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Surgeon Lashes Out At ‘Arrogant’ Nurse Sister Who Calls Herself ‘Basically An Honorary Doctor’


Redditor Tight-Change-3696 and their sister both work in the medical field but in different professions.

The sister has a tendency not to be entirely truthful about her job, and this has rubbed our Redditor the wrong way for quite some time.

When they both responded to a medical emergency while shopping at a local mall, the intense situation was exacerbated by the sister’s conduct.

When the Redditor responded accordingly, they caused drama, which led them to the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“AITA for telling my sister to stop calling herself a doctor?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My sister is a nurse and I am a trauma surgeon. I’ll cut to it. She calls herself a full-on doctor/ lets people believe she is a doctor.”

“Like, when we meet someone new, she’ll say she works in a hospital, and if they literally ask ‘ah, so you’re a doctor?’ she’ll give a slight nod.”

“When we’re at home with family who know she’s a nurse, she just says she’s basically an honorary doctor. Obviously, as a doctor drowning in student loan debt and who’s worked for years to attain the title, it just feels a little bit offensive.”

“I just wanna say this right now, I’ve got all the respect in the world for nurses, we NEED them. They are the soul of the hospital, no nurses and everything grinds to a halt. But they’re not doctors.”

“Not anything close. Maybe after like, 5 years of experience they end up soaking up some knowledge about the field, but not my sister, as she’s been working for less than 3 months.”

“This has blown up now because there was a medical emergency in a mall we were at. Me and my sister go over to try and help a kid.”

“I immediately knew what was going on, and was doing the appropriate things to help, while my sister kept on undermining me, saying ‘it’s not XXX, it’s YYY we need to do ZZZ!'”

“At one point she literally grabbed my hand yelling why I won’t listen to her, and I just told her to f’k off.”

“At home after the kid survived, I just unleashed myself on her. She is completely and utterly arrogant and needs to realise she is nothing close to a doctor (yet), and that almost cost the kid his life today.”


Strangers online were asked to declare one of the following:

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

Many Redditors thought the OP was not the a**hole here.

“NTA – If she pretends to be a doctor when she’s on her own and something like that happened, and the kid didn’t make it, her life would be ruined.”

“There are serious consequences pretending to be higher qualified than you are, especially in the medical field, and she needs to be told to stop, pretty quickly.” – flashpointwest

“Yep! In addition to career detriment, lying about skills and knowledge also nullifies the protection under Good Samaritan laws. (It’s the first thing I learned in my first aid class, in fact. Never lie about your skills and ability to help.)”

“If the kid had died, OP’s sister could have been subject to all kinds of civil lawsuits (I’m assuming US, where even GS laws don’t keep you from being sued in every case.) OP could have been drawn in all that as well and had their license put at risk. Absolutely NTA.” – ZombiesAndZoos

“Absolutely. ‘I’m a doctor’ carries far more weight than ‘I’m a nurse,’ which might influence the parents’ decision to trust what she’s saying or even allow her access. They might have absolutely justified doubts that they suppress because she represented herself as a knowledgeable professional, doubts that could have saved the child’s life if she does the wrong thing.”

“Never, ever, ever lie about your credentials. That is the fastest way to lose all credibility and legal protection.” – NietszcheIsDead08

“Yes, because claiming that she is a doctor, she would be more knowledgeable than a nurse and should be able to have a better chance of saving the child. If she is advertising herself as a doctor when she is not, that is fraud and Good Samaritan law or not, she would be criminally prosecuted for fraud.”

“If she says she is a nurse and can only try to help as a nurse and the kid dies, then she is ok as she is not proclaiming anything other than what she is and can do. Same if a regular person who knows CPR and first aid – I do and I would not proclaim myself to be anything other than a person who has first aid and CPR training.”

“If the person dies then I am protected by the Good Samaritan law because I was not proclaiming I was anything else and I tried to my best abilities that I know to help. Also to note that if you perform CPR on anyone there is a probability you will break their ribs.”

