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Doctors versus nurses

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It’s funny, being a nurse. To your family and friends you’re better than calling the advice line, better than a trip to the doctor. Since graduation, I’ve heard “I’m putting you on speed dial in case I need advice in an emergency,” over and over.  And while I love nursing and what we do (and sometimes I would turn to a nurse first for advice), I am a firm believer that if something is wrong, go to the doctor! There have been too many health issues in my family to take medicine for granted.

So off to the doctor it is! But after a recent experience, and reading this fellow blogger’s post about visiting the doctor, I realized that as nurses, we really do butt heads with the doc sometimes. I recently went to a doctor’s appointment with my fiancé as he’s been having some unexplained abdominal pain for quite some time. I’ve started to think beyond the typical assumptions, and so I started talking to the doctor,

“Do you think there could be a circulatory issue?’ I asked.

“No” he replied quickly, weary of what I was inkling toward.

“But maybe some sort of mesenteric vasospasm…”

He cut me off, “SOMEONE’S in the medical field,” he  said wryly. Seriously.  He made it like a joke. I don’t joke about abdominal pain.

I told him I was a nurse (it’s soooo cool to finally be able to say that!) and he chuckled. He dryly answered my questions, but treated me as a child with far-fetched hypochondriac ideas. They may have been leaning toward the side of zebras than horses, but I had legitimate reasons, I’ve done my research!

This isn’t the first time this has happened, but the first since I’ve actually been able to fall back on a title and a license to my name. The first time with some credibility. But I still got the same reaction. What IS it? Is it a power issue? A long standing doctors vs. nurses grudge that must be carried on? Whatever it is it doesn’t help the patient, the nurse, or the doctor’s reputation, and leaves us all a little confused about who to believe. His explanation defeating my hypotheses was discredited by his attitude, and I am going to keep trying to solve these medical mysteries until I find a doc who will listen to me and respect my education and knowledge.

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Ani Burr, RN

I'm a brand new, full-fledged, fresh-out-of-school RN! And better yet, I landed the job of my dreams working with children. I love what I do, and while everyday on the job is a new (and sometimes scary) experience, I'm taking it all in - absorbing everything I can about this amazing profession we all fell in love with.
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One Response to Doctors versus nurses

  1. Conni

    If you had backed up what you felt was the problem with solid assessment data, he probably wouldn’t have dismissed you so quickly.

    I’ve had kidney stones for years. Several years ago, it started with a stitch in my side slowly progressing to being quite uncomfortable. Idiot urologist I used to go to would dismiss my concerns saying it wasn’t a kidney stone because they only hurt when they obstruct. Fast forward to getting a new uro and doubled over in pain, he started to dismiss me also until I laid out the symptoms and what was ruled out with a professional but firm demeanor. The 12.6mm stone was finally taken care of with lithotripsy x2 and while they symptoms are still there, they are back to being a steady stitch in my side.

    It is similar to questioning a doctor about an order. As long as you have good rationale behind your opinion, I have found they will usually listen to me, but if I waffle even a little in my reasoning, they will dismiss my concerns immediately.

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