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yelled at by doctor at another patient bedside

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by RadioJenn RadioJenn (Member) Member

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Hello everyone,

Help me out with this one: The other day I had to call my patient's son to help translate to his father that the OR was taking his father in for surgery 45 minutes earlier than expected. The elderly patient spoke a rare Indian dialect not available through the language line. I was pressed for time to reach the son before he left home and before the transport came to pick up the patient....like 5 minutes at most.

While I was dialing the phone in the patient's room, the doctor for the patient in the next bed was present speaking with his patient. My back was turned making the phone call when this doctor yelled out "are you his nurse?" I'm not sure which side of the room the Dr was in when he asked this. Continuing to dial the phone I replied "yes but I don't have time right now I need to..."

That's when this doctor erupted. he came up to me, stood at the bedside of this other patient and screamed.

"WELL YOU BETTER FIND TIME! I'M HIS DOCTOR AND HOW DARE YOU TALK LIKE THAT IN FRONT OF MY PATIENT!"

I remained professional and calmly stated "you're right. I never should have said that. Poor choice of words. I'm sorry." But he continued to scream, demanded to know my name so he could report me. Again, I remained almost Zen-like calm and said "I'm sorry."

The dr left the room to talk to me at the nurse's station and not yelling but with anger asking what's wrong me. Again, with Zen, I said I was wrong. He then said he would let it slide this time. He calmed down to discuss his patient and asked me to change his pain medication order. The entire floor heard and witnessed this.

I explained to the other nurses what happened. They said the Dr was completely inappropriate to come to another patient's bedside and scream at me. It was a violation of the patient's rights as well as my rights. I agreed but the Dr said he wasn't going to report me, so I'd rather let it drop. But I'm still in fear.

And one vital side note: This was my grandfather's doctor and I told him a few weeks ago who I was and who my grandfather was. He remembered him even though grandpa died almost 20 years ago. My grandfather liked him a lot (an Italian kinship thing.)

So I'm not only in fear but hurt that my grandfather had such high regard for this man who just verbally abused me. I can only pray he treated my grandfather well.

Any advice or suggestions as to what I should do are greatly welcomed. I'm a 44 year old woman but I've been a nurse only 2 1/2 years.

Thank you.

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GrumpyRN has 37 years experience as a NP and specializes in Emergency Department.

1 Follower; 663 Posts; 16,942 Profile Views

Firstly, you did not do anything wrong. This jackass was wrong. You are a person in your own right and you have the right to be treated as such. I am fed up of doctors treating nurses as second class citizens. Yes, I know it is easier for me as I am in the UK, I am male and I am older but everyone deserves respect at work.

I would have there and then called him out for it, I would ask him "who the hell he thinks he is talking to?" I would want to know who he thinks he is and I would certainly complain officially about bullying, abuse and demeaning behaviour in the workplace.

Do you have any recourse to this in your place of employment? I understand that UK and US are very different when it comes to employment laws and workplace conditions.

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TheCommuter has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

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Any advice or suggestions as to what I should do are greatly welcomed. I'm a 44 year old woman but I've been a nurse only 2 1/2 years.
It's too late. The issue needed to be addressed at the moment it was happening, not retrospectively. I can assure you the physician who yelled at you isn't losing a minute of sleep over disrespecting someone out in the open, yet this issue will rent valuable space inside your head for quite some time.

If a doctor (or anyone) is yelling at me, I have no qualms about responding, "Do not yell at me. We can talk when you're ready to lower your voice and act like an adult. But as long as your voice is raised, this conversation is over."

Once I end the conversation and refuse to give the badly-behaved person my face time, they usually calm down and shape up.

Hopefully you will speak up for yourself with tact if it happens again. Good luck to you.

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SubSippi has 2 years experience.

907 Posts; 12,675 Profile Views

Also...you're allowed to tell a doctor to hold on a minute.

There's nothing you can do now, except report his behavior if you think reporting is warranted. If he decides to report you, there's nothing you can do about that, either. Talk to the people who were there, to make sure they'll back up your side of the story if you end up needing back up.

Other than that, just try to let it go. When you see him again, just act like nothing happened. But don't let docs like this walk all over you and push you around. I've found that some of the more rude MDs, while they may be more pleasant to the pushover types, don't seem to have much respect for their judgement. They definitely butt heads with the more assertive types more often, but are also more likely to take them seriously when they get a phone call in the middle of the night.

Try not to let it bother you. I highly doubt you were the first person he's lashed out at. And, people who aren't jerks don't act like that, especially in front of people, and over something so silly...even if it did make them mad.

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LadyFree28 has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma.

