dealing with rude doctors?

  1. new grad. started working about 8 months ago. slowly getting to know doctors.

    two times ive had to contact a doctor. i work night shift. both times i called and it wasnt past 10 pm.

    first time, missing order that the dr or arnp needed to put in. Second tine, change in patient condition and seeing if he wanted any orders done.

    Both times, i went through my charge nurse before calling the doctor.

    Whether or not i was a nurse was questioned, dr threatened to call my supervisor, and stated that i may be the one who needs to be on medication, not the patient.

    HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH DOCTORS LIKE THIS? fyi, the doctor is known to react like this for basically anything. all the nurses on the floor know this... i understand every doctor is different, personalities.i was professional in speaking to him and never raised my voice or anything of that sort.
    Last edit by 2016New on Sep 2, '16
  2. Visit 2016New profile page

    About 2016New, BSN, RN

    Joined: Nov '13; Posts: 134; Likes: 44

    55 Comments

  3. by   2016New
    Not that i took it personally...but it was uncalled for. I dont understand why some doctors are like that.

    My priority are my patients.
  4. by   Sour Lemon
    Your way of communicating in writing makes me wonder how well you communicate on the phone. Is it possible you could rehearse your calls beforehand with someone on else on the unit? That was truly difficult and irritating to read.
    Last edit by Sour Lemon on Sep 2, '16
  5. by   2016New
    Quote from Sour Lemon
    Your way of communicating in writing makes me wonder how well you communicate on the phone. Is it possible you could "ehearse your calls beforehand with someone on else on the unit? That was truly difficult and irritating to read.
    My communication with doctors on the phone is professional. I did rehearse with my charge nurse and another fellow nurse who were both near me as i called.

    But thanks anyway.
  6. by   peabozzle
    if the dr has a reputation for being a jerk, let it roll off your back. Your job is to advocate for your patients. If you had all the info you needed to make the call, were prepared & professional, their rude behavior is a reflection of THEM, not you. Hang in there
  7. by   peabozzle
    BTW, excellent response to this post. Geez. Your writing may not qualify you for a pulitzer, but it was succinct, to the point & seemed professional to me. You did a good job of letting this Sour Lemon not get to you...keep doing that with the rude doctors & you'll be fine.
  8. by   applewhitern
    I had absolutely no problem understanding the OP's post~ it sounded fine to me. There is going to be "that doctor" anywhere you go. You are right to not let it bother you, because really, it isn't about you. Go ahead and call anytime you think you need to; your patient comes first. He can't reach out over the phone and hit you. If both you and your charge nurse feel you need to call, then call.
  9. by   nutella
    Quote from 2016New
    new grad. started working about 8 months ago. slowly getting to know doctors.

    two times ive had to contact a doctor. i work night shift. both times i called and it wasnt past 10 pm.

    first time, missing order that the dr or arnp needed to put in. Second tine, change in patient condition and seeing if he wanted any orders done.

    Both times, i went through my charge nurse before calling the doctor.

    Whether or not i was a nurse was questioned, dr threatened to call my supervisor, and stated that i may be the one who needs to be on medication, not the patient.

    HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH DOCTORS LIKE THIS? fyi, the doctor is known to react like this for basically anything. all the nurses on the floor know this... i understand every doctor is different, personalities.i was professional in speaking to him and never raised my voice or anything of that sort.

    Your options are to report his behavior up to your manager / HR and hope that something will happen (which usually does not happen since they are still "untouchable" in a lot of places and could in turn make you a target ..)

    Or you call, do your SBAR spiel and if the provider does not answer but insults you or questions you stay calm and say something like "sorry, this is inappropriate behavior and does not address the patient's needs at this time" and wait. If you manage to say that in an even professional matter of fact way most often the other person will turn it down some notches. Also works in person for inappropriate behavior but it is essential that you are secure, calm, and it comes across like you could not care less about that person's behavior while pointing out that it is inappropriate. If you do not get a meaningful response or the other one hangs up just call again with your SBAR and make sure you document in an object way like "called provider name at time for this or that - provider did this and that". This way - if your patient circles the drain and something happens - you have proof. And also document if you informed the charge nurse or other higher ups. If it is a community hospital you are most likely stuck with that person if they have allowed the provider to act like that. If you work in a teaching hospital and it is a resident you can bring it up to the attending.


