Nurses Talk To Nurses. Doctors Talk To Doctors

Is it your general understanding that if there are any issues or problems within your health care facility, that doctors are able to confront a nurse to discuss their annoyance with something which was either done or not done, but the same privileged is not happening visa versa? Nurses General Nursing Article


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Specializes in Cardiac.

I am so sorry you had to endure such inappropriate behavior. I do not allow ANYONE to address me in that manner. First of all the doctors are not my bosses. Second of all, I respect no one that doesn't respect me back, NOBODY! One time I had a doctor scream at me over the phone, I just took report on patients and the previous nurse did not get something done, I said, "you do not talk to me in this manner and when you can calm down then you can call back, I'm hanging up." I did too, I hung up. That doctor called back and apologized. Most of our doctors are appropriate, they never belittle the nurse. However, when there is that rare instance, I take that doctor aside and tell them, nicely how I feel. Basically, I say I wouldn't address you in that manner please do not talk down to me, you are not my superior and I am not inferior to you. Bottom line we are all a team, I am with these patients for 12 hours. If someone stood in the middle of the hall and screamed at me, I'd walk away, if they continue to follow me and screaming, I'd call security! This type of behavior should never be condoned, NEVER.

Thank you for posting this post. This sort of thing happens on a regular basis and I have had it. When I have had a doctor yell at me for something beyond my control, I have pulled them to the side and confronted them. It sad that nurses can be treated any old way by doctors, other nurses, and other hospital, and even patients and their family members to the point it has become part of our job description that is like an unwritten rule.

I don't know about anyone else, but I stand up for myself. We all have bad days at work ,but that doesn't give anyone the right to talk to us as they please.

What is even sadder is that we truly have no one we can truly talk to about it who has our backs. That is why I don't feel bad confronting any doctor or other person who is disrespectful to me. You want to report me to my manager go ahead, my manager doesn't support me or give me lame excuses as such listed in the post, I will be making a call to HR and make sure I document !!!!!!!

Having doctors and others in the hospital treat us like crap is not part of a NURSES JOB!!!! and I am so tired of having people make it seem like it is.

Specializes in Med-Surg, Emergency, CEN.
Does anybody know how to stand up for themselves? This day and time why would a nurse allow a doctor to yell at them in the first place. I would pretty much speak my mind and say "I don't know who you are yelling out but please believe it isn't me!". There is a word called RESPECT! Sure they can dispute or get frustrated as doctors, just like we as nurses can dispute or get frustrated. But one thing you will NOT do is yell at me or talk down to me unless you are ready to get yelled back at. It doesn't solve the issue, but it let's the doctors know they have stepped out of line. If you say nothing, they will continue to do it. I am not easily intimidated by a physician because my overall focus is on what's best for the patient, not bowing down to a doctor!

T H I S ! !

I've been yelled at in front of pts by MDs for doing my job ("they don't have to ambulate or wear SCDs if they don't want to...") in which I spoke to them firmly in the hallway about why their patient absolutely would do what they need to have positive outcomes and that they would never speak to me like that again. Ever. I always get an apology, and one MD has turned into the "never yell at the nurses" kind of instructor.

macawake, MSN

2,141 Posts

Does anybody know how to stand up for themselves? This day and time why would a nurse allow a doctor to yell at them in the first place. I would pretty much speak my mind and say "I don't know who you are yelling out but please believe it isn't me!". There is a word called RESPECT! Sure they can dispute or get frustrated as doctors, just like we as nurses can dispute or get frustrated. But one thing you will NOT do is yell at me or talk down to me unless you are ready to get yelled back at. It doesn't solve the issue, but it let's the doctors know they have stepped out of line. If you say nothing, they will continue to do it. I am not easily intimidated by a physician because my overall focus is on what's best for the patient, not bowing down to a doctor!

I'm glad that you can stand up for yourself. Good for you. (I mean that in a genuine way, not being sarcastic). In an ideal world no one would tolerate being intimidated or abused (verbally or physically). I just believe that people come with different experiences and baggage. Some people react with "fight" in threatening situations, others with "flight". Some freeze. Some will realize what they wished they'd responded with after the fact, but were too shocked to say/do anything when the yelling was going on.

