There are physicians who are exceptions of course and these people are precious to the patient, to the nurse and to the profession and they are deeply loved and honored.
Hospital nurses are with the patient for long periods of intense assessments. Contrary to the American myth that casts the nurse as maid /secretary /tart, nurses are extremely skilled and if education hasn’t cultivated it, experience certainly has. So, the nurse understands the minute picture and the big picture about the patient and she knows very well what needs to be done to fix the problem. But she is not allowed to tell the doctor (unless she wants to destroy the rest of her professional career). She must drop hints or give information in such a way that the doctor understands the solution and believes it was his idea.
Because of this dynamic, doctors become control-avoidant, much as the child becomes control-avoidant of the parent (or in later life, the parent of the child).
- A STORY: Very small preemie boys often develop large inguinal hernias because the inguinal ring is sloppy and every cough or strain pushes their bowel into the scrotum. We had a baby, born at 25 weeks and at the point of discharge, weighing over 5 pounds, with a hernia so big the scrotum was to his ankles. We asked the surgeon why he was not fixing it and he said he couldn’t fix it until the child was 3 years old. I asked why and he said because the epididymus (the tiny tube that sperm goes through) was so small there was risk of cutting it. I suggested he operate with magnifying glasses so he never spoke to me again. One morning this surgeon was making rounds, followed by residents, interns and med students and as they entered the quiet back room where this baby was, his nurse opened the diaper and shrieked: “Oh my God, it’s going to burst, it’s going to burst. Something has to be done about this.” and everyone ran over to the crib to see what she was talking about. The hernia was repaired that morning and the nurse was never seen again.
Doctors treat nurses like old dried dog shit, and they treat nurses like me like warm, steamy dog shit.
Who suffers? The patient, the system and health care costs. This goes on in every hospital in America and it’s very, very bad.