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.


  1. The other daughter... says:

    Uh, you’re pretty much awesome. Duh. If I lived in FW, you’d be my “go to” guy.

    [GruntDoc: More flattery!]

  2. Looks like the Marine way made a good impression on you. Congratulations!


  3. It’s not hard to see why the nurse came to you…
    As someone who’s worked with you and seen you in action, you would absolutely be my first choice doc if I ever had to go to the ER (if I could actually pick my doc). You are smart, thorough but efficient, you care about your patients, and are kind and considerate to those with whom you work even when you get frustrated with us. Sorry for the anonymity…wouldn’t want to hurt the other docs’ feelings!

  4. I thought of you yesterday.

    As I sat in the ER with my mom, possibly having a heart attack. They got her stablized, and were waiting to move her to the room.

    I realized the doctor’s bedside manner was one I’d dealt with before. The name was familiar. He was the doctor who had admitted my husband so quickly last summer and probably saved his life.

    I thought of you … and decided to say thanks to him for last summer … and for yesterday.

  5. I wonder how this sort of etiquette will change over time? I see a general trend toward less formal attitudes in the medical field. Does this sound about right?

  6. Sweetie — this speaks MILES about you and those you work with… hoping you are cherishing them as much as they seem to be lovin’ you.

    That is all lovely. Ya little heart-warmer. Now, how do you all treat those awkward, lurching and scary people? Like the “lady” at our last hospital urology visit, she had a long beard and 2 zillion bags of possessions plus her other stuff…

    It was weird to see how hard it was for the uro-clinician staff to deal with this “non-traditional” patron. Damn. but I (me, meek little laundry lady) had to clear away people from the counter for her, so she could reach the intake staff…