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Periodic Contributor

Healthcare Provider question about when to speak up or not speak up

My regular health care provider (an MD) is on vacation. I got to a very large practice that is part of a large hospital and the family medicine department is spread out over about 6 different locations in various towns.


The Nurse Practitioner I saw was angry when she came into the room. I have never met her before. She proceeded to be angry (about something) during the visit but I tried to let it go.


At one point she said I was going to need an ultrasound and said "You are going to need bloodwork before you get the ultrasound because of your age. Younger people don't need it". I was wondering why she put it that way. I was waiting for her to explain..and you need it because of your age because..., but she didn't. So it was then that I asked her why because of my age did I need it but a younger person didn't. She did answer but answered in a manner where she was annoyed I had asked. 


But it was more than that. She was simply angry about something and taking it out on me (and perhaps others before me) with her disposition.  Her mood.


I know people have bad days but that's between her and her employer or between her and the source of her unhappiness. It's not up to the patient to bear the brunt of it. 


I have been going to this practice for over 10 years and get along great with my regular doctor. I am not going to mention it to him because he isn't her supervisor. He's simply another employee there.


Actually I am not going to complain to the practice either. I just won't make any more appointments where they say I will be seeing this person. Or I will ask for someone else.


How do you handle health care providers who are speaking to you in a tone that is disrespectful?


Did I use good judgement in not letting her know her angry disposition was hurting my feelings? Being she was acting angry, I knew from common sense that asserting one's self with an angry person can sometimes backfire. I decided to bide my time until the appointment was over. On the other hand, assertiveness is not the same as aggression. Speaking assertively isn't mean. However she was intimidating (meaning she sounded like she was someone who explodes) and I simply didn't want to risk getting more on her bad side than I apparently was simply because I had an appointment! speak up directly to the person being disrespectful or bite your tongue and not make more appointments with them? 





Silver Conversationalist

I think we should always speak up. These people are highly trained professionals who are there to help us. They are also human and subject to the everyday pressures that we all are,but that doesn't give them the right to take anything out on their patients. They do work for us,not the other way around and ,depending on circumstances,should be told when they are acting less than professional. That said,I think you handled it well.

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