Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A post about that time I felt extremely uncomfortable due to a physician's comments towards me

There's no cutesy blog post title here, because this is a serious topic and I'm still fighting mad about it.

A coworker and I were starting heparin the other day, as the vascular physician was at the bedside talking to the family. For background, I'm 33 and have been a nurse for 10 years. My coworker is in her mid twenties, and is new (it was TNG from a few posts back). The physician is male and I'd guess to be in his forties or fifties. The patient was somewhere between 20-35, and more importantly WITH HIS WIFE.

TNG and I walked into the patient's room with the heparin drip. As we walk in, the doctor notes that we have the med and says, "good, my nurses here are about to start that heparin we talked about." First of all asshole, I'm not your nurse. I'm an employee of the hospital and I work for the Emergency Department. Not you, not your practice, and also I'm a grown ass woman who isn't a possession. But whatever, I let it slide because it's busy and I'm not about to make this awkward in front of a patient.

Dude MD can't shut his mouth there, though. His very next sentence is this: "If these girls didn't have that medication, I'd say they're just coming in here to flirt with you." I look up, glare at him, and flash my wedding ring towards all present.

But wait, IT GETS WORSE. He goes back to discussing the plan with the patient and his wife, who look very weirded out at this moment. I'm thinking we're in the clear and I can get out of the room without further comment, but no. After we finish verifying med dose and rate and hit start on the pump, he says "oh good, these hot girls, I mean nurses, got everything started."


I turned around, and just said "NO. You are NOT doing this." And I walked out.

If I had stayed in the room, I would have punched him right in the dick. I wish I had said something more specific about the blatant sexual harassment, but if I had opened my mouth again it probably wound have gotten me called to HR.

After TNG and I left the room we told coworkers in the immediate vicinity. I'm not sure if I need to escalate this further because I really don't feel like getting involved with management, but I'm debating the merits of getting a neutral male coworker of mine to be a witness if I decide to say something to the physician. It's not acceptable under any circumstances, but especially not in my place of professional business.

I dunno, I just can't believe something this blatant happened to me. I'm used to the stupid shit that patients say, but this is on a whole new level.

Please advise, internet blog readers.


Old FoolRN said...

What a terrible situation. If I had been in the room with you his cojoines would have experienced the crushing action of a Satinsky vascular clamp. Live by the sword - die by the sword!

Solitary Diner (Also Known as The Frugalish Physician) said...

This shit absolutely shouldn't happen. The only way it is going to change is for people to consistently stand up and challenge it/report it to HR...which is really easy to say, but more difficult to do. I would say that it's a personal decision for you - is the benefit of calling out sexist/inappropriate behaviour worse the potential personal/professional cost to you?

Good luck with whatever you choose to do. I'm sorry some docs (and the whole culture of medicine) are assholes.

Shash said...

Wow. What an asshat! I would talk back and probably get reprimanded. But, you do have a witness. You have the other nurse, the patient, and his wife. Discuss it with the other nurse first, to be sure she has your back and that you have hers and then report it.

Aesop said...

The last of the dinosaurs.
Maybe that sh*t flew in the late '80s when he was in med school, but it's motherf***ing 2019, and he should have gotten the memo by now.

I witnessed a then "Code Pink" as a student on my first day of clinical rotations. Tiny Doc decided to publicly ride and humiliate an LVN right at change of shift, as twenty female staff members, one by one, stood next to her, while he ranted on oblivious.

At the end, the oncoming day shift charge nurse asked him in front of God and everyone present, "Are you all finished now, Asshole? Now get the hell off my ward and never come back!"

His hospital privileges were permanently revoked that day.
And that was back in the Bush (41) presidency.
(And to be fair, he was a Total @$$hole, and I may have had a wee bit to do with lighting his fuse that day, just before his final performance. I'm kind of proud of that moment.)

Bring this guy to the attention of management.
He's probably already a hot mess of prior incidents.

If HR and Risk Management can't straighten him out or get rid of him, then it's OK to punch him in the dick.
Ideally, when no one else sees you do it.
Plausible deniability.

And I've heard...yeah, that's it, heard... if you're so inclined, standing next to a guy and throwing a hard elbow back gives about 4X the striking power as an overhand punch, and far less risk of broken wrist bones or Boxer's fractures. I'm thinking it was from my hand-to-hand combat instructor in boot camp. Why would he lie, right? This message is purely for informational purposes, you understand.