There is increasing recognition of the need to tackle disruptive behaviours in the perioperative setting, including ‘incivility’. Kate Woodhead RGN DMS discusses the issue of bullying in theatres and the impact that this has on patient safety and the retention of staff.
All members of the surgical team have a responsibility to each other and to the patients in their care to treat each other with civility and respect. A recent survey1 has shown that bullying and harassment are still occurring in operating theatres in the UK. In fact, a short literature search on the subject demonstrated that there are many organisations relating to perioperative care who have major concerns with this type of behaviour and are currently running campaigns to address it.
Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) defines bullying as ‘behaviour which is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting or an abuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.’
Harassment is ‘unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating an individuals’ dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual.’
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