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Getting Our Egos Out of the Hierarchy!

Nurses Article   (15,185 Views 39 Replies 635 Words)
by BethBoynton BethBoynton (Member) Innovator

BethBoynton has 30 years experience and specializes in Communication, Medical Improv.

4 Articles; 3,064 Visitors; 24 Posts

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Discusses how inferiority and superiority ego complexes make the hierarchy unsafe and challenges both nurses and doctors to reflect. You are reading page 2 of Getting Our Egos Out of the Hierarchy!. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

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I have also had patients/family members who got their "medical degrees" from WebMD or the like, and those are who I believe the sign was aimed at. I believe it was an attempt at humor. I have no problem with patients/family discussing what they have read (in fact I encourage it) and educate about web sites (I tell them "Joe Blow on the corner can start a web site and say anything they like, so be sure it is a web site from a knowledgeable person or organization.") I can then (hopefully) refute wrong information and reinforce correct information. Just don't attack me with your WebMD degree please. If it was that easy we would not have to be licensed.

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CHESSIE has 30 years experience and specializes in Med/Surg, OR, Peds, Patient Education.

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Inflated egos are detrimental to good patient care. This is true whether the person who is overly impressed with him/herself is a physician, one of the administration or one of the staff nurses. A superior this attitude undermines those who wish to learn more, without being castigated or demeaned, whether they are other staff nurses or patients. None of us "knows it all," most people want to know more without being made to feel foolish for asking questions. Years ago, one of my wise college professors said, "The only stupid question was the one that was not asked."

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I believe that you're reading waaaay too much into the purpose of this sign. You likely do this with everything in every area of your life, creating unnecessary stress and conflict. I agree that the sign shouldn't be in a doctor's office, but I don't believe that it's located in a doctor's office. It was made and posted on social media to be taken in a tongue in cheek manner.

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I think it's a funny joke. My mother is a WebMD person and frequently thinks she has a major health problem that in all actuality is something minor. Our running joke is "uh oh, did WebMD figure out you have cancer?"

That being said, how inappropriate to show that joke to patients. I think providers, nurses, and CNAs can all laugh at the joke, but it's insensitive.

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Vandenhs has 29 years experience and specializes in Radiology nursing, emergency nursing.

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2:08 am by Dany102

I don't think there is anything wrong with someone using the Internet to gain more knowledge about any specific medical or health topic. I believe most people have a vested interest in educating themselves (it's their health, after all). And blind faith is, in my opinion, a rather stupid way to approach this.

The key is in how to present that (from patient to health professional and vice-versa). I understand I will never be as knowledgeable as a doctor (or some nurses), but that doesn't mean I take every words coming out of their mouth as pure gold. A certain dose of skepticism is actually healthy. And when you show up at an appointment with a certain amount of knowledge (that you have researched yourself), it only indicates you are taking things seriously.

I always tell my PCP when I have "looked things up" myself. I don't self-diagnose, but I use it to learn and improve my own knowledge. Could this be perceived as challenging their authority? You bet it can. But that only points out how confident they are about their own level of expertise. The ones that gets annoyed with you only make themselves looks less professional.

Health professional aught to welcome and encourage determined patients. After all, they are their own advocate. Just make sure you redirect/guide them if they are falling off the bandwagon.agree! I'm a nurse and I try not to pull the nurse card, but I also know my body and my history. Trouble is some doctors don't listen to their patients and find out their concerns. I've seen this many times working in the ED. It's mostly education. If the doc doesn't think that the dx is xy or z, than gently explain.

Edited by Vandenhs

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Vandenhs has 29 years experience and specializes in Radiology nursing, emergency nursing.

493 Visitors; 5 Posts

I agree with Dany. I'm a nurse and I try not to pull the nurse card, but I also know my body and my history. Trouble is some doctors don't listen to their patients and find out their concerns. I've seen this many times working in the ED. It's mostly education. If the doc doesn't think that the dx is xy or z, than gently explain.

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I don't think there is anything wrong with someone using the Internet to gain more knowledge about any specific medical or health topic. I believe most people have a vested interest in educating themselves (it's their health, after all). And blind faith is, in my opinion, a rather stupid way to approach this.

