Sunday, April 1, 2012

respect: a novel concept

This post is a little different from most of my other ones, but I think it has a good message and it's been something I've been mulling over for at least a year now.

Neither one of my parents went to college after high school. I consider them happy and successful people who raised 4 awesome kids on very little money. The fact that 6 people survived on their income is a testament to how successful they are as people. I grew up going to public schools and having normal friends, some who went to college, and others who didn't.

When I graduated college and went to medical school, I became increasingly aware of the pride my colleagues had of their own academic accomplishments. A lot of times, entire conversations occurred where it was just each person patting oneself on the back. I, myself, went through a phase where I can honestly say that, in a certain way, I thought I was better than "uneducated" people. The thing is, it was a short-lived phase and totally embarrassing and immature. I have a problem with those who have not given up this sophomoric arrogance after graduating and having real-life experience working with people.

Maybe doctors just have a stronger propensity for narcissism than other people and so I've become jaded with over-exposure to it. It's really a problem though. For example, I've seen doctors talk down to nurses and other medical staff for no good reason. When did we lose the concept of the "health care team"...where everyone is working together for the common good of the patient?

You just can't talk down to people because they are "below" you in an arbitrary hierarchy. I have a specific example I was witness to in medical school. There was a scrub tech who was an incredibly mean and arrogant person. One day we were all scrubbed for surgery when I overheard her telling the circulating nurse a story.

Scrub tech: "One of the other scrub techs told a surgeon to shut the hell up. I mean, he is a doctor! You can't talk to a doctor like that!"

Nurse: "You can't talk to anyone like that."

Point very well made. This whole world needs to operate on the grounds of mutual respect for people as people. You can't tear down the people you rely on to facilitate all your orders. Trust me, if you are rude to the wrong nurses, they will make your life a living hell. They will page you for the dumbest of reasons at 3 a.m. And you will probably have brought it upon yourself.

Similarly, I've seen nurses talk badly about techs in the hospital. They do all the work that no one else has time/wants to do! How can you demean them? Also, you never know someone's background story. A lot of techs are working as techs in order to go to nursing school eventually. And a lot of them are perfectly happy with just having a steady job!

Basically, what it comes down to is that it is a privilege to take care of patients. It doesn't matter what your position is...we should all be working together for the same thing: the best possible outcome for the patient. This can't be done unless everyone shows everyone the same amount of respect.

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully said. I couldn't agree more. Thanks for writing this :)