Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Good nurse, bad dietician

The battleaxe of the SICU is an elderly female nurse who, I am convinced, thinks smiling or cheerfulness is wrong. Or maybe she thinks they are good, but just enjoys being wrong herself. Anyway, she has steadfastly refused to smile or make any effort to appreciate levity on my part.

So today was a bit surprising. But first a bit of back story. See, as a fourth year med student, I'm technically not allowed to write orders for patients without a co-signature. This means that after I write an order on the computer, the resident has to add his name to the order before it is filled. So after rounds this morning, I was sitting at the computer next to my resident while we both entered orders on patients. After I entered a batch, he would check them over and sign the lot of them. This system works well, but was complicated by the fact that nutrition orders are different than most, in that the computer, for whatever reason, actually files the order without a co-signature. So, despite my having put both my name and my resident's name on the order, when I wrote a nutrition order on my patient, giving him pretty much exactly what he got yesterday, the computer only put my name on the top, since I was logged in writing the order.

Fast forward 3 hours. A small, striking woman standing perhaps 5 feet 2 inches tall bursts into the room and announces as the top of her voice "WE have A PROBLEM. WHERE is Dr. Benedikt?"

"He's not here at present" comes the reply.

"And ANOTHER thing! WHO is [insert my full name here, in caps]"

"That would be me" I answered.

"Are you a PHYSICIAN?!"

"Not yet."

"Then WE have a PROBLEM. I'm going to speak with your STAFF."

I was a bit concerned. I had no idea who this woman was, but about five seconds after she stormed out again, I realized she was probably from dietary medicine and she probably had some issues with my name being the lead on a dietary order. Not really a big deal, but hey, some people make the most of their postage stamp sized area of control. And heck, she was speaking to my staff, who writes my grade. Maybe this would be bad.

Anyway, the Battleaxe saw the shocked expression on my face and said "Don't you pay her a bit of mind, child. She's like that all the time. Dr. Benedikt will give her what for." Then she went back to scowling at everybody.


Judy said...

Thanks for the laugh. You must be doing something right there.

zhoen said...

I would agree that nutritionists are like that.


Kate said...

Sounds like a complicated situation to say the least! Good luck with the battle axe!

Ma Hoyt said...


That's pretty funny :-)

The Angry Medic said...

Yeah, battleaxes are like that. I used to think they were horrible people under their facades, but they're usually just really dedicated. Glad she opened up to you though.