A worn out topic

  1. 6
    Ok, I know the question has been posted over and over. I've not seen any real definitive information.
    I recently witnessed a doctor who decided to saunter into the hospital to see a patient, and as he walked towards the patient's room he passed the nurses station and barked the question of who the patient's nurse was. Someone pointed and he used a jerky hand gesture to beckon the nurse to follow him...as one might a dog....

    I've also seen a doctor walk to a nurses station and bark out the charts he needed...the charts were directly on the shelf in front of him.

    I was told in nursing school to never give up your chair just because a doctor was present. I've seen nurses scramble out of the way to give a doctor their seat just because he was standing close by (and there were plenty of empty seats elsewhere)

    My question is....is this not the year 2010? I sometimes feel like we're living in the 18th century.


    No, really, my question is.... are doctors really our colleagues as some nurses have emphatically stated? Or are we their subordinates/pee ons ready to jump at their beck and call (and I can tell some doctors LOVE that and use it often)? I've noticed some doctors can't wait to rip into a nurse for every insignificant thing...and the nurse just stands there and takes it. So where is the line (please don't say there isn't one...there has to be an accountability line even if it's on the border of professionalism)?

    I'm not a docile person, especially if there's a male barking orders at me...I tend to have a problem with that (and mind you, I understand reasonable and professionally communicated disagreements, but throwing charts..scoffing, rude language, calling names, making inappropriate references to a nurses' intelligence...I just feel like if they open the door, I have a right to slam their fingers in it ;-p )

    Honest and objective opinions?
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  4. 43 Comments so far...

  5. 12
    I don't put up with Doctor's speaking to me in a demeaning way. I've never really had a problem with this in 14 years of nursing, but I've seen it done to others. I think, like bullies, doctor's know who they can and cannot get away treating poorly.

    On the other hand I am always professional with doctor's, if I call them I have the information at hand to answer their questions. I don't call unless I need to and they know this about me. If we demand respect we must give it also.
  6. 27
    I was working as a receptionist once for a busy doctors office, where there were about 8 doctors in the practice. I'd been working there for several months and obviously knew all the doctors' names, but one afternoon one of them called in to the office and asked me (since I answered the phones) if I could pull his charts for the afternoon. I kindly replied something like "I'd be happy to...I'm sorry, who is this?" because I didn't yet know them by their voice. He came back yelling "Don't you know who this is??!" and I couldn't help but reply with "Don't you know who this is?" And I had him...because, he didn't know my name. After a pause and huff, he mumbled "This is Dr. So-and-so" and after that, he made a point to say hello to me and he knew my name.
  7. 0
    This is a good question. I'll be graduating soon and would love to hear more replies on this subject. I'll be watching this post
  8. 7
    Doctors are just people. The more I work with them, the more I realize that just because they have "MD" behind their names,does not mean that they're smarter or know more than I do. Especially if you work in a teaching hospital, you really begin to realize that doctors don't know everything, and often don't know much at all (referring mainly to new doctors). I don't get the whole "G-d complex" thing. Some doctors act that way because other people allow them to, and encourage that behavior. If a doctor calls you by your first name, then I see no reason why you should not call him/her by their first name as well.

    As I get closer to 40, it becomes much easier to treat doctors as peers, rather than act subservient to them, especially when so many of them are younger than I am, and I realize that I know more about my specialty than they do.
    Hoozdo, WalkieTalkie, lucylu 777, and 4 others like this.
  9. 7
    I generally don't have a problem giving a doctor my chair if it means I'll get the necessary orders for my patients quicker. I do know our hospitalists may see between 30 - 40 patients in 12 hours besides the inbetween calls. The attendings may try to round on 15 - 20 patients while still seeing a full practice load. I may even be underestimating the numbers since their beepers are constantly interrupting them as are the staff in the nursing station. However, I will not tolerate rude and unprofessional behavior either in person or on the phone. If the situation is bad enough, a report written to their peer review board will usually clip their feathers for awhile...until the next time. Generally an uninterested or annoyed look in their direction will get the point across.

    As far as being on first name basis, absolutely but only in the appropriate areas. In front of patients and family I will address them by their proper title regardless of how many years we've known each other or even if we call each other "honey" outside of the hospital. I all them to address me by my first name because that is usually how the patients address me by my preference. The exception will be the residents/interns who must address us by proper titles or at least in front of the rounding attendings.

    Now on the other hand, as some of the posts on this forum have been examples of, nurses are always happy to bark at a phlebotomist, environmental tech, dietary aide, new nurse or any other health care worker and team member while loosely tossing around the word "STAT" just because they can or feel they can.
    Last edit by GreyGull on Aug 14, '10
  10. 24
    Some people are peckerheads. Some of those peckerheads went to medical school.

    Treat others reasonably, and expect them to treat you reasonably. At work, at home, in the supermarket, etc.

    Do not respond to anybody who barks or makes inapropriate gestures.

