Doctors...Arrogant, Abusive and Disruptive?

chpueblo22

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There was an article in the NY Times today about "arrogant, abusive and disruptive" physicians. It is written primarily from a nurse/non-physician health care professional POV but discusses some of the well-known issues in the field. I think all of us could sympathize with the overworked resident they mention in the article...not the way he handled the situation, but the way he was probably feeling at the time.

Anyways, it is obvious that the stress and overworked nature of the profession (especially in residency years) will not be changing anytime soon...so how do we prevent people turning into the type of physician mentioned in the article....or do you think that some physicians are just inherently like that and there is nothing to do about it?

Oh yes, here is the article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/02/health/02rage.html?8dpc
 

Docere

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Unfortunately, that's just how a lot of doctors react under stress. While I understand that, it still doesn't justify how such a doctor treated the nurses who worked with him.

When I went to the hospital to volunteer for the first time, the first thing the nurses told me when they found out I was premed was that when I become a resident/doctor, ALWAYS be nice to the nurse: you never know when they'd be useful.

But I've found that some doctors just let all the prestige and the money get to their head and become arrogant. You'll meet those people in almost any good position - doctors just get a lot of heat for it since they have human lives in their hands while they're throwing their hissy fits.

I have more to say on this topic since I took a course on it, but it's a little late and my brain's a bit fried.
 
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umean2tellme

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I'm a nurse who's gonna be an m1 next year. I have encountered many rude and arrogant physicians in my time as a nurse, but surprisingly no residents that were like this. All of the arrogant people were attendings. I mean sometimes they reprimanded a nurse/administrator justly, but there are sometimes they just blow up for no apparent reason. I understand medicine is a lot of stress but there's no reason to try and belittle someone b/c you feel superior to them. It's even funnier that all of these docs that are so arrogant all come from foreign countries and are FMGs. NOt that there is anything wrong with that, but you're working in a country foreign to you and have the audacity to be rude and arrogant. I would go to another country as a doc and treat people that way. :thumbdown:
 

facetguy

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I'm a nurse who's gonna be an m1 next year. I have encountered many rude and arrogant physicians in my time as a nurse, but surprisingly no residents that were like this. All of the arrogant people were attendings. I mean sometimes they reprimanded a nurse/administrator justly, but there are sometimes they just blow up for no apparent reason. I understand medicine is a lot of stress but there's no reason to try and belittle someone b/c you feel superior to them. It's even funnier that all of these docs that are so arrogant all come from foreign countries and are FMGs. NOt that there is anything wrong with that, but you're working in a country foreign to you and have the audacity to be rude and arrogant. I would go to another country as a doc and treat people that way. :thumbdown:

Of course, no American docs ever act this way, right? Just FMGs. Yeah, OK.
 

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I agree that too many physicians behave like arrogant, abusive and disruptive jerks but articles such as this frustrate me. I have worked closely with nurses for several years and they also treat those “less significant” than themselves horribly. They are often viewed as victims instead of contributors to a damaging cycle.

People working in a health care setting need to tone down the egos and focus on the bottom line – delivering top notch care to those who need it.
 

umean2tellme

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Of course, no American docs ever act this way, right? Just FMGs. Yeah, OK.

I wasn't trying to say only FMG's act this way, but I am saying from my experience that's what I most see at my job. I work in Miami which has a very large latin population, including the physicians. I understand that American docs act that way as well.
 

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silverhorse84

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I feel that you find this in every part of the health care "hierarchy." As an EMT, there are paramedic partners of mine who have the whole paraGod complex and do things like introduce me to the pt as "their assistant." I may not have the same skills as the paramedic, but that doesn't mean I'm less important - I have more medical knowledge than some of them :p (which you also see with some nurses vs physicians, especially if the nurse has been around a lot longer than the physician).

I've also seen nurses look down upon my paramedic partners (and me by association). I've seen physicians do it.

On the flip side, I have medic partners that I love working with because they do treat me as equal and when we have a non-emergent pt they let me take the lead and they do all the background stuff I usually do. I've also seen a lot of nurses and physicians I would love working with if I did work in the ER. In my area, I feel the "good" medics, nurses, physicians, etc outnumber the "mean" ones, but that may just be my area...:oops:
 
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musicalmedicine

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Unfortunately, that's just how a lot of doctors react under stress. While I understand that, it still doesn't justify how such a doctor treated the nurses who worked with him.

