Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Arrogance and Etiquette

There were two interesting pieces in the New York Times this week 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.

We'd really like your thoughts on both of these pieces. Have you ever witnessed any kind of abusive behavior? Have you ever been on the receiving end of something like that? Do you think this type of behavior is commonplace, rare, or somewhere in between? Why? Do you think etiquette training for physicians would help?

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