Photographer: N. Seghini.
I’ve been doing this nursing thing for a few year now. I have trained many new graduates and nursing residents. Many of the new grads and students I have trained in the last 5 years have all had one thing in common. They are petrified of talking to doctors. But guess what, doctors are people too! They are moms and dads and make mistakes like all humans do. Most of them want to come to the hospital, do a good job and get home to their loved ones – just like you. So don’t be intimidated to talk to a doctor or call a doctor. I work in a very busy hospital so a lot of the communication with Drs happens over the phone or text. So if you are ever hesitant or nervous to speak to physicians, here are some of my tips to make you looks like the most amazing nurse in front of all the providers….
Tips for calling doctor:
Before you put a call out to a doctor. Have all the labs, orders, allergies and current MAR/medication list handy in case She/He asks you a question when they call back.
“Hello Dr. Blah Blah Blah, this is Meg on 7Megsurg. You are taking care of Mrs. Smith, the perforated bowel case?
“Yes, what’s going on?”
“I am calling you because she has a fever of 101.7F and her white count is 52 today.”
“Ok, I’m not really familiar with this patient. How long has she been having the fevers? What was her white count yesterday and the day before? Is she on any antibiotics. What day post-op is she?”
Answer In clear short answers. You want to give a clear picture of your concerns and have all your info handy to be able to answer all the drs questions. You don’t want to waste time over the phone. You want to get the orders quickly so you can “fix” your patient as quickly as possible. Delay in care is how infections and disorders become deadly. (#SIRS #sepsis anyone?) Treat everything early and notify the doctors early if you are concerned! In nursing you are better off safe than sorry or sorry with a lawsuit. (Sorry to be blunt, but the legality in nursing today in unavoidable. Blood sucking lawyers! – John Ham from Jurassic Park)
Once you get the orders or instructions, write them down as the Dr is talking, repeat them back ONE by ONE to confirm. Confirm 2-3 times if you aren’t clear what the doctor is saying. If She/He has an accent don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat themselves or to spell it. Again, safe not sorry makes a nurse happy!
Before you hang up, thank the doctor by name for calling back.
If you assess your patient well and have the chart in front of you – you should have no reason to be intimidated to talk to a Doctor. And if you don’t know, don’t lie. Be honest and admit that you don’t know. Be a real nurse.