CHAPTER 6Perfect Phrases for Dealing with Difficult Colleagues

There is an inherent hierarchical power structure in most clinical settings. At the top of this hierarchy is the attending physician. His or her orders for the patient’s care are carried out by nurses and allied healthcare workers. In an academic setting, there are other layers of physicians below the attending physician, such as fellows and residents, who also write orders and perform procedures.

This power structure has many beneficial aspects, as more senior practitioners supervise the actions of physicians still in training. However, this structure can lead to abuses of power and “talking down” to people lower in the hierarchy. In addition, as in any organization, there can be ...

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