Monday, December 1, 2008

Arrogance and Etiquette

There are two interesting pieces in the New York Times today on physician's attitudes and communication in the workplace, and the effects on quality of care.

"Arrogant, Abusive and Disruptive - and a Doctor" discusses how the intimidating and aggressive attitudes of some doctors lead to errors in care. Staff working with aggressive physicians feel they do not have the right to speak up about problems with care and may be shouted down if they do. The article also discusses institutional responses to the problem, including communication requirements in medical schools and increasing enforcement of hospital codes of conduct.

In a related column, "The Six Habits of Highly Respectful Physicians", Michael W. Kahn, a Boston area psychiatrist, advocates for basic etiquette training for physicians.

It's nice to see these key issues of communication receiving some attention from the press.

1 comment:

  1. I am glad to see these articles. Coming from a business background, I have never had a meeting or phone call with a new client without telling my name, my role on their project and a little of my background. This takes less than a minute if the client has no questions about me.

    As patients, we should not be having to read the script on the lab coat to figure out who we are talking to and why. As a friend who recently had surgery said to one of her clinicians, "Who are you, and what are you doing under my sheets?" That may be OK for a comedy sketch, but not in a hospital.



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