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Doctor Sets The Record Straight After Nurse Practitioner Says They ‘Can Do All The Same Stuff’

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If there is one thing we’ve learned from two decades of watching Grey’s Anatomy it’s that working in the medical field is not for the faint of heart.

And… behind the scenes, hospitals are overrun with high drama.

There is just as much workplace bickering as any other job. I suppose you have to find some way to break up all the trauma and intensity.

Recently “Doctor” Redditor AlwaysAdenosine found herself in the midst of some co-worker issues, when she was confronted by a new nurse practitioner who didn’t believe she was acting appropriately.

So naturally she came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit pleading for feedback.

She asked:

“AITA for correcting a coworker about my training?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I’m (30 F[emale]) an emergency medicine resident physician in my second year of training after medical school, and work in a small E[mergency] D[epartment] in the suburbs.”

“Recently a new grad nurse practitioner joined us (24 no prior nursing experience). She just got off orientation a few weeks ago.”

“A few days ago we we’re getting absolutely wrecked with lots of patients and I asked the N[urse] P[ractitioner] to see patients XY and Z, as some delegation had to happen.”

“The NP was upset because I didn’t give her a “good patient”, but rather low acuity problems.”

“She wanted a trauma patient with injuries involving the chest who was arriving soon, but being in a hurry I brushed it off by saying that a multi system trauma needs to be seen by the most senior physician available.”

“Meanwhile I had to call my attending/alert the O[perating] R[oom]/ and then obviously take care of the patient.”

“When I finally had a few minutes to sit down at the nurses station this NP comes up to me and starts complaining that I don’t outrank her (I literally do), and shouldn’t be giving her orders because we “can do all the same stuff.”

“At that point I got upset and told her that it would be irresponsible for her to see a patient in that condition alone and that our state requires NPs to be supervised by physicians for good reasons.”

“Then I asked if she ever gave male physicians this much attitude (she does not).”

“So I got a call from H[uman] R[esources]… apparently she reported me for demeaning her and unprofessional conduct.”

“I think it’s B[ull] S[**t] because there is a chain of command for safety reasons, not as a personal insult to people with different roles.”

“Also I’ve gone through some pretty brutal training to get here, and honestly took exception to her basically saying we have the same training when she has YEARS less education and training under her belt.”

“So, was I being a jerk?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on the matter by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole. 


“Chain of commands are not always just about power and arrogance… but about insurance, laws, security and safety.”

“Pointing out regulations and laws is not demeaning.”

“She came up, mouthing off to you… so I feel, she was unprofessional alone/first/as well. (depending on how you worded #2).”

“Your gender question was… sort of valid.”   ~ GrassTerrible5262

“My sister works in the Medical field and one thing she knew is that Senior Nurses and Staff doesn’t like Sass from newbies.”

“She says that it’s fun watching them eat and tear the arrogant new hires until they start learning basic manners.”  ~ DaokoXD

So many dynamics to follow. 

“This person isn’t even a newbie, though. She’s a second year resident physician. Absolutely NTA.”

“As an aside, I often see female physicians called by their first names by other ED colleagues who only use Dr. Lastname for the men.”

“It’s usually not in purpose, we just feel more comfortable with people who we share more salient characteristics with (e.g. gender).”

“But then it always creates at least a bit of friction when the female physicians ask to be called “doctor” instead.”  ~ SnooLobsters153

“Okay… I’m a male Attending and a previous resident trainee.”

“This is not a unique situation. Even as an Attending I still get this attitude from mid-level providers. It’s absolutely ubiquitous across all specialties in medicine.”

“I have handled situations like this in a similar fashion. To be crystal clear, you are NTA.”

“That being said these are tricky, HR-worthy situations. HR in healthcare is nothing but C[hoose] Y[uor] O[wn] A[dventure] for the hospital.”

“They don’t care about you or your patients.”

“You can be COMPLETELY “in the right” and NTA and still “lose” in these situations.”

“Sometimes bringing in your supervisor (an Attending) or a Nurse Manager can give you additional validity.”

“But don’t ever expect these situations to go away. (My wife is a female Attending ten years out of training and STILL gets this attitude from mid-level providers AND nurses.)”

“Talk to a seasoned Attending that you trust. Have them teach you some skills for handling these situations.”

“Above all…keep your cool.”  ~ nonoyesyesmaybenot

“Also attending physician here, agree 100%.”

“I’ve definitely had to dress down overzealous midlevels trying to push boundaries/establish dominance or w/e head game they were doing.”

“There is a way to professionally/in corporate speak tell someone that they’re wrong and to f**k off.”

“Part of the unwritten curriculum of residency training should be navigating these situations but that’s not always the case.”

“OP should definitely talk to a trusted attending or chief about this.”  ~ POSVT

“Yup. I’m in management, not medical field, but chain of command is incredibly important.”

“At the end of the day the person in charge is the one responsible if anything goes badly.”

“They are responsible for ensuring people are trained, have supplies and are doing their jobs.”

“Subordinates mouthing off to higher ups is never ok. And the gender imbalance is very common, as a female supervisor I get this a lot.”  ~ DazzlingTurnover

“I used to work in the ER. Huge traumas were ALWAYS seen by ER attendings and general surgery residents and attendings for really bad cases. NEVER seen by P[hysician] A[ssistants] or NPs.”

“I have no idea in what world a major trauma involving the chest would not be seen by ER doctors and surgeons first.”

“There’s a reason why command exists and that’s because doctors are simply more qualified to handle major cases.”   ~ firstladymsbooger

So what happened when HR called? 

“NTA, please explain what you said to us to HR.”

“You outrank her in this situation and they’re crying to HR because their expectations of going into major trauma on the first wasn’t met.”

“Sorry but they’re the AH here not you.”   ~ ImportantRevolution1

The OP replied:

“I basically told [HR] that I was senior on the floor and calling for backup from anesthesia, my attending, and surgery, and that if she thought she was better equipped than four doctors she was experiencing delusions (not those words but that was the tldr).”

“They apologized for the trouble after I told them my side. I don’t think I’m in any trouble, they just have to follow up on everything.”  ~ AlwaysAdenosine

As if working in a hospital isn’t stressful enough.

Can’t we all just get along?

If I roll up into an ER with a major issue I really need everyone to be focused… on me!

I’m sure there are ways to figure this all out where everyone is content.