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Yelling Doctors, How do you handle them?????

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by Danielle7 Danielle7 (New Member) New Member

Danielle7 works as a Cardiac Nurse.

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The other night at work (I work 7PM shift), I admitted a new patient. She was seen at her doctors office a couple days before and was started on PO antibiotics TID. She did not take her antibiotic all day. At my hospital we are to clarify meds upon admission and she could not remember the dose perscribed. So I had to page her doctor, which has a reputation of being mean at 11PM (not that late). He interrupted my question by yelling/screaming at me, asking me how he would know the dose (he prescribed it), demanding I answer why it couldn't wait till morning while huffing and puffing on the phone!!! I know if I didn't address it, the charge nurse or someone would of had my neck due to policy...Can't win!!

I've only been a nurse for 8 months and I haven't had much experience with this.

My question is... How do you respond to a doctor who talks to you this way- I mean screams at you this way?

Honestly, Danielle, I would not have called the doctor for this. He should not have yelled but I do understand his frustration. Why not find out if your policy actually requires that you call a doctor under this type of circumstance. If so, maybe wait until 5:30 or 6 a.m. next time. Let the doctor try to sleep.

It just was not that urgent, as it was p.o., she'd already not been taking it. The admitting doc could certainly prescribe an antibiotic if warranted.

If your Charge nurse tells you to call, well, I guess you have to. Ask, though, if yu could call in the morning.

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sbic56 has 24 years experience and works as a Nurse Consultant.

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Women probably find being yelled at more frightening than men do. However, men who are just trying to do their jobs are still not going to like a dressing down.

BTW, it is ok to apologize to someone you've yelled at. Just say, "You know, I'm really sorry I yelled at you. I'm just so exhausted most of the time and I really have a hard time being coherent and pulling my head together when I get calls while I'm sleeping. But that was still not an excuse to yell at you. I'm really sorry. Please accept my apology?"

You'll have made a friend for life.

I really like this post! Women are more likely to be intimidated by yelling. Now I see it as more of an annoyance and counter-productive, but when I first entered nursing, I was very affected by the tone a doctor would take with me. I was doing my best and could not see why this man of supposed authority was losing control of his emotions. I certainly knew his outburst was not teaching me anything constructive. Sure, I had to grow a thicker skin and adapt, but why be rude & unpleasant in the first place? Is this healtcare or boot camp? It's also about knowing your audience. A worker yelling on a construction crew may not offend many (though I'd still say it is unnecessary), but there is no place for it in a hospital where the effect on patients, milieu and co-workers can be destructive.

Agree that a sincere apology is one of the most gracious offers a human can make. One can often walk away with a better understanding of the situation and perhaps even a renewed respect for the offender.

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God forbid, TiredMD have a different opinion and its construed as "provocative". I don't think it's provocative at all.

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I have to agree that our profession is set up for being passive-aggressive. I got yelled at more when I worked on stepdown then I did when I went to ICU. It's very strange, but I'm also at a different hospital and the culture of the hospital doesn't allow for docs to be total ******** although some can be. The other day the anesthesia resident says "I need you to get out of my way" and I told him "I need you to not talk to me like that" and walked away. I don't say it so I can get cheered on by my nursing peers, I say it because that's what was on my mind and it flew out of my mouth. Sometimes I lack impulse control. Anyhow....I don't just stand there and take it from ANY one.

I'm not sure how's it's passive-aggressive to ask the doc if a CHF patient needs a Stat XRAY or Lasix. I want my patient seen and taken care of so I will always ask what else the doc wants.

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Virgo_RN works as a RN.

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Trauma,

I can understand TiredMD's point of view as well, and still not agree with it. I agree that yelling actually makes nurses more hesitant to call doctors, and interferes with the working relationship between nurses and doctors.

When I was a brand new nurse, I absolutely hated calling doctors. I was so intimidated, so afraid I would be yelled at, because I had heard horror stories. Now, with a little more experience, I'm not afraid at all, because for one thing, I don't call for stupid reasons, and for another, if a doctor did yell at me even though I called them for a perfectly legitimate reason, I'd see it as more of a reflection on who they are than on what kind of nurse I am.

I think it's important also to remember that just as nurses have idealized expectations thrust upon us by the patients and family members we care for, doctors, too, are expected to be these all knowing, perfect human beings. Yet they are just people with human flaws just like everyone else.

