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Growing a Culture of Safety
Take-home tools to manage disruptive behaviors.
Donna Ford
Publish Date: May 22, 2014
OR Excellence
Donna A. Ford, MSN, RN-BC, CNOR Donna A. Ford, MSN, RN-BC, CNOR

Speaker Profile

  • Board certified in nursing professional development.
  • Certified in perioperative nursing.

It's not always easy to work in the high-pressure surgical environment. Donna A. Ford, MSN, RN-BC, CNOR, will discuss how to effectively and professionally deal with colleagues exhibiting disruptive behaviors in "Growing a Culture of Safety by Managing Disruptive Behaviors." Learn more about the behavioral problems that plague many ORs and be sure to jot down the many take-home ideas, tips and techniques she'll share for defusing lateral violence during what's sure to be an informative and interesting discussion. Here's what Ms. Ford had to say about managing personality conflicts during a recent sit-down.

  • On why disruptive behavior is a problem. Probably all of us know someone with a personality that can be described as "toxic." These behaviors are, unfortunately, familiar to us, and can be dangerous in the healthcare setting. Yes, feelings are hurt, but more importantly, conflicts in the OR can be detrimental to providing a safe environment for patient care.
  • If disruptive behavior is so common, why aren't more facilities taking the necessary steps to prevent it? Disruptive behaviors may, unfortunately, be familiar but team members frequently lack the techniques to successfully deal with them, even though the dangers of allowing them to persist are clear. The Joint Commission issued a Sentinel Event Alert in July 2008 about actions that undermine a culture of safety. It said disruptive behaviors often go unreported because of whistleblowers' fears of retaliation and perceptions that more powerful surgeons are let off the hook for improper forms of abuse.
  • So doctors are often the main culprits? No, not necessarily. There are many other perioperative team members whose personalities and behaviors can be intimidating to others. This can lead to a number of concerns in addition to the obvious concern of patient safety: poor teamwork, unhappy staff, stressful work environments and issues related to staff retention, among others. Perhaps most importantly, having this type of unhappy work environment may lead to unsafe patient care.
  • Annette Saylor
  • On searching for solutions. At OR Excellence, we're going to have a frank conversation about the factors that can contribute to conflict in any healthcare setting — personality and generational differences, complex and demanding practice settings, stressors due to cost-containment efforts and pressures stemming from reimbursement concerns. We'll also review common disruptive actions exhibited by surgical team members, such as intimidation, negativism, passive aggressive behaviors and withholding information. Finally, we'll discuss practical ways to manage the disruptions and correct the behaviors, including empowering staff to stand up to bullies, enacting zero-tolerance policies at the front line and communication techniques that you can use to defuse emotional responses and work toward constructive resolutions when conflicts arise.