The key is in how to present that (from patient to health professional and vice-versa). I understand I will never be as knowledgeable as a doctor (or some nurses), but that doesn't mean I take every words coming out of their mouth as pure gold. A certain dose of skepticism is actually healthy. And when you show up at an appointment with a certain amount of knowledge (that you have researched yourself), it only indicates you are taking things seriously.

I always tell my PCP when I have "looked things up" myself. I don't self-diagnose, but I use it to learn and improve my own knowledge. Could this be perceived as challenging their authority? You bet it can. But that only points out how confident they are about their own level of expertise. The ones that gets annoyed with you only make themselves looks less professional.

Health professional aught to welcome and encourage determined patients. After all, they are their own advocate. Just make sure you redirect/guide them if they are falling off the bandwagon.

Dany

Exactly! I think you hit the nail on the proverbial head.

Some of these replies sound as if the patient does not have the right to advocate for self, something we ,as nurses, are supposed to do for our patients.

How can we expect them to advocate without some level of knowledge or being able to let the doctor or nurse know that something isn't right.

Further, of the doctors got it right 100% of the time there would be fewer malpractice settlements. Clearly 100% trust in the hands of someone other than self is not tje way to go. I know I will never, ever, take anything anyone tells me as gospel.

Also, its not about mechanic versus layman, its about the patient knowing him or herself enough to know when they need to seek information or ask questions. And I would most definitely research any problem my car has before taking it to a mechanic, thats called being an informed consumer.

Anyone who has a problem being asked questions needs to look at themselves and figure out why they are bothered by it. Now, thats not to say that doctors and nurses don't have the right to be offended or what have you, but, if you are confident in your knowledge and skill, it wouldn't be a problem. Otherwise, its that ugly ego thing popping up. It goes both ways.

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TriciaJ has 37 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

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I do think we should encourage patients to educate themselves and be their own advocates. Health care requires everyone's participation. No one appreciates the patient who takes no interest in his own health and well-being. But the flip side is people who read some silly thing, and then want to argue the point with their doctor.

It's not about egos. (Except maybe in some cases.) It's all about safety. By all means do your own research. But then be prepared to discuss it intelligently with the person who has the education and experience that you don't.

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We encourage people to learn as much as they can about their diagnosis so it seems disingenuous to then tell them not to consult the Google although sometimes the provider knows the Google search may serve only to further scare the **** out of the already scared patient, and the provider will have to talk them down, as it were.

I can vouch for that. Got myself scared silly a few times but it's a (relatively) small price to pay to be prepared and have a better idea of what's coming (in terms of likely outcome, possible complications, treatments and procedures). And beside, it's been my experience that what you need to pay attention to isn't necessarily what's being said.

Dany

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Nurse3000 specializes in Aged, Palliative Care, Oncology.

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Hi!

:yes:Yes, I think this is a really good article! Thanks for sharing.

I hope that other health care professionals can think about and reflect on these common themes and issues as much as we can in order to sustain a better, more supportive, productive and postitve health care environment for everyone involved.

Nurse3000.:nurse:

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BethBoynton has 30 years experience and specializes in Communication, Medical Improv.

4 Articles; 3,064 Visitors; 24 Posts

Great to read everyone's comments. I get the humor as well as frustrations associated with spending time and energy answering questions that are based on misinformation or misinterpretation from stuff found on line. BUT I don't think it would feel funny to a patient who is trying to have some control and learn about his or her health issues (something that we should encourage). Further, when I feel frustrated in such a situation I think it is more about me being tired or not feeling like I have enough time to teach or maybe I feel I haven't done a good job teaching (so my own ego is getting poked.)

I can almost buy that placing such a sign that is private to staff is ok b/c we do need some levity. Then I think, ya know, with all of our issues with toxic cultures and behaviors and with the cutting edge that sarcasm can have, if I were the nurse leader I'd take the sign down. I might not be very popular but could deal with that!

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Roy Hanson has 36 years experience and specializes in as above.

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also known as (aka), get it! A google search is just that a search. You cannot put a value on medical degree aka a doctor, nurse, etc. Its experience that will not be found & wont on the internet. Hang your ego at the door is well founded. We are here to work, not exercise your ego. We are all here for the same thing, get your ass in gear and work. Pick your ego off the coat hanger when you finish your shift.

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