We had a code situation where the doctor was angry because certain key pieces of equipment were not in proper working order. He did not yell, but his anger was palpable in the room, and he was venting at the closest person to him who was an RT. When it was all over and the patient had been pronounced, the doctor turned to the RT and apologized for "barking" at her. Not a single one of us in the room thought any apology was necessary. We were all angry, too, at the way that code had gone.

So no, I don't agree that yelling should be employed regularly as a management tool, but it does happen and if it happens under the extreme pressure of a life or death situation, I think it is completely understandable and should not be an issue.

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I don't think yelling is necessary to get one's point across most of the time. It happens though under pressure and I have yelled to get what I wanted but it was in one those situations where the patient is crashing and burning. I do apologize though afterwards.

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I'm not sure how's it's passive-aggressive to ask the doc if a CHF patient needs a Stat XRAY or Lasix. I want my patient seen and taken care of so I will always ask what else the doc wants.

In this, my point was that a nurse cannot approach the doc directly, she must suggest as opposed to outright telling the doc what to do. She must be respectful and polite at all times.

Never in my wildest dreams, no matter what I was thinking, would I spout off sarcastically, "The guy's in CHF, doctor. He's dying. You didn't order the lasix that he usually takes at home! What're you trying to do, KILL the guy???!!"

See the difference? Yet had the tables been turned and I made a mistake like that....would you all be justifying that behavior? Because after all, I was right, the doc did make a huge mistake and you could see where I was coming from.

How many of you prevent docs from making errors that could kill the patient? Do you call the doc up and yell at him?

Am I making any sense here at all?

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God forbid, TiredMD have a different opinion and its construed as "provocative". I don't think it's provocative at all.

Thank you. There's a definite undertone here that anyone who doesn't buy into the new-age "everybody should just hug and be happy" mindset is either trolling or some kind of hideous person. The real kicker for me in this thread was the notion that you shouldn't even yell at your kids. After all, little Johnny might need a lifetime of therapy if you yell at him as he tries to run into the street . . .

Anyway, I've said my piece, and have nothing left to add. It's a simple disagreement. Shame so many have to take it personally.

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Scrubby has 6 years experience and works as a Clinical Nurse.

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God forbid, TiredMD have a different opinion and its construed as "provocative". I don't think it's provocative at all.

Some of us have had some nasty experiences being yelled at by doctors which have left us feeling humiliated, angry and even made us question our career choice. And yes, I've been yelled at for calling the wrong person because I was too new to know any better so I can empathise with the OP on this one. TiredMD encouraged people to try yelling, made jokes about nurses getting fired, showed very little empathy at all towards new nurses. For me that may not be provocative as such but it's certainly insensitive.

We all make mistakes. But yelling is not a constructive way to go about trying to educate someone.

No everyone shouldn't hug and be happy etc. But at the end of the day teamwork and better communication between doctors and nurses is much better for the patients and staff.

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Yeah, I've been yelled at too but you know what after awhile it got old getting upset over it. This thread is getting old and it's time to move on. Cheers.

Edited by RN1982

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MelissaPhoographerRN works as a RN on tele floor.

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Well, I can understand him not remembering the dose. But, he should be the one to give you orders for whatever dose he wants her to have now.

In the ER thankfully I didn't have to deal with that. All of our dr's were great. On the floor however they tend to not be great. Probably because they don't know you and not work with you day in and day out. Anyway, I just learned which ones were always a pain and to blow them off. What I said depended on which Dr it was and what they were yelling about.

If I needed to defend the patient or get them to stop screaming long enough to explain that I had a good reason to call or something, then I would speak up. Otherwise I just blew it off and got off of the phone as soon as possible. I didn't take it personally.

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sbic56 has 24 years experience and works as a Nurse Consultant.

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Yeah, I've been yelled at too but you know what after awhile it got old getting upset over it. This thread is getting old and it's time to move on. Cheers.

This topic needs to be discussed IMO. Poor treatment by the very people that need you to remain in practice gets very old in itself. I agree we have satisfied the topic as far as Tired MD's piece, but hardly the big picture. I think especially younger nurses benefit greatly by venting and discussing this topic as it impacts the workpace in a very big way. It is getting better though...a lot better. I've wondered if this topic may be addressed in medical school now as I notice younger doctors sren't so prone to this type of behavior. Or am I just getting tougher?

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