Monday, July 30, 2012

It's easier to bother you

On a weekend call I did during residency, I was in the hospital till 6PM on a Saturday. I was exhausted and relieved as I was driving home, but naturally, about 10 minutes after I left, I got a page.

I had to pull over to answer it, because I didn't have my hands-free device and I lived in a state where driving while talking on a cell phone is illegal.

Nurse: "Did you write that restraint order I told you about?"

Me: [gritting my teeth] "Yes, I did."

I was pretty pissed off. Instead of picking up the chart right next to her to see the order was there, the nurse decided to page me while I was driving home. Kind of shows a lack of respect for me, I think.


  1. Before I started residency a friend who was already a 2nd year resident warned me - never upset the nurse, if you ever, they will intentionally bother you for the rest of your training. It is just too sad that there is antagonistic culture between nurses and doctors.

    1. All well and true. The problems -really- start when the nurse gets upset over something bizarrely noninsulting and irrelevant and all-round unimportant. While most are awesome and don't employ this tactic anyway, I've met a few nurses who felt the correct order of the world was to be insulted by the resident (who's an incompetent idiot anyway, as we all know) and they took their task seriously.

    2. I agree Snarky. While there are residents out there who behave badly towards nurses, the vast majority do not. Yet there is always some nurse who MUST take her pound of flesh from every single resident (s)he works with. The best (only) antidote is to pretend it doesn't bother you and to make sure you show them how much you value them. Sadly, some are impervious even to these measures.

    3. This nurse didn't even know me though. I was just covering for the weekend.

      There can be an antagonistic relationship between nurses and docs but there doesn't have to be. I absolutely love the nurses I work with right now. I love some more than others, but they're really all great in their own way.

  2. I can't say I've had too many bad experiences like that (in fact, most RNs I've worked with have been great!), but I always felt more tension on the general medicine floor. All the usual can-so-and-so-have-some-zopiclone-at-8pm and the like.

    On ICU earlier this month, there was one younger nurse who took it upon herself to call a consultant directly about her patient - even though the official word on rounds was that we NOT be consulting to that service that day. Thankfully she must have just paged the resident, who had to call us back (of course), and to whom the R2 had to explain that the patient had not actually been consulted. This RN was certainly a great advocate for her patient, but suggesting a bunch of new consults and tests (she wanted an EEG) on a holiday Monday that weren't really indicated was a bit much.

  3. It's like the 4am page that could really wait until 6am. Like "uh, the IV fell out, and the antibiotics are due at 8am and he still has fever! Should we give Advil?"
    Normally at 4am I'm too tired to care and don't have the energy to get mad.
    But, SERIOUSLY??

  4. As an RN - I apologize for lazy is so embarassing that some nurses find it ok to sit at the computer most of their shift. I can't believe the phone calls some of my co-workers bother the physicians with and at night, of all times...

  5. Sherlock Holmes:
    You're in the Midwest and you "lived in a state where driving while talking on a cell phone is illegal."

    Badabing, badaboom, you live in Illinois!