Rudeness among doctors is passed down. No kidding, it’s part of an actual study. Senior doctors treat or mistreat the underlings and when the same underlings become more established, they return the favor to the med students under them.
Let’s face it, it would be easy to develop a God-complex when you have life and death in your hands, make mega bucks and people shower you with respect and all kinds of accolades. On the other hand, doctors are under pressure as never before. So when nerves are frayed, proper etiquette is not a priority. I imagine that being a doctor is a rewarding but challenging career.
Having said that, it seems that women who are doctors actually have a better bedside manner than their male counterparts do. They spend more time and have more meaningful conversations with their patients. The above is true but with exception of ob/gyns – where male ob/gyns spent more time with their patients. These same male doctors engage their patients in the much needed patient-focused interchange more so than women ob/gyns.
So how does a good beside manner affect us as patients? In a variety of ways – when the medical staff is intimidated by a doctor, the nurse is not going to question him (or her) about an error neither is a pharmacist going to ask about a possible prescription mix-up. This can have disastrous consequences for a patient. It was found that under these circumstances, more patients are apt to suffer or die. Whereas when the opposite is the case, patients are more likely to thrive as mistakes are caught and double-checked due to the professional and positive environment.
Lastly, what’s interesting to note is male patients will put up with a bad bedside manner longer, mainly because of how they are wired naturally. Men think in task format: I don’t like this doctor but she/he did give me the service I needed. We women tend to invest more in the actual relationship with someone rather than in someone’s expertise – although the latter is still very important to us. We think: This person is a good doctor but she/he is always rude. I need to find someone else who knows how to talk to me as well has the expertise I need.
So what does all of this mean? Well, from a patient’s perspective, we might want to rethink putting up with that rude doctor. It may mean our life. And if you’re one of those rude doctors? Then you definitely need to rethink your attitude for your sake and your patients.