Changing Physican Behavior

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    Richard Doering, M.D., Immediate Past Chief of Staff, Hoag Hospital, Newport Beach, Calif.

    While the nursing shortage continues to beleaguer provider organizations, experts say poor physician behavior has had an impact on retaining and recruiting employees. Hoag Hospital is one of several hospitals addressing this problem head on. When Richard Doering, M.D., stepped into the chief of staff position, he put in place a plan that has gained the hospital a nurse-friendly reputation.

    HL: How does poor physician behavior impact nurse recruitment?

    Doering: When I began my role as chief of staff, the hospital administration told me that the most difficult problem I had to deal with was physician behavior-physicians who berate and verbally abuse nurses. The second most serious problem was nurse recruitment and nursing shortage. Even if only 1 or 2 percent of the medical staff has behavioral problems, the impact on nurses can be devastating.

    HL: What did you do to help solve these problems?

    Doering: First, I stated in a staff bulletin that there would be zero tolerance of verbal abuse or harassment in any form. Next, we developed a code of conduct for all hospital employees and medical staff that spelled out how differences of opinion would be dealt with. Third, we created a three-strikes-and-you're-out policy that involved counseling.

    HL: How are things today?

    Doering: The nurses responded with a doctor-of-the-month recognition for docs who exemplified professional conduct. Pretty soon doctors were vying for the honor.

    -Deborah Rascon
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  4. 1 Comments so far...

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    Seems sad to have to reward adults to behave decently.


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