What do you do when/if a Doctor or other nurse curses you out?

  1. are they seriously allowed to do that?

    i'm not a nurse yet, but i can't imagine sitting there and allowing a doctor or nurse to curse at me.
    that is super abusive, imo.

    i can't imagine that being acceptable. what have your reactions been when this happens?
    Last edit by *guest* on Jun 29, '09
  2. Visit *guest* profile page

    About *guest*

    Joined: Dec '08; Posts: 278; Likes: 118
    from IT
    Specialty: 15 year(s) of experience

    21 Comments

  3. by   anonymurse
    Personally, I'd either turn it into a joke and get 'em laughing, or get super-serious and keep things on track, 'cause that's my inclination (this all being speculative, as I don't get cussed out). But I've heard that others immediately use the confidential reporting system, listing witnesses and all circumstances, and they're satisfied.
  4. by   AOx1
    I state where they can find me when they are prepared to behave in a professional manner and then walk away.
  5. by   llg
    It's never happened to me. I think people know that I wouldn't stand for it and therefore don't try that sort of stuff on me.

    If things start get a little heated, I become "super professional" and try to de-escalate the situation. On a few ocassions, I have told the person that they owe me an apology for the way they behaved. I try to always have witnesses and I report any inappropriate bahior up the chain of command. It never goes very far because the bully has always apologized when they see I mean business.

    I guess I was fortunate in that my mother taught me how to "command respect" at a young age. Also, I was bullied in school and had to learn how to survive and thrive in spite of it.
  6. by   tencat
    Unfortunately, I have had it happen to me. It happened in front of several witnesses, thank goodness. After I got over the original shock of it, I dragged the nurse into a private room and flat out stated that said nurse was never to talk to me that way again. Nurse backed off, as bullies often do when confronted by someone who means business, and was sweet as pie for the remainder of the time I worked there. You have to stand up for yourself.
  7. by   David13
    This has fortunately never happened to me either. However, I think the most important thing to remember is to maintain your own professionalism in this type of situation. Never lower yourself to the level of someone who would behave in this manner. Let this person know, in a professional tone, that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.

    That being said, the next step would be to try to defuse the situation if possible to prevent further disruption, and then follow the chain of command per policy, documenting everything very carefully the entire time.
  8. by   RNperdiem
    I have never seen this in 15 years in hospitals. Maybe I have seen people get a little snappish(don't we all), but I have never heard anyone cursed at or truly yelled at.
    Some people use the term "yelled at/cursed at" to cover any negative show of emotions from others towards them, however mild.
  9. by   Virgo_RN
    It's totally unacceptable, and if it happened to me, I'd probably stand there with my jaw on the floor, I'd be so shocked.
  10. by   CBsMommy
    I have this happen to me all the time at my job. What's worse, is that it's usually one manager that happens to do this. Scream, in front of all my co-workers, for things that are out of my control. I don't get upset because that's what they want you to do. I will usually, very calmly, state, "Why are you yelling at me"? They usually calm down after that. Remember, they are making themselves look dumb and out of control.
  11. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from anonymurse
    personally, i'd either turn it into a joke and get 'em laughing, or get super-serious and keep things on track, 'cause that's my inclination (this all being speculative, as i don't get cussed out). but i've heard that others immediately use the confidential reporting system, listing witnesses and all circumstances, and they're satisfied.
    i think it depends upon the situation, but i probably wouldn't use a reporting system unless i'd tried and failed to work things out myself with the individual in question.

    i had an assistant nurse manager shove me into the bedside table one time, leaving bruises all up my side. it was right in front of the cardiac surgery fellow, and because i had a witness, i was going through the reporting process. then the surgery fellow died, so it was my word against the anm's. guess who prevailed? in that case, i had tried repeatedly to work things out with the anm in question, but without success. she was an old girlfriend of my husband's, and although she herself was married, she was jealous of my relationship with dh. i think it was more a personal issue she had with me than a professional one. in the end, we did manage to work things out, and i doubt we would have done so if i had managed to go through with reporting her.

    usually, if you stand up for yourself and let the person know that you won't tolerate being treated that way, it doesn't happen again. there are some folks who cannot manage to control themselves no matter what. i've worked with a few of those. they'll explode, curse you out, scream and carry on and then they're sorry. sometimes reporting them helps, but usually not. i know a couple of folks who have been through anger management classes more than once. it helps if you don't take it personally because it usually isn't personal.
  12. by   CrufflerJJ
    Quote from ruby vee
    i had an assistant nurse manager shove me into the bedside table one time, leaving bruises all up my side.
    as much as i just looooove the police (not), in a case such as yours, where there has been a physical assault, i'd have the person charged/arrested. it's one thing if you're whacked by a demented patient, but there's no excuse for a coworker to lay hands on you.
  13. by   TheCommuter
    I haven't been cursed out yet, but I have been yelled at by a doctor while calling him to verify admission orders at 9pm (the time the patient arrived to the unit). He screamed, "Why in the hell are you waking me up? I'm trying to sleep!"

    I snapped back, "You're a doctor, sir! You should have chosen a different profession if you don't like phone calls!"

    I had also been yelled at in front of other coworkers by an insubordinate CNA who was close friends with the nurse manager of that particular floor. Although that incident was disturbing, I felt comforted when the police arrested her the next night on robbery charges (she robbed a pizza man who was making a delivery to her apartment).
  14. by   CBsMommy
    Holy geez! How did you ever work it out with someone who shoved you into a table? There would be no way! I would've called the police as well and instead of going up the chain of command, I would've walked straight to HR, with witness in tow. It is illegal in this country to be assaulted, no matter where you are! That is crazy!

close