Don’t leave your wingman?

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Ok, I need to vent:
Not too long ago, during a particularly rowdy delivery, the attending almost left me during a critical moment because they were irritated with the situation. I can’t go into specifics. Let’s just say I thought I was going to be alone in that delivery had the doc vanished. Of course, I had another wonderful nurse backing me up. Yet I was almost purposefully left by my coworker on the frontlines. I had to insist they stay and do their job.

It was at that moment that I thought of the movie Top Gun—you know, the whole, “never leave your wingman” bit. It was in that few seconds that my perception of this doctor changed: I lost respect and trust. And unfortunately these types of situations are very common in my experience. It’s sad. (And yes, I speak up when it happens! It doesn’t change much of anything.)

I’ll never forget, in the 1st year of my career, when I had a really ill patient who was a lot of work and whose safety I was worried about, I literally ran out of ideas. The docs seemingly had given up as well. I was exasperated and approached one of the doctors because we needed to do something more, though I wasn’t sure what. My license was on the line! His response to my concern, “Just stay out of the room for the rest of your shift.” WHAT? Not acceptable.

And if one more doctor tells me “not to wake them up” at night about their patient, I am going to scream. Ok, that wouldn’t be professional, either–but are we in this together or not?

And look, I KNOW there are great docs out there–but what I am experiencing lately on the whole is contrary to that fact. And I’m not alone.

Yes, I NEED the docs around me to be part of the team. I’ve noticed increasingly that we nurses rely on each other and are often left out in the cold by the doctors we supposedly work along side with. What is going on? More and more we back each other up as nurses—in effect, we are each other’s “wingmen.”  I continue to wonder if things will ever change with doctor-nurse work relationships. Frankly, I’m worried they won’t.

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