Improving work culture benefits staff and patients

June 10, 2020 | Author: Guest post

By: Dr. Erin Kennedy

Did you know that disruptive behaviour does not always mean yelling and screaming? It can be as simple as being dismissive or using belittling language.

As health care professionals, it’s important for us to remember that our interactions, whether positive or negative, can be the difference between life and death. I wanted to learn more about how I can help improve the culture of health care, so I registered for the Recognizing and Managing Disruptive Behaviour in the Clinical Environment module. The interactive simulation helped me reflect on my own approach to work and assess how my interactions in the workplace can impact patient safety.

For example, I learned that the more collegial we are with the people around us, the more willing they are to talk to us and express their thoughts about what is going on with the patients they encounter. On the other hand, not being approachable can lead to poor patient outcomes and impact the overall wellness of our teams.

Dr. Erin Kennedy

Considering other perspectives

The really great aspect of the module was being able to understand how people experience the same problem from different perspectives. You get to see through a patient’s eyes, and consider all of the interactions they might have, such as with a resident, a Fellow, a nurse and even a security guard.

Another perspective that resonated with me was how disruptive behaviour can impact residents at a critical stage in their careers. It’s hard to learn if you don’t feel supported. As residents go on to become independent physicians, it’s our responsibility to be positive role models and provide them with the opportunity to voice their thoughts in a safe space, and to call out negative behaviours so that they’re caught early.

I definitely encourage other Fellows to take this course. Not only did it provide me with eye-opening and crucial information, it’s also a great way to get MOC Section 3 credits. Each case in the module was user-friendly — and that’s coming from someone who’s not particularly computer savvy! I was also impressed by how realistic it was in depicting busy and high-stakes situations. The online module worked well with my busy schedule; I started a case at work while waiting for patients’ results and finished it later at home.

Practical reasons to take this module: 

  • Claim MOC Section 3 credits, free of cost
  • Complete the module in 1-2 hours, or save your progress and finish it at your convenience
  • Build the skills necessary to identify and overcome disruptive behaviours in the workplace
  • Interact with the simulation from the perspective of a patient, resident and Fellow

We can all help nurture positive environments by reflecting on our own interactions and calling out disruptive behaviour when we see it. This learning module helped give me the tools to do so.

Erin Kennedy, MD, FRCSC, PhD, is a division head at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, a professor of surgery at the University of Toronto and an internationally recognized expert in patient-centered care, qualitative research methods and shared decision-making in surgery.


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Syed Ahmed | January 13, 2021
Excellent wire up on the mode presented
Indrani Lakheeram | January 13, 2021
How do I take this module?
Royal College Staff | January 14, 2021
Hello Dr. Lakheeram,

Please visit and click 'Start now' to launch the Disruptive Behaviour module.

Thank you,
Royal College Communications