Why Are Doctors So Rude To Staff?
It’s not fair to categorically state that all doctors are disrespectful towards employees. Every person is unique, and various factors can influence a doctor’s behavior. Some doctors might be dealing with immense stress and pressure, which could potentially impact their conduct. Moreover, certain doctors may lack adequate training in effective staff communication. Regardless, it’s crucial to tackle any instances of rudeness or disrespect professionally and constructively.
Why are doctors less empathetic?
Like Hernando, most people desire a doctor who is not only capable of prescribing medications but also listens and provides understanding. However, many patients complain about an apparent lack of empathy from doctors in clinics and hospitals. Research shows that medical students’ empathy scores decrease during their education, leading to a perceived decline in physician empathy. Most efforts to bridge this ’empathy gap’ focus on individual physician training, but without changes in the work environment, these could be futile.
Clinical empathy necessitates that the healthcare professional be genuinely present, curious enough to cognitively and emotionally grasp a patient’s situation, perspective, and feelings, and then relay this understanding back to the patient.
The influence of empathy can sometimes seem more magical than biological. Higher empathy scores correlate with faster recovery from common colds, better blood sugar control in diabetics, improved adherence to treatment regimens, and patients feeling more empowered to manage their illnesses. Empathetic physicians also report higher personal wellbeing and face fewer lawsuits.
While the case for empathy is clear, the methods to enhance it remain elusive. Recent research suggests that meditation and ‘mindful communication’ can boost a physician’s empathy, leading to a burgeoning industry of training courses. However, this focus neglects the glaring deficiencies in the work environment that suppress doctors’ inherent empathy.
This narrative becomes evident when speaking to frontline physicians or reading the numerous resignation letters penned by doctors and medical students exiting the profession. Many express frustration that the practice environment hinders them from providing the level of care they aspire to and that their patients deserve. They attribute this to the time pressure imposed by a billing system that prioritizes patient quantity over quality, lack of control over their chaotic work environment, and the endless administrative tasks. Not surprisingly, these are also the factors contributing to physician burnout.
This was also my experience with Hernando. We met on the most stressful day of my week in the clinic, further complicated by running behind schedule. I was unfamiliar with him, so we had to spontaneously navigate our preferences for alternative versus allopathic medicine.
Burnout was also a factor. I met Hernando during the busiest period of my residency, working nearly 80 hours a week with only nine days off over 12 weeks. With chronic sleep deprivation, my empathy circuits were shut down, a recognized issue in current medical education. I needed rest more than a mindfulness course, although I do hold myself to a higher standard than that appointment with Hernando.
Despite anecdotal evidence from physicians, there are few studies in medical journals examining the effect of less chaotic hospital environments or longer primary care appointments on empathy. It’s not that researchers ignore these environmental factors; many papers mention them in passing. There are simply few empirical studies in medicine.
What not to say to patients?
This won’t cause any discomfort,
It’s quite straightforward,
Is this your first time here?
It’s unlikely to be serious,
That’s not an option,
I’ve mentioned this before,
Dr. __ didn’t do a great job here,
This is our standard procedure,
That’s not a substantial amount,
It’ll just take a moment,
No need to fret,
We’ll attend to you shortly,
Please, stay calm,
Did that make sense?
We have a full house today,
You’ve broken the mesio-buccal cusp,
Your file seems to be misplaced,
Things could be worse,
Did you tune into the debates?
This is a case of malpractice,
Linda was dismissed,
Your insurance should handle it all,
Let’s leave it in divine hands.
What is an example of a difficult patient?
Patients who provoke intense negative emotions in their physicians are often labeled as difficult. If these emotions aren’t recognized and managed appropriately, they can result in diagnostic mishaps, uncomfortable confrontations, and problematic complaints or even legal claims.
The author examines typical personalities and scenarios linked to challenging encounters in emergency departments, proposing an approach that emphasizes flexible communication and early rapport building. He explores potential diagnoses in agitated or confused, uncooperative patients, reviews pertinent laws regarding restraint and competence to consent, and suggests strategies to minimize medicolegal risks.
Physicians may exhibit rudeness towards staff due to factors such as stress, prolonged work hours, or a hierarchical work culture. Addressing these issues is vital to enhancing workplace dynamics and ensuring superior patient care.