Difficult Surgeons? Oh My.

Difficult Surgeons?  Oh My.

Have you ever had an OR  staffer come to you and say…

I can’t work with (him/her)!


I have.  And, in all honesty, I wasn’t surprised.  The surgeon to which the staffer was assigned, was, well….difficult.

Sometimes kind of mean.

What to do? I need to staff the surgeon’s cases, but now I have a  staffer that just doesn’t want to go into that room.  I really couldn’t blame them either.

I had to find a solution.

I couldn’t selectively staff the room only with those staff with thicker skins, and I couldn’t turn away cases.  So, I had to have that

never fun, difficult, challenging, honest, scary conversation.

I had to put my big girl panties on and deal with it.  So I did.

I explained that their interaction with staff was making it difficult for me to staff their cases.  And the surgeon looked perplexed…  surprised… and listened.

When the surgeon returned for their next scheduled day, they were nicer.  More patient.

From that time forward, things were better.  Not perfect, but much better.

I truly believe that most people (surgeons included :-)) don’t intend to be mean or scare people.  I think that they can be very focused about their case and the care, and not realize how they are perceived.  Sometimes it just takes an honest, quiet conversation during a calm time to facilitate introspection, and hopefully change.

I am glad I had that very difficult, big girl panties conversation.  I now reflect on that conversation as one of my career successes.

If you have to find your big girl panties (or big boy pants), know that it is never easy, but always worth the outcome.

Author:  Leslie Mattson