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Why do doctors get to play by different rules?

Nurses   (5,386 Views 45 Comments)
by asilmk asilmk (Member)

1,747 Visitors; 42 Posts

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I filed a complaint about two respiratory therapists and a doctor who came to visit my ICU patient and were dressed unprofessionally. One therapist was wearing scrubs with the pants too low and the shirt too high, leaving his red boxers visible. The other RT had on street clothes and a lab coat (which he only put on after I asked him who he was.) The on call surgeon came in wearing flip flops, khaki shorts, and a white t-shirt. He didn't have a lab coat, name tag, or stethoscope or any other item identifying him a a medical professional. I know him from another hospital, or I would have been asking him the same "who are you" question when he waltzed into my pt's room and started pulling back blankets. I told all this to our charge nurse, who naturally was upset at the RT's and left a message for our unit manager. When I got to the doctor part, she said that they play by a different set of rules and they can do whatever they want.

It's a rhetorical question, but why is it that MD's are not held to the same accountability the rest of us are? He still has a responsibility to my patient to look presentable, whether he's a surgeon or not. How hard would it have been for him to throw on a lab coat (at the very least) on his way in the door? There are so many instances where doctors can get away with stuff that we "grunts" never could. If I talked to doctors the way they have talked to me, I'd be fired. If I was as abrupt and rough with patients as I've seen some doctors be, I'd be written up. When are we going to hold our doctors accountable for their actions?

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Dolce specializes in Day Surgery, Agency, Cath Lab, LTC/Psych.

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Yep, seen the professional clothes too. Hawaiian shirts, jean shorts and sandals. Cowboy boots, cowboy hat, rodeo style jeans and a nice stringy, gray pony tail (are we getting ready for to round up cattle?) And then there are the docs with the 80s hair cuts--that should just be illegal. Unfortunately I have never worked at a place that regulates what MDs wear. I take offense at boxer's hanging out of the pants of anybody. Can't everyone just dress appropriately?

Maybe you could refer them to the show, "What Not to Wear."

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21,306 Visitors; 6,487 Posts

Oh, honey, if there was an answer to that question our lives would be so much simpler. Last March I was involved in a big mess; I made mistakes but my mistakes were mostly as a result of the physician's mistakes. I got fired, he's still there.

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492 Visitors; 3 Posts

Yes huney, pray for you-that u wont beat them upside the head, and pray for them-when u hit them, they wont bleed to death. Ha!

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psalm is a RN and specializes in Staff nurse.

1 Article; 10,853 Visitors; 1,263 Posts

At a military hospital the MD came in on a Sat. to check on her OB pts and was wearing a boob tube and hot pants. I was 9 1/2 months pregnant and thought that was cruel, to show off a gorgeous body in front of us!!

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15,583 Visitors; 1,812 Posts

I filed a complaint about two respiratory therapists and a doctor who came to visit my ICU patient and were dressed unprofessionally. One therapist was wearing scrubs with the pants too low and the shirt too high, leaving his red boxers visible. The other RT had on street clothes and a lab coat (which he only put on after I asked him who he was.) The on call surgeon came in wearing flip flops, khaki shorts, and a white t-shirt. He didn't have a lab coat, name tag, or stethoscope or any other item identifying him a a medical professional. I know him from another hospital, or I would have been asking him the same "who are you" question when he waltzed into my pt's room and started pulling back blankets. I told all this to our charge nurse, who naturally was upset at the RT's and left a message for our unit manager. When I got to the doctor part, she said that they play by a different set of rules and they can do whatever they want.

It's a rhetorical question, but why is it that MD's are not held to the same accountability the rest of us are? He still has a responsibility to my patient to look presentable, whether he's a surgeon or not. How hard would it have been for him to throw on a lab coat (at the very least) on his way in the door? There are so many instances where doctors can get away with stuff that we "grunts" never could. If I talked to doctors the way they have talked to me, I'd be fired. If I was as abrupt and rough with patients as I've seen some doctors be, I'd be written up. When are we going to hold our doctors accountable for their actions?

There are two parts to this. One is that you are an employee of the hospital and under hospital policies and the MD is not. You have to adhere to the hospital dress code etc. On the other hand from a JHACO perspective MD should have been wearing a nametag and you are right to call him on that.

The second part relates to the relationship between MDs and hospitals. While the situation with nursing has improved somewhat with the nursing shortage, you are still a cost to the hospital while providing a real and measureable benefit. The MD on the other hand has no cost to the hospital (assuming a situation where the MD is not a hospital employee) and provides a benefit to the hospital (patient services and provides the patient to the hospital). This is where the hospitals make money. This is the reason that MDs get away with more than staff.

David Carpenter, PA-C

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2,110 Visitors; 82 Posts

once upon a time ,in the 60s 70s and 8os, the docs were required to wear smart troursers, shirts and white coats and carried their own stethoscopes.If I worked in a hospital now I wouldnt know them from jack.

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NurseyBaby'05 specializes in Neuro/Med-Surg/Oncology.

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Pretty much what David said. Doctor's make the hospital money. Everyone else costs them money.

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7,709 Visitors; 428 Posts

I'm just a student & in my clinical experience so far have seen just 2 doctors, both appropriately dressed. However, this reminded me of last summer when my sister was a patient in a large teaching hospital in CICU. At that point they didn't have a clue what was wrong with her so 6 different teams of doctors, each with their own speciality, came in daily for rounds. My favorite was the cardiologists. One would come in wearing overalls & a ratty shirt. He did have identification, and his own stethoscope but you'd never expect him to be a doctor, just some red-neck just off the farm. (I can say that, I'm an Iowa farm girl. My husband is also a redneck). The nurses told me not to judge him by his clothes as he really knew his stuff. He was the head of his department & a genius (in my eyes.) I listened to him discuss with the residents & then got up the nerve to ask a question. He spent the next 10 minutes telling me what he had just told them but in language I could understand (I wasn't a nursing student yet.) He probably should have been dressed more professionally but, beleive me, it sure didn't affect his work.

Dixie

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

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Also - the practice that the docs belong to influences their dress to some extent. The nephrology practice where I work prides themselves on professionalism and that includes dress. MDs must wear ties, the mid-levels wear business casual which for men includes Dockers, shirt with collar and dress shoes. For the ladies, we can wear Dockers and a collared shirt and casual shoes - no tennies, no flip flops, no sandals. Also, we all must wear a lab coat which has our practice logo on one side and our name/credentials on the other. Depending on which hospital we are at (we work at 5), we have an additional name tag also which allows us access to the ICUs and ER.

Even when we do call, we are expected to come in dressed appropriately.

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2,373 Visitors; 103 Posts

They are groomed to play "King of the castle", we are groomed serve. It's degrading and is an example of the professional (docs) vs nonprofessional (nurses) mentality that we nurses so often perpetuate by being compliant and not organizing effectively to demand equal, professional standards/treatment by and to all healthcare providers. As long as we are not assets, but rather liabilities to the hospital's budget, I don't see this changing any time soon. WOW!! I am usually such an optimist!

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NurseCard has 13 years experience as a ADN and specializes in Med/Surge, Psych, LTC, Home Health.

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you think that's bad, one of our ortho's used to come see his pt's after *ahem* his morning JOG, and wearing just his T shirt and shorts, and jogging shoes.

In all actuality though, he was one of my favorite docs due to his general laid- backedness. But yeah, he could have been more professional.

Our RT's though, because they WERE employees of the hospital, were required to conform to a dress code just like we were.

(I say "were" because the psych facility that I work at now has a VERY loose dress code)

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