Attitude differences between nurses & doctors?

  1. I am not "in the medical field" yet, in any official sense, though my wife and I do make our living entertaining for nursing homes / assisted living homes / et al.

    I have been investigating going into the medical field and I have a few possible pathways I could take, each of which appears to have advantages and disadvantages. Without going into the specifics of why I would be investigating many possibilities, know that I posted an inquisitive thread on this forum, as well as on a forum for people looking into becoming a doctor.

    I posted on the "doctor" forum first, because a cousin of mine (who has been a nurse for 17 years) thought that my meticulous and super-accurate nature would make me a good doctor. The thread asked some questions and stated a bunch of reasons why I was investigating being a doctor, and sought feedback.

    You'd think I threw myself to the lions, voluntarily!!

    The amount of name-calling, the volume of insults, and the overall social environment closely resembling an elementary-school playground bullying scenario blew me away. I thought I'd seen it all in my life, but apparently I haven't. Now it's not like ALL of the doctors who responded were bullying me... some were helpful... but no matter what I said to clarify my statements in the minds of those who were attacking me (figuring they just misunderstood me), they kept attacking and attacking and attacking.

    I posted the EXACT SAME THREAD to this website, with only minimally necessary tweaks to make it specifically relevant to nursing. (Though it was still entirely honest in the wording I used, I did the copy-and-paste thing specifically to see if I would be ripped to shreds by nurses the way I was with doctors. The third arm of medicine that I'm investigating is psychology... no surprise there, right?)

    The responses have all been helpful and respectful, with even the people who think I'm under some misconceptions presenting their cases therefor in a pleasantly informative tone completely devoid of insulting overtones.

    The difference has been so stark that I am forced to ask: Have y'all nurses noted a significant and fundamental attitude difference between nurses and doctors "on the job", even if there is the occasional nurse or doctor who doesn't fit the generalization? I don't want to say something that will make people cheer and try to steer me toward their team if it's not a career I'd likely enjoy, but from my current vantage point, it seems as though I would be a terrible personal fit among doctors and a good personal fit among nurses... though if there really is this much of a difference, a good argument could be made that I should become a doctor so that nurses could get a break from dealing with doctors' common attitudes if the way they treated me on that forum was any indication of a "common attitude" that they have...
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    About RomaniGypsy

    Joined: Jan '18; Posts: 19; Likes: 17
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    11 Comments

  3. by   elkpark
    If it's the website for "student doctors" I'm thinking of, keep in mind that the vast majority of those individuals are not "doctors," they are med students and wannabe physicians. The site can be pretty rough. I have not encountered that kind of attitude among the actual, practicing physicians I've known over the years. I think that a lot of the posters on that site either don't get into medical school, or they get a lot of the "rough edges" worn off in the process of getting through school and residency.
  4. by   caliotter3
    In total agreement with elkpark about the website devoted to medical students. I found the rudeness and arrogance from "wannabes" to be so offputting that I never visit that site. Even if those observations pertained to most physicians, though, there is no hard and fast rule that says you would have to act like that.
  5. by   RomaniGypsy
    Quote from elkpark
    If it's the website for "student doctors" I'm thinking of, keep in mind that the vast majority of those individuals are not "doctors," they are med students and wannabe physicians. The site can be pretty rough. I have not encountered that kind of attitude among the actual, practicing physicians I've known over the years. I think that a lot of the posters on that site either don't get into medical school, or they get a lot of the "rough edges" worn off in the process of getting through school and residency.
    I believe I have accounted for that. I am specifically referring to people who are practicing doctors and/or professors at medical schools (who are probably also MDs or DOs).

    Another reason why I'm asking is because there have been times when I've felt like the attitude we were getting from doctors in our real-life experiences with them (especially in hospitals) was not as pleasant as it ought to be (specifically due to an unwillingness to answer questions... it's like, come on, we're in a serious situation here, we're going to have a lot of questions, you ought to be used to this, it won't kill you to answer them).

    If this significant attitude difference does not translate into real life situations, fine... but of course I would wonder why it's found online... maybe they're holding back in real life and then they feel they can burst forth online? It wouldn't be the first time that's happened...
  6. by   Ambersmom
    OP, in the work field, no I haven't. I think sometimes docs get a bad rap, and one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. There are absolutely some doctors who aren't nice and have a chip on their shoulders, and who are maybe elitist but there are also nurses, truck drivers, mechanics, bakers, school teachers, plumbers, et al who could be accused of the very same thing. I have known far more doctors who were considerate and kind to their patients, and professional with their coworkers, nurses, cna's included than the occasional jerk.
  7. by   maxthecat
    I don't think it's possible to gage attitudes of different groups of professionals based on internet chat groups. These groups tend to self-select their members and don't necessarily represent nurses and doctors as a whole.

