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How to Deal With Overbearing Doctors

Steve Berman | NursingLink

Emotional

1. Don’t get emotional

The best thing you can do when someone is making your blood boil is to not sink to that person’s level. If a doctor yells at you or insults your intelligence, don’t mirror their actions, especially around other coworkers. Keep your facial expression and vocal tone as calm as possible, and pretend like you didn’t even notice the hurtful things he or she said. Staying on an even keel is a great way to disarm a doctor who may be taking out their frustrations on a nurse, and at the very least you’ll avoid a conflict that makes both of you look bad.



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    JoeKeller

    about 3 years ago

    52 comments

    Of course there are doctors out there who are mean and think they are God. Fortunately for me, I work with Dr Shahram Salemy which is a very nice guy and a person who you can talk to. Maybe doctors who think they are God should be sent to follow psychological therapy. Their behavior could literally kill people. Not being able to admit you are wrong can prove to be a serious personality defect for a doctor.

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    cwnursinglink

    over 3 years ago

    4 comments

    Re PCCU nurse and the comment to say I feel intimated as a code to a doctor that he is getting overbearing: I worked in one hospital that paged a code unknown to doctors. Then every available nurse would come to the scene. The doctor would be surrounded by nurses. This did two things: Create witnesses and calm him by being aware he cannot get away with it. Pretty clever innovative nurse administration in Los Angeles!

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    cwnursinglink

    over 3 years ago

    4 comments

    I have had a female intern want to d/c a IV med that never controlled a BP in a pt. that would not benefit from high BP. The pt could not take POs, MD aware. Ordered POs. When I exclaimed that the IV meds did not control the BP, did she not want to wait to see what the BP was now prior to this d/c, she wrote angry things about me in the chart. The next day 1 min. after she walked out of another patient's room at start of shift she failed to adress severe SOB and wheezing. I immediately called the doctor above her who ordered RT tx and CXR. The CXR showed pleural effusions. I explained my problems to a kind resident in charge of this intern. I also wrote a defense factual note oin the chart on the first occassion, and an incident report. Encouraged by the other nurses who say they do write up doctors. I am afraid of retaliation. But, this was so egregious that emotion carried me into doing the right thing. Righteously, whatever they do, fine. I get the sense that the nurses there are fair and so on. I have a friend from the country of origin, a close physician friend. She tells me that in her country (remains nameless) medical school is all on how much you pay, not your performance or grades. Hmmm. This intern having spent 1/3 in the room as an internal med MD did not address severe SOB, #1 airway. Her mood is that she is above it all, beneath her to listen to lungs????????????????????? I should not feel intimidated. The residentsand interns at this partcular hospital have attitudes best described as supercillious. I have been a travel nurse and seen all kinds of attitudes. Rarely these among friendly residents and interns. Even the community complains about this attitude and preferes the other hospital in town. Frankly, I would be intimidated to be a patient there with the doctors, not the excellent nurses and managers. I never before defended myself, ,just took it. But, we are in America and I owe it to myself, my profession and patients to speak up!

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    PCCUNurse

    over 3 years ago

    2 comments

    Our hospital has had such a problem with the doctors in the past that we have adapted a phrase " I am starting to feel intimidated" this is supposed to be our alert to the doctor that he/she needs to examine what or how they are speaking. Of course it doesn't always work and some just continue to be abusive and hard to deal with. I have had my fair share of run-ins with doctors, physician assistants and even nurse practioners that feel they are superior to nurses. I try to never back down but stand my ground. I see some nurses try to flirt their way into good graces with the difficult doctors but this to me is just to demeaning and unprofessional.

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    LadyNurse2

    over 3 years ago

    2 comments

    Talking to your superior has been shown to do nothing but get yourself in trouble. If a physician focuses on one particular nurse over all others, and that particular nurse is especially professional and highly clinically oriented as well as a compassionate, caring and a clinically superior nurse, the nursing superior may tend to be intimidated by that nurse as well as the physician has been. And, in my experience the nursing superior may be scared to death of the particular offending physician and not want him focusing on her. If there are no policies and procedures in place in the particular institution for this sort of physician-nurse harrassment then the nurse is walking on thin ice. Especially if the administration responds with "the physicians bring in the patients here and we need the revenue they generate". The best bet in this situation is for the nurse to look for a position where excellence and professionalism are welcomed and applauded rather than denigrated by physicians and ignored by administration. Many, many hospitals still operate under business models from the dark ages. The doctor is still considered to be the "captain of the ship" and treated like a god because they SEND the patients into the particular hospital yet it is the nurses who care for them that keep the patients and their families returning to that particular hospital when the need arises. Administrators need to understand this as well as the fact that nurses function under their own license and are not under the "control" of physicians. If abusive physicians spoke to strangers on the street in the denigrating manner in which they speak to nurses I think they would be in for a rather rude and painful physical wake-up call in many cases. But nurses, being professionals that we are, are expected to take it all with a smile. If your hospital doesn't have the necessary policies and procedures for this sort of negative and damaging behavior in place...move on to a hospital or other place of business that does. Respect yourself so that you can maintain respect for your patients.

  • Woo_-_copy_max50

    Bradavin

    over 3 years ago

    2 comments

    usually these little articles are humorous, entertaining, or helpful... but i feel like this one defends the abusive doctors and teaches the scaredy-cat nurse how to run and hide.... and im a little insulted by that!

  • Good_picture_max50

    Dredie

    over 3 years ago

    6 comments

    Why is the world would I say "I'm sorry"? Aberrant behavior is just that---they get away with it because we teach people how to treat us. I have met many a doctor that is "god like" in their mind. So I take them aside and let them know in a kind manner they DO NOT HAVE PERMISSION FROM ME to treat me that way. In 40 years it has always worked. I refuse to allow anyone to treat me unkindly---I am a Dr. and I am their peer weather they like it or not-------

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    sdraine051104

    over 3 years ago

    2 comments

    I guess if your ok with this kind of abuse then these tips will work fine. I love nursing but we are a weak passive profession at times. What other 'professionals' would endure this treatment in 2011?

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    wbkiehl

    over 3 years ago

    196 comments

    what they need to do, is make consequences for doctors who behave in just such a way. Unfortunately I've never seen this happen in most of my jobs (save for one when a Gyn Onc attending got a resident to back off of me because he didn't have his 6am numbers yet; I hadn't yet made it to that room to clear pumps and dump urine). In one case, it was a surgeon in a small community hospital that had only four or five surgeons at the time, and they were the big moneymakers. He was a repeat offender, who never got a sanction of any sort for his behavior; they weren't about to risk angering and chasing off a revenue generator just for a nurse whose employment eats up their money. I was reminded that I didn't do anything wrong, and to just "consider the source." I could give other examples, but in the end it's all the same; lack of respect, not just by the doctors, but by administration (including nursing administration).

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