WORKPLACE BULLYING & MEDICAL ERRORS: THE WAY OUT
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Bullying at the workplace is not a new phenomenon. Rather it is a problem that has made the life of the doctors miserable for years. A novice learner is already under tremendous stress of dealing with patients, acclimatizing to the new environment and getting his foot in. 1The shadowing period is challenging itself .The clinical diagnosis and management of the patients needs solid acumen, clarity of mind, self confidence, motivation, administrative support and most importantly respect from the others serving as driving force for better performance. The problem arises when these things are lacking leading to suboptimal care and more complications.2
Bullying has been experienced in various forms and manifestations. Telling a junior to do work above his level of experience, humiliation in front of others, assigning additional duties, maligning one’s reputation, sabotaging his confidence and cursing without any reason. 2There is no end to it and despite of extensive research on the root causes of bullying and ways to address, the magnitude of the problem is increasing, in fact getting worst. There are a lot of loopholes that needs fixing as there is colossal impact of it on the patient care.3
Medical errors do occur in normal clinical practice .They include giving a wrong medicine, repeated filing cannulising patients, sending wrong labs, giving poor clinical handovers ignoring the patient and making him feel that he is lying in the corner of the ward without getting any attention. 5The medical errors do affect the working of the ward and reputation of the hospital. This is not good for morale of the doctors as well. While there are various factors responsible for causing them, one of the culprit is bullying of doctors who just can’t concentrate and make a mess of the task assigned.
The major perpetrators for bullying of the doctors are seniors and fellow colleagues. There is massive ego issue that overwhelms their minds and destroys the working environment. The thrashing from juniors overshadows their clinical judgement.