Yelling Doctors, How do you handle them?????

  1. 0 The other night at work (I work 7PM shift), I admitted a new patient. She was seen at her doctors office a couple days before and was started on PO antibiotics TID. She did not take her antibiotic all day. At my hospital we are to clarify meds upon admission and she could not remember the dose perscribed. So I had to page her doctor, which has a reputation of being mean at 11PM (not that late). He interrupted my question by yelling/screaming at me, asking me how he would know the dose (he prescribed it), demanding I answer why it couldn't wait till morning while huffing and puffing on the phone!!! I know if I didn't address it, the charge nurse or someone would of had my neck due to policy...Can't win!!

    I've only been a nurse for 8 months and I haven't had much experience with this.

    My question is... How do you respond to a doctor who talks to you this way- I mean screams at you this way?
  2. Visit  Danielle7 profile page

    About Danielle7

    Joined Jan '07; Posts: 4; Likes: 3.

    224 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  Debra ACRN profile page
    8
    Well first of all, it's just plain rude to yell at someone, no matter what. I occasionally have been known to ask someone if they think their mother would be proud of the way they are behaving? It has never failed to stop them in their tracks. Second, for me, 11:00 p.m. is late. So I would apologize for the late call and then explain why you must ask. If they yell then, I get mad with them............I would have yelled back, I know! it's a crappy policy that I have to carry out.......I'd be mad too.........give them the name of the person responsible, and let him yell at the person who wrote the polciy.

    It's all part of the teritory. After a while (I've been a nurse since the beginning of dirt) you stop taking it personally and perfect the "look". I can stop a doc with my look, even over the phone.
  4. Visit  miko014 profile page
    7
    Quote from Debra ACRN
    Second, for me, 11:00 p.m. is late. So I would apologize for the late call and then explain why you must ask.
    No!!!!! You shouldn't apologize for calling a doc! You're doing what is right for their patient, and if they don't want to be on call for their patients, then they should arrange to have a resident or partner cover them. Antibiotics are important, that's not something that should wait till the am, and you did the right thing by calling. He should have ordered them on admission - if he had done a med review with the patient he would have known that they needed them and ordered them in the first place.

    I absolutely do not tolerate docs yelling at me or any other nurses and I have no problem telling them that. I try not to yell back, because when they are screaming at you and you are calmly telling them that is not appropriate and you are just doing what is right for their patient, they tend to realize how stupid they sound. I also sometimes remind them that if they would have ordered it in the first place, I wouldn't have had to call them. If they do it frequently or do not apoligize, then it's time for a write up. Unacceptable. I love the part about asking them if their mother would be proud of them - that's classic!!!! I might just have to steal it !
    jpRN84, NeoPediRN, Cajun Nurse, and 4 others like this.
  5. Visit  Virgo_RN profile page
    24
    Quote from Danielle7
    So I had to page her doctor, which has a reputation of being mean at 11PM
    If he's mean at 11pm, I'd call him at 10:30. :chuckle J/K....

    But seriously, it is not at all uncommon when doing the med rec that patients cannot remember what meds they are on, let alone the dosage. At that time of night, I wouldn't have paged the doctor either. I would have simply put on the med rec form that the patient does not know the dosage. It's up to the admitting physician to prescribe, and I'm sure that those antibiotics probably have a standard dose. Besides which, depending upon the reason for admission, the doctor may not even want to prescribe the medication. Also, since the patient hadn't taken the med all day, it really probably could have waited until office hours. The most important information here is what antibiotic they were on and why.

    Another option is if the person has someone at home, or a trusted friend who can go to their home, who can look at the bottle and tell you the dosage. Sometimes we have the family members bring the pill bottles in the next day.

    That being said, the doctor shouldn't have yelled at you.
    nurseme3, jpRN84, truern, and 21 others like this.
  6. Visit  TiredMD profile page
    2
    Quote from Virgo_RN
    At that time of night, I wouldn't have paged the doctor either. I would have simply put on the med rec form that the patient does not know the dosage. It's up to the admitting physician to prescribe, and I'm sure that those antibiotics probably have a standard dose. Besides which, depending upon the reason for admission, the doctor may not even want to prescribe the medication. Also, since the patient hadn't taken the med all day, it really probably could have waited until office hours. The most important information here is what antibiotic they were on and why.
    Bingo. If this wasn't the admitting physician, there was no reason to call that late. It's just completely inappropriate. This isn't a case of a "rude doctor", it's a rude nurse. Would the OP have called a family member that late to ask the same question? And I wonder, if a telemarketer had called the OP that late, if maybe they wouldn't have done a little yelling too?
    deege58 and eriksoln like this.
  7. Visit  eriksoln profile page
    4
    I'm glad I dont have to be the ying to the yang in here. I was reading the post and thought to myself "not something I would call about". The exact dose of the antibiotics is not............something that cant wait. Just isnt. Let your charge nurse yell if she wants, it just isnt worth getting a physician up for. If your charge nurse complains about it, they are being task oriented.

