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The equivalent of road rage…in the workplace

Health care and education are the industries most prone to bullying according to Gary Namie, cofounder of the national nonprofit Workplace Bullying Institute.

Healthcare road rage
North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Mass. is working to cut down on what some call healthcare road rage. This from an Aug. 10 Boston Globe article that opens with a surgeon throwing a pair of scissors…

“The push is inspired by a growing body of research suggesting that swearing, yelling, and throwing objects are not just rude and offensive to co-workers, but hurt patients by increasing the likelihood of medical errors.

Zero-tolerance by Jan. 1

“The national group that accredits healthcare organizations issued a safety alert to hospitals last month, saying outbursts threaten patient safety because they prevent caregivers from working as a team. The organization, The Joint Commission, for the first time is requiring all hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities to adopt "zero-tolerance" policies by Jan. 1, including codes of conduct, ways to encourage staff to report bad behavior, and a process for helping and, if necessary, disciplining offenders.

“…In calling for a new policy, the Joint Commission cites several studies linking bad behavior to errors. For example, one survey found that some nurses and pharmacists had avoided consulting with a prescribing doctor because they did not want to interact with that particular doctor.

"The number one issue in the errors that occur is bad communication,” said Dr. Peter Angood, chief patient safety officer for the commission.

“Angood said Joint Commission surveyors hear about doctors and nurses acting out constantly when they visit hospitals, where frustration is escalating amid growing financial pressures.

Workplace bullying in industry in crisis

"You're looking at a very stressed out industry," agreed David Yamada, a Suffolk University law professor who specializes in employment issues including workplace bullying. "You have an industry in crisis where people are having to do much more with limited resources. That combination can be a potent one."

Read more
The Boston Globe, Aug. 10, 2008
Hospitals try to calm doctors' outbursts: Medical road rage affecting patient safety, group says

Feb. 3, 2007
Civility in the Workplace: Sticks and Stones (Basics on bullying in the workplace)