Yelling and cursing: just another day at the office?

November 5, 2009

Nearly all of the nurses and doctors surveyed recently reported yelling, cursing, inappropriate joking, and refusing to work with one another, according to a Modern Physician story.

Talk about a hostile workplace environment. Nearly all of the nurses and doctors surveyed recently reported yelling, cursing, inappropriate joking, and refusing to work with one another, according to a Modern Physician story.

The American College of Physician Executives’ survey found that 97 percent of respondents experienced this “treachery and backstabbing” between doctors and nurses.

Some even reported throwing objects, sexual harassment, and spreading malicious rumors. (Actual physical assaults were reported only 2.8 percent of the time – as if that softens the blow of the other bad behavior.)

This is also interesting: When asked who is behaving badly, about half of the respondents said it was an even mix; 45 percent said it was doctors, and less than 7 percent said nurses.

Insults and degrading comments topped the list of incidents (85 percent reporting that happened in their organization). Yelling followed with 73 percent.

Sure enough, we’ve covered staff conflict before, and in a recent article, we offer a few tips for building a conflict-free workplace. Among them are: discourage blame-casting, set a policy for voicing concerns and resolving problems, and define your office culture with regular staff activities.

And, this: “Remember, physicians set the tone of an office for the staff and, ultimately, patients.”

What do you think? Care to share your stories of conflict and/or resolution?