Other factors than personal experiences might also affect the way a person handles a conflict situation. Are they in a supportive environment? Will others speak up to defend them? Or will other people stay silent or even side with the aggresssor? Is there a genuine fear of repercussions for standing your ground, like for example losing a much needed job?

While I believe that people who are mistreated should definitely be encouraged to stand up for themselves, I believe that we should put the responsibility for the situation where it belongs, squarely on the aggressor.

FurBabyMom, MSN, RN

1 Article; 814 Posts

I experienced this as a student nurse at a rural hospital in a procedure area. One of the doctors would not come do the H&P updates and site markings. When he did come down - he was beyond angry and took it out on the 4 of us sitting there. Another time at the same facility, an anesthesia provider was having a hard time getting the 16 they wanted for IV access. Yelling at us nurses in front of the patients. This patient had been through multiple cardiac procedures before (and had medical knowledge of some sort) - and the patient apologized to us! And then requested a different anesthesia provider...

I saw some of it as a floor nurse on both units I worked on. The first was in a private hospital, and it was way worse there. The first job, in the first hospital - MOST of the docs and by most I mean 95% of the docs I work with were AMAZING. One of our neurologists told the med students she'd had working with her (she received special permission to do so) that they needed to take the nurses seriously as we were with the patients for 8-12 or more hours several days a week - and that we would know "baseline" or "normal" for patients much more thoroughly than they ever would. She was the sweetest thing EVER! She always cared what we had to say, and saw any patient we asked her to, no matter how little our reason was. She was the only doc around (on our unit for her rounds) while we (unsuccessfully) tried to contact the hospitalist covering the patient in question about changes we thought might be the beginning of a cardiac event. She saw the patient, put the heart protocol orders in (including labs and a 12 lead). And she called the cardiology NP to ask they come see the patient. Ordinarily we could have rapid responsed for orders, but the patient had previous cardiac issues, and told us this was "just like" the feelings several hours before the last event.

One time in that same job, one of our neurosurgery attendings (he was SUCH a toad too) got angry with me. I had a patient that had been admitted for a subdural hemorrhage. Patient had a sky high blood pressure I was (laboriously) trying to keep within the parameters set. I got the admission done, meds given, vitals re-taken. Because of a delay in the ER, the patient had sat there for 4 hours after the admit orders were entered. With checking on my other patients, this process went over about 90 minutes. Inpatient transport comes to get the patient to go to imaging for the second CT scan (6 hours after initial scan). As I'm getting the patient ready to move to the stretcher to go, she (mostly aphasic s/p bleed) tells me "pain". I ask her to point where - and she points to her chest. So I put the kibosh on that, and we run a rapid response on the patient - they order an entire cardiac workup - labs and 12 lead. No big deal, it's about a 30-35 minute delay. I got screamed at for that one. But I knew I had placed my patient's interests first. Patients change, they become less stable. I'd rather be proactive... The family heard it all, and complained to administration.

My second job, the neurosurgeons were also horrible. Two of the NPs with the group were AMAZING! One of the docs treated us like crap because of a disagreement his wife had had with the manager of our unit way back (5+ years prior) when she'd worked on our unit. Our charge nurse on days didn't take his crap. She knew he would dodge our pages, so she took to calling his cell phone when we'd tried paging 2-3 times with no answer. Because of the location of the hospital, (not a very progressive area in any way by any means) some of the doctors did treat the nurses like crap. Some (most of the newer docs fresh from residency) were awesome to us though :)

My current job, in the OR in a level I trauma center, a teaching hospital - most of our docs are awesome. Even the residents. We have a few that are moody. They take it seriously though - docs get sent to anger management and lose privileges easily... Most of the time, the docs are pretty good to us. A few can be pistols - but there are some cases things are just bad (most apologize for being short almost immediately). Though, this past week, I observed the struggle to get a cardiology fellow to see a patient prior to ICU transfer from the OR... I also saw the fellow get her tail chewed by her attending. I was secretly pleased about that little development...


