Dealing with Nurses 101

I’m going to start with a story. If you have had your surgery rotation, you would know that in the emergency there are two batches. One in the OT and one in the bay aka ground floor. So there is a washroom n the OT but in the bay, there is either the regular public use washroom or a washroom in the gastroscopy room. The keys to the gastroscopy rom are with the sisters. And for some reason it is really hard for them to remember where it is if the doctors need it whereas they use the room for making tea, drinking water, keeping their bags etc.
One day, the sisters said that they are not allowed to give the keys to anyone because no one is supposed to use the room (they still had their bags in them) next day one said she didn’t get the keys in over. The next day they gave it to one doctor saying that they gave it this time but they wont give it again. And when someone asked they said your doctor misplaced it even though she returned it with a thankyou to the nurse.
On all these occasions the key surprisingly turned up, even from the people who didn’t receive it and the ones who had lost it when the head nurse was informed. I am a strong advocate of being polite with nurses. I always greet them with a handshake and always say please when I ask them to administer any medication and say thankyou to them when they have done it. But you need to know your rights and whom to go to when someone is being difficult.
Similarly, another incident happened. And this usually happens in the night or evening shift. Other than indenting medication, I don’t know of anything that is the duty of only the morning staff. If someone says that they are not entering labs because the morning staff is supposed to do it. Its BS. If the labs are being sampled 3 times, being sent 3 times, received 3 times then they should be entered in the files as well. Also, some say that its not the duty of sisters to do it at all. Whereas the sisters of female ward are doing it but not the male ward. Know the protocol of the ward and inform the head nurse. Start by asking her whether it is true that only the morning staff enters the lab? Start with greeting them. Ask them a question that whose duty is it to do so and so. And then if their answer contradicts from what the sisters are saying, inform them that this is what is happening. Now you might have to do this a couple of times before everyone from all the shifts becomes aware but trust me it works.
And lastly if the sisters claim that something is unavailable. For example, vials for sampling etc. Ask them to make sure so you can inform the registrar about it. This will be useful in two ways. If it’s an excuse, then the vials will magically turn up (yes that happened) and if its not, the registrar will solve the issue. Win win.
My point is that always be nice. But know their duties and know your duties. And know who you can inform if something isn’t being done. Because sadly, people here don’t respect requests. They only work if they have the pressure of a senior on their head. Just find the senior.
But always respect them and be kind <3


  1. If someone doesnot follow the SOPs, you need to do 3 things dr.
    1. Tell them (respectfully as you said) that this is their job.
    2. Inform your senior(s)
    3. Document on the chart.,in progress notes column,
    21-08-2018, 1 PM,
    Issue regarding vials,medicine availability,lab test sampling on behalf of onduty staff nurse/sweeper,head sister etc,
    (or sp02 monitor not working)(or too many attendants in ward creating fuss), i have informed the onduty staff nurse and registrar/resident on call (or on duty) to take immediate action .

    _____(your signs)

    ***** Make documentations your habit Dr,
    you have mentioned examples of staff nurses only.
    In your practice you ll come across your seniors whom you will tell that "the patient abc is currently having this status, how may i proceed? "and he will guide you to do this this this etc. You ll do that, and if patient detiorates/or that plan didnot work, a senior will ask who took this decision , you ll say i took this decision on advice of "that"senior.But , there is a high chance "that"senior will say i didnt say this , i said this. (it is very common , unfortunately).
    Fortunately, if you have documented on chart (shortly),
    Date : TIME
    i have discussed the current condition of pt with Dr (Senior) that pt is having low urine output with normal vital signs , he has advised me to consider blocked foley, palpate bladder to confirm, and flush foley catheter ...etc etc"


    Concerning the availability of washroom/lockers that are shared?
    Here come the ethics regarding the things, involve your HOD directly the next morning to solve issue. Goto HOD 4,5 lady drs and ask them to solve the issue for one. There is no other way.

  2. ** fortunately if you have documented shortly , you can produce that , here i documented right after consulting so that i may not miss anything.

    you save lives.
    Short documentaion/on-the-go documentation/30 sec-documentation saves you.


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