    Dont let it get you down. Learning when to call and when not to is a sceince in and of itself. I will say this, one thing someone who oriented me at my first job told me that sticks with me today is "Get along with the other departments, they can help you in ways you will never be aware of." This includes the doctors. Make them happy, learn when to call and when not, and they will make things easier for you when it is time to call.
    jpRN84, Acrlady, tie_dye00, and 1 other like this.
  8. Visit  massrn116 profile page
    8
    After quite a few years you learn not to apologize for calling a doctor who has not followed through with HIS/HER job. I have held the phone up in the air while the MD was yelling and then got back on and stated "that is all well and good but what are we going to do about it..." I find the one that stays calm usually makes the other feel like an idiot, if not ,then they truly are idiots and don't deserve your agonizing over them. Overall, I stand up for myself and don't put up with the crap. Lately I find the doctors that I have to keep calling for things are the slackers, they know the rules but don't follow them.
    jpRN84, longbow.shelly, MHaffer, and 5 others like this.
  9. Visit  nerdtonurse? profile page
    6
    We have to do that at our hospital when we get an new admit who can't remember a med as a part of med reconciliation. Yes, I think it could wait, but no, my bosses don't think it can. And it's the idiots down the hall who keep me on the payroll, not the PO'd doc on the other end of the phone.

    I do make a point of saying, "Sorry, Dr. X, but my manager requires that I call you and clarify....."
    emmyers, jpRN84, Acrlady, and 3 others like this.
  10. Visit  lpnflorida profile page
    1
    Doctors upset on the phone, I let them do their thing for a bit, then I say" Now can we start over?" I do not say it sarcastically, just matter of fact. Usually it gets us back on track.

    I would not call a doctor at night over a medication reconcilliation sheet. Those can wait until morning.
    nurseme3 likes this.
  11. Visit  LilyBlue profile page
    13
    No reason for him to yell. He could have taken it up with the nurse's manager if necessary. Most doctors are not absuive to me in any way, but when they are, I say, "I called you professionally as a nurse to address an issue. When you are ready to address it, call me back and we can talk sensibly. I have fulfilled my obligation and can document that". Then I quietly hang up. I've actually only done that three times in my career. All three times I was called back within five minutes and the doctor apologized.
    Balder_LPN, rnrule, RescueNinja2013, and 10 others like this.
  12. Visit  rngolfer53 profile page
    1
    Write the anus up. Or is it write up the anus?:wink2:

    More seriously, if the doctor won't act professionally after you explain in a calm manner what you need and why, then file a complaint according to your hospital guidelines. Since you are following protocol, the hospital management should back you. If they don't, then you might start looking quietly for a better workplace, and leave on your own terms.

    Don't forget to tell them why you're leaving during any exit interview. It probably won't make a dent in their "thinking" but you'll have done what you can for the nurses and others still there.
    Valerie Salva likes this.
  13. Visit  Thankful RN,BSN profile page
    6
    you could have called the pharmacy where the med was filled. why would the md know off hand what he prescribed?
    Hygiene Queen, truern, RN Randy, and 3 others like this.
  14. Visit  rngolfer53 profile page
    6
    Quote from nerdtonurse?
    We have to do that at our hospital when we get an new admit who can't remember a med as a part of med reconciliation. Yes, I think it could wait, but no, my bosses don't think it can. And it's the idiots down the hall who keep me on the payroll, not the PO'd doc on the other end of the phone.

    I do make a point of saying, "Sorry, Dr. X, but my manager requires that I call you and clarify....."
    A little politeness often goes a long way.

    I call docs at night a lot, and most are quite civil. I try to keep them that way by always starting off by thanking them for calling back or saying sorry for the late hour.

    Yes, it's their job, but they're human as well, and we all like a little recognition for the hardships we put up with......and being awakened in the middle of the night is a hardship. Sometimes you can't get back to sleep, sometimes the call wakes the kids, spouse, etc.
    nurseme3, truern, Hilinenursegrl, and 3 others like this.


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