Expertise, Respect, & Boundaries


This morning, while scrolling through social media, I encountered a resounding theme.

Multiple physicians posting about being challenged, disrespected, & made to feel worthless by the very people they were trying to help: their own patients.

Being brought to tears by the disrespect of patient’s family members.

Physician expertise blatantly questioned.

Advice ignored.

Patients telling doctors – to their faces – that they “don’t like their tone”, and then telling nurses they don’t like “that doctor”.

ICU patients in rural hospitals; being cared for by stressed and tired nurses that usually care for much less critically ill high acuity patients.

Overworked, exhausted physicians & nurses doing their best to stay afloat, strapped for resources, yet rising to the challenge of caring for these extremely sick patients.

Repeatedly donning & doffing PPE, putting their own lives at risk, pushing themselves harder & harder – not sleeping, not eating, waiting to empty their own bladders or take the time to defecate.

Unable to transfer patients to hospitals better equipped in caring for such fragile ICU patients – because there are NO BEDS available throughout our state or in surrounding states.

Yelled at.



Care refused.

Told: “I read that….and so & so says, and, well I heard, and I googled, and I don’t believe in, and I’m not going to do that”, and the infamous all time favorite: “I did my research.”

Physicians filled with trepidation at the start of their shift – knowing that they have extremely ill fragile ICU patients for which to care in addition to all of the patients in the ER & throughout the entire hospital.

Yet we continue to show up.

Report to our shifts.

Take call.

Drop our own kids off at school/daycare so that we may take care of the needs of others.

We miss birthdays, holidays, school plays, sporting events, dinners….

All too often we sacrifice ourselves, our health, & our own well-being so as to honor the oath we all took as we became physicians.

To every single PHYSICIAN that continues to show up & care for patients – during this ongoing COVID19 pandemic – now and in the future, I want you to HEAR and REMEMBER the following:

YOU are the physician. It’s YOUR license, YOUR education, & YOUR responsibility to care for patients in the best way possible – and if they disagree – tough! You’re the EXPERT – not them. It’s not your fault they’re in this situation.

You make the decisions period.

You do not have to accept that behavior from anyone.

Strongly, yet very sweetly, state: “this is what is best for your care & this is what is happening”. Done. It’s not a question. It’s a plain & simple fact. Standard of care requires you to be transferred. (Or to not be prescribed ivermectin!).

We – as PHYSICIANS – make the medical decisions. It’s non-negotiable.

I’m so tired of others questioning, discounting, & challenging our expertise while at the same time playing on our altruism knowing that we’ll care for them no matter what. Meanwhile we’re exhausted, overworked, stretched to the limits, putting our own lives at risk daily – and for what?

To be disparaged, questioned, challenged, & disrespected?


No more.


It’s time we ALL embrace OUR EXPERTISE, demand RESPECT, & set BOUNDARIES.

We are highly educated human beings with a special skill set & they NEED US way more than we need them.

It’s time for all of us to stop being pawns in a game we were never asked if we wanted to play.

My 2 cents.

End rant.

And huge hugs to every single one of you.

You deserve better.

You are worthy of respect, love, & to have your orders followed appropriately. ❣️

Photo credit: Majken Hanson Schwartz, MD

I’ve got your backs, & I hope you’ll always have mine. Individually we are powerful. Together we are unstoppable.

Honor your oath. Set Boundaries. Demand respect.



Original artwork by physician artist
Saira Malik Rahman, MD

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