I Have Respect for My Clinician Colleagues. Here’s Why.

By Nicole Ervast, Business Development Associate

Let’s start with the obvious. Clinicians of all kinds (physicians, nurses, advanced practice providers, specialists) literally dedicate their lives to others. They work insanely long hours, often leaving their spouses and children behind. They spend so much time taking care of us (their patients) that they sometimes fail to take care of (and even respect) themselves.

For the clinicians I work with, who take on administrative and leadership roles as well as clinical, burnout seems to be relatively rare—they are allowed pretty flexible schedules and limited travel if needed. But our clinical leaders still work a tremendous amount, often sitting in on calls while “taking a break” when their shift is slow, or working administratively while on vacation with their families.

On the other side of their responsibilities, they tend to be exceptionally devoted to their families. They always put family first, in various ways. I know one doctor who works two 24-hour shifts back-to-back (at a very small, slow ED) so that he can spend the remaining five days of the week with his family. He basically lives and sleeps at the ED for 48 hours every week. Other clinicians who travel a lot for Keystone will bring their children with them every now and then and make it a family vacation. Or, they choose not to travel and instead call into important meetings from their homes so that they don’t have to spend too much time away from the family. Somehow they manage to be 100% dedicated to their families and children while also being 100% dedicated to their work. I don’t know how they do it.

The final reason that I respect my clinician colleagues and what they do may elicit a cringe reaction—but let’s face it, they have to do some pretty gross stuff. I won’t go into details here, but this post contains some fantastic examples of the magnitude of grossness that nurses deal with on a daily basis, and this one can give you some insight into the sometimes unique repugnance of working in the ED. Sure, they get paid well, but I’m not sure I would risk having bodily fluids showered on me, or having to clean them up, for any amount of money.

So next time you see your doctor, nurse, radiologist, surgeon—think about what they go through every day and the sacrifices they make. Instead of complaining about long wait times, or your discomfort at some or other medical procedure (of course you’re uncomfortable; so is your medical provider), show them the respect they deserve.