Doctors & Nurses

Unfortunately, it seems that many nurses have a bitter feeling towards doctors. I can’t say I know why. But only because I don’t know their perspective. I can only speculate. But I’d venture to guess that at the core, it is an issue of feeling unappreciated and disrespected by doctors. Those feelings can then easily turn into resentment.

Are those feelings unwarranted? Sadly, no. I’ve seen too many instances where a doctor brushes off a nurse. I’ve seen times when the nurse feel slighted about something a doctor has done. Most of the time, at least I hope, it was not intentional on the physician’s part. But these little things add up over time on a mental score card that is not always unbiased.

They say that $h!t flows downward. This is especially true for hierarchies. In the grand scheme of things, whether you like it or not, the doctor is often at the top. Their signature, their orders. So when an attending mistreats a resident, the resident has a bad day. The resident snaps at a nurse. The nurse has a bad day. The scared medical student asks for help and the nurse glares back.

But the problem is that medical students don’t stay students forever. They remember feeling marginalized by the nurse that had a bad day. And it’s that much easier for them to brush of nurses when they earn their stripes. The cycle needs to stop.

  • Sara In Thought

    I’m fond of saying that a Nurse saved my mom’s life.  But as I read this it occurred to me that a good relationship between this nurse and doctor saved my mom’s life.  Fluid was building in her lungs.  The doctor saw her at 5am and heard nothing untoward.  By late morning, the nurse called the doctor and told him something was wrong and he needed to come in.  He came back and drained my mom.  
    Had there been a bad relationship, she might not have made a call.  She might have waited until my mother’s distress was dire, so as not to be wrong.  But the doctor trusted her, and she trusted him not to berate her for calling him back.  

  • Great job by that nurse for catching that!

    I completely agree. Doctors and nurses are on the same team. Unfortunately, we don’t always remember that.

  • I think there is a lot of resentment because of the pay disparity.  Those extra years in medical school seem to pay off financially.

  • Perhaps. But if nurses worked doctor hours at their hourly rate, they would be earning more than most doctors. 

  • K8

    I’m about to start the journey of medical school. If you had to give advice to someone just starting, what would you say is the best way to appreciate and/or get along with the nursing staff?

  • Excellent question! I’ll work on a post to address this topic rather than write a reply in this thread since I think this is a good general topic others might also find helpful.

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