Physician, Heal Thy Disruptive Behavior

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , July 21, 2011

"We've got to promote a safe patient environment," he says. "Until we address the human behavior issues, we're never going to get to the point where we need to be. This issue is still difficult for organizations to address, particularly the physician behavioral issue. Many organizations are taking this to heart and a lot of people are trying to prevent bad things from happening."

Silbaugh says disruptive physician behavior is an issue that won't go away. "Despite the best efforts of many, our profession is still plagued by doctors acting in a way that is disrespectful, unprofessional, and toxic in the workplace," he says.

Feeney and officials at Johnson Memorial Hospital want to banish disruptive physician behavior, although they admit it's a challenge. They have been discussing stress and burnout with Physician Wellness Services. Feeney concedes he was apprehensive when the sessions began several months ago.

"We're all trained to help others and when we have to help ourselves, we think we're not supposed to have these problems," Feeney says. "That ego problem, a lot of time, is fed by inner doubt. How everybody wants everything perfect all the time."

The hospital administration and physicians are working diligently to change behaviors and "I'm seeing responsiveness on the part of physicians and administration that wasn't there before," he adds.

"You need to let go of the things that bothered you in the past, they are done, they are over with and you move on," Feeney says. "I asked myself, how can I look at things different, how can I act differently?" he asks.

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