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, especially new grads, do this, and it... Read More

  1. 17
    There is nothing demeaning or unprofessional about being courteous.
    psu_213, kmarie724, kids, and 14 others like this.

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  2. 6
    This is something that is programmed into any polite citizen. I go to the store, can't find an item? "I'm sorry to bother you, but can you help me find ____?"

    This happens about a million times a year, and you get used to it. I don't see it the same way as you do, but that is because I don't see them as apologizing for calling, but feeling sorry for the Doc because sleep is precious.
    Esme12, mazy, lindarn, and 3 others like this.
  3. 9
    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.
    badmamajama, Esme12, mazy, and 6 others like this.
  4. 3
    Quote from Bortaz, RN
    There is nothing demeaning or unprofessional about being courteous.


    Thumbs up.
    kids, lindarn, and Bortaz, RN like this.
  5. 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.
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    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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

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