Verbal Abuse from surgeons in the OR - page 6

Just curious... How commonly do you OR nurses out there experience verbal abuse and/or disruptive behavior from surgeons? How do you or your facility deal with this issue? In the facility... Read More

  1. by   lenjoy03
    Whoaw! That is really something! I'm a newly grad here in the Philippines. When I was still a student, I encountered verbal abusive surgeons. But after the operation, they thank us and even laugh with us. In here, we consider surgeons as visitors to our hospital. yes they bring money but that doesn't give them the right to abuse us even if were just students! That's why I was really shock by all your stories! COnsidering I want to be an OR nurse! You see... for me, when we're in the the field, we're dealing with life here. One mistake might kill someone here.... That's why (case to case basis) we should also consider the situation why the surgeon is acting that way! But if his already doing that just to please himself like a sadist, why not approach him one on one! If you dont have the guts to do it, talk to your headnurse or manager!!! If that doesn't work, well I guess, you just have to fight back... Surgeons can't work well without nurses! They're like a car without an engine!
  2. by   robinrene
    I have been an O.R. nurse for 16 years and have never been as frustrated as I am right now. I work in a hospital whose ad logo is "Expect Respect" While at work recently a surgeon was unhappy with a dull pair of "sharp" metz that had been placed in his tray. He turned around and threw the scissors at the doorway ( I was seated about 3 feet from the door myself) with full force. I reported this incident to my supervisor and she said I needed to work it out. I dont have ANYTHING to work out...this surgeon needs discipline pure and simple. However, the hospital did not support me. Now I still work with this surgeon almost daily and he continues to bully and abuse me. The lack of action by the hospital on my behalf has demonstrated to me that my job will definately be at risk if I defend myself from his actions. Since I am the sole provider for myself, husband and two children. I dont dare say a word. Im only grateful no one was entering through that door at the moment he decided to have his little tantrum. I dont feel I should have to go to work and deal with this everyday just because he is the cash cow for the hospital.
  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I reported this incident to my supervisor and she said I needed to work it out.
    Not only would i go the next step up and report the doc, i'd report the supervisor as well. Sheesh. It's only a matter of time before th scissors actually hit someone!
  4. by   mikethern
    Quote from robinrene
    Since I am the sole provider for myself, husband and two children. I dont dare say a word.
    Next time he abuses you, scold him. If you lose your job, sue the hospital. As an O.R. nurse, You can find another job easily.
  5. by   ebear
    I agree ENTIRELY with StevieRae!!!!!
  6. by   yogacat
    I work in a small, physician-owned, for profit hospital. I have seen abuse and have experienced it. You really have to pick your battles depending on surgeon. There are times to report it and times to deal with it yourself. One of our "big time" owners is truly a sociopath. Among other things. HE is the ONLY surgeon who has ever belittled me routinely. I have NEVER been treated so rudely in my life. I chose to do nothing - except refuse to EVER work in his room. There are some personalities that should absolutely NOT work together. This works very well. Other surgeons and/or anesthesiologists? I get along with all the rest. I have a VERY strong personality and if someone starts being an a***ole with me, I either give it right back, or start treating them like a child. It works for me. Going to HR? Or management? At my workplace? Hahaha! That's funny. The Golden Rule applies there. "Whoever has the gold, makes the rules." Pretty much true for all of healthcare. ESPECIALLY in a for-profit hospital. I usually enjoy "managing the personalities." Works well for me.
  7. by   efy2178
    I received a couple of newsletters today discussing a bill in the Iowa subcommittee to make the circulator RN mandatory. It is being disputed. Hospitals have called and want to eliminate the RN and surgeons said they do not need to be told how to run their OR.
    I am responding to this news by writing to my senator, Swati Dandekar. If you would like to share some stories as to why the circulating RN should be mandatory in the OR, please e-mail her or other Iowa senators. and reps.
    Dear Ms. Dandekar,

    Thank you for newsletters. I always enjoy reading them.
    I received a newsletter form the Iowa Nurses Association concerning Bill RN Circulator SF 394. "The RN Circulator bill did not fare well in the subcommittee on Monday. It was a 2 to 1 ratio of lobbyists for hospitals and doctors against passage to nurse lobbyists for passage.

    The petitions in support of the legislation gathered by INA member, Jane Krogmeier, were shared and it was explained that the bill is to assure patient safety. Patients are safer with a circulating RN present in the operating room and they are being threatened with being substituted by surgical technicians. The effort is to preserve current practice."

    As a certified operating room nurse with many years of experience, this truly concerns me. For years, surgical assistants/technologist (ST) have been trying to eliminate the circulating RN from the OR in order to gain more control. The ST role developed originally from the RN position with the RN supervising the ST. This is how it is today. Now, the ST want to be supervised by the surgeon. They are not licensed, nor are they certified in many cases. They have one year of schooling.

    Surgeons support this effort to be in complete control of the OR suite. You may wonder what is wrong with this position. The circulating RN has the primary responsibility of patient advocate. They speak for the patient who is vulnerable because they are frightened or under general anesthesia. Surgeons and hospitals are often trying to speed up the OR processes, since time is money. Occasionally this results in cutting corners--occasionally this creates hazards.

