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Doctors and nurses work together to provide patients the best care. But you know that everyone has a pet peeve. In this six-minute video, new medical resident Siobhan Deshauer, MD talks with nurses about how physicians get on their nerves. What follows is a transcript…
Siobhan: Hey, guys. I’m Siobhan, a first-year medical resident. I figured today we could talk about how doctors and nurses get along, specifically the things that doctors do that really annoy nurses. It’s really tough as residents because we just kind of parachute into these ICU teams, which are really well formed. They all know each other well. They know how things work and we just need to figure out how it goes on the fly really quickly. The reason that I think this is so important is because this is a team. If we work and communicate better together, it should be better for patient care. Let’s go figure this out. The number one pet peeve that doctors will do.
Pet Peeve: Respect Nurses and Patients
Female Nurse #1: Not introducing yourself when you come into a patient’s room. Like I was telling you before, there was a doctor that walked into my room this morning wearing a winter jacket, boots, and no ID on him whatsoever. He came up and started reaching for my chart instantly. I was like, “Hi! Sorry, why are you touching my chart? Who are you?” Like, any indication? Introduce yourself! Introduce yourself to the patient and the nurse.
Siobhan: We can do that. We can do better at that.
In a Shared Workspace, Respect the Nurse’s Computer
Female Nurse #2: Respecting the nurses’ workspace because you do have your own personal workspace.
Female Nurse #3: I was also going to add that it’s a shared workspace. But sometimes when you’re thinking and you’re thinking for a really long time, that space is just…
Female Nurse #2: There’s a lot of people.
Female Nurse #3: Yeah, there is a lot of people and sometimes you just need… we need that space because it’s the only one we have.
Siobhan: Yeah, you’re actually working on a computer…
Pet Peeve: “RING! RING!” Pick up the Phone…
Female Nurse #3: Yeah. It’s kind of like, “Can you do that stuff and get out?” Because I need to be there. But it’s a shared space obviously and we all respect that for each other. I was just going to say pick up the phone. If it’s ringing, pick it up! It’s not my phone.
Siobhan: You mean even if it’s the phone, even if someone is paging us back?
Female Nurse #2: Yep, wherever you are.
Female Nurse #3: Any phone. Any phone. If you’re walking down the hall and the phone rings…
Siobhan: Just like…
Female Nurse #2: You pick it up.
Female Nurse #3: You’re part of the team. Pick it up. “Hello, ICU. Hang on. Okay, I’ll get you somebody else.” Just pick it up. Usually what happens is you’re sitting in the workspace and you’re taking up this workspace, and we’re probably sitting there like, “Okay. Well, fine, I’ll go do something.” You come back and they’re still there. The phone’s ringing and nobody’s answering, but they are still in the workspace. The phone is still ringing. Pick it up.
Siobhan: That’s amazing. Thank you! I will pick it up. Wow! This is actually very useful to hear all these things just even as a reminder. Let’s go see if there are some more nurses that have a minute to give us their feedback. The number one pet peeve, things that doctors do that you just hate, okay.
Pet Peeve: Again, Respect the Nurse’s Computer, Communicate, and Remember That You Are Not the Nurse’s Boss
Male Nurse #1: Maybe not number one. But when residents or doctors just hop on your computer and look up all these different patients under your name, which compromises my license. Thanks, guys.
Siobhan: Yeah, that’s really bad. That’s really bad. What would be the number one piece of advice that you would give to residents?
Female Nurse #4: Just communication is key. Communication, patient safety, and respect for your colleagues. Don’t think of yourself as we’re in a hierarchy. Again, when I worked on a ward, there was definitely a hierarchy between physicians and nursing staff. Whereas, it’s kind of like you’re not my boss. No. We are meant to work together. We’re a team. We all, I think, some doctors forget that I’m here mainly as a patient advocate and I spend 12 hours a day with them. I spend 12 hours a day with their families. Whereas you guys, yes, you’re all highly intelligent, but you have numerous other patients to see. Just kind of taking into consideration what nursing staff and other members of allied health have to say.
Siobhan: What would be your number one piece of advice for new residents like me?
Pet Peeve: Respect Patients’ Privacy
Female Nurse #5: Carry around an awareness of how immune to privacy, invading people’s privacy, nudity, things that are just commonplace in the hospital. You know what? We’re all guilty of it, walking through that curtain that’s drawn, because we’re trying to address a patient issue. Patients and their families, nurses at the bedside, really appreciate just like a quick hello from the other side of the curtain. “Hey! It’s Dr. so-and-so. Do you mind if I come in?”
Siobhan: I wouldn’t walk up to your room and just like walk in your bedroom door. Right? Like that just seems…
Female Nurse #5: That’s what I am saying.
Siobhan: What if you are changing or anything, right? Just knock. It’s the same thing, right? Pet peeve from doctors.
Pet Peeve: Nurses are Not Your Servants. Clean Up.
Female Nurse #6: One of my pet peeves that I have experienced is that the doctor will come in and do a procedure requiring sterile towels, dressing tray, lots of sharps, and sutures, and they’ll leave it all. They’ll do the procedure and then they’ll leave, leaving the nurse to clean up everything. Really, they should take care of the sharps and ask, “Where can I put these things?” I’d be glad to tell them.
Siobhan: Yeah, that’s so incredibly reasonable and a good reminder.
Female Nurse #7: Just being aware of everyone around that’s participating in rounds.
Siobhan: So not like doing this. [TURNS BACK]
Female Nurse #7: That’s right. Don’t turn your back to the nurse.
Nursing Students are Still Naive. Treasure Them.
Siobhan: As a nursing student, are there things that doctors do that just really bother you?
Female Nurse #7: As a nursing student, I wouldn’t say I’ve had too many negative experiences yet.
Female Nurse #7: I would say a lot of them are positive. You guys are very informative and easy to talk to, so overall a positive experience with residents.
Siobhan: That’s awesome! We’ll see. We’ll ask you in like 5 years.
Female Nurse #7: Yes, ask me again in 5 years.
Siobhan: Thank you so much to all of the nurses who helped out with this film. It was fantastic. It was really fun and it gave me a lot to sort of think about and good reminders. Don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already and I will be chatting with you guys next week. Bye for now.
Siobhan Deshauer, MD, is an internal medicine resident in Toronto. Before medicine, she was a violinist, which is why her YouTube channel is called Violin MD.
Previously published in MedPage Today.
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