Disclaimer: below is a work of non-fiction. Any seeming reference or resemblance to persons dead or living are not entirely coincidental, only slightly intentional and should not be held against the author.
Anyone who’s ever watched Grey’s Anatomy would have a working idea of what it must be like to work with surgeons. I wish I could say they were all Derek Sheperd’s, because the NHS would have less staffing problems if they were, but unfortunately they’re not.
In fact, I would venture to say that some of them are as far from McDreamy as a person could get.
Surgeons are not the easiest bunch to deal with. Off the top of my head I can name a number of colleagues who can’t stand to be in the same room with them, who find them rude, arrogant, overbearing, impatient, misogynistic and overall unbearable. They have a God complex, some say. While some others are of the opinion that they go to some preparatory course towards the end of their surgical training where they all get instilled with this (erroneous) belief that they’re right all the time.
What do I think of them, you ask?
Personally, I love them. The same way you learn to love your pesky little brother. You’re obligated to tolerate them anyway, and over time that tolerance has turned into something that resembles love (I think). I have spent most of my career working with them and I’ve never met a problem with them that I couldn’t overcome eventually. Which isn’t to say I haven’t had moments where I just want to do things to them that will get me locked away for life, but I tend to get over the urge to inflict bodily harm fairly quickly, all things considered.
One of the people I worked with last week went so far as to suggest that I have become such an expert on dealing with difficult surgeons that any relationship I’m bound to have would be a walk in the park in comparison.
I didn’t realise that my dealings with surgeons have also been a training ground for establishing future relationships, but I thought it would be fun to explore this little analogy. Just what have I learned from my professional life that I can bring into my personal life?
I came up with a list below that might resonate with those of you who make their living in surgical gowns and gloves. I think they actually do apply to all other relationships outside of the operating theatre but see what you think. Lol
- Timing is key.
- They like to talk about themselves. Use that to your advantage. A little flattery will get you everywhere.
- If you do a good job and show loyalty by maintaining a relationship with them, you might get wined and dined once a year (like, at Christmases and birthdays)
- Laugh at their jokes, even when its not funny, and even when its at your expense.
- Learn their preferences by heart and make an effort to give them what they want.
- Anticipate their needs so well that words need not be spoken. In fact, anticipate their needs so well that you give them what they need even if its not what they ask for.
- They may deny it, but they like it when you go the extra mile. Don’t do it every time, and not often enough that they take it for granted. But a little extra touch every now and again will always be deeply appreciated.
- Suggestions are welcome, but only if you use the right approach. Tip: if you lead with an accusation, an argument, or by listing all the ways in which you think they’re wrong, you will NOT be well-received.
- On that note, they are never wrong. To convince them otherwise is an exercise in futility. Even if they do realise they’re wrong, they won’t say it out loud. They’ll say they changed their minds, or have received more information that led them to think that another course of action might be more appropriate (insert eye roll here).
- Understand that when they get temperamental and moody and rude, it’s not always personal.
- Stress turns even the best of them into monsters.
- You don’t always have to believe them when they say ‘send for the next‘. They’re already thinking about the next step, and the next one after that, and the next one after that. Your job is to regulate the flow, and to get them to chill the fuck out, because its a marathon not a sprint.
- When they go low, you go high.
- A little sense of humour goes a long way.
- Choose your battles. Sometimes you win by giving in.
- But. If it’s really important, if you feel really strongly about it, challenge them. They need to be challenged sometimes, it keeps them on their toes.
- Forgive them, sometimes they know not what they say. They are only men after all.
- Always do a Time-Out and a Pause to prevent any irrevocable errors.
- There are times when they do get the final say, but you are a vital part of the whole process. They literally cannot operate without you, and they should be sufficiently grateful.
- You can only get so far with looks, charm and bullshitting. Its your skill and intelligence that will earn their respect and admiration in the long run.
- You have to respect them in turn. Respect their skills and what they can do. Respect them, even when you don’t like them very much.
- The best ones are the ones you keep coming back to not because you’re contractually obligated to do so, but because you’ve developed a true bond borne out of multiple years together and a mutual love for Brandon Flowers.
What do you think? Have I just described a relationship, or what?
I sure wish they’d told us in school that theatre nursing was really just an analogy for our love life, I would have paid better attention. Lol.