Thursday, September 16, 2010


I interrupt your regularly scheduled knitting for a rant...

While I appreciate that people who work in a physician's office have jobs to do, I think it's critical that those who work there should endeavor to work within the scope of their practice or title.

In a hospital, those lines don't get blurred very often and most strive not to step into those murky waters. Registered nurses don't prescribe drugs or treatments unless they're licensed to do so. In a doctor's private practice, these lines get crossed all the time. I've worked in such an environment, so I know this happens. When a doctor calls for his "nurse" in his office, often times, it's a medical office assistant they're referencing, not a formally educated or trained nurse. Big difference. If this "nurse" gives out unsolicited medical advice, he or she is not behaving in an appropriate or even legal manner.

We learned MLTL, who was supposed to be discharged today, will now be staying inpatient for 3 more days to tweak his Coumadin. He was miserable and very disappointed about this, and in return, so are we. Since I missed the doctor's 30 second inpatient visit, I called the doctor's office because I wanted to know why he has to stay, and had the unfortunate experience to speak with the doctor's personal secretary who commenced to giving me a piece of her mind. All due respect, I'll take my answers from a physician, RN, NP or PA, but not the secretary. When I told her I wanted to speak with the doctor, she huffed, sighed, became sarcastic, impatient and completely pushed the wrong buttons. I felt bullied by the secretary who was doing a decent job of blocking time consuming calls intended for the doctor.

What a snot she was. And foolish...very foolish. I wonder if she had an inkling that she should have called in sick today? When I called her manager to report her behavior, she didn't seem shocked. The manager said, and I quote, "uh-oh."

I can sound very sane and present a fabulous argument when I'm actually steaming on the inside. All I wanted was the answer to why MLTL had to stay three more days in the hospital when he'd been promised 1 night. It's a reasonable question that didn't require a lecture from a secretary with a wannabe medical degree. Don't get me wrong here, I believe everyone's job is important in a medical practice. I think it's wrong to step outside your job description and give out medical advice if you're not trained as a physician.

Reason won out today.

Mr. Larger Than Life is now sitting in his own home, in his own recliner, watching his own TV and ordering my son around as though he is his personal slave.

I win.

I may have to be his personal nurse for the next 5 days, but I can guarantee that this miserable old man will be a lot happier in his own environment, and because of this, so will the rest of us. The parking will be easier, too.


Catherine said...

I can see where you're coming from - this type of nonsense happens all the time all over the globe - I have to ring GPs practices regularly and my request to speak to the GP are often met with sighs and I'll have him call you - which I invariably miss as I can't go into a patient's home with a mobile phone, and I don't call unless it's essential. Grrr! Glad you won this round.We battle arrogant GPs too at times who want to know who "their" nurse is (we have a nurse manager so don't answer to GPs in our work - mostly there's mutual respect but everyone knows the docs who don't respect the nurses. Good luck - keep sane with knitting!

Gail said...

That lady barked up the wrong tree!

Devon said...

Wow Rudee, you are very kind to go out of your way to make MLTL so comfortable. Did it ever occur to you to just let him stay in the hospital and let your phone to to voice mail? I'm sure it was only a fleeting thought!

I love to play ignorant when I get medical advice from the doctors office staff. I usually look pleased and say something like, "Oh, you are an RN?"

Good luck over the next 5 days!

Finding Pam said...

Rudee, I know what you mean about those secretaries that think they rule the office. I hope all goes well with recovery.

SkippyMom said...

She was wrong. No doubt. But I am not going to comment on leaving him in the hospital for 3 days.

daylily (Queenmothermamaw) said...

Well you are earning your angel's halo you know. Wish for a speedy recovery for MLTL but it will be something else, you know.

Miss 376 said...

It seems to happen all the time, I think they have to pass a special exam

Stephanie V said...

I guess these gatekeeper types are everywhere in the health system. We sure have them here, too. The worst part is the snippy attitudes of many. And, you're right, I'm not talking about the health care professional at all.
Glad MLTL is on the mend.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

oh my goodness! so sorry! but i couldn't help but think if he was in the hospital three more days he'd be getting sponge baths! (sorry, just my sick mind honey!)

smiles, bee

sapphireblue said...

Hmmm? Maybe she doesn't know what you do for a living.