There have been numerous cases dealing with disruptive physicians and concern for patient safety with in the past seven years. Why is this? Have physicians become more rude, arrogant, and disruptive? Or is it is because more and more this behavior is being recognized as not acceptable and staff is not tolerating this behavior anymore? In this paper I will define what a disruptive physician is, examine the nature, challenges, magnitude of the problem, contributing factors, impact, and what can be done about disruptive physicians.
Is disruptive physician behavior an issue in healthcare or is it simply “acceptable operating room behavior and potentially beneficial because it helps weed out those whom were really not suited for the best surgical care” (Sataloff, 2008). I know that as a future healthcare worker this statement concerns me. There are multiple reasons why it concerns me but the top reasons are what exactly is the behavior used to weed out these co-workers, if healthcare workers are able to do this when it is too far, and what is acceptable and professional behavior no matter the situation or environment.
Disruptive physician behavior consists of a practice pattern of personality traits that interferes with the physician’s effective clinical performance (Norman T. Reynolds, 2012). Disruptive behavior negatively impacts those that work with the physician and those in the same environment. This disruptive behavior includes inappropriate anger, inappropriate resentment, inappropriate words, inappropriate actions, and inappropriate responses to the staff or patients’ needs and requests. Disruptive behavior can be aggressive or passive aggressive. Aggressive behavior consists of yelling, foul language, threatening gestures, public criticism, invading personal space, slamming objects, and physical aggressive or assaulting behavior. Passive aggressive behaviors can be hostile avoidance, intentional miscommunication, not answering pages, speaking in a muffled voice, condescending language, and impatience with questions, malicious gossip, derogatory slurs, sarcasm, and implied threats. These behaviors when expressed directly to patients and co-workers or indirectly to them can compromise the quality of care delivered by the staff or directly the physician (Norman T. Reynolds, 2012).
It is also important to understand what disruptive behavior is not. One episode of disruptive behavior does not and should not solidify a physician to be labeled as disruptive. We are all human and expecting perfection and harmony all the time is unrealistic. Physicians who have an occasional reaction that is out of character or who is having a bad day should not be labeled as disruptive (Norman T. Reynolds, 2012). The disruptive label should only be applied to a pattern of seriously inappropriate conduct that is customary. The American Medical Association (AMA) defines inappropriate behavior as means of conduct that is unwarranted and is reasonably interpreted to...