    I also think you're on the wrong track by trying to imagine which group you would have a "better fit" with. Why not concentrate on which professions would get you nearest to your career and life goals?
  8. by   RomaniGypsy
    Quote from maxthecat
    I don't think it's possible to gage attitudes of different groups of professionals based on internet chat groups. These groups tend to self-select their members and don't necessarily represent nurses and doctors as a whole.

    I also think you're on the wrong track by trying to imagine which group you would have a "better fit" with. Why not concentrate on which professions would get you nearest to your career and life goals?
    Because my career and life goals are very tightly intertwined... and in reality, they are so unusual that most people here would find them quite unbelievable. In the interest of not coming off like some sort of nutjob, I'm going to state for the record that someone is going to have to ask me what I really want to do with my life before I go talking about it.

    The problem is money. Without money, you can't do much of anything. Without a "career" of some sort, you can't get much money. For me, a "career" in the traditional sense, if I can even hold onto it, is merely a means to my real end.

    When I die, I don't want people to say "he was a nurse", "he was a doctor", "he was a psychologist", or even what I am now - "he was a musician".

    I want them to say "he changed the world".
  9. by   JBudd
    Quote from RomaniGypsy
    I want them to say "he changed the world".
    Ambitious and worthwhile, but I would be happy with "she made a difference in our lives" from the people around me. Just a thought.

    When I was going back to school, several of my docs in the ER were my biggest supporters.
  10. by   RomaniGypsy
    Quote from JBudd
    Ambitious and worthwhile, but I would be happy with "she made a difference in our lives" from the people around me. Just a thought.

    When I was going back to school, several of my docs in the ER were my biggest supporters.
    I certainly don't want to downplay your aspirations... but I aim higher, for better or for worse. Though any positive effect on anyone is better than no positive effect at all, I've always been the guy who solves problems by determining the root cause of the problem and eradicating that. It's sort of like giving someone medicine when they keep getting sick (so as to ameliorate the symptoms)... or figuring out why they're constantly getting sick, fixing that, and then they won't get sick anymore... symptoms gone. So I might just help someone close to me, but my thought process dives deeper. "Why did this person have this problem? What caused this negativity?" And then another hop: "Okay, my friend got yelled at by her boss unnecessarily. What made the boss such an unhappy person?" And another hop, and another, and another... all roads converge on the same answer: the system needs to be changed, completely.

    Will I probably be less happy than you because I have this high aspiration? Yeah, probably. But I see sadness and pain all over the place. I'm one of those guys who can look at people and within a split second, I have recognized their pain and taken it in, to an extent at least... and I want to fix it. I have no choice but to believe that the only way to stop this pandemic of sadness and restore humanity to a condition for which it is a good fit is to change the system within which we live, in its entirety. If we don't, we will die off as a race, and a lot sooner than most of us imagine.
  11. by   JBudd
    I don't think of myself as having "less aspiration" than you , merely a different focus. As you don't know me, you have no idea how far the reach of "people around me" goes.
  12. by   OrganizedChaos
    There are always 1 or 2 bad doctors but for the most part most of the doctors I have encountered are generally pleasant & jovial.
  13. by   NurseBlaq
    Quote from RomaniGypsy
    I certainly don't want to downplay your aspirations... but I aim higher, for better or for worse. Though any positive effect on anyone is better than no positive effect at all, I've always been the guy who solves problems by determining the root cause of the problem and eradicating that. It's sort of like giving someone medicine when they keep getting sick (so as to ameliorate the symptoms)... or figuring out why they're constantly getting sick, fixing that, and then they won't get sick anymore... symptoms gone. So I might just help someone close to me, but my thought process dives deeper. "Why did this person have this problem? What caused this negativity?" And then another hop: "Okay, my friend got yelled at by her boss unnecessarily. What made the boss such an unhappy person?" And another hop, and another, and another... all roads converge on the same answer: the system needs to be changed, completely.

    Will I probably be less happy than you because I have this high aspiration? Yeah, probably. But I see sadness and pain all over the place. I'm one of those guys who can look at people and within a split second, I have recognized their pain and taken it in, to an extent at least... and I want to fix it. I have no choice but to believe that the only way to stop this pandemic of sadness and restore humanity to a condition for which it is a good fit is to change the system within which we live, in its entirety. If we don't, we will die off as a race, and a lot sooner than most of us imagine.
    Based on this reply you sound like an empath. I would suggest going the psych route. While your aspirations are admirable, you'd be upset all the time whether a doctor or a nurse because nothing is absolute in medicine and there'll always be something else. With the impending shortage getting worse on both accounts it will only further impede your bottom line. Just my
    $0.02.

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