    Method number 2:
    If you that this provider always insults nurses who call and it has happened to you call and say first thing "Hi Dr name this is nurse name - you are on loudspeaker in the nurse's station. Proceed with your SBAR - this way you have witnesses for the behavior and it may actually result in the provider toning it down a notch. Make sure that you are in a room where relatives or visitors can't hear the conversation because of confidentiality.


    Fact is that hospitals and HR should address behavior like that, there are plenty of recommendations and research about it. But fact is also that this hardly ever happens or results in action. If they have accepted this stuff for a while, chances are you will take the shorter stick if you complain or keep on complaining.
    Getting a thick skin and learn not to take stuff like that personally will serve you well as you will encounter many professionals (including nurses ...) who are not always behaving their best, in an inappropriate way, or otherwise unbalanced. Once in a while I have said stuff like "by the way - do you realize that your behavior is questionable at best?" in a calm tone and without any additional info and in rare instances with in person crazy encounters I did not say anything to the provider and just turned my back and walked away slowly without responding to craziness. That resulted in the provider starting to yell like a nutcase "don't turn around when I speak with you followed by questionable insults to which I said "please approach me when you have calmed down".
    It is also important that if you do chose to say something to not talk about it afterwards with other nurses or anybody. Just go on with your day. That will help to get out of that spiral of getting upset over the provider, talking about it, getting more upset and so on and will give you the aura of resilience that you need nowadays as a nurse.
  10. by   westieluv
    Back in the late '90s when I worked acute care night shift, we had a doctor who nobody wanted to call after hours because he was absolutely hateful. One time one of my co-workers called for orders on a newly admitted patient and this doctor said sarcastically, "Are you retarded, or are you just drunk?"

    A few months after that lovely episode, this doctor, who was also a huge flirt and hit on any of us who were remotely young and attractive, told me in a way that suggested that I join him sometime that he always went home and got drunk after a long day seeing patients. Light bulb on! I'm kind of naive about these kinds of things, and it made me realize that even doctors are just people and have all kinds of personal issues that affect their behavior that we don't necessarily know about.

    What I'm trying to say is what the others said, basically don't let a jerk ruin your day when you know that you're doing the right thing. What always helped me in situations like this was picturing what would happen if I didn't call about something important. Then nasty doc would be even nastier and totally throw you under the bus for not calling.

    You can't win with some people and it is them, not you.

    And BTW, as the others said, I think your post was just fine. : )
  11. by   flipflopsNsweetTea
    I'm impressed that you've only had to call a doctor twice in 8 months! Or maybe I misunderstood and only twice in 8 months has a doctor been rude...still impressive!

    Let the rudeness roll off your back. You're there to take care of the patient. I've had a doctor hang up on me mid-sentence and I just called right back! Remember, you don't work for the doctor. He/she can get as annoyed as they want to, but it's their job to take our calls.
  12. by   Libby1987
    Your style works for me, concise with no waste of words. I think similar to mine actually.

    One of my favorite parts of being on the far side of crusty is that I relish getting to call the jackasses, for sport if not for teaching them how to treat people, as well as making sure we get what we need out of them for the patients' sake. It actually brings out the mother bear knowing someone self centered like that stands between me and what I need for the patient. Fortunately it's rare these days.

    In meantime, saying you need to be on meds, your manager shouldn't let that go. I probably would have had him back on the phone and definitely reported if you worked for me.

    Next time, the patient you're calling for is your kid, a beloved parent or whoever you go to the mat for. Professionally cloaked brick wall. The mother he should have had.
    Last edit by Libby1987 on Sep 3, '16
  13. by   1sttime
    I also found that as a manager I observed the ramblings of many (many) nurses- do not assume the charge nurse is any better at communication. You might be polite and professional, but this doesn't mean pertinent.

    As a triage nurse I learned to be very brief and then let the MD ask any questions so that they can put the picture together.

    A third option is that maybe your charge nurse is trying to toughen you up- I had a charge nurse tell me to call a doc late at night when I noted the patient was on narcs but did not have colace ordered... that was terrible of her to do.
  14. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from peabozzle
    BTW, excellent response to this post. Geez. Your writing may not qualify you for a pulitzer, but it was succinct, to the point & seemed professional to me. You did a good job of letting this Sour Lemon not get to you...keep doing that with the rude doctors & you'll be fine.
    The original post was made without capital letters or spaces ....just one giant block of rambling text. Mine may not be the response the OP wanted to hear, but her communication style could be a factor in how her calls are received. Even "nice" doctors are capable of getting irritated if the "right" nurse calls.

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