Letter to the medical staff

  1. I received a copy of a letter that was recently sent to all of the medical staff of the hospital where I work. This letter was sent to all associates of the hospital as well by the CEO. It would be nice if it caught on everywhere.
    Here is a copy of the text of the letter. I don't know if I would be allowed to name the hospital or the author of the letter, so I will substitute XXXXXXXX for any names in the letter.

    TO: Medical Staff, XXXXX Hospital
    From: Board of Directors - X XXXXX, M.D., Chair
    DATE: July, 2002

    The Board of Directors of XXXXX Hospital and XXXXX Health Systems is committed to creating and maintaining a workplace environment that assures the dignity of all members of our XXXXX family - patients, physicians, and associates. This is in keeping with our core principles of Caring, Integrity, and Diversity. How we behave toward each other goes hand in hand with how we interact with our patients. Everyone deserves to be treated with civility and dignity. Common courtesy should be our standard operating procedure.

    In years gone by, the physician was often perceived as the unquestioned authority whose actions and decisions were not to be questioned. Such behavior, no matter how outrageous, was to be tolerated. Fortunately, those days are over. A good and conscientious doctor recognises the importance of obtaining all of the available observations and insights from every member of the healthcare team. The wise physician will not only tolerate having his or her orders and actions questioned, but will expect that everyone involved in the patient's care speak up whenever there is anything that doesn't seem right. Staff should raise such concerns in a respectful manner, but they must raise them just the same. It is their duty to the patient.

    The old attitudes and behaviors still exist and occasionally reappear. Serious case of abuse or disruptive behavior are rare, and involve a very small number of the Medical Staff. It should be explicitly understood by all members of the Medical Staff, and associates alike, that the Board of Directors will not tolerate any such behavior. The Board will use all means at its disposal to deal swiftly and effectively with such instances.

    The process for dealing with the flagrantly abusive physician is deliniated in the Medical Staff Manual. Every physician is urged to review Article IV, Conduct Within the Hospital.

    Of equal concern are the more common and pervasive forms of abusive and disrespectful behavior. These may come in the form of harsh or foul language, inappropriate or demeaning comments, or the rebukes in the presence of patients. This does not imply that nurses, other associates, or colleagues shouldn't be questioned, corrected, or reprimanded - only that such activity should be done in an appropriate manner in private.

    Physicians set the tone by their example. We ask that physicians dedicate themselves to treat every patient, nurse, and staff member with dignity and common courtesy. They should hold each other to the highest standard of behavior and not tolerate a breach of decorum by their fellow physicians. Our associates should follow their example in their dealings with physicians and co-workers. With diligent effort we can create and maintain a spirit of respect that will result in the type of workplace we all desire.


    Wouldn't it be great if this type of spirit could prevail in hospitals worldwide? That could go a long way toward easing some of the conditions that keep the nursing shortage alive and well. I just had to share this with you.

    Last edit by cbs3143 on Jul 12, '02
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    About cbs3143

    Joined: Mar '02; Posts: 530; Likes: 14
    QI - medical review coordinator


  3. by   NurseAngie
    WOW! That letter sure put a smile on my face. It was very well written and I hope that it makes a difference in your place of employment.

    Happy Nursing~Angie
  4. by   purplemania
    A very positive shot-in-the-arm for nursing!
  5. by   l.rae
    got great nnews at a recent staff meting here...MD's being writtenup and reprimanded by THEIR superiors...other MD's for abusive behavior!!! l couldn't believe it...one MD was told that "Doctors are easier to replace than nurses"...WOOOHOOO! Maybe the tide is turning slowly....we were encouraged to report any abusive behavior..especially cursing........Loved that letter cbs..l printed it..thanks...LR
  6. by   cbs3143
    That's what I was thinking too l.Rae. A lot has to happen before we are there, but it is definitely a good sign. Time will tell.

  7. by   boggle
    Thank you, Chuck, for posting that letter.

    It is truly wonderful to see!!!! Finally, the standards of behavior of all are expected to rise to a PROFESSIONAL level!!

    Please keep us posted on how the letter is received in the hospital!!
  8. by   fedupnurse
    Thanks Chuck. I too will be downloading and hanging this in my unit and in the doc's lounge. Hell, I might even stake out the docs lot and put a few on some windshield of the particularly obnoxious (mostly surgeons) docs!
    It is about time!!!!
  9. by   misti_z
    That is really a wonderful letter. I hope it catches on at your workplace and facilities around the U.S........and World--for our global colleagues!!
  10. by   aimeee
    Wow! That is amazing! And great! Hope they stand behind their words.
  11. by   bestblondRN

    Thank you for sharing this with everyone. I, too, will be posting a copy on the staff bulletin board!
  12. by   CANRN
    At a hospital where I worked MD abuse was getting out of hand with tantrums at the nurses station during visiting hours and several family complained because of it. The family members were upset because the nurses were the ones being abused, Shortly thereafter, MD's were told they would be 'written up" and gradually the abuse stopped!
    Hopefully, this type of behavior will no longer go ignored!
  13. by   JailRN
    This is very good, Chuck, thanks. Glad that we don;t have that problem in our facility. The doctors know that the nurses know the inmates better than they do, they want our input and are very respectful to us especially in front of the inmates-guess they're afraid of seeing "Bubba" on the street,
    Hey whatever it takes.