When I went to the hospital to volunteer for the first time, the first thing the nurses told me when they found out I was premed was that when I become a resident/doctor, ALWAYS be nice to the nurse: you never know when they'd be useful.

But I've found that some doctors just let all the prestige and the money get to their head and become arrogant. You'll meet those people in almost any good position - doctors just get a lot of heat for it since they have human lives in their hands while they're throwing their hissy fits.

I have more to say on this topic since I took a course on it, but it's a little late and my brain's a bit fried.

The nurses said the same thing to me but it was more like nurse-"what kind of doctor do you want to be?" me-"probably some specialty in surgery, but that could change." a different nurse-"the right answer is a nice one."
 

CHAINCHOMPER

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Those three traits completely describe me!

I am always arrogant and try to prove to other pre-meddies in my class that their "arguments" in a bio class are wrong and I am right b/c I studied 5 hours just to pass.

I was abusive to my girlfriend, too bad she left me because she was injured somewhere

I am always disprutive in class by burping really loudly and howling like a wolf when bio teachers use sex organs as a topic.

I guess this means it's destiny that I chose doctor as a profession!:D
 

diosa428

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I agree that too many physicians behave like arrogant, abusive and disruptive jerks but articles such as this frustrate me. I have worked closely with nurses for several years and they also treat those “less significant” than themselves horribly. They are often viewed as victims instead of contributors to a damaging cycle.

People working in a health care setting need to tone down the egos and focus on the bottom line – delivering top notch care to those who need it.

I agree with this. I would say that the best nurses are dismissive towards medical students and the worst nurses are downright rude and ignore you or yell at you if you ask them to do something (and it's not like you're just looking for work to give them - you are TOLD by your RESIDENT or ATTENDING to ask/tell the nurse something)... and then they wonder why doctors treat them like crap. Do they not make the connection? Medical student --> doctor. Also, how come it's always "treat the nurses nicely or they'll make your life hell"??? Why do they get to make your life hell? Sure, if someone is inappropriately mean to you, then I could see retaliating... but a lot of nurses get angry if you yell at them for paging you at 3 am for something that could wait (and they know that it could wait)... hello? Nobody wants to be woken up for something that is not important. I don't think the nurses would appreciate it if it were them either.
 

Docere

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Yeah, I've met some harsh nurses too who treat not only med students with indifference but also patients. I thought these were the minority though :/

But then again, I've never met any incredibly rude doctors.
 

rayden001

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As an inpatient transporter at an fairly large hospital for about 3 years, I can attest to the unfortunate presence of systemic hierarchy.

There is definitely enough blame to go around. Doctors who would stand in the hallway chatting and ignore my plea for them to move out of the way before they get their legs broken by a 1 ton sand bed moving with full momentum or the nurse who feels the need to loudly ridicule the 400lbs patient in the nurses circle, or the PCA who assumes that taking blood sugar readings is a license to belittle the duties of transporters or housekeepers.

But that is LIFE people.
 

cpants

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Dr. William A. Norcross, director of a program at the University of California, San Diego, that offers anger management for physicians, agreed. But he added, “About 3 to 4 percent of doctors are disruptive, but that’s a big number, and they really gum up the works.” Experts say the leading offenders are specialists in high-pressure fields like neurosurgery, orthopedics and cardiology.

Is it just me or does 3 to 4 percent seem really low? I am proud of us. I have worked in fields where it seemed like way more than 4 percent of my coworkers were a-holes.

Also, if you are ignoring a dangerous situation just because you are intimidated by a superior, that is on you, not the jerky superior. People need to get some thicker skin.
 

diosa428

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As an inpatient transporter at an fairly large hospital for about 3 years, I can attest to the unfortunate presence of systemic hierarchy.

There is definitely enough blame to go around. Doctors who would stand in the hallway chatting and ignore my plea for them to move out of the way before they get their legs broken by a 1 ton sand bed moving with full momentum or the nurse who feels the need to loudly ridicule the 400lbs patient in the nurses circle, or the PCA who assumes that taking blood sugar readings is a license to belittle the duties of transporters or housekeepers.

But that is LIFE people.

