Doctors should respect the demands put on nurses' time and attention

LETTER — Posted Nov. 8, 2004

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Regarding "Some doctors may lack manners, but also gone is the respect they once enjoyed" (Letters, Oct. 18):

I agree that certain support staff can be coarse to not only doctors but to nurses as well.

I also agree that nurses should have an open line of communication with the physician regarding the patient's medical condition and any other issues that may be affecting the patient's care.

However, nurses are not assigned to physicians; they are assigned to the patients. There are some instances that do not allow a nurse to be readily available to a physician at that physician's convenience. For example, when a nurse is assisting physician A with a procedure, the nurse cannot be available to consult with physician B regarding that doctor's patient, who may be more stable. Unfortunately, both physicians and nurses do not always have the opportunity to be everywhere all at once.

Finally, nurses do not go to school to bring physicians their coffee. Nurses are available to comfort the patient, educate the patient, give the patient their medication, turn the patient every two hours, suction the patient as needed, assess the patient and coordinate the patient's care. These are just a few of the actions that nurses do on a daily basis. Nurses are not there to deliver coffee to the physician, especially if it will take time away from their patient care. You can find coffee at the cafeteria or your nearest vending machine.

Maureen L. Maloney-Poldek, RN, Schaumburg, Ill.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/11/08/edlt1108.htm.

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