Saturday, February 11, 2006

The other night at work...

We work with anesthesiologists all the time at work - epidurals, c-sections, etc. Just like anything in life, some of them are nice, some are not. I have a story to tell about what happened the other night, but in order to appreciate it even more, let me give you a background story involving me and the same anesthesiologist...
I had a Spanish speaking patient who wanted an epidural. As Dr. G was putting it in, he makes small talk with me and says, "I should really have my wife teach me Spanish." I say, "What does your wife do that she knows Spanish?" He says, "She's Mexican," with this tone like I'm supposed to know that. He goes on to say, "She's a nurse." I ask what kind of nurse. He says, "She works in the ICU. You know, real nursing," implying that what I do is not real nursing. For once in my life, I was speecless.So now you know my foundation with this guy, and there is example #1 that he's a jerk.
So the other night I got a patient who was really uncomfortable. I got her an epidural right away. He was ok during the epidural. Not nice, never nice, but tolerable. No jerky comments. So my patient gets comfortable and watches TV and sleeps while she labors.I went on break about 1am. My patient started to get uncomfortable, so the nurse covering for me called Dr. G to give her an extra dose of medicine. Here is their conversation:
"Dr. G, this is A, I'm covering for Jessica's patient in room # while she's on break. She's really uncomfortable. Could you come give her a bolus?"
"A, that patient is a fat pig. I don't really care."
WHAT?!?!?! He came and gave the extra does of medicine, but to make a comment like that?! That was TOTALLY unprofessional. A wrote him up for it. I come back from break, and of course A tells me this. We talk about what a jerk he is.
Later in the night, the epidural bag runs empty, so I call Dr. G to come hang a new one. See, I'm not allowed to do anything with the epidural except shut it off after the patient delivers. He's a little cranky that he has to get out of his nice warm bed to do such a mundane task, and I don't really expect anything else from him but to be cranky about it. Really though, I can understand. But here's the kicker - IT'S HIS JOB.
So he comes, hangs a new bag, and goes back to bed.Well, here's where it gets interesting...
About 20 minutes later, the epidural pump alarms "air in line." I call him:
"Dr. G, it's Jessica. The pump in room # is alarming air in line."
"Fuck." And he slams the phone down. Nice... VERY professional. I write him up for that too. Well, about 20 minutes after he comes to fix the pump, it starts alarming again... GREAT. It is alarming "distal occlusion," which means something is wrong with the tubing between the pump and the patient. At least I'm smart enough to look at the tubing first, to make sure it's not kinked, because can you even imagine if I caled him again and all it was was the patient laying on the tubing wrong? Oh my goodness... So I check the tubing and there's no kinks. The pump is still alarming, so I got back to the nurse's station. I tell the charge nurse that I have to call him again. I tell her that after his last few jerky comments, I'm really quite afraid to call. I ask her to call him for me, as it is part of the charge nurse's job to protect her nurses. She won't call him for me though, so I pick up the phone and dial.
"Sorry Dr. G, it's Jessica again. The pump is alarming distal occlusion. I checked the tubing for kinks but it's still alarming."
"You nurses don't know how to do a gad damn thing with those pumps, do you?"
"As far as I know, we're not allowed to do anything with those pumps."
"That's bullshit. Yes you are. It's your fucking nurse managers that won't give you an inservice. Fine. I'll come down the hall for the 25th fucking time."
And he slams the phone down in my ear. AGAIN.Well, needless to say, I'm LIVID. So angry, in fact, that I'm working REAL hard not to cry.And you know what I did? Wrote him up for that too.
1) I did not deserve to be spoken to in that way. It's not my fault that the pump was alarming - I didn't make it mess up.
2) It's not right that a nurse should be afraid to call a doctor to do patient care. It is my job to advocate for my patient. Intimidation by a doctor gets in the way of and affects patient care.
3) That's harrassment. The doctor-nurse relationship is seen as a superior (doctor) subordinate (nurse) relationship, and for a "superior" to speak to a "subordinate" like that, well, it doesn't fly.
4) His outburst was completely and totally unprofessional.
Granted, I wouldn't like to be called to get up and down like a jack-in-the-box, but that's part of being the in-house anesthesiologist. IT'S HIS JOB. If he doesn't like the hours, become a dermatologist, or a podiatrist, or something else that doesn't have middle of the night hours.I'll never know what comes of this, but you can bet I made sure the proper higher-ups will see the report.It's just sad that we're treated like crap too often. And people wonder why we're unhappy at our jobs and there's a shortage of nurses...


Nani said...

I'm sorry you have to put up with this type of situation. You are right, it is his job. I work from 6:30 - 5:30 pm almost every day. I don't lie down to sleep. I stay awake the entire day. That is his shift and he shouldn't take it out on you because he is up and down. He is lucky he gets to lie down. And calling the patient a fat pig!. I'm speechless! What a jerk! I'm glad you wrote him up and I hope someone does something about his attitude. Hugs :-)

mom said...

Wow! He'll get his!!! Sorry you had to pay for rudeness and I'm you did the right thing. No one should have to put up with that. His patient suffered because of his attitude and the patient was at risk because he didn't want to do his job. I think I'll say something to my boss the next time she asks me for something - yeah, that would go over right!

Anonymous said...

That guy has no respect for women. He has no business being in a field especially for women - NO BUSINESS!!
He's on a power trip with the world, but the karma for that will knock him upside the head, as the world goes on a power trip on him. Just watch, Jess, he's going to pay. You may even feel sorry for him, as karma is 10 fold.

cuzin' Allison

Anonymous said...

I have worked in a variety of depts. and with alot of Dr.'s. This is very unprofessional behavior, but it happens alot. You did the right thing by writing him up, hopefully he will get the message that the nurse's won't tolerate his ignorance. More nurse's need to be proactive in situations like this and either speak up on behalf of the patient or write the docs up based on protocol. I am not afraid to go toe to toe with a Dr. if I feel he is being unprofessional, crude, or ignorant in his care giving. They are not gods for us to worship. They are mere mortals who need to be reminded about that once in awhile. Hope Dr. G gets a good talking to from his superiors!!