Doctor bullying. What exactly is that? Here is an article, first found in Slate Magazine, but now on Business Insider, that talks about a secret problem most nurses have had to deal with on a daily basis. Now, I have worked with many, many doctors over the years and I can say that only one physician ever bullied me. But, there it is. I was bullied by my doctor who was supposed to be working with me to help my patients get better.
In my case, I decided to stand up for myself and I had a very long and frank discussion with the physician in the break room. Did it help? Yes it did. Did it stop him from bullying other nurses? No it did not. Did he ever get called on the carpet for his behavior? Not that I am aware of.
Nursing is stressful enough without adding the aspect of doctor bullying to the stew. In this article, which promotes a book–I know, you can see some of the issues nurses have to deal with daily that have a big impact on patient care and they have absolutely no control over.
I am not promoting the book but I am advocating for nurses, so I hope you take the time to read this article to the end and see what you think about it.
- Oct. 23, 2016, 3:38 PM
A doctor-bully epidemic is jeopardizing both nurses and patients. In news reports and hospital break rooms, stories abound of physicians berating nurses, hurling profanities, or even physically threatening or assaulting them. Doctors are shoving nurses in the operating room; throwing stethoscopes, scissors, pens, or surgical instruments.
In Maryland, a surgeon yelled, “Are you stupid or something?” at a nurse and hurled a bloody surgical sponge at him. A surgeon threw a scalpel at a Virginia nurse, who told me, “He was angry because I didn’t have a rare piece of equipment he needed, so he endangered me and several others by throwing a tantrum.”
Many things surprised me during the reporting for my new book, The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with the Heroes of the Hospital, which follows the stories of four nurses and is based on interviews with hundreds of other nurses across the country.
But this disturbing problem was one of the more shocking discoveries when nurses pulled back the curtain. Most nurses have witnessed or been the victims of doctor bullying.
A 2013 Institute for Safe Medication Practices survey found that in the year prior, 87 percent of nurses had encountered physicians who had a “reluctance or refusal to answer your questions, or return calls,” 74 percent experienced physicians’ “condescending or demeaning comments or insults,” and 26 percent of nurses had objects thrown at them by doctors. Physicians shamed, humiliated, or spread malicious rumors about 42 percent of the surveyed nurses. A New York critical care nurse told me, “Every single nurse I know has been verbally berated by a doctor. Every single one.”
“Every single nurse I know has been verbally berated by a doctor. Every single one.”
Why is doctor bullying veiled in organizational silence? Nurses may be afraid to report doctors because they believe administrators will refuse to penalize physicians who generate revenue or garner media accolades. Nurses worry they might lose their own jobs in retaliation, or they fear the stigma of being perceived by colleagues as a whistleblower.
Read the rest of this article here.