1st Year Nurse Tip 2: Follow the Doc

Some nurses run after the docs, and some don’t. I suggest you do! One thing I’ve learned as a new nurse, is that being present with the doctor while he/she is in the room conversing with the patient, is helpful on so many levels. At the start of my shift, I’m aware of the names of all the docs seeing my patient’s. Sometimes I know the doctor and sometimes I don’t, but I keep an eye on my patient’s rooms while I’m charting, and if I notice a physician entering one of my patients room’s, I grab my clipboard and I run in after him/her.

By being present for the doctor’s assessment and discussion with my patient’s, much is gained. First, I’m able to hear directly from the doctor the plan of care.  When will the patient be discharged? What further testing will be ordered and why? What were the results of the prior tests? Secondly, I’ve learned so much from the physician’s who take the time to educate their patients. Some are great at explaining on a level the patient can understand. I’ve walked away with some valuables educational tools, from physician’s who take the time. Third, often times the doctor may want an update on the patient, or to place an order. Being present and available when the doctor’s in the patient’s room not only helps me and the patient, but it’s a benefit to the doc. They don’t have to chase me down for an update, or page me to the front desk to place an order. It show’s respect and also shows I truly care about making sure my patients receives the best care. Additionally, while some physicians spend a good amount of time explaining plan of care and such with their patient’s, there are those who are in and out in a matter of 25 seconds. The patient is left feeling frustrated, because they forgot to ask the question they’ve been thinking about for 25 hours, because the doc only gave them 25 seconds. This is where the nurse plays the role of advocate. Sometimes in the beginning of my shift, I’ll ask the patient to write down all the questions he/she has for the doc. Being present while the doc is in the room, allows me to remind the patient that he wanted to ask the doctor about switching a specific med to a different one. Also, I get the chance to hear what the doctor has to say, and then further translate in English the plan, when the doctor’s gone and the patient is left confused and irritated.

Follow the doc! In summary, you’ll hear the plan first hand, be available to show you care, give respect to the physician so they he/she doesn’t have to hunt you down, translate in English what the doc had to say when he/she is gone and patient is left confused, and  learn a thing or two in the process. I’ve incorporated this into my practice, and I find it so beneficial. There have been times in which I’m doing a dressing change or starting an IV, and I’m not even aware that the doc’s in the room next door, so it’s not always possible to be present. But, if the patient is alert and oriented, often times I’ll ask him/her to press the call light, or call me when the doctor arrives. I’ve found that patient’s really like it when I’m in the room, because they know I’ll advocate for them. I let them use me to ask questions or recommend. Some people are intimidated to bring things up, but I have no problems asking. There have been times too, when the patient and I have had several conversations regarding questions and concerns, prior to the doctor arriving, and then when the doctor’s in the room, I can gently mention, “Oh I think  Mr. J also wanted to ask you about….”.

I’ve had so many people thank me for remembering to bring things up, that they would have otherwise forgotten. Nursing is about caring and advocating for the patient’s in your care, as well as showing respect and courtesy for those you work with (the doc’s), so follow the doc!





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