Why is it okay for Doctors to yell at Nurses? - page 3

by Anaya_1de

12,931 Views | 71 Comments

I'm currently in Nursing School to get my RN license and I noticed something that is bothering me. Maybe I'm still naive, I just find it baffling to hear how it's almost seen as a given that doctors at times will be disrespectful... Read More


  1. 1
    Quote from KelRN215
    It's not ok. JCAHO requires that facilities have a Zero Tolerance policy for disruptive behavior:
    JCAHO requires ' Zero Tolerance' for Disruptive Doctors and Administrators | Fox Rothschild LLP

    I am apparently in the minority as I have been yelled at by doctors and have witnessed colleagues being yelled at by doctors. Certain doctors were known repeat offenders. I was yelled at by management way more frequently in my old job than by doctors though. I have not been yelled at since changing jobs 8 months ago though.
    I'm sorry you have had to go through that. There's probably a lot of stuff my subconscious mind has chosen to forget. It's been rare, by I have been on the receiving end of some really unprofessional, down right abusive behavior. One woman was a charge nurse in a SICU I was working in. She flipped out big time over the most inane thing, and the surgical fellow thought she was a lune. Amazingly, a number of other nurses blew this charge nurse's behavior off, b/c well, apparently they accepted it as her just being her. That's nonesense. I don't know what flipped inside her brain, but I ended up having to get the supervisor in order to get her to stop acting crazy. I don't even know if she still practices nursing. You have to know how I roll. I try to deal with each person directly, and I am not one to want to get someone in trouble or run "to the principal's office," or use situations in order to move ahead. And I have grown some tough skin. But clearly this poor woman had something else going on, and I was the recipient of her displacement. Thing is, if she had been effectively addressed on it earlier in her tenure there, rather than allowing it to be ignored, it would have been better for everyone. The patients that were out of anesthesia that heard her thought she was a chook. She, however, actually believed it was her right to behavior they way she did--in a leadership position, worse yet.

    I think, however, I would rather be yelled at like that than dead with the underhanded backstabbing stuff. With the subversive stuff, people seem to avoid accountability, at least for a while. They don't tend to get the wrongness of what they are doing until it then turns around and happens to them. If we could only work this mentality out of many nursing areas, what a great thing that would be. I try to set an example. A nurse started to say negative things about someone the other day, and I changed the subject; b/c she has done this before. I was kind; but I gave her a look, and I think it made the point.
    anotherone likes this.
  2. 0
    I have a question.

    I see a lot of post in many topics on AN about Nurses being mistreated. Is it really so bad that it can't be brushed off (I mean mistreatment by pt's and families btw. I wouldn't put up with a coworker looking down their nose at me either)? When I was a Marine, I took a side job as a bouncer, and I had a temper back then too lol. But I immediately realized that any yelling or threatening towards me was them threatening a "Bouncer," not me personally, you know? Keep in mind I'm not saying anyone is doing anything wrong, just curious-Is the yelling from Pt's and their families really that bad?
    Last edit by PRICHARILLAisMISSED on Nov 29, '12
  3. 1
    I haven't heard a doctor yell. Be rude, sarcastic, snippy yes. If a doctor is annoyed and makes a rude comment about something which I was right to page about , for example, I can be just as sarcastic back. I have never seen a doctor yell or thorw charts or anything of that nature. 99% OF the yelling is from patients and their family. and in most cases you better shut your mouth because the customer is always right. If needed you can call security ( which only seems to happen if the pt is not oriented , at least where I work)l. the fully oriented are allowed to yell at staff. lol.
    i think what alot of people term yelling is actually not yelling.
    Anaya_1de likes this.
  4. 0
    Can be. There are certain things you know to take with a grain of salt. You don't see people when their life is going absolutely swimmingly, you see them when they're sick and frustrated and tired and angry at the world and/or God. Then again, sometimes they cross the line. All you need is one awful day where nothing is going right and you hear, "You G-D- S-for brains nurse, you'd better get in here and GIVE ME MY ********* PAIN SHOT! IT'S BEEN 3 HOURS, 12 MINUTES AND 37, NO, 38 SECONDS SINCE MY LAST ONE!"
    And then the families...they looked it up on the internet and they're positive it's whooping cough or cholera, or whatever happens to be on the front page of WebMD that day, and what's that pill you're giving her? Is that GENERIC? How dare you give their mother generic medications!
    We could all write pages and pages of stuff that patients and families do that gets under our skin.
  5. 1
    I think I had been yelled at probably several times since I became a nurse. I am still leaning to deal with this issue. I usually apologize but things need to get done and be done whether he or she likes it or not. Most challenging thing for me would be the foreigns doctors who have English accent. I cannot comprehend them on the phone clear so I ask them to repeat what they just told me. They do get annoy by that but what else can you do except making sure you got it down right what were told, right? Anyone agreed?!
    LexRaven likes this.
  6. 1
    Quote from PRICHARILLAisMISSED
    I have a question.

    I see a lot of post in many topics on AN about Nurses being mistreated. Is it really so bad that it can't be brushed off (I mean mistreatment by pt's and fami,lies btw. I wouldn't put up with a coworker looking down their nose at me either)? When I was a Marine, I took a side job as a bouncer, and I had a temper back then too lol. But I immediately realized that any yelling or threatening towards me was them threatening a "Bouncer," not me personally, you know? Keep in mind I'm not saying anyone is doing anything wrong, just curious-Is the yelling from Pt's and their families really that bad?
    Depends where you work, the customers(patients ) and on your personality. I wouldn't say it is that bad.i kiss up to families and patients big time.. I would say a yelling by a pt or family who is completely oriented happens on average once every few months. Not THAT BAD.

