Heard at the Nurses Station (TM)
“Hi! NurseyNurse, RN here! Your patient Mr T R Ainwreck has crackles in bilateral bases and complains of dyspnea. His SpO2 is 85% on 4 liters nasal cannula. He had a neb treatment, and his heart rate is 115, resps are 26, B/p is 168/84. Would you like a BNP, some Lasix and a chest x-ray?”
<shouting on the other end of the phone>
“No Doctor, I was not telling you how to take care of your patient at all. I was using my nursing judgment and suggesting possible diagnostic testing and treatment. ”
“No, I did not go to medical school. You are correct. Yes, I do know what time it is, but your patient appears to be in distress and….no…..he is still breathing but quite rapidly and…. Yes, thank y-”
<puts phone down>
<writes phone orders for a BNP, 40mg of Lasix, and a CXR>
<thinks about new career>
Did that look familiar to you?
Abusive and disrespectful Physicians are not a new thing. Since the days when we were required to put out our cigarettes and stand when a Doctor entered the nurses station, there have been issues with this. Hardly any nurse has not had an incident. Florence Nightingale probably had to bite her tongue a few times.
What happens if a Doc is disrespectful and abusive at your hospital? Where I work, the physician will be sternly talked to, written up, and probably not ever fired. This is a common theme in healthcare. Tell me about your experiences with this nonsense, and what we can do to come together as a healthcare team instead of a physician abusing you because you woke him or her up for a valid reason at 0200.
My Suggestions for fixing this situation:
- Be clear with the physician that he is inappropriate and unprofessional.
- Explain that you will use your hospital’s grievance system to call this to the attention of the medical director.
- Ask the Physician at the very first sign of anger if she is on call. “You seem to be upset, would you prefer I phoned someone else?”
- Maintain your professional language and tone. You are right. Don’t make yourself a target by returning the attitude.
Anything that you would like to add? Let me know!
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