5 Nursing Tips On How To Deal With Difficult Doctors

It’s no secret that some doctors can be unprofessional, abusive, rude, demeaning, and sexist. And as a nurse, being around those kinds of people can make your day so much worse.

Well, that is if you let it be that way.

Though not all doctors are like that, it’s imperative for a nurse to step up if she meets one. This helps ensure safe and quality patient care.

To help you out, here are 7 simple tips on how to deal with a difficult doctor:

1. Think before you act.

If you know NCP, then you already know the drill: assess before doing anything else.

Are you feeling mad at this doctor because you associate him with someone who hurt you in the past? Are you a naturally sensitive person who reacts negatively to every criticism hurled to you? Are you angry because you’re being taken for granted or because the doctor crossed the boundaries and abused you verbally or sexually?

You have to ask yourself first these questions. That’s the only way for you to know if the doctor is REALLY being difficult to you or you’re just simply annoyed at his personality.

2. Have a flexible personality.

As a nurse, it pays to have “people skills” or “social skills”. This refers to the ability to adapt in any situation- no matter how obnoxious the people are.

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In a hospital setting, you must learn to accept that not all people (patients and co-workers included) will act according to your standard. You need to understand that every individual has a unique personality that might clash with another. The same goes with difficult doctors.

Nurses must know how to survey the scene and know more about this particular doctor so necessary adjustments can be made. And sometimes, it is the nurse that is being difficult and not the other way around.

3. Prove your worth.

If you’re new and the doctor is not thrilled to work with you, so be it.

Every successful nurse must start with no experience at all and work her way up.  You should not expect an expert doctor to welcome you with open arms and immediately establish a smooth working relationship with you.

Remember: you haven’t proven anything yet.

Don’t be hurt if you’re new and doctors criticize you openly for your mistakes and take you for granted most of the time. Master your craft, work hard, and prove to them that you’re a nurse to keep and respect.

That is if you’re a newbie.

But if the rift persists for years, then that’s a problem already. Perhaps you lack the will to cultivate a good working relationship with the doctor or you fail to establish yourself as a nursing leader with equal competencies to take care of the patient.

4. Show kindness.

Since you have to work with doctors all the time, there’s no way you could ignore them. So, what should you do?

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Be nice. Do it even if you need to bite your tongue.

Initiating an argument will just make things worse. It may even initiate workplace drama and compromise the quality of care your patients are receiving.

Of course, this doesn’t mean being alright with abuse. Stand up for yourself if you need to.

5. Communicate effectively.

Here’s the rule: don’t ever use the doctor’s irritating lack of concern to you as an excuse to forget your own duties as a nurse.

You owe your professional license to your patients and you must perform your responsibilities no matter what. If your doctor doesn’t like to talk to you, initiate the conversation and establish open communication about your patient’s conditions. Assert yourself as a nurse with equal responsibility for your patient’s recovery.

Remember that a nurse-doctor relationship should always be a form of teamwork founded on mutual respect and open communication. The idea that the doctor is the boss and the nurse is the follower/subordinate is an insult to the nursing profession itself. Doctors will never learn to respect nurses if nurses don’t even know how to do it to themselves.

6. Report the behavior when necessary.

There are certain cases wherein a written complaint is the best way to set limits and stop the doctor from abusing a nurse verbally or sexually.

If you were successful in assessing the situation and feels like your rights have been violated, then file a detailed report of the incident. Response to a difficult doctor is subjective so you always choose how you will react in this kind of situation. Whatever it is, learn to OWN your choice and always stand for what you think is right.

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7. Talk about it.

Your responsibilities in the hospital can be draining. If you’re also dealing with difficult doctors, you may end up mentally exhausted.

If you are not feeling good about them, don’t suppress your feelings and thoughts. Look for family members or friends you can talk to. If that’s not possible, get a piece of pen and paper and write anything you’re not feeling good about.

If you suppress your feelings, there’s a good chance that you may explode later. And instead of solving the problem, you may end up with more issues at work.

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