    I have been in the OR when the surgeon did not want to perform a sponge count because it would take too long. Fortunately, this is a mandated RN responsibility. Since the RN is legally liable she/he will insist it be done. It was the Association of peri-Operative registered nurses who developed the "time-out" policy and encouraged its enactment into law. This increased the safety of performing the "right surgery on the right person at the right time".

    I have also been in the OR when a surgeon did not want to honor a patient's wishes not to have a procedure performed (believe it or not, this truly happened to and the hospital was not supportive even though the surgeon did not have patient consent). Ensuring patient consent is another responsibility of the circulating RN. Having these legal responsibilities are a couple of reasons why nurses should remain in the OR. We are patient advocates. We are taught this from day one in nursing school. The ST does not have this obligation, nor do they have the education to develop policies such as the "time out". It is doubtful they will suddenly develop these skills after the circulating RN is eliminated from the OR since they will be supervised by the surgeon and take their cues from him/her. They will not suddenly have the power, liability, responsibility, or authority to stand on their own.

    Most of the surgeons I have worked with are compassionate, caring human beings who went into medicine for all the right reason, however, when this is not the case the circulating RN is needed to protect the patient.

    Nurses are regarded by the public as being the most trusted professional--even above physicians. There is a reason why this is the case--it is not because we are paid more, it is because we truly care about patients and are less motivated by financial gain. Indeed, we are often underpaid. In Iowa, nurses are usually the 49 or 50th state in the country in regards to salaries. In spite of this, Iowa hospitals would like to make their OR profits even greater by eliminating the circulating RN. However, in the long run it will cost a great deal more in health care dollars.

    Please do not let this happen!
    If you would like to learn more I would be happy to discuss this with you.
    To get an idea of what happens in the OR please read a few of these blogs on Allnurses:

    Eileen RN, BSN, CNOR
  8. by   GadgetRN71
    I have to say that I'm pretty lucky to have a boss who doesn't tolerate this.. This happened to me yesterday, and since this has not been the first time this particular doc has been difficult, I wrote him up. My boss said that the head of the department(his boss) will talk to him. She also pretty much told me that I need to give it back to him.
  9. by   GadgetRN71
    Quote from JoRn
    I work with many abusive surgeons. My facility does not do anything about this situation. Another local hospital has suspended privelages for an abusive surgeon. When a surgeon steps over the line with me, I give them one verbal warning, and then I write a formal complaint. At this time my facility is only giving the surgeons a "slap on the hand", however sooner or later I am confident that something will be done. This is a large part of the turn-over with staff in the operating room.
    Many of the hospitals are waking up because disruptive physician behavior has been getting a lot of press lately in my area. Our paper had a long article about how bad behavior from docs is contributing to the nursing shortage in some areas and causing bad outcomes for pts too. For this reason, the Joint Commission is also targeting bad behavior from doctors.

    In most cases, if you give it back, it lessens or stops. I wrote the other doc up because being that I'm relatively new in this facility, I wanted my boss to know about it.
  10. by   efy2178
    No one should put up with bad behavoir. It threatens patient safety, creates unneccessary anxiety and encourages frustarted nurses to leave good jobs because they cannot deal with the stress that administrators will do nothing about.
    I worked with a physician who actually threw a scalpel between a nurse and an ST. He had to write a letter of apology but big deal. That is assault! My husband--union man--made me promise him if this ever happened to me that I file a police report for assault. If someone touches you--it becomes battery. Getting rid of the circulator RN in the OR would certainly make these behavoirs worse--in my humble opinion.
  11. by   efy2178
    Don't put up with this. If he throw a scissors at you that is assault!!! If it connects it is Battery!!! You can let him know the legal difinitions or you can go to the Police station and ask the police to discuss them with him. You might even be able to do this anonymously.
  12. by   GadgetRN71
    Quote from efy2178
    Don't put up with this. If he throw a scissors at you that is assault!!! If it connects it is Battery!!! You can let him know the legal difinitions or you can go to the Police station and ask the police to discuss them with him. You might even be able to do this anonymously.
    Oh don't worry. Here is one nurse that would be filing a report for assault if a surgeon ever throws anything at me or lays a finger on me. Wouldn't do it anonomously either. I'd also contact a lawyer. Barring that, I have some very large and protective guy friends.

    Thankfully, like I said, most of our guys are pretty good to work with...I think I just need to tell this one guy off and now that I know my boss will back me, I plan on doing so.
  13. by   Shippy
    I am a new nurse, graduated in December, I was a PCA in the ED at a very world known childrens hospital where there are some of the best doctors from all over the world. I never had a run in with any doctors, which there were several skill levels that I worked with since it was the ED. If the facility that you work at doesn't have a "policy" in place for this type of behavior and is approved by the Joint Commission, stop right there! This is a huge no no by Jacho and this could interfere with the facility remaining approved. A lot of employees may not be aware of this, but it is definitely a fact, maybe the doc's need to be reminded of that when their having a temper tantrum!