Can sarcasm impact patient care? Yes, it can.

July 9, 2019 | Author: Royal College Staff

Everyone has a story about a colleague who was rude or dismissive. Most of us brush it off and just get on with our day. But the reality is that even subtle inattentive, intolerant and sarcastic behaviour in the workplace can actually impact patient care.

Uncivil behaviour, particularly by senior clinicians, is disruptive and can undermine the confidence and communication of team members. In turn, this can affect an individual’s ability to make patient care decisions. Novice clinicians, who depend on the expert guidance and mentorship of experienced team members, are particularly vulnerable.

Online module will help you understand (and remedy) disruptive behaviour

Little things make BIG differences is a new online module. It is designed to help clinicians build the knowledge, skill, judgment and attitudes required to help manage issues of disruptive or uncivil behaviour in team-based settings.

Built on an interactive platform, the simulation puts learners in the shoes of a patient, a resident trainee and a senior staff physician. While immersed in each perspective, learners build awareness and understanding of the link between a specific disruptive behaviour and a crisis in patient care.

Little things make BIG differences is a useful tool for a wide range of health care professionals who work or manage team-based patient care.

  • It offers relevant self-assessment exercises, peer discussion and resources about how to recognize and manage disruptive behaviour within teams.
  • Residents and novice clinicians can use it to help identify the impact of disruptive behaviour on their own learning and clinical practice, and access resources to help enable positive change.
  • The module also tackles timely topics of professionalism, ethics, teamwork and patient safety.

Reflect and earn MOC Section 3 credits

This module is an accredited MOC Section 3 activity. It supports learning related to five CanMEDS Roles: Professional, Communicator, Leader, Health Advocate and Collaborator.

Access it now free-of-charge.


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Laura Brooks | February 2, 2021
A good article. I grew up in a big familyThat was large and sarcasm is used a lot by the boys. As I became older and was a nurse for 40 some years now retired I have a better understanding of subtle abusive behavior.. Often time sarcastic behavior would occur and then if I was sensitive it would respond I would be told you’re too sensitive! get over it! I was just joking said the offender.. Trying to placate the abuse but the cat was already out of the bag and the hurt was already done so thank you for let me reflect on this I might do some writing about it.