Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Doctors and Nurses

Doctor Crippen has posted a comment on his site from a junior doctor here. This piece shows how one doctor feels that he is embarrassed to cash in his cheque that he receives for signing cremation forms. He could have written a nice bit about this but (and I suspect this is the real reason Dr. Crippen posted it) he decided to tell about how the nursing staff are judgmental and abusive towards him, how the ward secretary hides notes from him and even the mortuary attendant does his job with no spark of intelligence and with minimum grace. I of course have added my twopence worth along with other commentators and I want to make my position absolutely clear.
I like junior doctors, the hospitals would fall apart without them and they have had such a crap deal recently with MTAS and pay and they are invariably great fun on a night out. I have a huge respect for medical training, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the encyclopedic knowledge that doctors display. However, doctors are not always the nicest of people. Their very training makes them abusive, arrogant and competitive. Some of the brightest doctors are in fact some of the most ignorant people. For many years doctors were bullies towards everyone, including each other, I have already mentioned this in a post here, most hospitals now have a bullying policy. Quick anecdote, young female nurse working on ward, consultant comes in to do the ward round and she is talking with a patient while he is doing the round. His reaction? He threw a ruler at her which hit her in the neck then carried on doing the round. Why were the police not called? Because he was a consultant and she was a nurse. A nursing lecturer liked to tell a story of one consultant she worked with who would some mornings start shouting and swearing at people, their reaction was to get him a coffee and toast as his blood sugar was running low. The common denominator here? Male consultants, female nurses. Bullying still goes on but it is less, what has changed? The ratio of males and females. There are more male nurses and female doctors now. However, the female doctors are just as aggressive and competitive as their male colleagues. But one big difference is that the number of males coming in to nursing has changed things. Consultants are a bit less willing to shout at a male who is liable to ask them the question "Who do you think you are speaking to?" Do not for one minute think that I am making doctors to be the villains and nurses the angels here, nurses are just as likely to be nasty to junior doctors and some nurses can be the absolute bitch queen. When I was training, one of my male colleagues (ex army) stated that he was going to ask a particular trained nurse if she was married and that if she was could she bring her husband in to the ward. When I asked why he replied that she was such a bitch that he wanted to punch her but could not bring himself to hit a woman so if he could get her husband then maybe he would sort her out, (it didn't happen). This behaviour by both sides is wrong, we are supposed to be professionals who work together for the benefit of the patient and on the whole this is what happens. But, when one profession thinks that they can get away with being nasty to other professionals then problems can occur. I would like to make it absolutely clear, when I go into work I do not expect strife and conflict, these thing only very rarely happen as we are a team and have respect for each others skills and knowledge. Happens a bit more around the time we get new doctors and it's mostly to do with changes of procedure and trying to get doctors to realise we are not like ER or Casualty.
Back to the point of this post, the junior doctor that Dr. Crippen writes about has obviously had a hard time, he is disillusioned and demoralised. Whose fault is this? He blames the nursing staff for making his life harder than he feels it has to be, but is he correct. These things tend to work both ways, if he gives attitude, he will receive attitude. He is only in the ward for 4 to 6 months so nobody has to care about him, but if he makes an effort in his next placement, tries to be nice to people, who knows, he may even get the nursing staff to help him. "Stupid is as Stupid does." (Forrest Gump 1994)


The Little Medic said...

We're not all arrogant wankers although I agree that pleny are.

I sure as hell hope not to be come August. In fact, I'll be happy to make you all tea and bring you cakes if you help me out when required.

GrumpyRN said...

I've come over a bit more negative than I meant to, I should have said that "their training CAN SOMETIMES make them abusive and arrogant". The vast majority of relationships between doctors and nurses are great, I have had and still have some brilliant times on and off shift with doctors, and who wants to work someplace with surly people. Unfortunately personalities get in the way and what is a minor misunderstanding can get blown out of proportion and cause the problems that the poor guy that Dr. Crippen was writing about has found himself in. I would never use the "W" word, although I may think it. Tea and cakes are always appreciated but a simple thank you and a willingness to listen are just as good. Good luck with your placements.

Anonymous said...

I agree......... I've found it difficult in the blogging world to tell a story about one these rare 'rude and arrogant' creatures to not come across as 'slagging them off'

At the end of the day the vast majority of people we deal with on a daily bases are brilliant and the relationships work........ however, it is the instances of it going wrong and being bad that stick with us and inevitably get blogged about.

GrumpyRN said...

Absolutely right Louise, writing about one or two incidences can look like you are getting at everyone.

Lily said...

I find it quite sad there are a few doctors/nurses/physios that give everyone else the reputation of either being really evil or a total prat just because they are.

Herbert said...

What namely you're saying is a terrible mistake.
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