Creating a Positive Work Environment starts with your behaviour
It is disturbing to me that bullying and harassment in medicine is still reported to be a widespread issue. I think it is important that the Royal College make efforts to address this. We have a role to play in ensuring the health, safety and welfare of physicians and trainees, and in promoting a positive workplace. That is why I am pleased that Council has approved a new Statement on Creating a Positive Work Environment, which I encourage all Fellows to read.
It is unacceptable for students, residents and practising physicians to be subjected to harassment, bullying or intimidation — this sort of behaviour affects both the physician/trainee and the patients in their care. The culture of health care needs to change so that this unacceptable behaviour becomes a thing of the past. We should all feel comfortable “calling out” unprofessional behaviour when we see it.
Thankfully, there are a lot of great resources out there. In addition to the statement above, I encourage Fellows to check out our fantastic new online simulation activity: “Little things make BIG differences.” This activity deals with disruptive behaviour in the workplace and puts the learner in the shoes of a patient, a resident trainee and a senior staff physician.
I would also like to remind Fellows that the Royal College endorses the CMA Code of Ethics and Professionalism [PDF]. This code outlines the ethical and professional responsibilities of individuals in the medical profession through a set of core values and commitments. Royal College Council renewed its endorsement of this code at its meeting this June.
The Royal College is committed to nurturing positive work and learning environments, and working with others to reach that goal. All health care professionals can contribute to this work by modelling professional behaviours and attitudes, and standing up against mistreatment.
Doug Hedden, MD, FRCSC, is executive director, Professional Practice and Membership, and registrar, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada