The world of medicine is like a bubble. A lot of people THINK they know what goes on there, but unless you're down in the trenches it's unlikely you do. So here is my semi-anonymous blog, here to tell you what really goes on in the life of a medical resident.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Why the Nurses Love Me

Yesterday morning I was rounding on a patient who is on the surgical floor, awaiting an ERCP. I was discussing some issues with the charge nurse when a middle-aged man in scrubs approached the desk.

"Who is Sue?" He boomed, clearly expecting immediate attention.

The charge nurse turned to him. "We've both been working here over 20 years and you still don't know my name?"

The man in scrubs shrugged, clearly unmoved. "Nurses are generic."

And with that, he grabbed a chart, spun on one heel and left. Nurses rolled their eyes in the general direction of his back.

"Who the hell was that?" I had to know, if for no other reason than to avoid him carefully in the future.

"Dr. Pompous,"* she replied. "He's the oral surgeon. He doesn't come in much, which is probably why you haven't met him yet."

Thank God. So Sue and I go back to our discussion of how to best reverse my patient's anticoagulation until Dr. Pompous blows back into the nursing station.

"I want her NPO today before I touch her." He announced. I had been in mid-sentence, a fact which clearly did not faze Dr. Pompous. He stepped in front of me to address Sue as though I wasn't even there.

I saw red. This kind of bullsh*t might be shrugged off my the nurses, but I didn't have to play the academic hierarchy game anymore.

"Oh, I'm sorry," I said loudly, "I thought I was speaking here."

Dr. Pompous stopped in mid-sentence. He turned to face me with an eyebrow raised, clearly trying to size me up.

"I'm sorry," he said, clearly not sorry in the least. "I'm Dr. Pompous. And you are?"

"Dr. Couz," I replied, putting the emphasis on the title. I didn't explain further.

That changed the game a bit. He sputtered a bit, then backed down and let me continue my conversation with the charge nurse.

If I were a little gutsier, I would have replied: "I'll try to remember your name, but surgeons are generic."

Freaking surgeons.

* Names have been changed to protect the innocent... and the pompous.

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Blogger A girl said...

Oh this is so funny, Dr.Couz! While I am praising surgeons on my blog, you are totally trashing them on yours. Awesome

11:13 PM

Blogger JL said...

Good on you! Way to put the asshole in his place!

2:51 PM

Blogger Couz said...

Hey, 'a girl'! (I love your blog, too, BTW)

I'm not trashing surgeons TOO hard... for the first three years of med school I wanted to be one. But then I realized that I valued my life outside of the hospital too much to give it up (see previous post for aforementioned mentality).

Glad you're loving surgery!

5:47 PM

Blogger A Bohemian Road Nurse said...

Not a very nice character. My Eddie Haskell personality would have a field day with the guy....

6:40 PM

Blogger Branwen said...

Ouch! If he treats staff like that I'd hate to see what his bedside manner is like.

11:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it amazing interesting that we have the same mentality in academics as well...

9:36 AM

Blogger The Ambivalent MSILF said...

Ho. Ly. Crap.

Well, we all know whose coffee is getting peed in when the nurses make the coffee run.

12:35 PM

Blogger girlvet said...

What surprises me is that youand the other commentors found this behavior so unusual....this is the daily experience of the nurse. You know the nurses....the ones who saves the butt of doctors every day of the week.

12:49 PM

Blogger Frank said...

Hi, a bit about me... wm 50, rides a little folding bike around the hospitals I work in (all affiliated with the medical school that's my employer) 'cause I was run over ~30 years ago, pelvis and spinal breaks...

I've spent a lot of time either as a patient or an employee...

but... nurses go to the top of the list for MY service calls (I'm the computer guy) 'cause it's the nurses that keep it all together, they're the ones who call when you NEED them and you have to ring, they're the ones that give you your injections, they tolerate your bad jokes when you're in a far away hospital with no visitors stuck in a med in traction for months... the list goes on and on...

saw a book years ago... Title: Doctors Don't Keep People Alive (subtitle: nurses do)

yea NURSES are #1

10:04 PM

Blogger Couz said...

Just because one surgeon is an asshole, doesn't mean that's the prevailing ideology behind physicians in general.

I like nurses as much as the next person, but was the 'save the butt of doctors' really necessary? Yes, the nurses run the show on the floor, but it's a TEAM effort.

10:39 PM

Blogger ditzydoctor said...

hullo! first time here. way to go! =D

12:27 PM

Anonymous Mc Beezy said...

youre so FRIKIN awesome for that! I know im a few years late but i love your blog!

11:55 PM


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