When you curse at your nurse …

be prepared for the consequences. This isn’t about photography or trail shoots, but about life and the small world of medicine that we live and work in.  It’s no secret who has the doc’s ear, who is able to plead the case of patients and try to maneuver things so that everybody wins.  It’s no secret who holds the keys to the daily schedule and can give the ok for an emergency overbooking or manipulation of said schedule to accommodate someone with a need.  It is also no secret that the doc will, most times, back up their nurse and take their side in the event of conflict.  That being said, there are few things that people should know:

The nurse sees you before the doctor so whatever you tell us, we will relay.  It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, the nurse is the go-between.  When someone calls into the office to speak directly with doctor, it is the nurse who talks to them and relays the information and works to see that all needs are met.  The nurses are the ones who work diligently to see that medications are approved by insurance, that specialist visits are scheduled, that vaccines are given and medications are refilled to the pharmacy.  It is the nurse who will call after a couple of days to make sure the problem is resolving and that no further action is required.  The nurse, again, who will help put folks at ease during procedures or counsel them on things that may otherwise be confusing or daunting.  (sometimes physicians speak a language that sounds very little like English and quite a bit  like Klingon)

The nurse will ensure that you get what you need from your visit and smile and make you feel as though you are the only patient on their agenda that day (at least a good nurse will).  They will go above and beyond to meet the needs of their patients and are willing to go an extra mile to make the patient feel as though their particular needs are important.  They give out stickers, suckers, school excuses, work excuses and a wide variety of things that are needed but things the physician knows nothing about because their job is to treat.  A nurses’ job is to nurture and show compassion, empathy, sympathy and love, to be a listening ear and a caring heart when one is needed.

Now that all of this information has been processed, there is one additional thing that needs to be taken into consideration.  If a patient mistreats by cursing, attempting to strike or being otherwise verbally abusive to their nurse, there is only one thing they need to remember; without the nurse to run interference, they are on their own.  If the nurse isn’t on their side, they don’t have a prayer because as the first paragraph of this blog says, the nurse has the doctor’s ear.  Might be good to remember that.   When someone is mean, hateful and abusive to their nurse to the point that the nurse cries, that someone is screwed.  So whatever it is that an abusive patient wants or needs,  they need not bother asking the nurse but instead, take it up with the doc and see, at that point, just how far they get.

I dedicate this post to nurses everywhere. Stay strong, keep your cool and be encouraged.  Don’t let the bad apples ruin your day because bad apples are as much a part of medicine as flu shots.  Today, for me, was full of bad apples but tomorrow is a brand new day and I plan on taking my apple corer with me in the future.

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