How do I deal with an egotistical doctor?

MDs are sometimes known for having over-inflated egos, which can be as grating as a crying baby in a movie theater.  Unfortunately, you can’t walk out on your career like you can a movie.

Keep a few things in mind:

1. Arrogance is often a cover for feelings of inferiority. This often works in the patient’s favor, as the doctor will work harder to keep from being seen as inferior.

2. Egotistical behavior is no measurement of abilities.  You may not like the way the doctor is treating you, it may be inappropriate or rude but as long as he/she is appropriate, attentive and proactive in providing care for the patient, you must put your feelings aside.

3. You may never be able to get past the doctor’s ego; however, you will have to figure out a way to communicate properly in order for the patient to get proper diagnosis and treatment. Don’t be intimidated and don’t feel as though you have to make friends. Don’t be afraid to add your input, even if it means a whole lot of arrogant backlash. Put the patient’s well-being ahead of all things.

4. You bring up a potential mistake to this doctor and you’ll most likely yield nothing but defensive anger.  If you think the doctor’s arrogance may be harmful to a patient, talk with the doctor in private. If that doesn’t work, talk with an administrator. Doctors fall under some quality assurance spectrum as well, no matter how long they have been there and how senior they might be.

There is often a board at the hospital composed of doctors who will tell the trouble making MD that complaints (anonymous) have been echod against him/her. The doctor is encouraged to improve his/her behavior. At the end of the day, it helps to remember that doctors, like nurses, have stressful jobs and sometimes may take out frustrations on those in their workplace.

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3 Responses to How do I deal with an egotistical doctor?

  1. Steph

    I have to disagree with just accepting the way the docs treat u, as long as they treat the pts right!!! We are humans as well, and if they don’t treat us nurses w/ respect….they should be informed!!!

    Once I had a Chief of Staff Surgeon, just totally yell at me (using uncalled for language) and did this in the hallway where other nurses, CNA’s, pts and their families could see and hear!! I kept my composure and took the matter to my supervisor and let my supervisor take care of the issue the surgeon was complaining about (which was a petty issue).

    I then took matters into my own hands and wrote the doc up…and believe it or not….I earned his respect after that!!!

    He then treated me like a human being!!!

  2. I think there is always a limit to what we can take. The docs have this idea that nurses are inferior because in the old days nurses were beneath docs. These days, even though we must follow doctors orders with regard to the patient, doctors are no longer our bosses. But they are the money spinners. Especially in a private hospital and it’s a sad truth that all they need to do is squeal and the nurses take the fall. One such incident was when an RN got fired by the snap of an arrogant doctors fingers simply because she answered the phone at the nurses station while he was talking to her. These docs don’t realize how much they hurt a person. Suppressing your frustration will only make it worse though. Stand up for yourself while maintaining your professional dignity. The days of bring bullied by doctors are over! Well done Steph!

  3. Retired in South TX – been through many “male egoist” doctors and talk “down” to little women.
    Worst yet, is not ONE doctor or assistant has WASHED THEIR HANDS PRIOR TO TOUCHING ME!
    Clean is unknown in the state of TX. These medical professionals are passing diseases around; patient to patient. digussting. When I ask them to “wash” I am marked as a “difficult patient”. Thanks.