Dealing With A Me First Surgeon


How can I address an issue of disrespect and embarrassment? I am the surgical coordinator at a hospital where I work with a woman surgeon who thinks she can be bossy and push people around. She threatens to tell the president of the hospital if things don’t get done the way she wants them. She wanted me to put a case in the president of the department’s Operating Room block time and I had already been informed that she couldn’t use that room. When I told her, she went running to the administrator to inform her, and I went to assist her and I was told me to put the case in that room.

In the interim I threw my hands up in the air and she turned around and told me not to throw my hands up at her. I turned and said, “Excuse Me” and she repeated herself. I than told her that I wasn’t throwing my hands up at her that it was a body gesture and I would put the case wherever she wanted it.

I took it to my administrator and told her what happened and mentioned that I was not her stepchild nor was she my mother. I said she embarrassed me in front of public.

This surgeon is 37 yrs old and she uses other surgeon’s block time and wants to always go first. She doesn’t follow protocol like all the other surgeons. She threatens that if she doesn’t get her way, then she uses the president of the hospital to get what she wants. I am so sick of her. She treats those that generate the work like stepchildren. I want to tell her off but the administrator one day told me that if I stepped on her she wouldn’t be able to do anything for me. Please advise how can I address her behavior without jeopardizing my job.


Surgical Coordinator


Dear Surgical Coordinator:

Some doctors play God to those who assist them as well as they do to patients. From what you say, this particular surgeon sees herself as special and she has your administrator scared for you to cross her, possibly because this surgeon doesn’t hesitate to go to the top. Protocols, as you know, are not merely to create standard procedures, but can be formed for the sake of fairness. And from what you say, fairness is not highly valued by this surgeon. What can you do? You have some options, some that can jeopardize your job, but that might be the only way to maintain your self-respect: · Log the times over the next couple of weeks Dr. I Must Have My Way (IMHMW) pushes to be ahead of others. Date, time, language she uses, others who consequently must come second, and witnesses if any. Such a log might be used later if you are told by your administrator · Assert yourself to Dr. IMHMW; politely and firmly say, “I can’t do that. You must wait your turn. That’s why we have these rules.” If she storms, “I’ll take this to the president of administrator over your area.” Simply say, “Do you want to do that now? I’ll go with you, but I’m not putting you ahead, unless ordered to do so. Or we can go later. Right now. My assignment stands.” · Schedule a time-out sessions with Dr. IMHMW for a one-on-one confrontation. Tell her that you want to be accommodating and that you regret the conflict in the past. Ask for advice on how she might work within the current protocols or how she wants them to be revised. Possibly, such a time-out should be in the office of the Administrator and you should acquire that individual’s support for this approach. · Present this problem to those who are concerned and who find the protocols suits them. Hammer out with them if and when exceptions should be made. Dr. IMHMW could be invited to present her case for herself. · Schedule a Who does What When problem-solving meeting for all interested parties. Focus on how we might deliver the best possible most efficient quality of service. Probably there are other ways to deal with this doctor, but these options should help you decide what you might do. Or they might prompt you to think of other approaches. See this as a learning; possibly a trial and error; way of learning how to deal with difficult people. Do let me know what you do that works and/or fails. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. What might that kind of mindedness mean for you and your woodworkers?

William Gorden