• Do you find it easier to talk to your nurses than your doctor or oncologist?

    Asked by MarktheMan on Friday, May 10, 2013

    Do you find it easier to talk to your nurses than your doctor or oncologist?

    Sometimes it just feels better talking to a couple of them, I just sometimes get a weird feeling when talking to the dr. Cant really explain it.

    8 Answers from the Community

    8 answers
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Hi MarktheMan,

      I can explain it. Nurses generally have much better people skills than doctors (I know, I used to be married to a physician). The folks that go into nursing (my daughter's a Paramedic that is switching over) want to be (usually) more hands on and helpful to people in a caring sort of way.

      Physicians want to diagnose, cut, prescribe, examine, or do psychotherapy (if they're psychiatrists) but they generally don't do hands on care for people, so it becomes much easier to relate to someone who does that for you. It often seems to people (especially those who haven't been behind the scenes...;)) much more intimidating to speak to a physician. They're trained to keep more of a "clinical distance" between themselves and their patients. That's more of n old school attitude which hopefully is changing (I have a wonderful and warm plastic surgeon), but it's often the exception rather than the rule.

      They often speak in medicalese (medical jargon) which is unnecessary and rude for patients. They should be quite capable of putting whatever diagnostic or treatment news into plain English and you should feel completely comfortable speaking with them and asking whatever questions you feel necessary, but these are "shoulds" and we're not there yet. The medical schools are lacking in this area in their curriculum in teaching physicians how to relate to their patients as human beings (while maintaining the degree of "clinical detachment" {actually necessary because physicians lose patients with frequency and they need to be able not to obsess over one patients' death, so that they're able to help others}]. It's a difficult balance.

      I hope that my explanation has helped you. If you think I'm not being clear, feel free to message me here or email me offsite.

      Hoping you meet the right doc!!

      Warm Wishes,

      over 4 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      I just love your posts and never stop posting. Speaking for the nurses, I can say with ease that the difference is that doctors treat the disease but nurses treat the person. To doctors you are that brain tumor, to nurses, you are Mark. This is why you feel more comfortable with nurses. And thank you for that vote of confidence to all of us who take the time to recognize the man and not the disease.

      over 4 years ago
    • ddkk3's Avatar

      You know, I love my oncologist but at the same time I feel more comfortable talking to his physician assistants! He has 2 PAs that he works with and they are both fantastic and so easy to talk to. My oncologist is also easy to talk to, don't get me wrong, but it's different.

      over 4 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      I had a pretty good relationship with my chemo nurse. She was fantastic. But I also had a great relationship with my Oncologist. He never once talked to me like I was a patient. He always approached me like we have be friends for years.

      over 4 years ago
    • SpunkyS's Avatar

      Nurses tend to be more people oriented. Also have the opportunity to spend a little more time with you than the MD. I like the PAs and feel a bit more comfortable talking with them because they don't seem as rushed as the MD, nor as shy. My oncologist really is shy.
      My relationship with the nurses is a bit different because they are my peers.

      over 4 years ago
    • derbygirl's Avatar

      I saw it all the time at work. I would be in the exam room with the patient and they would tell me everything but when the doctor came in they didn't tell him anything. I had to prompt the conversation by asking a question about what they told me to get the doctor to begin asking questions of them as well. It's what we in the medical field call the "white coat syndrome." It also has nothing to do with the doctor being male or female either. The doctor I worked with told me it's because patients fear what the doctor will tell them. He said when they talked to me they knew I was there to get their information and talk them through what he was doing and be their support during the exam but I wasn't the one who may have to tell them bad news. He always said that was the worst part of his job. I think that's why it's so important to have the same doctor at every visit so you begin to feel comfortable around the doctor. I know for me, I have had the same OBGYN for 19 years and have never seen anyone else in the practice. He knows me and can even tell when I am scared or nervous and I feel comfortable around him.. The medical profession has gotten so big that patients are often scheduled with different providers if it's a large practice, so patients have to constantly deal with someone new. If that's the way it is where you go then try requesting the same doctor for every visit. My doctor's staff has gotten the hint that I refuse to see anyone else and they made a note in my chart so when I call for an appointment they see it on there and know not to schedule me with anyone else. He even put a note on my chart not to schedule me with anyone else. If you get nervous at your appointments then write down a list of questions for the doctor before you go to your appointment and give them to the nurse so the doctor can look over them and address your concerns. I hope this helps. Take care.

      over 4 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      My first reaction was an emphatic "NO." I have had such poor experiences with nurses that I don't talk to them about anything unless I have too. I have had them feed me inaccurate information, listened to them out and out lie to me in direct conflict to the Dr's instructions and take no responsibility for their actions afterwards when confronted with their mistakes despite the presence of hard, cold facts.

      However, I have also never feared talking to any doctor and often find myself pressing them for answers while not paying the nurses much heed (which would obviously make me less than popular). But after reading derbygirl's post, I think I understand better why this may be. I've been in management for most of my life, used to solving the problem rather than just facilitating the solution so I feel I can read bs pretty well and the nurses I've dealt with have spilled a lot of bs in the name of healthcare (they aren't held accountable the way Dr.s are) so I would rather hear from someone qualified, even if I am hearing news I may not like.

      I understand the desire to hear comforting words, receive warm and fuzzies and the need to feel compassion and a sense of hope which nurses like to hand out like candy and as another answerer noted, Dr.s are not people persons as they deal with facts which are often not what we want to hear (I have had a couple of nurses who belie my experiences, but very few). Bad news is never as welcome so its not unreasonable to want to avoid it, especially with dealing with something as traumatizing emotionally as cancer.

      But as scary as it may be, we owe it to ourselves to be as forthcoming with the Dr (as he is the one who can cure us) as possible, listen to what they tell us, ask/demand explanations if we don't understand and take the nurses words with a grain of salt, however well meaning and or comforting they may be.

      And Mark, I agree with Carm about enjoying your posts.

      over 4 years ago
    • sbmontgomery's Avatar

      I have read the post and I guess I am one of the lucky ones that have an oncologist that is amazing. She really is easy to talk to about anything. We talk about my cancer, but also my day, my kids and things I do with my family, Sometimes when I talk about the hard times I have and get upset she stops writing and takes both hands and holds my hands. She knows how to comfort me when I need it. I'll send her an e-mail and she will always answer before the night is over. One day I had an appointment with her where I was tired of feeling bad and thought things would never get better. To my surprise she called me at 9:00 pm to check on me to she if I was feeling better and if there was anything she could do for me. I am so thankful for her. I am always glad when it is time for my checkup because I love just talking to her.

      over 4 years ago

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