Nurse Jenkins chats happily with her fiance.
Head Nurse Robinson waits to pounce on her for making personal phone calls on company time.
They both are stylin’ in their newly starched white uniforms.
Nurse Jenkins has the better cap.
Head Nurse Robinson suffers from “embedded cephalgic syndrome”. She graduated from nursing school so long ago, her cap has grown into her head, where it sits to this day. They had to bury her with it.
There is now an online forum where a nurse can rate a physician online.
That’s right. I visited the site and nurses can rate physicians on the following points:
- Communication and rapport
- Competence and experience
- Convenient, efficient and responsive
- Likely to recommend to a patient
- Treats staff with care and respect
Did you jump up and say, “Oh man, let me go register right this minute?”
I didn’t. Maybe I’m wrong, but I see this as just one more barrier to collegial nurse/physician relationships.
Here is a quote from the press release at Business Wire:
The NursesRateDoctors online platform where nurses can anonymously join the site and provide their insights on physicians will accumulate a vast knowledge base of information critical to helping a patient seeking a provider.
This bothers me. I do not believe a doctor has a right to judge my competence and experience as a registered nurse, why should I be able to rate, anonymously, a physician on the same criteria?
I can’t fault the goal of the site. It is to help patients make good decisions on who to choose for their medical care. The best way to do that is interview, visit and choose your doctor before you need him/her. In an emergency, you get the physician on-call anyway and by then it is too late. Is a patient going to say, “Oh, wait until I check NursesRateDoctors.com before you send me to surgery for that rupturing aneurism! I want to make sure Dr. Godly is rated highly!”?
This is not the same as a patient rating a physician. If I have a good or bad experience with a doctor as a patient, I own that experience and I can pass it along to other patients, knowing that any other ratings I read are the personal beliefs of the other patients in the practice. I can choose to believe them or take them with the proverbial grain of salt.
There is a potential for abuse with this system or at least skewed ratings. Let me give you a personal example.
The trauma physician who cared for my sister after her accident is one of the biggest asses I’ve ever met in my three decades of nursing. His bedside manner sucks. The nurses can’t stand him (a few birdies told me). The other docs think he’s a twit (an MD birdie told me that).
But that night last May he made the decision not to perform bilateral amputations when my sister had nothing holding her feet to her legs but strips of skin.
A week ago she took twenty steps on her newly built left ankle. In a month she will be able to do the same on her right.
I can’t stand this man. But, if I’m ever a trauma patient I want him at my side.
As a nurse, if I go rate this doctor he gets a “0” on three out of the five criteria. So his rating from me would be skewed because even though he is competent, he is also low on the personality meter.
With NursesRateDoctors.com, you have one set of professionals rating the competency of an entirely different set of professionals. “Doctors aren’t nurses, nurses aren’t doctors.” How many times do we hear this, read this, say this? If the name of this site were DoctorsRateNurses the outcry would be deafening.
Nurses have opinions on our physician colleagues. We have opinions on who knows the most, who is the nicest, who is the best with patients. Doctors have their opinions about which nurses they can trust, which nurses work and which nurses like to surf the internet for half the shift.
The operative word here is opinion. NursesRateDoctors.com asks nurses, as professionals to rate physicians. Not our personal lay opinions. The whole point is that the ratings come from professional nurses, one of the most trusted of all groups in society.
In my opinion, asking nurses to rate physicians exploits that trust.
I have a hard time balancing nurses giving professional opinions of doctors against this clause in the “Terms of Service”:
THIS WEBSITE IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT OR ADVICE ABOUT DOCTORS, NURSES OR OTHER HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS. ANY DECISION ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL HEALTHCARE SHOULD BE MADE IN CONSULTATION WITH YOUR PERSONAL HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS AND PROVIDERS.
I went over to register to see what would be available to me as an RN “member” when I found this in the “fine print” in a link at the bottom of the page. I chose not to register.
It’s basically “give your professional opinion as a nurse” but the site is not intended to give advice about doctors.
Am I missing something here?
This is just a bad idea no matter how you look at it. In the final analysis doctors are accountable to their patients, not nursing, just as nursing is not accountable to medicine, but to the patient.
Nursing has been fighting a long, hard battle to be seen as a true profession. Doctors and nurses are working together for the good of the patient and the patient benefits when the relationship between doctors and nurses is one of open communication.
NursesRateDoctors does nothing to advance any of this.
As a nursing professional, I am embarrassed by the concept.
Here is the link to NursesRateDoctors.com. I’m interested in how you feel about it.