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© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Disruptive Clinician Behavior: A Persistent Threat to Patient Safety Grena Porto, RN, MS, ARM, CPHRM Principal, QRS Healthcare Consulting, LLC September 2008
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Key Points A culture of safety is necessary in order to achieve lasting systemic changes that promote safety in an organization. A culture of safety has specific attributes, including a non-punitive approach to error management, emphasis on learning and minimal authority gradient. Disruptive clinician behavior violates the principles of a culture of safety and endangers patients. Disruptive clinician behavior must be managed with a comprehensive approach that includes setting expectations, training and progressive discipline.
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Case Study A A neurosurgeon is called to see a trauma patient admitted through the ED. The patient has been seen by two other surgeons, who agreed that the patients injuries were not life- threatening. On arrival in the OR, the surgeon is informed that the surgery cannot proceed until instruments borrowed from another hospital are sterilized. The surgeon becomes irate and demands that the surgery proceed without completion of the sterilization process but the OR nurse refuses. The surgeon begins yelling and threatening the nurse, who leaves the area and walks into the womens locker room. The surgeon follows her, still yelling, and pokes her repeatedly. Another staff member becomes alarmed and calls 911. Two Sheriffs deputies are required to subdue the physician, who is arrested and removed from the premises. There are reports of alcohol on the surgeons breath, but breathalyzer tests are inconclusive.
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Case Study A (contd) The hospital suspends the surgeons privileges, and he is reported to the state licensing board, which temporarily suspends his license pending a hearing. The licensing board also refers the surgeon to a psychiatrist, who finds the surgeon competent. At the hearing, the judge reinstates the physicians license, and the licensing board takes no further action. The hospital then reinstates the physicians privileges, and the district attorney drops all charges. The physician is currently practicing at the hospital again and the licensing boards website shows no negative findings for him. The patient had the surgery performed uneventfully the following day.
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Case Study B A 58-year-old man is admitted to the telemetry unit for observation after presenting to the ED with chest pain, which was controlled with medication. The patient is assigned to Nurse A, a very experienced telemetry nurse who is known to be abrasive to colleagues, particularly those who are inexperienced. On duty with Nurse A are two other nurses, both of whom have less than 2 years experience. During the course of the night, both of these nurses observe a worrisome pattern on the patients telemetry reading but are afraid to speak to Nurse A about this. They assume that she has everything under control and focus instead on their own patients. In the morning, the patients attending physician arrives and becomes alarmed when he learns that the patient has had chest pain all night accompanied by EKG changes. The patient is transferred to the CCU with an MI.
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. This isnt a problem in my organization. I never get reports about this. We have a code of conduct for the medical staff. When we have a problem, we refer it to our peer review committee. Our nurse managers know how to deal with this. This isnt a big deal – people should just learn to deal with it. Common Organizational Responses
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Normalization of Deviance Its no big deal – thats just the way he/she is. Weve just learned to work around him/her.
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. What is disruptive behavior? Behavior that : interferes with ability of everyone on the team to provide safe and effective care. undermines the confidence of any member of the healthcare team in effectively caring for patients. undermines patients confidence in the healthcare team or organization. causes concern for anyones physical safety. undermines effective teamwork.
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Examples of Disruptive Behavior Profane or disrespectful language Name-calling Sexual comments Racial or ethnic jokes Outbursts of anger Throwing objects Criticizing other providers in front of patients Failure to respond to concerns about safety voiced by another provider Intimidation that suppresses input from other providers Deliberate failure to adhere to organizational policies without adequate evidence to support actions Retaliation against any provider who raises concerns about safety, conduct or culture issues
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. What drives disruptive behavior? Usually not drug or alcohol abuse. Complexity and interaction of larger groups? Production pressure? Lack of familiarity among team members – temporary staff, etc.? Cultural differences? Perceived loss of autonomy? Stress? Secular trends – TV shows, etc.?
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Are Physicians the worst offenders? Probably… Severity Impact Surgeons (Rosenstein 2006) Physicians as customers… Normalization of deviance… Systemic rewards for disrupters Organization failure to respond
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Frequency of Disruptive Behavior Involves less than 5% physicians. (Weber) Experienced by 64% of nurses. (McMillin) 23% nurses report something thrown. (McMillin) Reported by 96% of nurses. (Rosenstein 2002) 68% reported disruptive nurses. (Rosenstein 2005)
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Types of Disruptive Behavior Disrespect Subtle intimidation Condescending language or tone Impatience with questions Reluctance/refusal to answer questions or phone calls Overt intimidation Strong verbal abuse Threatening body language Physical abuse Physical violence This is a crime in all 50 states!!
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Impact of Disruptive Behavior Reluctance to question: 49% respondents to ISMP survey reported pressure to administer drug despite serious unresolved safety concerns. 40% kept quiet about a safety concern rather than question a known disrupter. Avoidance: Failure to call (Diaz, Rosenstein) Avoid making suggestions
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Impact of Disruptive Behavior (contd) Tolerance of substandard care: No pre-op time-outs No surgical site marking No hand-washing Productivity: Re-dos Lost time Delays in care Re-processing Morale Administrative time
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Impact of Disruptive Behavior (contd) Workforce: Low self esteem, worthlessness Single biggest factor in job satisfaction for nurses 31% knew at least one nurse who left because of it (Rosenstein, 2005) 18% turnover attributed to verbal abuse (Cox, 1987) Gen Y response – good-bye!
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Patients!!!!
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. A Mandate to Act Joint Commission leadership standards: LD Leaders create and maintain a culture of safety and quality throughout the hospital. Elements of performance for LD 3.10: Leaders regularly evaluate the culture of safety and quality using valid and reliable tools. Leaders create and implement a process for managing disruptive and inappropriate behaviors.
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. The Roadmap Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert Released July 9, 2008 The journey: Is it really a problem? How bad is it? What is the impact on patient safety? What can we do?
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Resources Benzer DG, Miller MM. The disruptive-abusive physician: a new look at an old problem. Wisconsin Medical Journal, 1995; 94: Cox HC. Verbal abuse in nursing: report of a study. Nursing Management, 1987; 18: Diaz AL, McMillin JD. A definition and description of nurse abuse. Western Journal of Nursing, 1991; 13(1): ISMP, Survey on workplace intimidation Available at Leape LL, Fromson JA. Problem doctors: is there a system-level solution? Annals of Internal Medicine, 2006; 144(2): Linney BJ. Confronting the disruptive physician. Physician Executive, 1997; 23: Neff KE. Understanding and managing physicians with disruptive behavior. In: Ransom SB, Pinsky WW, Tropman JE (eds.) Enhancing Physician Performance: Advanced Principles of Medical Management. Tampa, FL: American College of Healthcare Executives; 2000: Porto G, Lauve R. Disruptive clinician behavior: A persistent threat to patient safety. Patient Safety and Quality in Healthcare, July-August 2006.
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Resources (contd) Rosenstein AH. Nurse-physician relationships: Impact on nurse satisfaction and retention. American Journal of Nursing, 2002; 102(6): Rosenstein AH, ODaniel M. Disruptive behavior and clinical outcomes: perceptions of nurses and physicians. American Journal of Nursing, 2005; 105(1): Rosenstein AH, ODaniel M. Impact and Implications of Disruptive Behavior in the Perioperative Arena. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 2006; 203: Weber DO. Poll results: doctors disruptive behavior disturbs physician leaders. The Physician Executive, 2004; 30(4):6- 14.
© G. Porto 2008 – Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Grena Porto, RN, ARM, CPHRM Principal QRS Healthcare Consulting, LLC PO Box 178 Hockessin, DE (302) (302) – fax
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