Hospitals Address Doctors With Rage Problems

The health care field is notoriously stressful for workers. Doctors, nurses, medical technicians and other health care professionals work under difficult conditions where the consequences of a mistake can be severe. Doctors, in particular, report long hours and high-pressure job environments. Perhaps it is no surprise then that a number of doctors exhibit disruptive and angry behaviors and sometimes force hospitals to address those behavioral problems.

According to experts, roughly 3 to 5 percent of doctors suffer anger management problems at work. Incidents have been reported concerning bad behaviors such as shouting at colleagues, breaking equipment, cutting off patients and generally engaging in demeaning or improper conduct. While such conduct was once readily tolerated, hospitals are now being pushed to address these problems by regulations passed by the Joint Commission in 2009.

The regulations may have been sparked by a 2008 study in which doctors and nurses were surveyed regarding the impact of disruptive behavior on patient health and safety. In that survey, 71 percent reported that disruptive behavior could be connected to medical errors and 27 percent indicated that it had played a role in the death of a patient. Excusing poor behavior to the detriment of a peaceful work environment is one thing, excusing it to the detriment of patient safety is another.

Recent studies have suggested that many of the medical errors that occur in a hospital setting happen because of poor communication. When medical teams are assembled to care for a patient, communication among members of the team is vital. When doctors or nurses engage in abusive, combative behavior, communication is bound to suffer. Hospitals cannot afford to turn a blind eye to such behavior.

Source: Huffington Post, “Hospitals Crack Down On Tirades By Angry Doctors,” by Sandra G. Boodman, 5 March 2013