30 May 2008


I worked recently for one of my partners who had to deal with a family emergency. When I walked in at the appointed hour, the unit clerk saw me, and said in a clearly disappointed voice, "Oh it's you? I thought we were getting Dr Bob today..." I took it good-naturedly and gave her a little grief, but didn't give it any other thought.

Until the nurse in my designated area saw me, and said in the same tone, "Oh. Where's Dr Bob?" I explained that he was sick, and that I was working for him, and she was sort of quiet and left it at that. At that point I began to develop an inferiority complex.

The tech had the same reaction when she, too, realized there was no Dr Bob.

Finally, a fourth person saw me and said, "What are you doing here? The schedule said it was supposed to be-"
"Dr Bob, I know!" I snapped, "What am I, chopped liver?!" I had been under the impression that I was well-liked by the nursing staff, an impression that was rapidly evaporating.
(Condescendingly) "Oh, you're fine. But every day when Dr Bob works, he brings in a big bag of candy for all of us."
"Ah. I was not aware of that." Candy. So that's the ticket.

The other nurse came in at that point and saw me at the physician's desk, and exclaimed, "What? No Dr Bob? Damn. I wanted candy."

So now I know what to do to really get in the good graces of the nursing staff. I'm going to be stocking up on Costco-sized bags of candy. Then they will be disappointed when I'm not working.


  1. Dear Dr. Shadowfax,

    I think you have a little more research to do. You need to find out what kind of candy Dr. Bob brings, then you need to find what kind the staff would like better. Then you'll be top frog in the pond.

  2. A hint- Chocolate is best. Bite size Snickers, and Hershey's will be well received and have nurses waiting at the door for you on days you are scheduled. Buy cheapo mixed candy and prepare to endure cranky nurses - cheap candy is worse than no candy.

  3. Come on, that's like the first rule of doctor-staff relationships. Bring food!
    If they're on the Atkins diet, then you have to do a veggie tray with low-fat dressing, cheese cubes, or one of those huge cans of peanuts.
    Animal crackers, M&Ms, Swedish Fish are all winners.
    No donuts. They get stale by the end of the shift.

  4. Chocolate only works with the female staff, you'll need to bring beer for the guys.

  5. Whitecoat--One of our doctors who starts at 6 am brings donuts, and there is no such thing as "end of shift". Both days AND nights get to partake and they're usually gone by 7:10 am.

  6. C'mon! Isn't this something taught to first term interns!

  7. You need to brush up on Atkins, Dr. WhiteCoat. Low-fat dressings are LOADED with sugar, a big no-no on all low-carb diets.

    Raw veggies are allowed on just about every diet and aren't really a treat (though I would be thrilled with that, as long as the dressing wasn't low-fat). But your big can of peanuts is a winner. Smoked almonds would be even better--they are lower in carbs and more delicious, and most low-carbers don't have them that often. Also good are pecans, walnuts, and macadamia nuts. Or berries and whipped cream (sweetened with a little sucralose, of course).

    Swedish fish? At first I thought you were talking about those Pepperidge Farm goldfish. Then I looked them up. Ugh. Revolting.

  8. Once, when I was shadowing in your hospital's ED, the AMR guys brought donuts at about 3am. Perfectly timed to deal with late-night munchies. I've had a special place in my heart for AMR ever since.

  9. A big platter of chicken tenders around lunch/dinner when you REALLY need to bribe someone works really well...

    not that I'd know or anything.

  10. I have found what scores the most points with my staff is frozen yogurt from PinkBerry or Cefiore or many of the new copycat places that have sprung up around here like mad. So when I leave the office to do surgery, I try to pick up some on the way back. Chocolates and candy just don't do it here any more because we already have an abundant source for those, especially around holiday time.

  11. This is such a funny post but oh so (universally) true!

  12. I am not in medicine, but M&Ms in an M&M guy dispenser are both candy and fun.

  13. Yep. A big bag of 'Purina Staff Chow' will always smooth the way.

    We may not be easy, but we *are* bribable.

  14. AAAARRRGGGG another example of the proletariat selling out to the aristocracy!!!!



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