Yeah those examples are examples of life, and they suck. But they're really not the same as when people being jerks affects the care (LIVES) of patients - which can happen in a hospital, when a doctor is being an a**, like the one in the article, or when the nurse pages the dr like 16 times in the middle of the night for no reason leaving the dr is sleep deprived and makes bad decisions, or when 1,000 other things happen because people are communicating poorly (to put it mildly).
 

nevercold

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The important points not to be glossed over are these:

1) There is no reason to yell at anyone unless they are hard of hearing or the ambient volume is too loud for normal speaking. Anger is specific human reaction designed to produce a negative effect on its recipient and as should be obvious, doesn't produce positive outcomes.

2) You should be nice to everyone (which does not preclude being honest). It makes you feel better, makes them feel better, and eventually can come back to you in a positive way. If you're stuck at the hospital for 70-80 hours a week, you really should think about making it a somewhat good place to be.

I've gotten those "Doctor, the potassium is 3.8 (normal 4.0-5.0) on this totally stable patient" pages at 3am. But hey, it's a night nurse working her normal hours and just trying to make sure she's not missing anything on the people in her care. She might not have thought about the time or didn't want to leave it till later lest she forget. And if she was trying to be mean, why give her the satisfaction of the response she was trying to provoke? I just say, "Thank you for relaying that information, but I think we'll be okay to wait until tomorrow morning's lab draw to do anything different." Takes two seconds and then I'm back to sleep.

The resident's mistake in the article was not just his/her attitude, it was not trusting the nurse's judgment. Day or night, you should take a worried nurse very seriously. For every time they're worried about nothing, they'll be worried about something very real and you'll be counting your blessings that they caught it! If that resident hasn't gotten that by now, he certainly isn't a very good learner.

Most doctors really do well at these things, and like the article said, many of us and our health care systems are just not willing to put up with those that don't play nice anymore.
 

Kaustikos

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Is it just me or does 3 to 4 percent seem really low? I am proud of us. I have worked in fields where it seemed like way more than 4 percent of my coworkers were a-holes.

Also, if you are ignoring a dangerous situation just because you are intimidated by a superior, that is on you, not the jerky superior. People need to get some thicker skin.
Seriously. Since when did anything under 10% become a big number? Unless you're discussing viability with medications.

Let's sample EVERY job in the united states and make a percentage of people that are disruptive in each of those fields. This is just outrageous.
 

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I wish we could all say what we think, what we mean, and mean what we say when we say it. I wish we could let go of our egos and realize that we are all the same. I also wish money never came into existence.

But of course, this is all wishful thinking.

I hope to become nothing less than a friendly, caring, well-liked and easily-approachable physician. This will be accomplished through the use of benzodiazepines, which will suppress any built-up stress or emotional baggage.
 
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FIREitUP

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I think you will find that this type of behavior is not isolated to doctors, but to anyone with power. many people feel that by demeaning their inferiors (i.e., people lower on the job hierarchy), they are validating their worth. these people come from all walks of life, and I feel that it is generalizations like these that propagate anti-doctor sentiments. basically the guy was just a run of the mill ass****.
 

Kaustikos

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I hope to become nothing less than a friendly, caring, well-liked and easily-approachable physician. This will be accomplished through the use of benzodiazepines, which will suppress any built-up stress or emotional baggage.
"Are you high?"

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mydodger

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ALWAYS be nice to the nurse: you never know when they'd be useful.
very true:thumbup:

Also, be nice to janitors and secretaries. In my industry, having a working relationship with the secretary of your boss and their boss can make things work much more smoothly in your favor. And janitors keep your office and bathrooms clean, they deserve for you to be nice to them.

And my extra fries tell me that it's nice to know the office cafeteria lady by name as well.

So in general, just be nice.
 

dragonfly99

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Hmmm...I'm not buying in to this.
I have seen more nurses acting inappropriately than doctors.
Arrogant behavior is not limited to doctors by any stretch of the imagination.
Articles like this just lead to public distrust of physicians, which I think is a bad thing.

