May 11, 2010

Spreading The Love!

The Last Post of How To Thank A Doctor.

Okay we've almost beaten this topic to death. You asked Doctor D and you received! You now know every nuance of the physician psyche in the realm of gratitude. Your thanks should now reduce MDs to putty in your hands!

But one last pearl of wisdom to take home:
If you thank a doctor and then treat the staff like crap, you just come across an insincere ass.

This should be totally obvious, but you wouldn't believe how many people do it.

"Oh, thank you so much Doctor D for diagnosing my UTI. You are awesome!" Then they go disrespect the nurse who had to crawl under their panus to get the in-and-out cath. Not cool and not really grateful.

The truth is that doctors get thanked too much for what nurses, phlebotomists, paramedics, and other healthcare staff do. We get to ride in at the end with the triumphant diagnosis. All the people who do the hard stuff rarely get thanked.

You thank Doctor D he'll probably think you're a cool patient. You thank the phelebotomist who stuck you and he'll recommend you for beautification. You cuss out the phlebotomist and D's cool vibe about you vaporizes.

What if the phelbotomist really deserved to be cussed out?
I know the healthcare system has a few jerks in every job, but if you let them bring you to their level the only person you shame is yourself.

So spread the love! Treat the healthcare team nice and your doc will love you. By the way, it's Nurses Week (which is totally a more legitimate holiday than Doctor's Day) so go hug a nurse or something!

There you have it! You know all there is to know about thanking doctors.

But honestly, as long as you're polite you don't really have to thank your doctor. We work in a service profession. It's not like we are war heros or humanitarians. You don't always have to thank someone for doing their job, but it is nice when you do.

Thanks for reading!

Next week Doctor D shall take on more interesting questions... Email me some!


Anonymous said...

Hi Dr. D,

Just wanted to say that as a social worker who works on a team, I highly appreciate this post. It's also a good reminder to be sincere (now if that's something someone could fake I would be impressed)....but really.


Albinoblackbear said...

So very very true. It is such a drag when you spend an entire shift with a patient and get nothing but attitude from them despite the fact that you are at their beck and call all day.

Then the doctor shows up and they undergo a personality change of manic proportions. Three minutes later the doc leaves and the patient is back to grumpy self. It's so tacky. And disrespectful.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

I have sometimes managed to thank nurses in person during or after a hospitalization, but there are a few barriers.

Over the course of a stay that lasts for weeks, I'll have had perhaps twenty or more different nurses. They seem to change all the time, making it difficult to develop the sort of bond I have with a doctor I've seen many times for months. I'm sure there are reasons why they switch every other day who is assigned to my case, but it's hard on me to constantly start over with new nurses, each of whom seems never to have seen my chart and who asks me to explain my medical history.

The nurses often introduce themselves rapidly, casually, and by first name only and sometimes never at all. How do I address a card to a no-name nurse? They might (or might not) write their name on a white board in the room, but I can't always read their writing or they have the same names as other nurses. I don't always have a notepad to write down their name for reference later, and in the thick of surgeries and drugs and all, I often can't recall who did what and when. I remember one nurse who was very gentle and patient in redoing all my IVs when they infiltrated and I was running out of usable veins and my arms were so sore, but I couldn't tell you her name! (But I remember that I had her sister as my nurse later on in another unit. It's hard to patch it all together.)

I've gotten along with nearly all my nurses very very well, I really appreciate their care, and they've been very kind themselves about telling me how much they like me as a patient, but there's a sort of anonymity and swirling rush to the whole experience that's made it hard to go a step further in thanking them as individuals.

Maha said...

Love the topic and this post - appreciating others is always appreciated :)

Looking forward to your next post!

Old MD Girl said...

Not to mention that if you put in a little effort to be kind to the nurses, phlebotomists, etc who are helping you, they will REALLY appreciate it. This even works when medical students are doing the thanking. :-)

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Yeah, this pisses me off A LOT. I've actually called a few patients out on it, because they somehow think I won't find out they did it.

WarmSocks said...

Thanks for a great series, Doctor D.

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