A nurse who knits…

November 30, 2006

Just need to vent…

Filed under: Nursing — yarnnut @ 6:33 am

I worked today and work again tomorrow so… no knitting was done.  But I did have an interesting day at work.  Now, maybe some of you won’t understand this post because it’s mostly about being chewed out by a doctor.  Nurses unfortunately I think will relate too well.
A  doctor wanted to discharge a patient.  I talked to her about the patient’s condition including his wacky blood sugar and blood pressure readings.  She was really short with me and just asked if his adenosine stress test was finished.  I told her that it was performed at noon and that the results weren’t posted yet.  She told me that she’d write discharge orders and that i could let the patient go after the test results came back normal.   So, I called her at 4 to tell her that the results came it.  She didn’t call me back until 5 pm when I was with another patient.  I answered the phone as soon as I could and as I said hello, she said I took too long and hung up on me.  I let a few minutes go by and called her back to read the results to her.  She told me to check with another doc and then he could go home.  So the other doc cleared him.  I proceeded to type up the paperwork and found that the two docs had written prescriptions that listed the same drugs but different doses.  On top of that, the woman doc had one med that no one (including all the nurses and the pharmacist) could read.  So I called her to clarify.  She barked back that I needed to use hers.  Then I asked her about the illegible med.  She yelled on the phone that she was tired of my questions and she hung up on me again.

Now that I think about it, I should have called her back and told her that I refused to discharge her patient until she provided for his safety by reading back the drug to me.  The charge nurse told me that it was probably a multivitamin because he was an alcoholic.  Can you believe how rude this doc was?  I was just trying to ensure this patient’s safety and she told me that she wouldn’t answer my questions.  I asked around and all the nurses thought I should get this doc written up.  I will… when I go back to work tomorrow.  It’s just scary to me thinking that there are doctors like this who are willing to compromise their patient’s safety like that.  I decided that the next doctor that does that to me won’t get their patient’s discharged until they clarify their orders.  Maybe then, their handwriting will become more legible.  Doctors are supposed to be smart people.  Too bad there are some that are stupid when it comes to communication.



  1. unfortunately, you’re going to come across this more often than not. keep calling until you get your answers. if you are calling for good reason, re-explain it to the doc. don’t forget to document!!! and kudo’s to you for writing reporting the doc (although i would have said something to the doc directly, too). what an a$$hole! it’s part of her job to answer questions about her patients. (that just burns me up!!)

    Comment by crankygrrrrrl — November 30, 2006 @ 3:58 pm | Reply

  2. i think in every industry, you’re going to have to deal with people who don’t know how to treat others with respect. hubby tells me all the time of some of his co-workers who have absolutely no respect for people. some people feel they are entitled to treat others like that. it’s ridiculous and it’s a shame.

    Comment by ruth — November 30, 2006 @ 7:33 pm | Reply

  3. gail,
    take it from an old broad/nurse, don’t take s___ from anyone. i have had lots of issues recently w/ a doctor and i finally went to the union and human resources and the she has been warned. i read your blog last night and was immediately ticked off. (pi____, actually) it’s not just doctors either, i have worked with nurses who are as bad. so stand your ground and don’t put up with that crap from ANYONE!! ah, thanks for letting me get that off my chest!

    Comment by susan — December 1, 2006 @ 4:37 pm | Reply

  4. as previously noted, call until you get a correct answer. document in the chart word for word. if there are witnesses to your calling and the questions you asked then so much the better, write them down for your own personal reference. THEN search in your policy and procedure book for the policy about workplace protocol. in our facitily it refers to the creation of a hostile work environment. most polocies like this list several instances. make a lot of copies and place them behind the incident report sheet.
    here is what you do:
    write out the incident as objectively as possible. list the number of times you called and why. tell how long it took you to obtain an answer from the doctor that was safe for your patient. and continue to document.
    in our hospital, once we started leaving a papertrail and then medical director had enough instances, he began to discipline the MDs. it does work.

    Comment by Kelly — December 5, 2006 @ 4:16 pm | Reply

  5. Good for you in your decision about how to handle this type of confllict in the future. Stick to it, too.

    Comment by susieshoes — December 31, 2006 @ 8:15 am | Reply

  6. Doctors now like to claim that their handwriting doesn’t need legibility “because soon we’ll all have completely electronic records anyway.” However … Among the hospitals that call me in to prevent medication errors (by giving handwriting classes to the doctors), a fairly high percentage claim to have “computerized everything” 1 or 2 or 5 or more years ago … yet they still have handwriting problems, because of a crucial 1% to 5% of handwritten documentation that just won’t go away. Doctors in “totally computerized” hospitals still scribble Post-Its to slap on the walls of the nurse’s station, still scrawl notes on the cuffs of their scrubs during impromptu elevator/corridor conferences with colleagues … and, most of all, doctors with computer systems often have the ward clerks operate the computers, use the Net, or whatever: working, of course, from the doctors’ illegible handwriting. Bad doctor handwriting, incorrectly deciphered by ward clerks using the computer for any purpose, therefore remains part of the medical record. And what happens when disasters like Hurricane Katrina knock out a hospital’s network? More than one hospital, during Katrina, lost its generator, its electric power — and therefore its computer system — for the duration. Even the computer-savviest staff at these locations therefore had to return to handwriting. Kate Gladstone – Handwriting Repair – http://learn.to/handwrite

    Comment by Kate Gladstone — January 16, 2007 @ 3:36 pm | Reply

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