    Just my two cents.
    Woogy, CrufflerJJ, canoehead, and 21 others like this.
  11. 18
    wow i would absolutely l-o-v-e to tell you that fairy tales do come true and they can happen to you….but --- it is what it is----- and it “taint necessarily so”. yes this is the year 2010. let me give you a flashback in time.

    1970’-1975’s back then my tiny size 6 feet hit the floor as an unpaid volunteer in a nursing home. i learned how to do the job while on the job. i worked with the children’s wing the most. our facility had children from babies to teenagers with severe retardation, hydrocephalic babies, blind deaf mute kids locked in their own little worlds, and children who were only dyslexic or epileptic but were labeled “retarded.” the children stayed on one side and across the nurse’s station were two wings with the elderly and geriatric patients.

    1975 -1980s nursing assistants were literally the lowest position there was, we did not get a salary but were allowed free meals and our uniforms on the days we worked. we were not allowed to address any doctor period and none of them even acknowledged our presence. we were not allowed to talk to “the rn.” we could talk to the patient, their family, and if we found something wrong we could report it to our chief nursing assistant who then was allowed to talk to the nurse. the doctor spoke only at one nurse, the “charge nurse” of the entire unit as she worked to balance charts and carry a pen to write the orders he dictated and the cup of coffee he had demanded she have ready for him.

    1980-1985-1990s flash forward to the 1980’s coming out of nursing school with my pressed white starched uniform, my white cap with its precious black stripe, invisible wings to save the world, and an invisible wonder-woman belt to keep the evil at bay… and always those spotless white shoes. with my wings and wonder-woman belt and cap i was ready to save the world.

    doctor’s were demi gods. they threw charts at you; they threw instruments at you, and a few times..they threw pieces of whatever equipment they were holding and felt like it was not working properly…..along with cussing a blue streak that i won’t repeat here.. doctors rarely called you by name even when rounding if they knew your name. you didn’t dare sit until they had taken what chairs and charts they wanted. then if there was any room and an empty chair you could sit down.


    in the 1990s the concept of peer review was borne and low and behold, we could write a doctor up if he was rude and abusive to the nurse. it took several years for any nurses to get that brave and the first few that tried felt ostracized, but it was done and things in that decade started to s-l-o-w-l-y are less abusive and traumatic.

    so here we are at 2010. i still thrive and enjoy writing up the few doctors who still think that cussing and banging their fist on the desk is a way to "mark" their territory. ((i think the idea of nurse practitioners and physician assistants have rocked their little kingdoms)) but not a whole lot is done with just one or two write ups.but, if there are too many write ups, tantrums, and acting out the council will demand that the doctor be counseled by the chief of staff and then they will behave for a few months. the hospital will quickly remind you it is the doctors who bring the patients and bring in the revenue.

    so, to answer the question….. this is the year 2010.
    we may have come a long way baby but we’ve quite a way to go.

    it is still them way up there, the doctors, the ones that bring in the money and us, way down here, the nurses, who as far as making profit goes, we are the highest cost out in that profit margin....seems things are backwards as it is and then there comes the insanity of customer service.
    oyvey!
    :smackingf
    .

    naw, things are still highly un-equal imho.
    pagandeva2000, jkfickle, mykrosphere, and 15 others like this.
  12. 1
    It's true, doctors are just people. I've worked with a few (both male and female) who actually tipped-toed around in my peripheral vision because they didn't want to bother us!! You want to ask, "Can I help you with something?"

    On the other end there was the legendary Dr. A who threw every bit of his office furniture into a giant pile in the hallway. (if he only knew how much mileage I've gotten out of that story, lol).

    The smart ones view us as their colleagues, because they have accurately determined that nurses can and will help them be a better doctor, or conversely make their life very difficult or even "a living hell" in serious cases.

    I've read here that facilities are starting to adopt a special form to be filled out by staff if a doctor is abusive. I think that's a great idea. It starts a paper trail and gives the employee some sense of empowerment at least.

    If your fellow nurses are giving up chairs to be servile, that isn't good. On the other hand if there were no empty chairs nearby and a nurse chooses to move out of courtesy, he or she should not be faulted as sending the profession back to the Dark Ages.
    wooh likes this.
  13. 4
    Cheyfire -- wow. I consider myself "seasoned" with more than 10 years of practice under my belt, but your post was extremely eye opening. They used to institutionalize dyslexic kids (around the year I was born????) Nurses didn't get to speak to physicians....AT ALL??? Just, wow. When I get to the point where I am angry and mad at where we are today, I'll think of where we were 30 years ago. 30 years into the future might not actually be so bad (I'll be retiring, but, oh well.)

    OP -- I love your accidental typo. Pee on = peon. Very appropriate!!!!

    I think they need to teach leadership and educate re: the healthcare community and environment (including APPROPRIATE WORKPLACE BEHAVIOR SKILLS) in medical school. It needs to come right up front. Until it does, I think we can expect more of the same.


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