Why is it okay for Doctors to yell at Nurses? - page 6

by Anaya_1de

12,712 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 ♪♫ in my ♥
    I work at a major teaching hospital and I can say that, in our department, there is nothing but courtesy and respect between the physicians and the nurses... even when things have been missed, the docs are very good about simply following up to make sure things are being done...

    It starts from the top: The chief does not tolerate misbehavior from his docs and the nursing management does not tolerate it, either. It is a professional environment and all are expected to behave as such.

    I think the docs themselves would correct one of their own who crossed that line. Likewise, the nurses have very high standards to which we're all held, by each other.

    I don't know if it's because it's academia or because the residents "grow up" with the nurses or that we're just blessed with a decent human being at the top but such places do exist.
    I can still see our beloved chief of cardiac surgery pouring his coffee from one cup to the other to cool it as he toured the new residents through our unit on July 1. The basic message he gave to them was simple and direct: "If one of these nurses tells you to do something, you do it, and if I ever hear of any of you abusing any of them you will be out of the program." He gave the same talk in the OR. No throwing instruments in his program, that's for sure.

    I never knew cardiac surgeons were supposed to be jerks until I left there. Now his residents run programs all over the country, and they are still great guys. Rest in peace, Uncle Norman.
    RNperdiem likes this.
  2. 0
    I was literally yelled at today because of the printer, as if it's my job to fix, maintain, or in any way make the printer function. God complexes hmph.
  3. 1
    Here's the truth:

    The main reason nurses tolerate disrespect is that they fear confrontation. Ironically, this often backfires on them from what I have seen; the more confrontational nurses are much more carefully handled by docs, provided they're reasonable.

    Another reason nurses tolerate the disrespect is because they know that the physician is more valuable to the hospital than they are. Nurses are far more easily replaced than doctors.
    anotherone likes this.
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    Quote from Mandy LVN
    I have actually witnessed the "yelling" a number of times at the hospital I used to work at. One doc in particular would get ****** about something a nurse had done ( or not done) and starting yelling at high volume and cussing. This was the norm and nothing has ever been done about it. I also witnessed him throw a chart across the room at a nurse..
    *** Throwing a chart! Wow I would have called the cops immediatly and wanted him charge with assault or something. For chronic problem docs I find that catching up to them in the parking lot and"talking" to them, letting them know in no uncertain terms what the concequences to them personaly will be if they continue their behavior works wonders. Just need to make sure nobody is around to see me "talking" to them. Have used this stratagy a number of times with 100% sucsess. Helps to be a large strong male when utilizing this stratagy.
  5. 0
    Quote from JZ_RN
    I was literally yelled at today because of the printer, as if it's my job to fix, maintain, or in any way make the printer function. God complexes hmph.
    What action did you take when this occured? I hope you didn't just meekly accept it leaving the doc feeling empowered to yell at nurses the next time he faces one of lifes little frustrations.
  6. 0
    Quote from Esme12
    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.


    But remember "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent".
    If I were in your shoes, I'd have probably would have advocated for him and tried to save his job. Not out of kindness-though maybe a little. It would take A lot for me to actually still want someone to be fired after I cooled off-but so s/he would know that they owed their job to me!!

    Hey, don't judge me people! I never claimed to be a saint
  7. 1
    Quote from PMFB-RN
    What action did you take when this occured? I hope you didn't just meekly accept it leaving the doc feeling empowered to yell at nurses the next time he faces one of lifes little frustrations.

    I said, I'm a nurse, not a printer repairman. I don't know what the problem is, sorry. Then walked away.
    PMFB-RN likes this.
  8. 1
    Quote from JZ_RN
    I was literally yelled at today because of the printer, as if it's my job to fix, maintain, or in any way make the printer function. God complexes hmph.
    I feel like in my old hospital, we got yelled at about stuff like this more than we did about patient-related concerns. I once had a doctor stop me in the hallway and yell because there wasn't an interpreter booked for his patient. I was like. "1. It's not my patient, 2. I'm not your secretary, 3. Pick up the phone and call the interpreter."

    And speaking of throwing things... I once had a resident throw a prescription at me and storm out (this was after I refused to discharge a patient without a prescription for adequate pain relief and spent the entire morning arguing that Tylenol was not sufficient pain relief for a patient who'd required Morphine, Dilaudid, Valium and Oxycodone within the past 24 hrs)... and my old manager was a thrower. Usually in the morning. She'd come in the back room and if anyone's bags or coats were around, they'd be thrown on the floor or locked in her office within minutes. We got in the habit of hiding our things in the conference room at 6:15am and hiding ourselves in patient rooms by 6:30am so that way we could sneak out without being spotted after we gave report to the day shift.
    malestunurse likes this.
  9. 0
    Quote from ♪♫ in my ♥
    I work at a major teaching hospital and I can say that, in our department, there is nothing but courtesy and respect between the physicians and the nurses... even when things have been missed, the docs are very good about simply following up to make sure things are being done...

    It starts from the top: The chief does not tolerate misbehavior from his docs and the nursing management does not tolerate it, either. It is a professional environment and all are expected to behave as such.

    I think the docs themselves would correct one of their own who crossed that line. Likewise, the nurses have very high standards to which we're all held, by each other.

    I don't know if it's because it's academia or because the residents "grow up" with the nurses or that we're just blessed with a decent human being at the top but such places do exist.

    Yup. You hit the nail on the head. It's all about leadership, period.
  10. 0
    Quote from RNperdiem
    The term "yelling" is misleading. The theatrical tantrums you are probably imagining, I have never seen in my 18 years in the business.
    How about "annoyed" or "disgruntled". Can people you work with get upset?
    If I get an order for a STAT blood transfusion, and the doctor checks back at the end of the shift and no transfusion has been given, what kind of reaction would I expect?
    For yellers (patients and their families in 95% of the cases). I remain silent and continue silence until it becomes uncomfortable. There is something unnerving about a nurse who is not trying to defend herself. The person usually apologises if they know they are being unreasonable.
    Thanks for the tip! What I am wondering about is does anyone think this topic has anything to do with how nurses are trained as opposed to how residents are trained? Nurses generally talk about compassion more than anything else, whereas doctors talk about all their medical training I wonder if we close that gap nurses might be more respected?


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