Working in healthcare means that you are exposed to new people every single day. Huge workforces, high staff turnover and shift working patterns means that rarely do you turn up to a shift and see the same faces as the day before. When you get on well with your team and everyone’s pulling in the same direction, work can be a treat.
But that’s not always the case.
We’ve all met them. Doesn’t matter what colour uniform they wear, everyone knows someone obnoxious. Someone who seems to go out of their way to be difficult to work with. And of them all, perhaps the one with the greatest potential to annoy, is the Junior Doctor!
Most of them are nice. Some of them are great. A handful are horrendous. They storm around, blue clipboards under their arm with the insistence that the items on their to-do list are more essential than anything on yours. Despite having been on the ward for less time than most of your patients, they can approach members of the nursing profession with an air of superiority that can grind down even the most temperate team member.
So StaffAngel has compiled some helpful hints and tips to help you deal with any divvy doctors that you encounter.
1. Step away from the patient
Whatever route you choose to go down when managing a difficult doctor, step one is to step away from the patient. Airing your dirty laundry in public is bad enough but when a vulnerable and scared patient sees their care givers coming to blows, they immediately lose faith in the service they are receiving.
Resist the temptation to bad mouth a colleague in front of a patient. It may feel empowering but it’ll make everyone’s job harder in the long run.
Try and imagine what might be driving the doctor to behave like she is. It’s easier said than done but taking a step back and realising that you are all here for the same goal – looking after patients – is the first step to mutual understanding.
This difficult doctor may have a funny way of showing it but 95% of the time, their goals are the same as yours. We all know what it feels like to have too much on your plate and some people’s response to that can be less than constructive. Do your best to understand the doctor’s problems and you’re most of the way there to working together.
3. Smile and laugh
Try not to rise to the bait. It is human nature to defend your corner but that is not always the most productive way to handle clinical conflict. A smile and a joke is often more disarming than any verbal riposte. It’s hard to keep arguing with someone that’s being nice to you and a quick smile will show you to be the bigger man.
4. Know when enough is enough
If you’ve tried your best to rise above someone’s challenging behaviour but still can’t make any progress, there comes a point when you need to escalate the issue.
Have a word with someone more senior in your team and tell them the problems you’re facing. They will find a time when the situation has cooled to take the doctor aside and advise them that their behaviour is unacceptable.
Above all, remember that if at any point someone at work threatens or bullies you or uses language that you find offensive and inappropriate, you have a duty to report that behaviour.
You may not be the only one this doctor is behaving badly with.
Above all, remember what you’re all at work for. If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what to do, prioritise the patient and you can’t go far wrong.