    One of my first threads on here was about a HORRIBLE day I had as a very new nurse. We were short aides and nurses. So I had to do a lot more work. Keep in mind being new, I was slower. One pt had a ton of visitiors in the room and they asked me to get them chairs. Ok. So as I walked down the hall, I HEARD one of my patients making a sound indicating pt needed suctioning. This pt could not communicate much and had a trach. PRIORITY ONE IS SUCTION THE TRACH! so i go in and do that. pt is isolation. and suctioning is supposed to be sterile. these things take time. And I have to assess the patient's respitory status. So this takes time. When I go back out in the hall. the family is ringing again with the OBNOXIOUS mother figure YELLING about the chairs and what is taking so long etc blabh blah blah, they asked me MINUTES AGO. ..... I didn't say anything. I was super annoyed that I was assumed to be a bad /incompetent nurse because I didn't get chairs for visitors fast enough. It really annoyed me, it was the icing on the cake to a bad day. . Then I didn't say a word. Now I might tell the visitors in a sarcastic tone, " Sorry I didn't get your visitors charis fast enough, one of my patients was having trouble breathing." ( or at least I would like to think I would actually say this to a pt or their family but probably never would lol)"
    PRICHARILLAisMISSED likes this.
  7. 1
    I have only ever seen one dr yell at a nurse, it was while I was in hospital at Easter and this particular nurse had been really good, he knew how miserable I was and would hang out with me after his shift. One day the dr walked in and yelled at hi he was spending to much time with me and harbouring my recovery....I was so angry, in so much pain I yelled back 'you effing ass earl has done nothing wrong. I live an hour from here, my mum works and my sister has Uni, it's nearly Easter and the last place I want to be is here puking my guts up and having klexane injections because I pass out from pain coz both LP's were cocked up now apologise to him or I get the boss!!!'

    I have a low tolerance for that kind of behaviour
    Anaya_1de likes this.
  8. 2
    Quote from PRICHARILLAisMISSED
    I have a question.

    I see a lot of post in many topics on AN about Nurses being mistreated. Is it really so bad that it can't be brushed off (I mean mistreatment by pt's and families btw. I wouldn't put up with a coworker looking down their nose at me either)? When I was a Marine, I took a side job as a bouncer, and I had a temper back then too lol. But I immediately realized that any yelling or threatening towards me was them threatening a "Bouncer," not me personally, you know? Keep in mind I'm not saying anyone is doing anything wrong, just curious-Is the yelling from Pt's and their families really that bad?

    I've been pretty fortunate. It's a very rare thing that a patient and/or family got crazy on me. It does happen, and you have to be professional--and understand that people that are seriously ill are terribly stressed. It doesn't excuse bad behavior, but it makes it understandable, and the role as a nurse is to be therapeutic and supportive--in that regard, its different from regular customer service. The patient or family may not always be right, but they need support, even if their responses may risk undermining that support. And then there are just some folks you really can't help or support. It's sad, but that too happens. You maintain a therapeutic approach and a caring, professional demeanor, do the best you can, and then move on.

    Like I said, I'll take the yelling to my face over the subversive, backstabbing stuff any day. In some places, there's this kind of guerilla warfare that goes on in nursing. It'd be OK if you weren't already stressed out juggling dying kids and coding patients and the like. But when you are busting hump and someone is just looking for a mistake over any little thing, or when nurses make it hard for nurses to "fit" into the culture, well its more than hazing--and if you are there for the patients, it adds insult to injury and ups the stress level to severe on a regular basis. Horizontal and vertical violence is a considerable issue in many nursing areas. I truly wish it were not so. I think I've come to the conclusion that this field draws in all kinds of people--and some of them are pretty insecure and don't have a clue about who they are and what they should be about (should meaning in terms of purpose and striving to be a whole person).

    To be honest, since you have identified yourself as a male, I will say that you will probably do fine. In my experience, usually men in nursing are not as readily targetted for the kind of violence I am referring to. It's usually a nice looking female nurse, who is smart, but doesn't play the kiss azz game, that often gets targetted. If the nurse is pretty secure, it can be resented by others, and hence she becomes a target. There's this whole mean girls, high school crap that goes on in nursing. Thankfully not always, and not everywhere. If you get a good team, jump up for praise! As I desired to move into other areas or subspecialities, I had to give up working with some amazingly supportive, truly teamplayer people. This can be quite an adjustment. Having a good crew, IMHO, makes all the difference. Personally, I think more nursing units should have baseball or softball teams--seriously--to learn about working in unity and support. Watching the vying for diva or control-freak goddess can be hard to watch in this field--especially as you watch it unfairly hurt other people. Watching parents lose their kids and striving to being an octopus to save a life is more than enough stress without all the other catty BS.

    So in terms of abuse, the latter stuff is what you may see more than anything else--besides issues of lack of staffing and proper understanding of acuity and other administrative nonsense. If you work in the ED, however, you have an excellent chance of getting clocked by any number of drunks or narc addicts/abuse or people that are just seriously insane--and I mean quite literally psychotic.
    Last edit by samadams8 on Nov 29, '12
    3aremyjoy and WhereIsMyCallBell like this.
  9. 2
    Ive been yelled at before.

    And they get it right back. They don't have the right to yell at me and I make them feel belittled about the situation just like they are trying to do.
    anotherone and LexRaven like this.
  10. 0
    I have seen physicians yelling.....I have been yelled at. There are facilities that allow it and facilities that don't. I think in the old days it was much more frequent. I had a MD throw a chart at me once, just once....he got fired.

    I make it very clear that I cannot hear them any clearer, nor will I move any quicker, when they are talking loudly and I will not engage in a conversation until they decide to talk in a normal tone of voice. It is much less an issue today than years ago.

    You will have to own up to a very unhappy MD when you make a mistake....but it should never involve profanity or personal attacks.

    But remember "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent".


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