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I don't feel I get any respect from the physician I work for, no matter what I do. How do I confront this physician without sounding accusatory?

Thursday April 18, 2013
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Dear Donna,

I'm a new LPN working in a clinic with a new OB/GYN physician. We have been working together for almost a year, but I feel like I don't get any respect from him, no matter how much I do for his practice. I'm beginning to resent working for him and feel like there's tension. I love working in women’s health and don't want to look for another job, but lately I have had my eye open for different positions. How do I confront this physician to explain how I'm feeling without sounding accusatory?


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Dismissed,

Arrange a meeting with him and prepare what you want to say. Pick two or three behaviors or situations to talk about that particularly upset you. Discuss how it makes you feel and what you need and want from him. Here's an example: "I feel my work goes unrecognized and unappreciated. I would ask that you occasionally acknowledge how hard I work for you and my contributions to this practice. I also feel demeaned when you speak to me in a disrespectful way and ask that you use a civil tone." Try to give a specific example or two. Modify the above statement depending on what your issues are.

Allow him to respond, and don't necessarily expect him to respond favorably. Most people are uncomfortable being confronted with their own bad behavior. Regardless of how he responds at that moment, he may or may not change his behavior — only time will tell. This article may offer some additional tips: “Seven strategies for managing conflict” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Seven-Strategies).

If things do not change, then start looking for another position. Nobody likes change, but you can't stay in a situation that undermines your self-esteem. Read “Knowing when it's time to move on” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Move-On).

You should be attending local chapter meetings, even as a guest, of the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nurses (www.aaacn.org) and the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (www.awhonn.org). This is a good way to create a support system, stay on the cutting edge with knowledge and skills in your specialty and learn about other opportunities.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.