According to the Dutch association for doctors’ assistants NVDA, some 62% of doctors’ assistants were faced with violence over the past two years, based on a survey among nearly a thousand members. Incidents included spitting, hitting, kicking, vandalism, being threatened with an ax, knife or firearm. and a host of verbal threats, such as ‘I’ll wait until you finish your shift’ over the phone. The NVDA says threats of all kinds are a daily occurrence from patients that are clearly frustrated about not being served as they expected to be served.
Only 11% of the doctors’ assistants involve the police in the threats. The reasons are the assistants don’t quite know if that’s something other assistants do or even how to react. Some measures being taken include making sure the support staff is behind a glass wall rather than at a reception counter. As well, it might help for patients to know what a doctors’ assistant actually does, possibly reducing the number of complaints as well since people often want to be treated fast enough as they have taken time work often and don’t want to wait.
I very much like my doctor’s office and my doctor. My only complaint is that the assistant (in my case often a receptionist with no medical training) asks me what the problem is, but then also starts giving me their opinion or asking me what I’ve done to alleviate the problem upon which I tell them that’s why I want to see a doctor. If I wanted to talk to someone unqualified I could also keep talking to myself or use Google, but of course, I don’t tell them that. As well, it’s well known that in the Netherlands, the receptionist and/or assistant are trying to dissuade people from seeing the doctor to keep waiting times down, but often this only helps create more frustration.
Any Dutch doctors, nurses, etc. in the house? Feel free to weigh in!