Unprofessional behavior linked to night-time shifts, time pressures

Hospitalists reported engaging in unprofessional behavior when they were pressured for time or worked at night, which could negatively affect healthcare safety and be disruptive to the learning environment, according to recent study in the Journal of Hospital Medicine of 77 Illinois hospitals.

Researchers looked at unprofessional behaviors, including holding personal conversations in patient areas, inappropriately using cell phones and texting during educational conferences, incorrectly marking tests as urgent simply to expedite the process, or celebrating transferring a patient.

According to a research announcement, hospitalists most likely to engage in these unprofessional behaviors tended to be younger workers or administrative staff, as well as personnel who had workload management issues.

Hospitalists with less clinical time, for instance, were more likely to report behaviors relating to making fun of others.

Those who conducted the study hope to put a stop to the unprofessionalism. "Although this study found that unprofessional behavior was thankfully rare, such behavior is unacceptable in a professional hospital setting and needs to be addressed," Kevin O'Leary, a physician and coinvestigator from Northwestern University, said.

Because the quality of care during night shifts already is statistically lower than day shifts, as well as more dangerous due to tired staff members, researchers concluded unprofessional behavior could contribute to a further drop in patient care.

To learn more:
- read the study results
- check out the statement

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