Rudeness in paediatric care

Ward Platt, M. Archives of Disease in Childhood. Published Online: 24 February 2017

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‘Who is that rude man? He must be someone important.’ The man referred to was a very self-important associate medical director, well known for his lack of common courtesy. My colleague’s remark held another grain of truth, too: the ability to be rude, and for this to go unchallenged, is clearly associated with hierarchy. If you are someone important, you can get away with behaviours that would not necessarily be tolerated in another context. But rudeness can also arise between equals and from patients (or parents). It can be corrosive in a workplace where there are plenty of other stress factors, and may even have implications for patient safety.

There have been two recent papers relevant to rudeness in paediatric care, both from Riskin et al.1 ,2 The first of these, a randomised controlled trial, involved a standardised simulation in which both diagnostic and procedural skills were assessed for quality. There were clear group differences between the arms of the trial exposed and not exposed to mild professional rudeness: diagnostic and procedural performances were both adversely affected.

Read the full correspondence article here

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