rude doctors

Nurses General Nursing


I've worked in a hospital for quite some time as a nursing assistant and a unit secretary. In January I start my nursing clinicals. I am excited on becoming a RN, but there is one problem- some of the doctor's attitudes. I have wittnessed countless times when a doctor has a temper tantrum. And please don't let him/her have an may result in getting charts thrown everywhere. eek.gifHow should a nurse handle this in a professional way when this happens?

We used to have a couple of doctors who could go on and on with unfounded insults such as blaming the RN for a low K on a patient HE ordered Lasix for! He would yell at the nurse for calling him to tell of that. He even once said of a patient with a K of 2.8,"I didn't order labs until morning so why did you draw it? You woke me up!"

We would call a "Code Pink" Anyone available, often the clerk, would come and "Record" He quickly stopped with witnesses taking notes!

My favorite:

I once worked in a facility that had a "code pink" on the books - never saw it used but I liked that it existed: Code Pink there was if a doc was throwing charts or otherwise being an ass they would call a code pink and every available nurse would come and they would all surround the doctor and just stare at him. Can you imagine how effective that would be? I love it. Still laugh about that idea to this day.


Having worked in hospitals in the UK, Saudi Arabia and now New Zealand I don't know if I find it depressing or reassuring that there are rude doctors worldwide.I feel part of the problem is the culture that doctors are trained in which allows such aggrogant temper tantrum throwing rude behaviour to flourish.Nursing should stand firm and say that such behaviour is unacceptable.The lead should come from the head nurse who surely sets the standards for how people are treated on the ward/unit.The other option is to treat the like children with conssequential learning behaviours e.g if you are rude or abusive certain good-will duties that nurses do for doctors will be withdrawen.This approach has worked in the past i an Emergency Department I worked in.

How appropriate that this is the first post I look at when I've been off from here for SEVERAL days. I've got a Dr. p***ed off at me at work. He was being a jerk and flambouyant in complaining how he'd just taken care of a guy with Vtach and a new nurse (just to our facility, not in years) brought to his attention again something about a patient that bothered her. She told him "You don't have to be rude". He asked her what she said and she told him "You're rude." He told me to make her leave. I said no, she was giving report to the nurse who she transfered the patient to, and he tells me "make them leave." I told him no. Needless to say, he's pouting. It's very funny. Here's this grown "man", maybe all of 45 years old, who used to work at a teaching hospital, teaching his specialty, who now turns his head when anyone offers to make rounds with him. It's pathetic. Now, also keep in mind, we had a small conversation later, which just proved to me that he's as full of himself as I always thought, but could never prove. And, now he thinks I've told everyone about it, but have only told a few choice people, like my manager. Oh, yeah, and the Clinical House Director was there to witness it.

What you do is stand your ground. Be very nice, syrupy sweet nice. No, you don't do whatever they want, nor grovel at their feet. Never appologize (unless you absolutely have to, and we all know you never really do). You just act professionally and KILL him with kindness. Make him seem like the unappreciative, idiotic fool he really is. Most of them will get the hint.

I don't think you can walk away most of the time. Someone has to remain to care for the patient, someone with a little sense. And, that someone often is not a Dr who is pitching a tantrum.

[This message has been edited by justanurse (edited December 27, 2000).]

I am from the South. I know there are some rude doctors around here somewhere because I have heard about them. But typicaly, we are are kind and patient here in the South. Maybe we are far behind in everything else but we are polite and friendly people. The worst mistake I made in nursing was when I was a nurse extern in Surgery. (Still in nursing school but working in surgery). I told my preceptor to go ahead and take a break because I had set up an operating room for a port-a-cath many a time and I knew what I was doing. So I set it up and the doctor, scrubs, etc, started the procedure. My preceptor came back and said, "OK, you go take a break." So off I went, gone for just about 3 minutes. When I came back, I saw everyone filing out of the operation room taking off their gowns and gloves and I asked my preceptor, "Wow, that was fast! What happened?!" She sheepishly told me that the wrong operating table was in there and that we were to put the right table in. I was mortified knowing I was the one who had screwed up. The doctor comes over to me and what does he do? He hugs me. He says, "No problem, we learn by our mistakes, I bet this is the last time you ever make this mistake." and he laughed. He and the other staff made me feel so OK about the screw up. I was really close to tears. But we all rescrubbed, got the right table in and continued with the operation. I never made that mistake again!

It was so good to read of a kind supportive doctor. Most are regular people.

Management can make all the different, but it must come from the top. The hospital where I am has a nun as shift supervisor who will not allow rudeness. The long term employees cannot even believe the inappropriate behavior doctors get away with at other facilities.

One actually stormed into the nursing office demanding a nurse be fired because, "She rolled her eyes just like my Mother." Even that management (obviously at a previous job) when finding out he had also wrongly insulted the nurse in the presence of the patient and family did not take his complaint about a very fine nurse seriously.

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