Tips for Nurses to Earn Doctors' Respect

Nurses can use these tips to deal with difficult doctors.

Although careers in nursing are extremely rewarding, having to deal with a difficult doctor can make the job more stressful than necessary. As with any career, becoming a nurse means working with people of all personality types, but taking steps to earn the respect of physicians can create a more pleasant work environment so you can feel comfortable doing what you do best - caring for patients. Take these steps to earn the respect you deserve:

1. Keep the lines of communication open
Like nurses, doctors have lots of demands on their time, and rude or unpleasant behavior may just be a symptom of being overworked. To gain the respect of physicians, display confidence in your nursing abilities and be open and honest with them when communicating about patient care. Above all, they want to be informed, so be clear and concise when sharing information and don't be afraid to offer suggestions - it will go a long way towards earning respect.

2. Always be prepared
Before you call a physician to come look at a patient, make sure you have all the information you will need to answer his or her questions. Be prepared to identify yourself, the patient and their history and diagnosis, and why you called. Veteran nurses caution against notifying doctors of changes in a patient's condition unless you have already gathered as much information as possible about their status, including lab work and vital signs.

3. Stay out of workplace drama
Engaging in gossip about doctors that are difficult to work with will only hinder your ability to earn their respect. Focusing on patient care and your own professionalism can help to defuse potentially stressful encounters. Contributing to the drama will only serve to cast you in a negative light.

4. Keep it professional
If you find that a doctor's behavior has become too difficult to manage, it's important to stay professional. Keep calm. Ask to be spoken to in a respectful tone and document any substantial mistreatment. That way if the situation gets out of hand you will be able to issue a well-documented report to your manager or administrator.

5. Give respect to get it
Remember to always treat your colleagues the way you want to be treated. You can expect doctors to respect you if you don't respect them in turn. Do your best to contribute to a positive work environment.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online RN to BSN and BSN to MSN degree programs to working nurses who already have a current RN license. To find out more, please visit our website at

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