How to deal with overbearing doctors

Jochen Sands | Digital Vision | Thinkstock

All workplaces have people that you might not get along with. Hospitals and care centers are no different. The only difference is the stress levels can be even higher because you’re dealing with actual life and death situations.

For nurses who already have their hands full with multiple patients, long shifts and the inevitable unexpected situations, the last thing they need is a coworker browbeating them. However, for nurses who deal with overbearing doctors, it can be a common occurrence. While most physicians are excellent at their jobs and conduct themselves in a cordial and professional manner, there are some out there who take the whole “God complex” thing seriously. And these docs can be extremely difficult to work with.

So how do you deal with a doctor who treats you as an intellectual inferior, bosses you around like a child, or is just flat out mean? While every situation and doctor is different, here are a few tips that can help you when an overbearing doctor makes your work life toxic.

Don’t Get Emotional –>

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7 Responses to How to deal with overbearing doctors

  1. Ellen Algava

    I work in the OR, so when a doc starts something, I remember that the OR table is in the center of the room because the PATIENT is the center, NOT the doctor. I ignore them; they want a rise out of you anyway, so why should I give them what they want.

  2. Maureen

    Seriously? Try asking your coworkers how they deal with him. If you start running to momma or asking for a transfer for everytime you get yelled at, you’re not gonna last long. It’s not a popularity contest, not every doc is going to be nice, but remember the patient is the issue and not your feelings. If you get yelled at for doing the right thing, then you still did the right thing.

  3. Nancy Bush

    I’ve been a nurse for 25 years. Our clinic hired a new doctor and i asked to work with him and it was granted. Being with this clinic for the past 12 yrs. I’m familiar with things that can be helpful to this MD. He has been a little condescending from the time he joined our clinic, but this particular day I was assisting with a procedure for the first time with him. He didn’t like the way I had it set up and he berated me from the time he walked in the room, until I was in tears.Rather than let him or the patient know, I was crying, I finally stepped out and asked another nurse to step in to finish. Afterwards, still in tears I had a meeting with the manager and my doctor. I think the only reason I got away with saying the things I said was because they were accompanied with tears. I told him, I could not work with him, and I was not used to being talked to like that, and that he embarrased me, made me look stupid, took away any credibility I had with the patient, and that it made him look like “a mean doctor.” I told him he was a good doctor, and that I would have climbed up on the roof for him, if thats what he wanted but only if he was respectful about asking me. I was crying with every word I spoke. Finally I said I am going to work with one of the owner doctors, “because he likes my work.” When I finished my ranting, he profusely apologized and went straight to the owner doctor I mentioned and told him what he’d done. He asked for “my forgiveness.” I agreed and stayed with him. He has been nothing but respectful, and very nice, and it’s been almost a month.My owner doc never said a word to me but for a couple of days after it all happened he would just grin every time he saw me. I will never know what words were exchanged between them. Might not always work, but this sure worked for me.

  4. As a physician misbehavior investigator, I finally took the advice of over a hundred nurses, and wrote a book on just this subject.

    So for those interested in a subject that is certainly never going away, take a look at “America’s Dumbest Doctors,” located on the Medical Maniacs website, as well as Amazon books.

    The book is a compilation of what more than 410 nurses reported. Thanks.

  5. moda

    Boo! Hiss! This article reads like it was written a hundred years ago. You’re kidding, right?

    The title should be “Subserviance 101”. To advise nurses to say “I’m sorry, doctor…” when they have done nothing wrong is just some more typical passive-aggressive bunk.


  6. Pingback: How to deal with overbearing doctors | Scrubs – The Leading Lifestyle Nursing Magazine Featuring Inspirational and Informational Nursing Articles « RT to RN

  7. terrimtz1 RN

    The best advise I ever received when dealing with a difficult co-worker, whether a physician, nurse, tech, etc. is to confront the person as soon as possible, but when you are non-emotional. The way it was put to me is…..

    You can continue to be uncomfortable day in and day out with this person forever and ever, and let them have the control and ruin your day every day, or……

    you can have ONE MOMENT of uncomfortableness and face the person. Let them know how they make you feel, let them know that this behavior is unacceptable, and let them know you’re not going to put up with it any longer.

    I can tell you from experience, that’s usually all it takes.