Doctors Are People Too

It is Medical Monday!  Whoo!!  That lovely day of the month where I write about something medical (okay, that generally happens more than once a month) and link up with other medically related blogs for all sorts of medical awesomeness (that was a lot of medical in on sentence).  Check it out at the link-picture thing below.

My topic today is a rant of sorts.  Sorry in advance.

In case you didn’t know, your doctor (or other friendly health care professional) has a life and time matters to them.  They have good days and bad days.  They get sick and their family gets sick.  They get paid by a publically funded system (in Canada), but so do people who work or don’t work, for that matter, in many other places.

Most people know this.  I think it is something that is obvious to the human condition.  But, there are some people who think this is not the case.  They might think this is not the case for most other human beings who “serve” them in some way.

I complain sometimes that I don’t like going to the doctor because it is a time sink.  I don’t like waiting.  But, really, does anyone?  And I acknowledge it is a fact of life.  We all need to wait for stuff.  I also wait to get my car registered.  Or to buy clothes at Old Navy.

Image from

Here is the catch… If the doctor is running behind or if the cashier is swamped, they are having a busy day too.  And although they are not inconvenienced by waiting, they are trying to move as fast as they can (okay, not all people try, but lets give people the benefit of the doubt).  Sometimes someone needs extra help, or something urgent came up.  Things happen.  Stuff gets behind.

I hate being behind in clinic.  I tear around like a madwoman to try to stop it from happening.  But, sometimes you get phone calls, or someone else is late that throws you off or sometimes, you just get behind.  I feel terrible when I am behind.  I apologize when I am behind.  I know it doesn’t make your day better.  But, please don’t yell or complain as if I did it on purpose.  When I am late for your appointment, you lose out on some personal time.  But, when I am late for your appointment, someone else might be having a worse day than you and I was helping them.  And as a result, not only am I behind for you, but probably for the rest of the day, which means, I get out of work later.  So, I don’t like it any more than you.

I acknowledge that sometimes people are late.  But on that same token, don’t show up late to an appointment and get mad at me if I took someone in ahead of you.  And really, call if possible.  Or at least apologise.  My time matters.  It not only affects me, but the other people booked in.

Image from

Sometimes, people who work in health care get sick.  Or they have a bad day.  So do you. Personally, I try to do my best during those days.  And sometimes it is hard, really hard.  But, I grin and bear it because that is life.

We all make mistakes. Even people in health care.  We try to prevent them the best we can.  There are all kinds of rules and plans in place.  But, especially as a student it happens.  I feel terrible when it does.  I never want to see someone have to repeat a test or come back unnecessarily.  Sometimes it happens, though.  I get annoyed when it happens to me.  It happens to everyone sometimes.

Yes, health care providers are funded by government money (at least they are here).  So are your welfare cheques, your car registration clerks, the military and countless others.

Physicians are there to help, but in order to help, they need to use the money provided for health care appropriately.  Sometimes that means saying no to unnecessary tests or medications.  It isn’t just because we are lazy.  We are protecting your health and the health of others.  Going to your doctor’s office is not going to Harvey’s.  You can’t have it your way all the time.  You make your own decisions, it is your body.  But, at the same time, there need to be limits in this system.

And yes, we get paid for doing our jobs.  So do you.  Stop telling me you pay my salary.  There is a good chance I pay yours too in some way if you are going to look at it in that fashion.  My purpose is to provide good care to people.  At my current position, I can’t double book or intentionally cut corners to save.  And I wouldn’t do that even if I could.  As a resident, I am salaried.  I get paid the same working 1 or 20 hours.  I work until my work is done.  That is what is needed.  So, please stop accusing me of being one of those doctors who work the system and get paid a fortune.  Most don’t.

In summary, health care providers are people too.  We are doing our jobs and happen to love people, but sometimes it doesn’t all go according to plan.

This kind of looks like our cat… Image from


11 thoughts on “Doctors Are People Too

  1. Thanks for posting this with Medical Monday’s, I loved it! How is that that people can recognize the person in front of them is of human form, but fail to recognize that they are human in every way, not just a look a like. So many people expect perfection of everyone but themselves.

  2. I love your humor! it is like my doctor and nurse Suzanne….our daughter has just graduated from college and looking for a job. She has worked for the last 3 years off and on for Food Lion while in school. She too knows the aggravation of having to wait on customers. Oh some of the stories she has told me!

  3. In fact I will tell you what happened the other day. She is a cashier and a guy came into her line to check out. She looked at him, screamed when she saw his pet Tarantula attached to his shirt!

    • That is hilarious. I can’t believe someone would bring a tarantula. Some strange things happen in grocery stores. My Mom worked in one most of my life and some of the things people did or said were ridiculous. I think weird things happen in whatever “people service” you work in. Such is life with other humans!

  4. So true! My husband faces this all the time, though he has developed a sense of humour about it. When one of his patients chided him for being delayed, he said, “Weren’t you a no-show for your last appointment? Now we’re even!”

  5. It’s great to hear from the doctor’s/HCP’s perspective. It’s refreshing to hear that there are caring medical professionals out there. Sometimes us patients just feel like another number or an inconvenience…

  6. Just wish to say your article is as amazing. The clarity in
    your post is simply great and i can assume you’re an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the rewarding work.

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