Docs, nurses bullied into poor care

A quarter of doctors and surgeons and a third of nurses surveyed have been bullied to behave in ways that are bad for patient care, according to a new U.K. survey released Monday.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) surveyed more than 1,000 healthcare workers in England, Wales and Scotland and found 43 percent are worried that poor care could cause a patient care scandal, like the 1,200 unnecessary patient deaths at Mid Staffordshire Hospital, at their facilities.

Even more problematic, only one in four respondents (27 percent), and only one in five nurses (20 percent) have confidence in their senior managers.

To create a culture change to improve patient care, the report suggested hospitals must overcome workers' concerns about the quality of leadership and whistleblower protection. It also revealed better staff engagement and consultation are the most commonly cited way to improve patient care.

"To a large degree, efforts to improve the quality of patient care will hinge not on changes to regulation or new codes of practice but on the quality of leadership and management and the extent to which NHS [National Health Service] staff can be engaged at work," Kevin Croft, director of People and Organisational Development at Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, said in the announcement.

Noting a the correlation between a good staff experience and better patient outcomes, the report called for putting more focus on people management information and feedback from staff to catch problems upstream before they compromise patient care.

Bad behavior that compromises patient safety doesn't only happen across the pond, as about 1,300 U.S. nurses reported moderate verbal abuse--or up to five incidents of abuse by doctors or other nurses in the preceding three months, according to an August survey from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's RN Work Project. That survey also showed situations with physician-to-nurse abuse are more likely to have nurse-to-nurse abuse.

To learn more:
- read the research announcement
- download the report