Sorry, doc...I didn't mean to bother you

I normally like the ER Stories blog, but I read this earlier and it pissed me off:

I hate it when RN’s grab me to drop everything to go and see a patient in distress…..and then you go see the person and they are not sick.

Whoever wrote it (no author was supplied) did backtrack a bit:

Still, I guess it’d be worse if they missed the real sick ones so I guess I’ll tolerate the over calling.

Thanks, you patronizing bastion of saintly tolerance. Some nurses are just stupid, and I’ll give you that. So, however, are some doctors. Stupidity aside, here are some totally possible and reasonable scenarios that would cause nurses to alert a physician to a potentially sick patient:

  • The nurse missed something recently, the physician didn’t open the chart and get in there fast enough, the patient crumped, and the physician passed the buck so the nurse got her butt chewed. Because poo still rolls downhill.
  • The patient told a totally different story in triage.
  • The patient actually is sick and the doctor is wrong.
  • The patient meets some esoteric criteria that meet a policy warranting immediate pulling of the panic plug—with reimbursement tied to sepsis protocols, door-to-EKG times, etc., we aren’t allowed to use our brains and are required to alert physicians at once regardless of whether the patient actually looks sick.

Logic aside, y’all don’t get our workflows either, so rest assured this annoyance is mutual. “I NEED YOU IN HERE RIGHT NOW” when on arrival I find that all you need is for the patient to be discharged so you can go eat your dinner/watch YouTube/leave an hour early because it’s your last signout, when I’ve just left the bedside of an actual sick person you didn’t know about because another physician is responsible for their care, similarly disrupts my workflow and patient-care timeliness. The point here is that you have your reasons, and we have ours, and most of the time they probably even out.

So, nameless irritated physician, please consider all this the next time you get all ticked off at your nursing colleagues who have probably saved your behind more than once by summoning you to the bedside of a sick patient whom you probably wouldn’t have seen in time otherwise. M’kay? I'm guessing you whined on your blog instead of talking to the nurse, too, but that's just an educated guess.