In short, any new assignment you take may require an adjustment period, especially when it comes to working with new people with defined personalities…like doctors!
In our previous blog post, We’ve All Been There | 4 Ways to Deal with Difficult Doctors, we gave you some pointers on resolving conflict with doctors in the workplace—and today, we’re giving you 4 additional tips to keeping yourself out of the drama and getting back to your patients.
1. Learn their preferences—fast.
When it comes to providing the best care to your patients, very little should be left to the imagination when it comes to the preferences your doctor has and making it a top priority to learn what these preferences are will only make your job easier in the long-run. This can be handled in two different ways:
Observation: Chances are, you’ll be able to pick-up on your boss’s management style, preferences and pet peeves through some keen observation your first week on the job. Do they enjoy making small talk, or do they value getting to the point quickly? Are there certain times in the day when they are most available to answer questions you may have? Take notice of their behavioral style and journal them so that you’ll remember.
Asking questions: If you’re still unsure of the preferences your doctor has, asking them will only showcase that you want to work with them collaboratively and build the trust in your relationship. For example, in what patient situations do they prefer to receive updates from you? What are their parameters to give or hold medication prescriptions for patients? If you’re experiencing challenges finding time with your doctor to ask these types of questions, take another nurse who has experience with the specific doctor for a coffee and pick their brain!
2. Be prepared.
Just like you, your doctor has very little time to waste. To ensure you’re able to maximize your time with your doctor and alleviate any miscommunications, do your best to be as prepared as possible at all times in your interactions, like reporting patient information or assisting them with a specific procedure. For example, when preparing to relay patient information to your doctor, it may be helpful to write down all the key information you want them to know for you to reference during the conversation. When you take a few minutes to organize your thoughts before reaching out to your doctor, you’ll feel less frazzled and more confident—and it will show!
3. Debrief after making mistakes.
Sure, making mistakes isn’t fun, but no one ever became an expert in their field without making mistakes either! And when things go sideways, there’s no better time to suggest a debrief with your doctor to ensure the mistake in question doesn’t happen again. Remember that this isn’t about placing blame, but working collaboratively with your doctor to provide quality patient care…something you both want. Be honest, reflect the situation at hand and what went wrong and work together with your doctor to find a solution or outline what should be done differently for future. This is a great way to hold yourself and your doctor accountable, without unnecessary defensiveness.
4. Keep things in perspective—what can you learn from this?
In the off-chance you’re working with a doctor you don’t jive with, keep your head-up and remember why you got into your nursing career to begin with…to help others. In the long run, your most challenging experiences will teach you lessons that will be critical to your nursing career as you go forward. Keep a journal for each assignment and be sure to document your greatest challenges and lessons before you land at your next assignment—you won’t regret it!