Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tales from Residency

One morning when I came onto the ward during residency, I overheard that the on-call third year resident yelled at a nurse early that morning because she called him at 7AM for a systolic BP of 182.

"I can't believe you woke me up for a blood pressure of 182!" the resident allegedly ranted. "You know, I had a blood pressure of 160 over 90 this week!"

I thought the resident was wrong to yell. I mean, that's a significant blood pressure and the nurse needs to inform the doctor. OK, she could have waited an hour till I got there. But who the hell is still sleeping at 7AM anyway?? That's a nice life he's got.

"Dr. David has a blood pressure of 160 over 90?" another nurse said. "He's probably going to have a stroke."

I felt pretty sure that Dr. David was totally going to get away with this minor transgression. He's of the young, good looking male doctor variety, so I figured he could get away with yelling for basically no reason. But no (sort of). The nurse told on him to our attending. Who laughed.


  1. I guess doctors too go through stuff. He probably was frustrated.

  2. Was the attending a man or a woman?

  3. O
    Working nights as a nurse is hard because you don't want to call the MD with something that they may find insignificant. When I worked nights and I needed to report an assessment finding that was not urgent, but needed to be reported, I called at 7am ( change of shift). It is not fair to pass this on to the nurse coming on shift. The MD might have questions, and I would be in the best place to answer them since I took care of the patient all night. The nurse who was yelled at should have spoke with the offending MD instead of going right to the attending.

    1. We appreciate SO much when nurses hold off until morning for important but non urgent information, but still make sure to report it first hand. It makes a huge difference and I thank you sincerely for that.

  4. Another doctor might have torn the nurse a new one for not reporting that finding.

  5. Yelling at nurses is a no-no, especially for resident. That'll come back and bit you every time. Conversely, being nice to the nurses can pay off big time!

  6. When I want to send info with minimal disturbance to the recipient, I text. Maybe a solution?

  7. Attending obviously grew up the same way. What an ass.

  8. OMDG: The attending was a man.

    Alice: I agree.

    jojotogo: I guess the problem with text paging is that if they don't return the page, you don't know if it was received. But you have a point. When I was on that rotation, I used to answer text pages at any point during the evening, because I figured it was easier for me than the on call person who didn't know the patient.

    Grumpy: Actually, the attending was a really nice guy. I think he just didn't want to make it into a big thing.

  9. I think its completely ridiculous how many stories there are of docs yelling at nurses. To me that's so immoral, not only does it show how prideful one is, it must also destroy the peace of the workplace. That should be part of ethics 101, don't yell at you peers or those who are under you. Jeez!