Dealing with doctors

Students General Students


Just wondering if any of you have any funny or not so funny stories about experiences with dealing with doctors. Do you find it fairly easy to talk with them as a peer? Are you intimidated by them? Does it depend on the doctor and his/her personality? Any tips for making the whole process easier?


1,037 Posts

Well luckily in clinicals most doctors I have had to deal with have been great... They understand we are students and some actually take time to explain things..

Now at work I have witnessed one of our "big" doctors actually come to the hospital to jump on a nurse because she disagreed with him.. He got pretty nasty... But honestly I think they are the rarity...

nurse2be in ny

332 Posts

I used to be intimidated by doctors, but then I spent four years working fairly closely with them, and generally found them to be just people. Some were kind of jerky and had a complex about being an MD, but most were pretty down to earth. Some of the closest friends I made there were docs.

Now, if I'm the patient, that's a different story...Still hard to deal with them, for me.


517 Posts

Ha ha! Most docs I've worked with are very nice but there are always exceptions. Last semester, I was working at a diabetes clinic and the endocrinologist asked if I would get additional detail from the pt on the hx of meds/illnesses. Well, the pt was sitting right there and I turned to her to ask if she felt she'd be able to recall this info. Doc interrupted me and said, "Well...*I* don't know it, you need to talk to the patient!". I turned back to him and said, "yeah, I *think* I figured that one out".

This doc has a rep of being a snot to the nurses but, I'll tell you, he was quite nice to me once he realized he couldn't run roughshod over me. I'm never rude and always respectful of the docs but expect the exact same treatment in return. I spent 10 years in IT/management, working with clients all over the country and, I'll tell you, *nothing* is more terrifying than a pissed-off New Yorker. :) Docs with an attitude pale in comparison.


586 Posts

I am a new nurse, and I hate talking to doctors. I feel very stupid. But, I know it will take time. When I work OB, I don't mind talking with those MD's cause they are so friendly.

Specializes in PCU, Critical Care, Observation.

The doctors are supposed to talk to us? I'm in second semester & have yet to see a doctor say anything more than "hello" to a student.


240 Posts

The thing you have to remember when talking to a doctor is to act like it does not bother you....they are just people. If you act scared, you will annoy them. For example, do not apologize to them for bothering them (I have seen many nurses do this) will make you seem scared and it is their job to listen to you if you have concerns/questions about the are NOT "bothering them." The other thing I would say is that if you are calling/speaking to a physician about a problem, have as much information about your patient with you as possible. For example, I work in the ICU and if I call a doc about a low blood pressure, I am going to do everything I can do find out why the BP is low before I call. For example, I will know their other vitals, CVP, wedge pressure, urine output, I/O, CBC, and the last time they had sedation/pain medication. You do not want to call a doc with a low BP and then say "I don't know" to every question they ask are they supposed to treat if they don't know the cause. Finally, I would just say to not be intimidated and never let a doc treat you like you are anything less than they are....if you let them, they will continue to do so! Sorry this is so long, but just my two cents worth.

Specializes in CCU (Coronary Care); Clinical Research.

AmiK25, very good response...have all of your info before you call...most of the docs i work with (cv surgeons/cardiologists for the most part) and surprisingly great. We talk on both clinical and personal levels. Good advice to not be intimidated. You are the patients advocate. Know your information, say it straight up, and if you want something reasonable ask for it. And be nice! Don't be sorry for calling in the middle of the night, not only is it your job, it's their job, that why they get paid the big bucks :) REmember, everyone has their grumpy/stressful days, so take it in stride, but if it is a pattern, work on developing a professional, respectful, relationship docs need to treat us with respect because we are a team and our job is to provide the best care we can for our patients.

maire, ASN, RN

1,173 Posts

Specializes in Adult Med-Surg, Rehab, and Ambulatory Care.

Many of them are quite willing to teach. Many of them ignore you like you aren't there. A few of them will even talk to you and ask you how school is going. Only time I deal with them is when they come in for rounds and ask about the patient I am caring for that is "theirs." I just make sure I have the info they want and we get along fine. I find the residents are bigger snobs than the experienced doctors.

medicrnohio, RN

508 Posts

Specializes in Tele, Home Health, MICU, CTICU, LTC.

I never talked to any doctors in my nursing clinicals. During my clinicals for paramedic school it was completely different. When I did my OB rotation, the doctor had me stand right next to her during the delivery and she explained every bit of what I would need to know for an emergency delivery. When I did my ICU rotation, the doctor had me get all sterile (we didn't learn that in paramedic school) and she let me help her put stitches in a patient. Those were awesome experiences with docs. My experiences overall are that some docs are better than others.

Nurse Marji

12 Posts

My mom is a doctor and so are many of her close friends - so I grew up around them. Now that I'm in nursing school, my mom and her friends have warned me about dealing with difficult docs (can you believe that?). They have all told me to be confident and to be prepared (anticipate their questions). Also, they've said not to take things personally because most of the time they have so many things on their mind and may not realize they're being rude or whatever. This doesn't excuse them, but it gives a little perspective... I can tell you this much - I don't want my mom's job!

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