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Physicians Aren't the Only Problem

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, August 13, 2013

Like a disease that spreads if left untreated, verbal abuse has the potential to sicken an entire organization, and nurses seem to know this already. Readers of this column have commented online about the "cycle" of bullying and abuse and noted that "cultures which have suffered oppression are highly likely to turn on each other." 

Another reader noted that older nurses who engage in verbal abuse are "often disrespected" themselves, adding, "People who are happy and fulfilled don't usually take on bullying" behaviors. 

In comments about the previous study, the authors say hospitals should implementmandatory organization-wide programs for all employees about the impact of verbal abuse and other disruptive behaviors, as well as zero-tolerance policies. That recommendation obviously applies here, too. And it goes without saying that it should apply to physicians as much as it applies to nurses.

To learn more about disruptive physicians, join the HealthLeaders Media webcastReining in Disruptive Docs: Strategies to Manage Risk and Reduce Turnover on Tuesday, August 27, 2013, at 1:00 – 2:30 PM ET with William "Marty" Martin, MA, MS, MPH, PsyD, CHES and Herdley O. Paolini, PhD, LP.


Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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2 comments on "Physicians Aren't the Only Problem"


gail (8/16/2013 at 1:38 AM)
Please look into the Healthy Work Place Bill...writen by Law Professor David Yamada Boston Ma

Phyllis Kritek, RN, PhD (8/14/2013 at 5:19 PM)
Thanks for addressing this important issue. I was bemused that before I could read this there was an ad from the American Nurses Association (ANA). The ANA has mounted a vigorous campaign addressing nurse to nurse interpersonal violence and bullying, one of the most vigorous I have seen. I would like to acknowledge the leadership they have shown in addressing this issue and making useful tools available to assist CNOs in tackling the problem in their institutions. Also of note, the Joint Commission has several new standards statements that can be used by institutions to make a case for implementing policies and practices that address disruptive behavior. These tools can help those who want to take action.