Yelling, curses, insults: All in a day's work for docs, nurses

If the following survey is any indication, it's little wonder that the Joint Commission felt compelled to address the issue of inappropriate behavior by doctors and nurses. Researchers with the American College of Physician Executives have concluded that insults, confrontations and even physical attacks by doctors are far too common in hospitals.

The survey, which reached out to about 13,000 doctors and nurses, found that 98 percent of respondents had seen problem behaviors between doctors and nurses within the past 12 months. Ten percent of respondents said they observed problems between doctors and nurses every day.

The most frequent complaint was degrading comments and insults, which were reported by almost 85 percent of participants. Seventy-three percent of doctors and nurses reported that they'd been yelled at by colleagues. Other common problems included cursing, inappropriate jokes and staffers refusing to work with each other. Both doctors and nurses said that physicians engaged in the majority of disruptive behaviors.

Some of the more extreme actions, which probably meet the criteria for an assault charge, included clinicians throwing scalpels or attempting to stuff a nurse head-first into a trash can, the ACPE reported.

To get more data from the study:
- read this ACPE report (.pdf)

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