By the way, I know someone who was sent to get treatment for being a "disruptive physician". It was a resident (no it is NOT me...for those of you who never believe the 'I have a friend' stories). The person was sent away for several weeks, kept with other doctors who had slept with patients, used drugs, etc. The reason was because the doctor had yelled at some people. Not that that was a perfect response, but a patient was dying and things needed to be done quickly and the patient needed to be transferred to another floor, etc. and the nurses and some others were refusing to do that. So there are two sides to most of these stories. I do think there are some doctors (and others) who can benefit from anger management, but I feel that some of these "let's prevent disruptive physician" initiatives become witch hunts and they can become a way for hospital administrations to exert more power over doctors. Sometimes this could end up being at the expense of patient care. Yes, aggressive and angry people, including doctors, can harm patient care, but sometimes medical care is not all about smiling and tiptoeing through the tulips. When people are acutely dying sometimes somebody has to take responsibility and sometimes that involves telling other people to do things faster, or do things they don't want to do, or do things they don't understand because YOU the doctor do understand what needs to be done in that particular situation.
 

teddybear

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Hmmm...I'm not buying in to this.
I have seen more nurses acting inappropriately than doctors.
Arrogant behavior is not limited to doctors by any stretch of the imagination.
Articles like this just lead to public distrust of physicians, which I think is a bad thing.

By the way, I know someone who was sent to get treatment for being a "disruptive physician". It was a resident (no it is NOT me...for those of you who never believe the 'I have a friend' stories). The person was sent away for several weeks, kept with other doctors who had slept with patients, used drugs, etc. The reason was because the doctor had yelled at some people. Not that that was a perfect response, but a patient was dying and things needed to be done quickly and the patient needed to be transferred to another floor, etc. and the nurses and some others were refusing to do that. So there are two sides to most of these stories. I do think there are some doctors (and others) who can benefit from anger management, but I feel that some of these "let's prevent disruptive physician" initiatives become witch hunts and they can become a way for hospital administrations to exert more power over doctors. Sometimes this could end up being at the expense of patient care. Yes, aggressive and angry people, including doctors, can harm patient care, but sometimes medical care is not all about smiling and tiptoeing through the tulips. When people are acutely dying sometimes somebody has to take responsibility and sometimes that involves telling other people to do things faster, or do things they don't want to do, or do things they don't understand because YOU the doctor do understand what needs to be done in that particular situation.

Thanks.
 

Kaustikos

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Also, be nice to janitors and secretaries. In my industry, having a working relationship with the secretary of your boss and their boss can make things work much more smoothly in your favor. And janitors keep your office and bathrooms clean, they deserve for you to be nice to them.

And my extra fries tell me that it's nice to know the office cafeteria lady by name as well.

So in general, just be nice.
My janitor for my dorms gave me and my friends free deer jerky every christmas/ time he went hunting. :thumbup: You're right about that.
 

Loon

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I have seen more nurses acting inappropriately than doctors.

You have probably also seen way more nurses than doctors. :)

In other news, there is a definite danger of necessary reactions to a definite problem overdoing it and creating more problems.

Also, no matter what your profession, always realize that the pit crew is every bit as important as the driver, even if the driver is the one who gets the name recognition. If you treat the people that work with you, "for" you or "under" you like crap, you will feel it. Treat them like people and all of your lives will be fantastically better.
 

NurWollen

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Many nurses also treat each other horribly, and some nursing leaders are finally speaking out about it. See http://www.americannursetoday.com/M...91&tier=4&id=A85771DE6A0C415DA7B13560B0C4A60B


Yeah, my mother has been an RN for 30 years, I have listened to her stories, and I have been shocked at the coniving, backstabbing attitudes and so on that nurses can put eachother through.

I think you get all kinds of doctors. I certainly know a few who have quite agreeable personalities, and some who don't.
 

NurWollen

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The entire pre-med/med school/residency pressure cooker is almost perfectly designed for breeding hyper-competitive jerks. It will be very difficult to ever fix...

Yeah, it is, but I think it's us pre-meds that freak our selves out. I don't think we have to be as stressed out as we act sometimes. Alot of pre-meds I've met (probably myself included) like to go on and on about how long they've gone without sleep or food and other stuff. I think it makes us feel important or smarter or something.

At least three docs that I've talked to have suggested that I don't stress too much. To paraphrase my FP, who is a US MD grad, "look, I decided to go to med school half-way through undergrad. I had a 3.3 GPA. I got several C's. I made it. Just do what you need to do and enjoy life."

Several others said the same thing.

Of course, that's easy for them to say with undergrad and the MCAT and even their residency match long behind them.
 
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