Dealing with a disruptive physician is vital to keeping the work environment healthy and happy. A breakdown of that environment could come at significant risk as staff members become at odds with one another, refusing to work with each other could result in the loss of patient lives. Managing disruptive behavior by staff and colleagues isn’t just about knowing what to do but also knowing what not to do. Often, mishandling disruptive behavior can make matters worse and lead to further conflict among physicians and employees. Therefore, I have decided to follow the recommendations provided by the joint commission on their website to curb the behavior of this difficult physician.
The American Medical Association defines disruptive behavior as personal conduct, whether verbal or physical, that negatively affects or that potentially may negatively affect patient care. If bad behavior goes unchecked, it can jeopardize the future of a practice as tolerating the inappropriate behavior can increase the likelihood the practice will be sued or that a charge will be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by the abused employees. Creating and implementing a code of conduct policy throughout the office would be my first intervention method and I would hold an open platform staff meeting introducing the new policy to not only get the staff on board with it but hear out their questions, comments or concerns regarding the topic.
Additionally, the meeting would serve as clarification as to what is considered disruptive behavior as well as comforting the abused and reassuring them their complaints have no gone unnoticed. Addressing the concerns in such a public matter, I believe would aide me in the confrontation process with the physician. He would not feel blindsided with the private counseling session I would give him. I often avoid confrontation as it makes me uncomfortable and I lack the ability to be affective with it. As such, I would enlist the assistance of a liaison such as another physician at the facility and empower the physician to speak on behalf of the practice. When the meeting with the disruptive doctor is scheduled, it would be clear that the liaison has the authority to speak on behalf of the practice. Conducting the meeting in a private, comfortable, professional setting reduces the tension as much as possible to encourage a positive dialogue. It is my objective to do everything possible to make this a problem-solving experience. I would also prepare an outline of points I want to cover. Sticking to a script avoids getting pulled into an argument. Additionally, I would have copies of the code of conduct and any written policies or rules that apply to the situation present for reference. It is important to get to the root cause of the behavior, often the physician may not even be aware of these outbursts have a negative impact on the work environment. Giving the disruptive doctor a chance to explain his version of events may allow him the opportunity to take responsibility for his actions and develop a level of trust between us.
Also, asking him how he could’ve handled the situation differently provides perspective on how his actions may have been harmful to his coworkers. I think running team building exercises would be useful toward building meaningful and respectful work relationships between all members of staff. I also think it would be beneficial to conduct training exercises on how to deal with codes of misconducts and their resolutions, so employees would know how to handle them.
In this scenario, the physician would be put on a verbal warning complete with a counseling session. His behavior may stem from other reasons, so I would provide him with information regarding resources to curb that behavior such as anger management and stress relief seminars. Any additional complaints of this doctor would escalate into a written warning and if still the situation persisted, a mandatory anger management seminar would have to be attended followed by termination proceedings if the behavior persists.
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