I have been a nurse for a long time and have a very thick skin when it comes to being treated rudely by doctors. I try to be very respectful and call only if it is absolutely necessary. I don't like having to take time out of my busy shift to call them any more than they wish to be interrupted by a call from me so I do so only when what I need absolutely can't wait until normal business hours.
My problem is this. The hospital I work at now is staffed primarily by hospitalists. They go into this job, I presume, knowing that a large part of their responsibility is to pull call. So, why is it that they get angry no matter what you call for? Seriously. And they sigh and carry on obnoxiously to the point that I can barely maintain my courtesy. They are difficult to understand and will barely stay on the phone long enough to mumble an order at you. Forget reading an order back. They've hung up on you before you get the first syllable out.
All of this is assuming they are awake to hear you. On two or three occasions now I have had doctors fall asleep on me while getting orders from them. One night it took me about 5 minutes to take a simple medication order because the doctor kept falling asleep on me. There were literally 40 second stretches of complete silence on the other end.
I really try not to have an us against them mentality when it comes to doctors. I'm sure they could tell some crazy stories about getting called at ridiculous times of the night for things that could have waited until the morning. However, I don't feel like this gives them the right to be CONSISTENTLY rude when you are calling them for legitimate concerns.
Here's how a call went last night. This was the impetus for this vent. First, let me explain that there are three nurses on the floor that all have the same name, me being one of them. We'll say the name is "Mary".
My phone rings. It is a callback from Dr. Y.
Me: "Hello Dr. Y., this is Mary and..."
Dr. Y.: "Oh my God!!!! Do you realize that you call me more than anyone?! You called me at least six times last night!"
Me: "I'm sorry but that was not me. I didn't work last night and there are three nurses named Mary on this floor."
Dr. Y.: "Well, whatever!!! It doesn't matter! What do you want?"
Me: Going on to ask for an anti hypertensive to address a pt.'s BP that had been running consistently in the 170's to 180's systolic for 2 days without being addressed.
Dr. Y.: "Why are you calling about this now? Why didn't they do something about this during the day?"
You get the idea. There are many responses I could have made to that question. Main one being, why didn't you notice the pt.'s BP for the last two days (this happened to be his patient) was sky high and adjust the meds or write for a prn or WRITE SOME DING-DA-DANG CALL PARAMETERS so I wouldn't have to be calling you in the first place.
It is very aggravating. They really treat us like dogs. Any decent human being would have apologized when they realized they had flamed out the wrong Mary. I feel like pulling him aside the next time I see him and very diplomatically addressing the issue. We are all here in the best interest of the patients (or so we hope). Even the Mary who can be a little over zealous with her calls.
How do you guys handle this and do you notice that some doctors are worse offenders than others? Have you ever pulled a rude doctor aside and, if so, what was the response?
I'm sure this topic has been beaten to death but I felt the need to vent about it. The place that I'm working at now is by far the worst. I've been out of hospital nursing for 4 years until 8 months ago when I started this job. Is it a hospitalist thing? That's the only big difference btwn this hospital and others where I've worked.
Mar 1, '14
by NF_eyenurse, BSN
Ah yes.....the grumpy, rude, mumblers.
All the above stories. I don't miss any of it now. I didn't realize when I started working in an ambulatory surgery center that I would have two doctors within 40 feet of me at all times.
My days of waiting hours for a call back were over. No more condescending tones saying, "You know you don't REALLY need to call me for critical lab values." Or, "What do you mean you can't get an IV? Did you try the neck?" OR, "Oh, she's crazy....just give her some ativan." He's lucky I wasn't on a vocera in front of the "crazy lady" when he said this. These were all from the same doctor.
This doctor had a particular ring back when he received texts/messages on his phone so if I heard this in the nurses station I always went to him for orders. If I didn't catch him I would be waiting hours for a call back And I ALWAYS requested PRNs with parameters to try to decrease the calls. If the doc ordered nitropaste-prn tylenol order for headaches, on a pain med-something for constipation, etc.
Last edit by NF_eyenurse on Mar 1, '14