3 Posts

I don't start Nursing school till Feb. 2014 (That is when the evening classes start at the tech. school in town, going for my LPN to start) so I can't comment from a nurses point of veiw, but I can comment from a parent of the pt point of veiw. :) When my youngest was 6 weeks old, he contracted RSV and had to be transfer5ed to the childrens hospital 45 minutes away. So I stayed there while my husband stayed at home with our 5 other children. So anyway here is my son, vented and sedated, and these tremendous nurses sat with us in the PICU all day and all night. (Policy, I am not sure of others hospitals, but at this one) I even had one who wraped her arm around me, wiped tears from my eyes, and comforted me when I felt at my most alone. Her name was Tammi (won't give last name as respect for her) This was 2 years ago last month, and I still remember them all, (they are part of the reason I want to not just be a LPN but a ped nurse) as for the MDs, the only thing I remember is MAKING them repeat themselves in plain english during rounds (yeah I am one of those kinds of parents, I have to know what is going on with my baby) and the fact I only saw the MD twice a day at rounds. The second to last day we were there, my son had just been taken off the vent and was starting to wake up slowly (we were there for 2 weeks) and a MD I had not seen the whole time came into the room, he saw that my son was not fully awake and started yelling at the nurse because she was not "stirring" him. I stepped in and told him that she was doing her job, I requested that he not be stirred, that the other dr agreed and that I was his parent and She was MY nurse and if I ever saw that kind of disrepect from him again, I would sue him. Now I know I couldn't sue him, but it did seem to do the trick, he perfusely apoligized to her, and when I talk to her once in a while she says he is still kissing the nurses butt in the PICU!

I couldn't see that happening where I work either, and I am only a PCT at present while in nursing school. The doctors I encounter in the day to day (rather night to night for me) is that they know the nurses and other staff like PCT's are a part of the team that ensures their patients are taken care of. I don't know how I would handle being yelled at like the OP described, I would likely end up in tears. I can take a patient yelling but a professional I work with is another story, regardless of what reason they may or may not have. As far as I know the real world isn't like TV. Doctors are in and out of the hospitals, nurses and others like PCT's are there through the long days and longer nights.


413 Posts

Specializes in Emergency Nursing.

I had a critical care doc yell at me because the family left the ER before he could talk details to them about the patient being admitted (the family knew about the admit, they were exhausted and wanted to leave). Very frustrating and out of my control.

But fast-forward a couple of months and this doc is back in the ER to see a patient (not mine). I am charting at the nurse's station and watch him walk in, setting his coffee cup at the edge of the nurse's station before he goes into the patient's room. Our hospital had been surveyed multiple times by the state and everyone was on edge. There were signs all over the nurse's station saying "No drinks allowed".

When he came out, his coffee cup was gone and I was trying not to smirk. He looked at me and said "Where is my coffee?!?". "The charge nurse threw it away" I said. "We can't have drinks at the nurse station." And I walked away. He was angry, but the charge nurse really did come by and throw it away. And the cafeteria was closed for the next three hours! It was a total coincidence, but it cheered me up immensely!

ThePrincessBride, MSN, RN, NP

1 Article; 2,594 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU.

It's a viscous cycle. I work as an aide and have been mistreated by nurses who were mistreated by this point, I don't take crap from people. I'm an aide, not a slave.


39 Posts

This whole nonsense is so "last century." I am a U.S. Army DoD civilian nurse (RN) working overseas. Physicians, nurses, medics and ancillary services in our clinic work as a TEAM. Being respectful--on all levels--is a core Army value. I would not tolerate this type of disrespectful behavior--nor would any member of the team. If a soldier or civilian needs to be counseled, it would be by the NCOIC or chain of command (supervisor), and it would be for good reason--not "yelled" at by a Doc in public. This sounds like an EO issue.


39 Posts

Where is your EO representative? Hostile workplace. This is not allowed.


143 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology.

I must say, my manager would NEVER tolerate any of her nurses being spoken to that way. She is like a mama bear looking out for her cubs. One does not abuse her nurses. She would have stepped in immediately if one of the MD's did that to one of us.

Having said that, the doctors I work with are great. They have a huge respect for nurses and treat us accordingly. Our doctors listen to us and will often ask us for an opinion because we know the patients better than they do (we do case management and the MD's rotate through every two weeks, so the nurses are the constant). And in turn we have a lot of respect for them.

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