The Doctor Rants

I’m not one to rant excessively, I’ll leave that to the professionals like White Coat, but after a particularly painful night shift, I have something to get off my chest. When I walk into a patient’s room, there are a couple of phrases I don’t really want to hear anymore:
#1. In answer to the question–What seems to be the problem? Some seem to think the funniest thing in the world is to say is “I don’t know, you’re the doctor.” Perhaps I’m just getting cantankerous, or maybe it’s because I’ve heard this joke about 8 million times already, but come on. The evil doctor in me wants to just look right in their eyes and say, “I’ve got it, you’ve got skin failure!” and walk right out again. I’ll let you know if I try this one.
#2. Another opening line I sometimes use is “Hello, I’m the ER doctor, how are you?” Naturally, this question brings out the Don Rickles in many patients, and they of course answer with, “Not very good, why do you think I came here?” Oy.
#3. My least favorite response by far, is when I go in to see a patient with a non-emergency problem and the patient says, “It’s about time.” Wow. It takes a lot of willpower not to get snippy at these times, especially since I practically run from room to room. I have considered a few sarcastic comebacks to this, but I bet my satisfaction scores would suffer. One option, “Gosh, I’m so sorry, what time was your appointment again?”
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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

tb 12.19.08 at 7:10 am

Wow. Totally understandable, Doctor. If i’m ever in the ED (and concious!) i won’t make those mistakes. And what a great, expressive photo. Thanks you.

NurseBeth 12.19.08 at 2:41 pm

How about:
What’s the problem tonight?
A#1: I’m sick!
A#2: I have (insert diagnosis here-no symptoms, just the diagnosis)
A#3: I just need something for pain. And I can’t answer any more questions!

whitecap nurse 12.19.08 at 10:12 pm

you need a new opening line – designed to get the responses you desire. How about – “how can I help you today?” or “what was going on that made you decide to come to the ER?”

Braden 12.21.08 at 10:04 pm

What I say when I go in a room is something like “Hi, I’m Braden. I’m the RN who will be working with you today. It looks like you are having ***. Can you tell me more about it?”

Your ER Doc 12.21.08 at 10:50 pm

These are good ideas. Sometimes, however, I just prefer to rant.

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