“If they survive, they cannot sue you for breaking their ribs during your efforts to save their life performing CPR – that is one of the basis for the Good Samaritan law.” – ProfessionalFinger76

“NTA. What your sister is doing is socially unacceptable, but at the mall it was illegal. She can get into serious jeopardy claiming credentials and skills she doesn’t have if it induces another to rely on her for medical care.”

“On a personal level, it exhibits a massive insecurity. You might try to influence her to get therapy. And if she really is frustrated professionally, to consider medical school for real.”

“Best wishes!” – Pinkie_Flamingo

“You should remind her that medical doctors, just like nurses, are part of a regulated profession. If someone misunderstands her arrogance and she is caught/seen/overheard attempting to diagnose or treat someone, she could very well be disciplined by the medical board and lose her nursing license. It’s not just a social issue, it’s literally a legal issue.” – nothisTrophyWife

“NTA. If she tells new people that she is a doctor and something happens where a doctor may be required she won’t know exactly what to do. It can cost someone’s life if they delay calling for ambulance because they know she is there and she’s introduced herself as something she is not. Or if she makes the wrong call.”

“Nursers are definitely the soul of the hospital and their tremendous work is to just bow down to but there is a difference between doctors and nurses.”

“Edit; Your sister is playing with fire and she will get burnt and when she does it won’t be a little burn.” – MsLollister

“NTA. Seems like she has a superiority complex. Also first rule of emergency services. You hand over control of the scene to the person who is most experienced.”

“If she was trying to push the idea that she’s been in the medical field longer and give her seniority, that’s a very negative mentality to have as a nurse. They are so important.”

“But there’s a reason why they are in that important position and you are in your important position. Your family needs to understand that. It’s not an ego show, it’s caring for someone’s life. And if she cannot see that she needs to get out of the industry. Its not for her selfish soul.” – MeowManna

“NTA: the quickest way for a nurse to be an unemployed nurse is to contradict a doctor mid emergency, thereby putting the patient at greater risk. She’s going to learn that the hard way.” – BaltimoreBadger23

“Part of her problem, other than ego, is she does not appear to understand how little she knows. She is fresh out of school and full of knowledge… but as they so the more you learn the less you know as the horizon of your universe expand.”

“How hard do you want to adjust her?”

“If is is hard, call her out in front of her friends (not work peers) and barrage her with medical questions which a doctor could answer but she cannot. Be prepared with references for the correct answers. Respond to each question with a ‘Wrong. You killed/injured the patient and have been fired and sued for malpractice.'”

“If it less hard, offer to help her study for her MCATS. Start with a practice test and let her fail hard.” – RaederX

“I’m a nurse with 6ish years experience I’m still learning all kinds of shit. And I don’t want to sound like an old lady ‘kids these days’ but I’ve noticed a lot of the new graduate nurses we’ve hired have a terrifying combination of confidence, arrogance, and ignorance/stupidity.”

“I’ll be the first to tell you that half of nursing is confidence, but a huge part of keeping both your patient and your license safe is knowing when to ask for help AND having the humility to do so.” – savanigans

“Two additional options for the next time she does the head-nod thing to let someone believe she’s a doctor—one obviously more petty/aggressive than the other:”

1. “Wait, sis, you went to med school? How did I miss that? Where did you go?!”

2. “Oh, she’s just being bashful! My sister is actually a nurse, and we all know how critical nurses are, especially these days! I am so proud of her for what she does!

“(The second is meant to come across as a sweet sincere sibling, but tone and delivery could make it sound super-sarcastic. Based on how you sound in your post, I suspect it’ll come across as the latter, but you can always claim you meant the former…)” – ViscountBurrito

Overall, Redditors thought the sister was way out of line and noted that her disruptive intervention during the medical emergency in the situation was totally unacceptable.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a Los Angeles based actor whose work has been spotted anywhere from Broadway stages to Saturday Night Live.
He received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese.
In addition to being a neophyte photographer, he is a huge Disney aficionado and is determined to conquer all Disney parks in the world to publish a photographic chronicle one day. Mickey goals.
Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1 Flickr: nyckmo