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What do doctors want? “Mind readers”


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What do doctors really want? Read the back and forth between Dr. Brady Pregerson, our favorite ER Doc, and Nurse Rebekah Child, our favorite sassy RN.

MD said: The secret to most relationships—be they at home, at work or elsewhere—is the ability to predict what your “partner” wants as well as what he or she doesn’t want.

Ask yourself: What keeps your relationship going strong? What are major sources of aggravation? What makes your day run more smoothly and what causes things to slow down or grind to a halt?

So here’s my first tip for new nurses: Take a glimpse into the workings of an MD’s mind. Anticipate what doctors want and what they don’t, so as a team you’re collaborative and constructive. Hopefully the doctors you work with will be doing their part as well.

RN said: So here’s the thing: Each doctor in our ED is like a lover (without the sex and gifts on Valentine’s Day, of course!)—we have to know their pet peeves, their subtle signals that they’re in a bad mood, a good mood, a great mood…or to run in the other direction.

Many times, as soon as you say, “Dr. So and So,” you’ll get a look that will let you know what color the mood ring is. That said, if you speak to any doctor the way you would like to be spoken to, with respect and consideration and having done your homework, you’ll be golden. Oh, and don’t forget a small side of humor.

Do you have to be a mind reader at work?

And do you have any more tips on “What doctors want”?

Brady Pregerson, MD
Brady Pregerson, MD, a returned Peace Corps volunteer and winner of the 1995 Wise Preventive Medicine Scholarship, completed his medical school at the University of California, San Diego, and his residency at Los Angeles County General Hospital. He has authored three medical pocket books for nurses and doctors, as well as the educational web sites and Dr. Pregerson currently works as an emergency physician in Southern California. He writes, "Although the ED environment may be quite different from working on the hospital floor or in an office setting, I am hopeful that you can take these tips and apply them to your own specific work situation." You can buy his books on lessons from the ER, including Don't Try This At Home: Lessons from the Emergency Department and Think Twice: More Lessons from the ER, at

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