Wednesday, October 13, 2010

When Nurses And Doctors Disagree

Registered Nurse Theresa Brown has a thoughtful column in the New York Times about the difficult dance that occurs when a nurse disagrees with a doctor. She sees herself as an advocate for the patient, one who has typically spent much more time with them than the doctor. Brown covers several true-life incidents:

1. A doctor in training who had prescribed the wrong, life-threatening medication. In this case, of course, the nurse is obligated to act immediately and work her way up the food chain of authority until the dangerous step is avoided.

2. The more nuanced case of a patient in his 70s fighting leukemia and bitterly suffering from chemotherapy.

3. A doctor who simply told her, “When you get down to it, patients come to me for care, Theresa, not you.”

It's well worth a read.

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