise arose. They get a lot of money and perks and adulation for what they do--there are up sides and downsides to everything, and having to answer phone calls in the middle of the night is one of the well-known downsides. I feel it denigrates our profession to apologize, which indirectly is making the statement that we shouldn't be waking them up and that we are in the wrong. I am not in the habit of apologizing for something I did that is not wrong.
    I usually don't answer posts without reading the whole thread but I can't help myself.....

    It isn't like we are actually sorry.......it's a euphemism. "I'm sorry to have disturbed you" will get a much better response than "Wake up butt head, I've got your 3am labs" It is a matter of manners and being polite and using proper phone etiquette.....a skill I can attest by my own teenagers is lacking amongst the digital generation. I repeat to them every day "Manners Matter" and I teach them the proper respect, etiquette, and manners I feel is necessary to be polite in an ever increasingly rude society.

    If it is at a rude time of day or even a holiday.....saying I'm sorry to bother you is not apologizing for doing my job. I am simply acknowledging that I realize they are at home, asleep, at dinner, or in the shower....but what I have to say is that important. When they ask me if I realize what time it is, I simply tell them "Yes, because I am at work and I am not due to go to bed until after 7am so yes....I am perfectly aware what time it is." Saying excuse me to ask someone to move isn't asking to be forgiven or excused but it sure gets a better response that "Move It" or "Get out of my way".

    I once bought a big bird alarm clock for a particular MD who would shout every time he was awakened at night "Do You Know What Time It Is?" I told him it was so that he would always know what time it is.

    There is NO shame is trying to diffuse irritation, frustration or anger with a little politeness, manners or humor. As long as I get the orders I need.
    nursel56, Aurora77, caroladybelle, and 3 others like this.
  11. Visit  NightOwl0624 profile page
    1
    Quote from Esme12

    There is NO shame is trying to diffuse irritation, frustration or anger with a little politeness, manners or humor. As long as I get the orders I need.
    I so agree, Esme. Nothing wrong with using some manners!

    I have had pleanty of doctors apologize to me, too, when they tell me what they have just ordered for a paitent. I'm sure they're not really sorry, as it is my job, but acknowledging that I may be having a bad night, or that some elements of patient care just aren't very pleasant.
    Altra likes this.
  12. Visit  mazy profile page
    4
    Quote from Michigangirl
    I so agree, Esme. Nothing wrong with using some manners!

    I have had pleanty of doctors apologize to me, too, when they tell me what they have just ordered for a paitent. I'm sure they're not really sorry, as it is my job, but acknowledging that I may be having a bad night, or that some elements of patient care just aren't very pleasant.
    There is a dr. where I work who says "You're going to kill me but I left a lot of orders, I'm really sorry."

    It is my job to deal with those orders, and it is the dr's. job to write those orders, but it is so nice to have someone acknowledge that it's a pain -- for both of us. Compare that to the dr. who writes a bunch of orders and then goes flying out the door without even caring or looking back.

    A nice gesture goes a long way.
    nursel56, workingharder, Altra, and 1 other like this.
  13. Visit  MPKH profile page
    0
    Like others have said, saying "I'm sorry" to doctors when you're calling them isn't you apologizing for doing YOUR job, you're apologizing for disturbing them at odd hours, when they've got their hands on 10 different tasks, or when they're running a clinic. You're ismply showing courtesy. One particular day I had to call the same doctor many times for different things for his patients, and after a few times, I started off with "Hi Dr.________, sorry to phone you yet again...". He took it well and we had a laugh over the fact that all of his patients presented problems and issues AFTER he made rounds that day. I wasn't apologizing for being a RN and looking after the patients, I was merely being polite to the doctor.


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