The best kudos I ever received from a doctor was…

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Everyone “grows up” in a different nursing environment. I grew up as a nurse in an environment with God complex physicians. The letters MD stood for “My Decision” in that small community hospital setting.

I can remember being a student nurse and observing when a physician would enter the nursing unit. The nursing staff would scatter like a bomb went off. Desktops would be cleared, chairs would be made empty and the servant attitude would run rampant. This behavior continued–by my own hands!–when I was a new graduate nurse and eventual staff nurse.

My time in that environment didn’t last long. I value respect, dignity and collaborative care among those I work with. This includes my peers, as well as those making the care decisions–namely, the physician.

I’ve talked before about the difference between community and urban hospital environments. It was during my time in a larger hospital that I received my best kudos ever.

I must admit, it’s not really what you would think. I can’t say it was a pat on the back or some material trinket-type gift.

The best kudos I ever received from a doc was the day two asked me for my opinion on my patient’s care. They wanted my input, valued the knowledge I brought to the table and respected my contribution to overall delivery of care. It bears mentioning I was asked by a critical care specialist and a world-renowned trauma surgeon who both possessed more than 15 years of experience.

I can still remember my frozen stature as I tried to sputter out my answers. I thought I was hallucinating. You have to remember, up until this time in my career, I was treated as a servant and not as a valued member of the health care team. [A side note: There were always exceptions during my time in the small community settings. There were physicians who collaborated with me, but they were few and far between.]

I can proudly say that those kudos I received that day were not the last of their kind. And I’d like to think I’m not the only nurse who has experienced this type of gift.

Call me old-fashioned, or call me a forward thinker, but breaking through the “nurse as a handmaiden” stereotype is something I hold near and dear to my heart.

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6 Responses to The best kudos I ever received from a doctor was…

  1. PatricParamedic

    Sean –

    I thank you for the uplifting article & enjoyed it immensely.

    As one who investigates the appalling volume of physician misbehavior for a living, I truly enjoy the “good ones” who in turn, appreciate those equally gifted around them. And when it comes to nurses, there are indeed many, many of you. Doctors who listen to nurses become better doctors.

    And just for the record, the best kudos I’ve received from an MD, was one quoted on the cover of my book, “America’s Dumbest Doctors,” when he was magnanimous enough to say this:

    “Your work is, regrettably, important.”

    Please do keep writing.

  2. redrose11453 RN

    My best kudos happened one night when one of my long term pt’s was having really “weird” stroke like symptoms. I kept calling her Doc…pestered him till he came in.
    He was a big bear of a man, physically intimidating because of how big and tall he was.
    But I stood my ground with him.
    He came in grumbling loudly in the evening and went to see her. He sat on her bed starting examining her.
    As he sat on the edge of the bed, he turned his head and looked at me.
    He said to me “You’re right”…….I will never forget the look on his face….and I never had any trouble again with any of his patients when I called…..
    PS It was a pontine infarct stroke; I had never seen a stroke like that before.

  3. BugMonkeyMom RN

    The best Kudos I’ve gotten from a Dr. was mutifaceted. I am most experienced as a pediatric home health nurse. The one lil patient I had was getting sick and we got her in to the pediatrician’s office. The Dr. looked her over, ordered cxr and meds, routine for the pt, then she looked at me and asked how long I’d be with her, if I was going out of town or anything. I was the primary rn for this kiddo. I informed her I would be there the whole week, to which she sighed happily and said, “good, cause if you weren’t going to be with her I’d be admitting her, but I know you’ll fight to keep her out.” We fought the whole week and won, the lil one was NOT admitted. The next appt the Dr. told her mom she should be thankful they had me, as she’d “seen the other nurses they’d had before and none were to my caliber.” I take pride in knowing that while I cared for that lil one for over a year she was NEVER admitted to the hospital, and we had several scares. This same Dr. also told me after 2 weeks of vacation that she was, “certainly glad I was back. And don’t ever go on vacation again.” (laughing as this was said) This Dr. asked my input and preferences, and how aggressive we should go with treatments when illness struck.
    I truly loved being a home health nurse, but am now onto a new chapter of hospital experiences.

    Sean, I too have some small town hospital experience close to yours. After training in a “progressive” area we moved way down south and found the same attitude in the Dr.’s there. I was dumbfounded. They had that same “god complex” and expected nurses to drop everything when they came in. Each having their own preferences and requirements. One went so far as to expect one nurse to round with him to all of his patients, regardless of their knowledge of all of his patients.

  4. beliefnhope Caption Contest

    I have had a few special compliments from doctors, but there is one that stands out in my mind. I was at a Care Center and the doctor’s babysitter had a crisis, so went to pick up her baby. She had to bring the baby back to the center with her in order to finish her rounds. As I was not directly caring for patients and because I love playing with babies, I took her with me while I finished my charting. When the father arrived to get her, the doctor and father came into the office I was sitting in and I said to them, “I am teaching her how to be a nurse.” The doctor looked at me and said, “I don’t want her to be a nurse.” Before I could utter a reply, she continued, “you work too hard, don’t get the credit or pay you deserve, and know more about the patients than we do without acknowledgement of that.” Talk about a humble physician…

  5. kaclark16

    No kudos from a doctor yet, but did get one that may be even better. My first code was on night shift as a fairly new charge nurse. Where I work, we have to call 911 for EMT’s to come. So until they show, my full code was my responsibility. Me and an LPN from another unit began CPR. When the EMT’s showed they wanted me to start an IV. It was my first IV start as an RN and it was successful! We continued to help with the code along with the EMT’s until he was transferred out. A couple of days later an email was sent to my DON from the EMT office complimenting me and the other nurse on what an excellent job we did before EMT’s arrived and how helpful we were when they did arrive. My DON gave me a copy of this email and a card signed by her giving me kudos for a great job. This gave me a huge boost of confidence as a fairly new nurse and, unfortunately, the nurse to page every time there is a code.

  6. fae713

    Completely agreed that the best compliment you can get from a doctor is a direct request for your opinion on the treatment plan for your patient(s). I think the best compliment I had was being called in after being laid off as part of a group of 11 staff, 3 LPNs (including me), 2 therapists, 1 MD, 1 part-time NP, and 4 milieu counselors at a small psych facility. On the Sunday following that lay off I got a call from my manager that the prescriber was directly requesting me to come in because it was an absolute shit show. I normally worked a double on Sundays and this was the first experience that provider had with any of the LPNs missing. She went through the nurse supervisor, the medical director, and the CEO to fight for us after that. She wasn’t successful but damn was it a great confidence boost.