To The Point Where I Want to Cry


Most of you have probably seen my posts about the difficult doctor I work with. For those of you that don't, I'm a fairly new Medical Assistant working for a single doctor at a private practice. This doctor is very difficult to approach and everything I do is wrong in his eyes. I feel very incompetent and wonder why he hasn't fired me.

I thought the beginning of today went pretty well. We had new patients who were scheduled for a physical (pediatric patients, twins). However they could not do the physical today because they had orientation for school in an hour. They were also due for immunizations, so I told them we can do immunizations today and the physical another day when they have more time. The doctor was annoyed that they didn't want to do the physical at first, but he calmed down.

He took off during lunch and he never says if hes going to the hospital or if he'll be back. He just said he'd call to check on me end of day. Now I understand where I made this mistake and I acknowledged it. After lunch we had a call from a parent with a sick kid. I referred them to Urgent Care because I had no idea where the doctor was or if he was coming back. He doesn't like people knowing where he is and like I said, he's not approachable, so I'm terrified to bother him, especially because he gets annoyed if I call him when he's out. I should also mention he told me to refer patient's to Urgent Care if he wasn't going to be in, so I thought I was following orders correctly because I honestly didn't know if he was coming back or not.

When he called to check up on me and I told him what happened, he blew up at me. He said "Why didn't you schedule the patient for the end of day!" I told him "I would of, but I didn't know if you were coming back". He claimed said he would be back, but I reminded him he was just going to touch base with me end of day to which he hung up on me.

I don't know what to do at this point. I'm very unhappy at this job. I've applied to a few medical groups, but only had one interview this far. As much as I want to, I can't quit and I really can't be fired because I have bills to pay. I wrote the doctor an apology e-mail owning up to my mistake, hoping he'll let me keep my job.

I'm so confident with the patients and I think my clinical skills are good, but put me on the phones or anything administrative, and I'm a lost cause. I'm the only MA, so its not like I can stay in the back office while someone else handles the administrative stuff.

I get anxiety every night before work and I shake when the doctor is near me and I can hear my pulse racing. What would you do in my position? Should I stick it out until I find something else?

I'm so not looking forward to tomorrow. I'm certain I'll get a lecture and maybe even a firing, which will ruin my whole day.


204 Posts

Specializes in Infection Prevention, Public Health. Has 33 years experience.

You are acting like a doormat and he is treating you like one. Bullies generally back down when confronted. I know that is easier said than done. He should be triaging his sick patients, not you. Call him when a parent calls about a sick child.

If you won't straighten this mess out for yourself, then please do it for the sake of these children. A nurse would worry about losing her license over stuff like this, but you do not have a license. He is putting you in a very risky situation.

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

153 Articles; 21,231 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

Moved to more appropriate forum.

allnurses Guide


7,066 Posts

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 47 years experience.

I don't see how you can work with a doctor you are afraid of. Communication is really crucial for a provider and their staff because the thing that might be important for you to convey might also be something that happens while you are in a panic over something less important. If I were in your situation I would ask "are you coming back? but smile when you ask. Or say, at the beginning of the week-- what days will you be available for work-ins, walk-ins, or whatever you call them.

Even grouchy doctors will get used to the idea that mumbling something under their breath as they scoot out the door is not an effective strategy. Sometimes they even get to a place where they appreciate you taking the initiative. The patient you sent to urgent care most likely would rather have seen the provider who knows them.

Yes, he is the boss and you are the staff but courtesy and clarity are a two-way street. Effective communication is a patient satisfaction issue and a patient safety issue.


3 Articles; 2,107 Posts

This is going to sound harsh, but I'm telling you this for your own good.

Stop putting up with his crap. He is not God, you are not his handmaiden. He is your employer. You cannot do your job if you can't communicate with him.

The next time you go to work, pull him aside and ask him how he needs you to communicate with him. Tell him that you feel that the current communication style isn't working and tell him how you need to be spoken to. Don't get defensive and whiny, just listen to his suggestions. Stay calm and cool and realize that his anger is probably not personal. Most docs are... forceful in their communication. (OK, most of the ones I know are just jerks, but most are also willing to treat you with respect if you point out they're being jerks.)

He's probably just as frustrated with you as you are with him. I'm sure he doesn't want to be angry all day.

If you want the work relationship to change, you need to change it.

Specializes in Psychiatry, Community, Nurse Manager, hospice. Has 7 years experience.

I agree that you need to change the dynamic. Luckily, You can do this.

For starters state and believe the following about Dr. Grouchy.

1. Whatever Dr. Grouchy feels, is not my responsibility.

2. Dr. Grouchy can feel whatever he wants.

3. I will not apologize to Dr. Grouchy.

4. If I am tempted to apologize to Dr Grouchy, I will determine whether I have let myself down. If I have, I will forgive myself.

Has 33 years experience.

The doctor has not fired you because, he has already lost too many employees from his abuse and manipulation.

He is using you to run his office AND forcing you to make decisions outside of your scope of practice.

Please, run.. don't walk. Report the jerk.


54 Posts

Has 1 years experience.
The doctor has not fired you because, he has already lost too many employees from his abuse and manipulation.

He is using you to run his office AND forcing you to make decisions outside of your scope of practice.

Please, run.. don't walk. Report the jerk.

I wish I could report him, but there is no upper management. We are a solo practice, so he can do whatever he wants. Trust me, I would have reported him a long time ago if I could.

Has 33 years experience.

I caught that, I meant report him to your state's medical board. You should not be running his office, if you can't reach him.


54 Posts

Has 1 years experience.

So I got that lecture I knew I was going to get. And he wasted no time pointing out all the administrative and scheduling mistakes I've been making.

I should also note he didn't train me properly. He wanted me to learn on my own the administrative side.

I asked what I can do to improve and he doesn't know how to help me. So basically I'm a lost cause.

I asked if I could know his schedule and he says I don't need to know where he is or what he's doing. I asked how am I supposed to know when to schedule patients when he's out. He actually had the decency and willingness to tell me if he's not going to be in at a certain time (let's see if this happens) and the rest of the time I have use my instinct and decide for myself if I could schedule them.

But still I told him about the communication issues and that I don't know where he is and if he is even accessible, but he won't tell me.

Specializes in MICU, SICU, CICU. Has 24 years experience.

Why is he being so mysterious?

Are you sure he isn't sneaking off in the afternoon to be with someone other than his wife?

it's time to look for other employment.


3 Articles; 2,107 Posts

Seriously, you let him get away with that?

It's time to find a new job. You need to work somewhere with more staff that you can get help from because you can't handle this on your own.

Spruce up your resume, send out your applications, and get your resignation letter ready. There's no point in working for a douche.