When dealing with difficult doctors, one must understand personalities, it has always been a part of the nurse’s job to be ready in encountering difficulties in the work area. Some may say proper communication or being ready emotionally might help, but it is so much more than that.
We are now in the age where we are already moving on with the cryptic traditional health care hierarchy when nurses are literally slaves to doctors. But, it was not long ago when nurses have to deal with flying charts, bullying, walkouts, unnecessary sermons and more. Those were the days when we sometimes question our decision in getting into the health care profession. No school will ever prepare you for it.
Today there are still scenarios where some of our colleagues may have been crossing lines when it comes to conflicts in the work area. We, typically work in a high paced area, and everyone is expected to be on their feet, doing their jobs, but the reality is, the good ones are already serving other countries where they are paid so much more. Fresh graduates are never prepared enough to encounter personalities that are sometimes demeaning and rigid.
Not all doctors are difficult, nowadays some consultants have their way when it comes to making sure that their orders are carried out properly without crossing thin barriers. Here are some realities and personas that we have to consider when dealing with difficult doctors:
1. Do not Dwell
It’s a collaboration, conflict usually arise from differences in knowledge and power. Nurses should remember that doctors have the responsibility to make sure that treatment is given, while nurses carry them out. One cannot function without the other, if there are instances that orders are questioned, it is the nurse’s responsibility to make sure that it is clear, and what is done is based on what is written and instructed. It is also the doctor’s responsibility to make sure that they are doing it right, when questioned, pride should never take over. The ultimate goal is patient care, and neither the nurse or the doctor should be dwelling on any vortex of pride and hate.
2. Understand the burden
In health care, a mistake may cost a life. Believe it or not, doctors carry a bigger burden than nurses. Doctors are drivers, while nurses are cars, in order to reach the destination, a car must be well maintained, while the driver should be sharp and fast and precise. No matter how good the driver is, if the car breaks down every 10 kilometers, then its useless, time is always essence. Nurses should be a Ferrari for doctors, Zero to 120 in less than 6 seconds. But just like drivers and cars, one can never reach the destination without the other. But unlike drivers, cars and roads, doctors can never fully control a nurse, since nurses have independent interventions and critical thinking skills for the benefit of the patient.
3. Get to know your Doctor
It takes two to tango, and in order to sink in the graceful music and enjoy the dance, one should learn the moves. Nurses should learn to know their colleagues, and this may hurt a little bit of your ego as a nurse, but knowing the preferences of your doctors will not only develop a healthy working relationship, but also deliver better care to your patients. Ask your senior nurses about doctor preferences.
4. It is never Personal
Every nurse will encounter a conflict, not just with fellow colleagues and doctors but also conflicts in the upper management. Have a personality that is flexible, making sure that you have relayed your piece while adapting to a situation. A situation will be as toxic as it gets depending on how much negativity you allow. If one person is in heat, one person should be relaxed and in tune. This way you are able to think and reassess if you have made a mistake. A mistake is a mistake, and colleagues will somehow react to it.
5. Admit the Mistake
Acceptance of a mistake is never a sign of weakness–It is a sign of strength and humility. A mistake is a good teacher, if someone scolds you for it, take it and never do it again. I can never say that making a mistake in the health care profession is OK, but it is inevitable. This goes to all health care professionals including doctors and nurses.
6. It is always worth the Climb
As said in the latter, no school can ever prepare you for battle, a battle that you will always win if you keep a strong heart. You can never dictate personalities, and there are hundreds in the work place. Making an effort to make sure that you are doing your best will always be worth it—this is actually proving your worth. The journey is a learning experience and it is never ending.
A professional will always start at the bottom, and work their way up to the top, and encountering difficulties in personality is just one of the many blocks that you have to break. If you ask if its difficult—it has always been, just like any other profession.
7. Set firm limits, and put them in the Right Place
Believe it or not, there are some doctors who are always fond of crossing the lines. There should be no physical abuse, sexual and verbal abuse in any way. One tip, is to never give them the satisfaction of being angry at the same time with you. Listen and do it in writing, submit to the supervisor and resolve the conflict following hospital policy. An interdisciplinary team will take care of the conflict protecting you.
It would be great if doctors and nurses are trained in collaboration while they are still in school, a curriculum where nurses and doctors take their own piece of the pie in patient care, so conflicts in the work area is lessened and better working environments are developed.
If you think this article have helped you in any way, please comment below. Like and share to help others cope up with their nursing jobs. Let us help each other break the common barrier between health care professionals.