Professional Flattery

In medicine it’s often hard to tell what your peers and co-workers think about you, personally and professionally. We all work hard to keep an above-board polite but distant interaction, and that’s to everyones’ benefit; nobody wants the kind of interpersonal strife a less-than-friendly environment could bring.

In the last two weeks I’ve made another doctor’s day, and a nurse made mine.

I’m slowly getting to the age where I need an internist, and I asked one of our ‘old-school’ docs if he would mind opening his full and closed practice for me. He smiled as he said ‘absolutely’, and smiled the rest of the day in the ED, and not because I’m such a peach of a person. I recognized the feeling, summarized as ‘people who work with me think enough of me to seek me out when they need help’. It’s terrifically flattering, really.

A nurse I’ve worked with for years in a professionally-cordial way asked me for some personal help the other day, and I had that same smile for the rest of the day, a nurse I work with chose me for help.

It’s flattering, moreso because it’s not meant to be.