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It's too late. The issue needed to be addressed at the moment it was happening, not retrospectively. I can assure you the physician who yelled at you isn't losing a minute of sleep over disrespecting someone out in the open, yet this issue will rent valuable space inside your head for quite some time.

If a doctor (or anyone) is yelling at me, I have no qualms about responding, "Do not yell at me. We can talk when you're ready to lower your voice and act like an adult. But as long as your voice is raised, this conversation is over."

Once I end the conversation and refuse to give the badly-behaved person my face time, they usually calm down and shape up.

Hopefully you will speak up for yourself with tact if it happens again. Good luck to you.

THIS.

I have no qualms telling a provider not to yell at me, and I will not engage unless their calm, and to leave the room; I have no qualms whipping out an incident report and documenting the whole scenario, and going up the chain of command-if it gets that far...usually it doesn't. :no:

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Here.I.Stand has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

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YOU did nothing wrong, no poor choice of words, and did nothing to apologize for. He acted like a 2 yr old throwing a temper tantrum. Going forward, you say, "No, YOU will not speak to ME that way. I'm happy to talk when you can behave like an adult professional." And then don't talk to him. If he's going to order a new med or something, you'll find it in the chart. If he needed help with something, well then he needs to learn how to ask nicely, like his Mama (hopefully) taught him.

His behaviors have NO place in a professional environment...heck ANY work environment. My advice would be the same if you were flipping burgers at McDonald's and your shift manager failed to control him/herself while speaking to you.

But he will not stop acting like an oversized 2 yr old if you pander to that behavior.

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~PedsRN~ has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Acute Care Pediatrics.

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Hindsight is so 20/20, isn't it? The key is to not take the crap when they are dishing it out. You had every right to put him in his place right there, respectfully. Just because he is a physician, he is not your superior. You do not WORK for him. I think sometimes they forget that. I have learned that if you demand respect, you get it. Good luck.

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classicdame is a MSN, EdD and specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

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I would write a complaint and send to the CNO. I had to do this very thing yesterday because an MD bellowed at a student (I am responsible for students). Mention code of conduct, bullying, confidentiality issues, etc. Might just be the ammunition the CEO needs to get rid of the MD (majestic deity)

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21 Posts; 1,344 Profile Views

I appreciate everyone's input. Normally I would have defended myself but I'm just frustrated at this hospital in general and plan relocate this year. I think I was also caught off guard because this dr was always pleasant with me and to go Jekyll and Hyde was a shock more than anything.

If he does try to have me "written up", my coworker will defend me as we always have each other's back. But to give you an idea of what our DON is like: she is chummy with the union shop steward for the nurse aides and encourages her to report any alleged wrong doings committed by nurses so she can get dirt on us. The nurses who work with this aide are completely in fear of her, I've seen it first hand. It's so corrupt it's sad.

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NicuGal has 30 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in NICU, PICU, PACU.

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Write you up for what? There is nothing for him to write up. You on the other hand, you have plenty to write up.

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457 Posts; 9,928 Profile Views

I'm not a nurse. I just think you should hear what a patient might think about that interaction. Here's how I would have reacted:

1. That Dr just lost any respect I had for him.

2. You just earned some of my respect for remaining calm and professional when he was acting like a child.

3. If I was his patient, I would tell him that I thought his behavior was unprofessional and embarassing.

4. If I was the other patient, I would have called your manager to tell him/her how horribly the Dr had behaved and how professionally you handled the situation.

5. Once out of the hospital, I would have written a letter to the CMO complaining about that Dr.

Of course I'm now in my 50s and no longer have patience for fools or bullies, and he is both.

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Gooselady has 23 years experience as a BSN, RN.

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You did an amazing job handling that doctor's abusive behavior. Don't think for a second just anyone can stay so Zen at times like these, you have a rare talent and this will serve you well especially as you 'mature' as a nurse. What I mean by that is that on the inside, you'll feel less pain or anxiety from such unprofessional displays, you'll chalk it up to bad behavior that has NOTHING to do with you or your abilities as a nurse. You cannot be the first or last nurse this doctor has been inappropriate with, no way.

A note to your manager describing this situation in objective terms is a good idea. There may be a paper trail laid by nurses before you, and your complaint might get something moving to set limits with this doc.

At my previous hospital we had a doc who was just . . . incontinent, temper tantrum-wise. Pathetic behavior in a grown man. Enough nurses wrote notes describing his behavior and complained that the administration had a powwow with him and put him on a behavior plan LOL! He got the picture.

There are no excuses for this behavior and it impacts patient care directly. Besides, you are worth sticking up for, and than means sticking up for yourself. Don't think for a second this doc doesn't verbally abuse other nurses. So you are sticking up for yourself and all the other nurses who get lambasted by him.

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