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How do you handle Physicians Bad Attitudes?

Nurses   (3,779 Views 32 Comments)
by scrubsnhugsRN scrubsnhugsRN (Member)

scrubsnhugsRN specializes in ER/AMS/OPD/UC.

2,490 Profile Views; 81 Posts

I have been working in med surg for a while now, and we have a Physician who is notorious for being demeaning to nursing while on shift. This is frustrating but bearable on medsurg because there are other nurses around as witnesses, however I am soon to be relocated to ER, and this doc rotates there on weekends and there is only one nurse on. I have heard horror stories about this doc, and I have seen him in action.

My question is how do you handle doctors like this, who make it a point to go out of thier way to insult and demean you in front of patients. I am a relatively new nurse and while I have a great respect for Physicians and thier knowledge base, I refuse to be treated with disrespect...how do I deal with this when I first move down there and he starts in on me....I dont want to wait until it has been going on for 6 months to do something about it, but I want to be professional too. How do I hold my ground??

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babydoll99_99 specializes in Postpartum.

66 Posts; 2,228 Profile Views

If it were me, the first time he did it I would take him aside and professionally tell him that my father doesn't speak to me like that and neither will he. If he has a problem with something I do I would appreciate him taking me aside, as I have him, and professionally tell me what I have done. Then if it happens again I wouldn't hesitate to write him up for it, since I have already tried to go to him professionally.

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queenjean has 9 years experience.

951 Posts; 11,379 Profile Views

That's really good advice, BD. Stay professional.

And I really try. REALLY try.

But somedays, I can't. Usually I find the situation so completely absurd that I start laughing. Totally against my will, I can't help it. Some people cry in uncomfortable situations, I sometimes laugh. Just programmed that way.

Interestingly enough, whenever this has happened, the doc has shut up. Not that it's happened much. Most docs are very nice, because they are people, and most people are very nice.

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Lisa CCU RN is a RN and specializes in Geriatrics, Cardiac, ICU.

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Just tell them not to speak to you disrespectfully. Doctors are not any more special than any one else (despite what they may think).

You don't have to be rude to them, just let them know you are working TOGETHER and if they continue with their rant or whatever that you will excuse yourself from the room (if that's possible) or you can let them know after the incident occurs that you won't stand for it.

Don't you know the people with the biggest bark have the weakest bite?

Don't let docs intimidate you.

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chuck1234 specializes in Nurses who are mentally sicked.

629 Posts; 6,803 Profile Views

I will look for another job.

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Dixielee has 38 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

1,222 Posts; 9,625 Profile Views

You will run across someone like that from time to time, but generally it passes. I found that the ER docs treat the ER staff as collegues (sp?), and have a mutual respect. That said, I have only worked with a group of certified ER docs in larger facilities and not someone who just floats to the ER every now and then. You may find that he treats the ER staff differently than he does on med surg, as it is a different working relationship.

If his behavior continues, and others have complained about it to the proper channels including medical director, then you may want to look for a different job, because that will show you where you and nursing in general stands on their list.

I had a very impatient and hard to get along with trauma surgeon get impatient with me one night while I was trying to get multiple things done simultaneously, like draw labs, put down and NG, help with central line and chest tube, and for some reason, I could not do it all at the same time.....While he stood there with his arms crossed, I looked him square in the eye and said, "your yelling will not make me faster or smarter, so just let me do my job." He never said another word, and while he never apoligized (it is not his nature), he has since been very nice and tries to make small talk.

Just remember there are jerks and %^$#&*^"'s in every walk of like, not just medicine that have to be dealt with. So deal the best you can and rest assured that they are unhappy people. Don't make them make you unhappy as well.

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ceecel.dee is a MSN, RN and specializes in Med/Surg, ER, L&D, ICU, OR, Educator.

869 Posts; 7,028 Profile Views

How should you treat someone with a bad attitude? Kill 'em with kindness/sweetness. It should make 'em stumble...but if not, you'll eventually have to put your foot down knowing you tried your best to play nice first...and he'll know it too! If he's effecting your confidence, you'll have to confront him sooner rather than later. But try not to take it personally.

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6,487 Posts; 21,379 Profile Views

Turn it around: pull him aside when there's a quiet moment (in an ER....yeah, right!) and ask him if he would tolerate you treating him the way he treats you. Of course he's going to say No, then you ask "Then why should I tolerate that behavior from you?"

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35 Posts; 1,379 Profile Views

Our hospital has a zero tolerance policy for this, if and when it happens, it is to be written up. It seems to be working quite well, might be something to suggest.

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457 Posts; 4,184 Profile Views

Keep it professional. Don't run off at the spout. Wait to talk to him when you have your brain functioning. Never ! Never ! CRY ! I have run into many of these Docs in my time. Usually , if I am well spoken , direct and they get the point that I'm not messing around with their unprofessional behavior, things change. There are many Dr's who back down when they find they can't play the "bully" role any more. Some times it's a game with them, some times they want to see what your made of. Usually ER nurses are not of meek personality. Stand up to him. Good luck !

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Medic/Nurse is a BSN, RN and specializes in Flight, ER, Transport, ICU/Critical Care.

880 Posts; 14,895 Profile Views

BD had the right idea, I'd just leave out the part about "my father does not speak to me ..." I'd not reference ANY personal relationship - I'd just state in private that there were EXPECTATIONS for professional conduct and Then briefly explain your issue -

i.e. Down speaking to me in front of patients

i.e. Demeaning me to other staff

WHATEVER the issue is - make yourself clear, make it sound matter of fact AND remind that there is a ZERO tolerance for abuse in the workplace. Also, note that you expect that this will be the end of this AND that you hope to become a valued colleague.

GOOD LUCK!

Side note: The ones that DO THIS are usually serial offenders until caught and then their behaviors change.

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Sisukas has 12 years experience and specializes in Med Surg.

94 Posts; 1,766 Profile Views

If he speaks to you unprofessionally in front of a patient, just turn and walk away. When he follows you, tell him "Sorry, but you may not have realized how you sounded in there, and I didn't want your patient to hear you speaking to me that way". In fact, a simple "I'm sure you didn't mean that the way it sounded...can we start over with this?" usually works well for me, and I seldom have problems more than a few times. This was learned after a few years of crying in the bathroom; finally I've been at my work long enough to realize that no matter what happens, I will walk out of work, drive home, and my husband will still love me, my cats will still want to be fed, and hockey season will start in October, making all right with the world.

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